I like the exploration and expansion parts of 4X games, but inevitably someone will pull ahead and everyone declares war on them. Whether it’s Civilization, Endless Space, or Master of Orion, games always revolve around war. I like Crusader Kings 2 and Europa Universalis 4 because there’s less the concept of “victory” but only “doing better” because there are so many different countries, but at some point you get big and powerful and then it’s not as fun too. I do like war, just not when it must be total, and not when it must be necessary every game.
Also if the game is both viable single-player and multi-player, that would be ideal, because in multiplayer games, well, most people are trying to beat you anyway, being as competitive as they are.
Is there such a game that exists? For any OS, any reasonable price.