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The Best Space Games
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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For a long time there was a real shortage of great Space games. There was even a geeklist titled "Where are all the good Space games?" or something like that.

Its been a stunning couple of years for Space games with a lot of really great games being released. In 2007 & 2008 we have had:

Race for the Galaxy
Battlestar Galactica
Space Alert
Galactic Emperor
Supernova
Galaxy Trucker
Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition
StarCraft: The Board Game
Planet Steam
Frontiers
Duck Dealer

I created a poll a few weeks ago to rate Space & Sci-fi games. Since then I realised its really Space games that I'm interested in.

So this list contains the best Space games I could find on BGG. In some cases it was tough to decide whether a game was 'Space' or 'Sci-fi', and I may have got some of them wrong, especially the large number of entries that I haven't played. If you think I've missed a great Space game then feel free to add it.

I've added some useful information on game: best number of players, how popular they are (number of plays), whether they are Free, what their majority rating was on the Poll (with in brackets the % who said that).
I've also included a comment (or two) from a fan of the game. It was interesting to see the number of unfamiliar usernames writing these comments - obviously Space game fans are a niche group on The Geek.

Update: I've included some more detail on the poll results to date.
Poll rating is the average score if Love it=2, Great=1, Okay=0, Poor=-1, Hate it=-2.
Median is what the middle person rated it as.
Love it! is the percentage who ticked "Love it!"

Update: Now this list has settled down I have created a "Weird combined rating" to sort the list by and have re-sorted by this.
The way it works is points are awarded for 4 categories: Rating, Ranking, #Plays and Poll score. The points are awarded based on where that game comes after sorting all the games on this list by each of those scores. Finally a bonus will be awarded for Print n Play games (as they are freely available and cheap). Low points are good and the games will then be sorted by their TOTAL points. You'll get the idea. Where no score is available (e.g. no rank or no poll rating) ratings will be used.
If any new games are added to the list I will score them relative to the other games on the list and sort them on that basis.

Other lists in this series:
The Best Co-operative Games
The Best Alternatives to "Risk"
The Best Party Games
The Best Dexterity Games (or 48 dexterity games that are better than Jenga)

And my full reference geeklist for choosing games:
The Which Game to Play/Buy Metalist
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Popular Tags: sci-fi [+] space [+] List [+] Starship [+] toplists [+] SYFY [+] [View All]
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26. Board Game: Space Dealer [Average Rating:6.60 Overall Rank:1131]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4, more than 4 players

Total Plays: 1678

Poll rating average 0.1
Median: Okay
Love it!: 8.6%

IngredientX: "Every time I play this game, I have a ridiculous amount of fun. I love the way it forces you to think in multiple threads: I'll use Hourglass A to make goods in my mine, and I'll use Hourglass B to improve my tech. Now I'll use Hourglass A to move my ship, and I'll use Hourglass B to research a new card. Now I'll draw a card with the new tech level I have... and on and on."

Rating Pts: 68 Rank Pts: 20 Plays Pts: 11 Poll Pts: 23 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 122
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27. Board Game: Warhammer 40,000 (fifth edition) [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:1257]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players

Total Plays: 143

Poll rating average -0.4
Median: Okay
Love it!: 15.0%

TMJJS: "Got started in 4th Edition and started to lose interest during the summer of 2007. Now a year later, they release 5th Edition and I'm excited about the game again. Got the rulebook at a midnight release party with my son and now I'm wanting to play as much as possible. It has also piped my interest in buying models again.
Combine the new rules with Cities of Death and Apocolpyse and you can have a lot of fun!"

Rating Pts: 9 Rank Pts: 44 Plays Pts: 40 Poll Pts: 30 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 123
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28. Board Game: Mission: Red Planet [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:513]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 2069

No poll rating

denverarch: "Suprisingly excellent for the amount of decisions versus time of play. A Victorian Citadels, with strategic decisions, precision timing decisions, and the perfect amount of "fate" beyond your control, although a refined player will beign to understand his opponents choices.even good with 2, and fast like 30 minutes or so. Excellent game.
Finally a 10. Just so much going on, so strategic, so interactive, and so FUN!
Still so friggin good!"

Rating Pts: 48 Rank Pts: 16 Plays Pts: 8 Poll Pts: 56 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 128
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29. Board Game: Star Wars Miniatures [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:1078]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, more than 2 players

Total Plays: 1644

Poll rating average 0.0
Median: Okay
Love it!: 8.3%

feeweasel: "I should take away a point or two for the game costing a small furtune. I knew that going in but it still hurts. I know I don't have to have all of the figs to play but I can't help myself.
My son and I love this game. For the most part it replaced Epic Duels as our Star Wars mainstay. The minis are cool, the rules are slick and the game is quick and easy with tons of Star Wars theme.
A must have for anyone looking for a great minis game that is fun and the theme is familiar to almost everyone on the planet."

Rating Pts: 63 Rank Pts: 27 Plays Pts: 12 Poll Pts: 26 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 128
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30. Board Game: Attack Vector: Tactical [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:2999]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Total Plays: 267

No poll rating.

Umpire: "Being a sci-fi fanatic myself, this game is awesome. I relate it to being in the captain's chair during a star trek episode. Fantastic. The rule book is also a great read. It is interesting to see how Ken and his team integrated real science for this game."

tedfay: "Outstanding, very cleverly designed game. Full newtonian mechanics govern starship combat, though the math is buried so that you can just play without too much effort once you learn the game. Highly recommended, especially to anyone with a science background - the design is to be admired!"

Rating Pts: 16 Rank Pts: 48 Plays Pts: 35 Poll Pts: 33 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 132
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31. Board Game: Planet Steam [Average Rating:7.37 Overall Rank:407]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 84

Poll rating average -0.1
Median: Okay
Love it!: 7.7%

sisteray: "Yup, it is a heavy dry abstract economic game with a pasted on theme. But it is a great game with wonderful a wonderfully represented theme. Czarnè's art is astounding (although I hate the fireman, and of course that is the one image that they use for everything).
If you are interested in production and market games, then this is a great one to look to.
It is a little tough to grasp what how this game is supposed to work from the rules. Most of the overhead is for the market AI system. Once you can get that down then you need to figure out how to play the actual game. All in all it isn't difficult once you get the wheels in motion (although a player aid would have been tremendously helpful).
It is tough to see how to make money in this game, but as goods start getting exhausted creating shortages and synergy bonuses start stacking things really get rolling.
FYI, this works well with four, and even still the player that buys the fourth action (engineer) can really get humped for goods (although, they can potentially clean up on the market easier.) I would never play this with 5, despite the cool power that the character has.
This was as much fun as a dry market game can get. I suspect my rating will go up."

Rating Pts: 15 Rank Pts: 46 Plays Pts: 52 Poll Pts: 27 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 140
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32. Board Game: Homeworlds [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:2192]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 4, 6 players

Total Plays: 366

No Poll rating

jcd2001es: "Homeworlds is an Icehouse game about the epic struggle between good and evil in space. It is an abstract wargame, in which players build ships, trade ships, explore the galaxy, and attack each other. Resource management and positioning in a topologically, rather than geometrically, connected environment are crucial elements of the strategy. The standard multiplayer game involves bluffing and deduction, in the style of Are You A Werewolf?, although a popular variant, called Sinister (in which each player tries to eliminate the player on his or her left), omits this.
Homeworlds is a redeveloped version of IceTraders. Most people consider Homeworlds to be a vast improvement, and prefer this version over its earlier incarnations."

http://icehouse.labsk.net

Rating Pts: 27 Rank Pts: 47 Plays Pts: 30 Poll Pts: 39 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 143
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33. Board Game: Assault on Hoth: The Empire Strikes Back [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1696]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 1, 2 players

Total Plays: 93

No poll rating

darthbobo: "Still a fun game, quick to learn - I'm still introducing it to players 16 years later. Great beer game, especially with a Star Wars soundtrack in the background. One of the best-balanced games I've played."

Rating Pts: 38 Rank Pts: 36 Plays Pts: 46 Poll Pts: 49 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 169
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34. Board Game: Starmada: The Admiralty Edition [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:3582]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Rating Pts: 8 Rank Pts: 73 Plays Pts: 48 Poll Pts: 42 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 171
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35. Board Game: BattleTech [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:657]
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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I went through this GeekList twice to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me.

One of the best sci-fi games ever. The open-ended play lent itself to campaign games, which I personally enjoyed thoughout most of the 90's.

I'm not sure what the collectibles game did to this universe and game setting. But I can probably still remember most of the damage chart results to this day.
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36. Board Game: Ogre [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:677]
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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Another classic sci-fi wargame. The single behemoth vs. the army of expendables. It's follow-up game, G.E.V. fleshed out the universe with more combat units and terrain rules. However, the man-to-man game, Battlesuit didn't find an audience.
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37. Board Game: Silent Death [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:1837]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet) (max 8)

Total Plays: 90

No poll rating

Unlucky Number: "Easy to learn rules but with some nice depth. In particular, some really clever thinking went into the streamlining of the combat rules, giving some impressively detailed combat results with a minimum of dice rolls. Plays fast, but you can add on as many of their offered optional rules as you wish to complicate things up nicely.
Probably one of THE best starfighter combat games out there. For me, it's always felt very "Star Warsy" in its 2-D presentation of starfighters streaking around at full throttle with weapons blazing and with pilots desperately wrenching at their controls in a vain attempt to twist out of the way of that incoming flight of torpedoes.
And where it differs from Star Wars in its importance placed on torpedoes and missiles, it makes up for it in sheer variety of ships from which to pick. There are so many sourcebooks available for this game full of more and more fighters and even some smaller not-quite-capital sized ships, that it can be hard to keep track of them all.
Great game. "

Rating Pts: 44 Rank Pts: 34 Plays Pts: 47 Poll Pts: 53 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 178
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38. Board Game: Outpost [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:1045]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, more than 8 players

Total Plays: 292

No poll rating

ColdFinger: "Famous money management game which scales extremely well for different numbers of players. Your first couple of games you may feel there is a "leader runs away with it" situation, but once you're used to the mechanics this should happen less and the game should become very tight.
A little note: Really really DONT count your cards to work out how to pay each amount (without losing money) during an auction. Work out what your maximum bid is and bid up to this point, then work out how to pay (you may need to overpay slightly if yr unlucky). In games where players don't do this it can get deadly slow..."

Rating Pts: 53 Rank Pts: 35 Plays Pts: 34 Poll Pts: 60 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 182
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39. Board Game: Silent Death: The Next Millennium Deluxe Edition [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:2438]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 25

No poll rating.

jveackle: "One of my favorite space dogfighting games. The damage track is what attracted me to this game. The sensation of trying to hold my battered starfighter together while trying to maneuver into a good firing position puts me right into the middle of the action like any good sci-fi space movie would. Playing time depends on number of ships involved. Rules range from simple to more time-consuming if the optional advanced rules and gear are used. "

Rating Pts: 7 Rank Pts: 68 Plays Pts: 77 Poll Pts: 32 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 184
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40. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles: Captain's Edition Basic Set [Average Rating:7.31 Overall Rank:1565]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 72

No poll rating

XanderF: "My personal favorite game of all time. Most of the basics have been covered in other reviews or articles, so my comments I'll limit to opinion. The *reason* I like the game so much is both in how perfectly balanced it is, and how well thought out the universe is. No plot holes in the history of the SFU (*cough*like franchise Trek*cough*), no technobabble explanations for things or 'technology of the week' devices that only show up once. The technology balance of the races is perfectly level, and the assigned "point value" of the ships allowing pick-up games is accurate (IE., matched fleets of similar ships equal in point value WILL be a balanced game). The game is internally consistent, balanced, and FUN. Most impressively, the game doesn't feel "gimmicky" - the technology present works in a logical way consistent with the universe. Transporters, for example. No evil clones or curing diseases or restoring aging or any such nonsense. These are warships, the transporters can beam over troops to enemy ships to try and take them over, or for hit-and-run raids with explosives to take out key systems. They can beam "mines" into space, and can be used for moving cargo."

Rating Pts: 32 Rank Pts: 55 Plays Pts: 56 Poll Pts: 43 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 186
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41. Board Game: Star Wars: Star Warriors [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:1831]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players

Total Plays: 73

No poll rating

The Jakster: "Not only the best Star Wars game I have ever played, but one of the best games in general! Balanced Gameplay, lots of possibilities and many different optional and advanced rules make this game great and suitable for many tastes."

Rating Pts: 43 Rank Pts: 37 Plays Pts: 55 Poll Pts: 52 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 187
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42. Board Game: Warhammer 40,000 (fourth edition) [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:1833]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players

Total Plays: 1221

No poll rating

Shushnik: "Cleans up the rules some, even though the armies are still unbalanced. The fun is in the killing, not the winning. It's still the best tabletop miniatures wargame ever made."

Rating Pts: 70 Rank Pts: 30 Plays Pts: 17 Poll Pts: 71 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 188
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43. Board Game: Stargrunt II [Average Rating:7.47 Overall Rank:2779]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (No votes yet)

Total Plays: 19

No poll rating.

Blackwind: "This is the best tactical squad level miniature game on the market hands down. It's chartless and has hardly any bookeeping. It has squad based movement, supression, mines, wounded, smoke, morale, troop quality, air operations, artillery, crewed weapons, AFV's, snipers, medics, etc., etc., etc. If it sounds complicated, it's not. It gives stunningly accurate reactions of small units on a modern/future battlefield. I can's priase this game enough. It uses different die types to simulate troop quality that directly impacts the effectiveness of the troops. This is squad vs. squad combat, you don't get bogged down rolling tons of dice for each model. It's also an opposed die roll system, where players take turns moving squads so there is never any down time. It rewards using real life fire and move tactics. It's totally generic rules system, so take your favorite minis and background and plug and play. There is a line of excellent miniatures they produce, but they are by no means nessacary to play the game. I'd rate this one higher if I could. It beats the pants off of anything similar on the market. "

Rating Pts: 19 Rank Pts: 50 Plays Pts: 84 Poll Pts: 35 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 188
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44. Board Game: Battlefleet Gothic [Average Rating:6.86 Overall Rank:1382]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players

Total Plays: 172

No poll rating

Brass Jester: "Excellent starship combat game, rather than the zoom-whoosh of Starwars etc, this simulates huge ships (we are talking tens of kilometers long here) ponderously fighting battles using WW1 dreadnought tactics. Excellent feel to the game and superb miniatures that are a joy to look at."

Rating Pts: 56 Rank Pts: 32 Plays Pts: 39 Poll Pts: 62 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 189
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45. Board Game: Hard Vacuum [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:3675]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 22

No poll rating.

dergrossest: "This is a fun space combat game with a very creative alternate-history setting. The rules are well done, the game plays relatively quickly and it is easy to create your own scenarios and campaigns. The balance between power and weapons, and between inertia and manuverability will keep you on your toes. Even better, the different countries field unique ships with distinct characteristics. While the counters are very nice and plentiful, I only wish that it came in a box with more substantial components."

agentzen: "WWII Nazis in Space. The best alternate timeline setting ever, and a great game of momentum-based minitaure combat."

Rating Pts: 21 Rank Pts: 53 Plays Pts: 80 Poll Pts: 36 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 190
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46. Board Game: Twilight Imperium (second edition) [Average Rating:6.95 Overall Rank:1706]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 55

No poll rating

jedik77: "If you like SF, especially Star Wars movies or computer games like Master of Orion and Galactic Civilizations, you will love Twilight Imperium 2. It has everything: politics, backstabbing, sneak attacks, battles, trade, technology and atmosphere... Great! The only minor minuses (for some!) are lots of counting (it can be solved by making charts for manual book-keeping) and long playing time, which is not so big issue when players have experience. TI3? Well, it seems more polished, but I really can't comment it's different and more complex mechanics because I didn't play it."

Rating Pts: 37 Rank Pts: 41 Plays Pts: 65 Poll Pts: 48 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 191
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47. Board Game: Duck Dealer [Average Rating:6.40 Overall Rank:2516]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 106

Poll rating average 0.9
Median: Great
Love it!: 57.1%

mi_de: "So far, really impressed. This is a streamlined and simplified Merchant of Venus with a set 24 turns, and some nice twists. Compact ruleset, LOTS of thinking to do. Really not for the analysis-paralysis prone. Plays great with two. The changeable setup alters strategy each game. A lot of depth for only five pages of rules! Another hit by Splotter."

Rating Pts: 79 Rank Pts: 64 Plays Pts: 42 Poll Pts: 7 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 192
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48. Board Game: Supernova [Average Rating:6.14 Overall Rank:3415]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 102

Poll rating average 0.3
Median: Okay
Love it!: 18.8%

Alexfudge: "Played prototype. Even with a few rules we got wrong this game is quality through and through. The Supernova mechanic is a ton of fun and add a small elemnent of screwage (just the right amount). Lots of different strategies to employ and I don't see myself getting bored of this game anytime soon. (granted will have to wait for publication) Good amount of conflict. Various cards in the game add a lot of spice to Supernova. With a few rules clarifications (promised by designer) this game will be a classic with our group. Everyone who played it regretted having to part with the prototype."

Rating Pts: 62 Rank Pts: 71 Plays Pts: 43 Poll Pts: 16 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 192
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49. Board Game: Lunar Rails [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1771]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 3, 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 330

No poll rating

ellephai: "I love the crayon rails in general, and this one is no exception. When we saw the cratered and mountainous terrain of the moon, I thought this board would be horribly tight, but it's not, probably because there are so many cities so close together. The moon definitely puts an enjoyable new twist on things, though I am still learning to think in the right three-dimensional way. We're thinking of trying a combo variant--for instance, start with conventional Russian Rails, and when you have sufficient millions, go to the Cosmodrome, build a spaceship, and blast off to the moon and play Lunar Rails."

Rating Pts: 59 Rank Pts: 39 Plays Pts: 32 Poll Pts: 63 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 193
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50. Board Game: Twilight Imperium [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:1669]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 124

No Poll Rating

morpheous: "What a fantastic game ! One of the most played games in my gaming group... just complex enough for the adults, yet easy enough for the older teens. A good balace between the different races... the expansions are a must have to make this game really rock. I wouldn't buy the new TI3, its slower and has more flaws...the pieces are nice, but I like the counters better."

Rating Pts: 65 Rank Pts: 29 Plays Pts: 41 Poll Pts: 67 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 202
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