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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76. Board Game: Freedom in the Galaxy [Average Rating:6.69 Overall Rank:2955]
Xavier Salvador

Badalona
Catalonia
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simply4est has already pointed it out.

What an outstanding experience for 2!
(or more, up to six, if you give each of to four initial rebels grups to different players and you give the imperial characters and the imperial troops to different players).

The only drawback is you need time to assimilate the rulebook and quite a long time to play a complete campaign (unless you are a weak rebel player and you make you best to stumble upon imperial patrols... not that I have misself done it, no at all[/size[size=7]]... it was a friend of mine who did it... really... not me) blush
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77. Board Game: Star Trek: The Adventure Game [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:3926]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 38

No poll rating

Blondiewan: "I've gotten to play this just a couple times, years ago. I look forward to playing it again, though I fear the paragraph-based adventure portion of the game may not withstand frequent play, since one will likely re-encounter the same adventures and remember the possible outcomes. One's familiarity with the original series is also a huge factor, as the adventures are drawn directly from episode plotlines. The gameplay is quite enjoyable, though, employing a mix of mechanics, and the game may be one of the strongest Trek games ever at capturing the feel of the series."

zebulon1: "Played it with my wife. Nowhere near as good as sex, but it was Star Trek."

Rating Pts: 72 Rank Pts: 59 Plays Pts: 71 Poll Pts: 73 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 275
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78. Board Game: Star Smuggler [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:9024]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 10

FREE Print n Play

No poll rating

DoctorW: "A very satisfying solitaire game with more than a touch of the RPGs that were so popular when it was published. Smart components (if a bit on the primitive side when compared to today's more lavish productions) and a straight forward game system make the design a success. Replayability is certainly a plus."

Rating Pts: 78 Rank Pts: 79 Plays Pts: 90 Poll Pts: 79 PnP Bonus: -50
TOTAL: 276
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79. Board Game: Liftoff! [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:5237]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 1, 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 29

No poll rating

ClosetOtaku: "Closer to a simulation than a game. Nevertheless, having grown up fascinated with the space program, I find Liftoff! to be challenging and engaging. I especially enjoyed the solitaire game. Agreed, it's a dicefest, and certainly not everyone's cup of tea. But this far exceeds any other space game on the market in terms of realism, and faithfully reproduces the tension of the early years of the Cold War."

Rating Pts: 71 Rank Pts: 63 Plays Pts: 74 Poll Pts: 72 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 280
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80. Board Game: Firestorm [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:10462]
Davido
United States
California
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plays 2-6
best with 2
total plays 21

One of the few CCG/TCGs that is set in a *non-licensed* sci-fi/space opera mileu. There is a LOT that you can do in this game, fly/pilot spaceships, engage in Hero/Hero ground combat, spy, assassinate, sabotage, gain technology, crush opponents. While defunct for now, this is a very rich, detailed game system.
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81. Board Game: Star Trek: Starship Tactical Combat Simulator [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:3837]
myles
United States
Mustang
Oklahoma
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Used to enjoy this one as a fast and playable alternative to SFB. Wish I'd never sold it.
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82. Board Game: Star Viking [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:8470]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 7

FREE Print n Play

No poll rating

M St: "Like all other Dwarfstar games I've played, a sophisticated game in a very small package. After a few plays, am inclined to believe that the Fed player indeed has a tough time to win but it will only become evident in the latter half of the game. Playing the three-player scenario should solve this; it would be great if that could be played without doubling the size of the game (halving the Fed player's victory point cost?). The combat system could go a bit faster but it has a decent semi-tactical feel to it. Fun game, will play again readily."

Rating Pts: 84 Rank Pts: 80 Plays Pts: 93 Poll Pts: 84 PnP Bonus: -50
TOTAL: 291
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83. Board Game: Galactic Destiny [Average Rating:6.17 Overall Rank:9341]
Tom Rybak
United States
Denton
Texas
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Famous for it's horrendous artwork this game has seen much play in our gaming group and still gets talk for its famous (and infamous) sessions. It's a politically heavy space opera where the Galactic Empire's political factions send their Senator lackies to do their bidding (and dirty work). The fun begins when the inevitable increase in dark doings brings in the non-player evil faction that can steal the game from the infighting players.

Highlights of our games are the bribes payed to be elected to office. The mad dash for the Rebellion card (only one rebel at a time, please). And the infamous point where a master assassin was sent to trial on trumped up charges and assassinated the Minister of Justice in a mad fit of revenge even before the verdict was deteremined (guilty! of course).

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84. Board Game: Starfight [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:9728]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 56

Cheap: $2.50

No poll rating

zyph: "This game is easy to play but has lots of strategy & tactics. A fleet game can be done under an hour. A battle against the Borg is one of the expansions. Assimulations included! The price is right, $2.50 for the basic game and $1.50 for most expansions. Hard to go wrong there, unless you don't own a printer. If you want a Star Trek fleet battle and still have a life, this is the game to get. Hint: go to the dollar store and buy lots of d6's. The Borg needs 21! Micro-machines and other Star Trek minis work well."

Rating Pts: 77 Rank Pts: 100 Plays Pts: 64 Poll Pts: 78 PnP Bonus: -25
TOTAL: 294
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85. Board Game: Omega Centauri [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:4300]
 
Nigel Buckle
United Kingdom
Thornton Heath
Croydon
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Hugely biased of course!

I think this game is a fit - a x4 type game as a boardgame, but playable in 1-2 hours.

Not actually available to buy yet, but it looks like JKLM will actually print it soon.
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86. Board Game: Vanished Planet [Average Rating:5.86 Overall Rank:6970]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 342

No poll rating

oneoldgamer: "Having played this and Knizia's cooperative LOTR, I prefer Vanished Planet. With LOTR I sometimes feel like the system is playing me. Vanished Planet's system seems more transparent--I spend less time trying to remember rules and more time figuring out what to do. The relentless growth of the creature provides a great "ticking clock" adding urgency to the proceedings. It is a great combination of simple rules and involving strategy. It worked as well with my 7 year old son and I as with my adult gaming friends. This is not just my favorite cooperative game, it's one of my favorite game's period."

Rating Pts: 96 Rank Pts: 72 Plays Pts: 31 Poll Pts: 96 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 295
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87. Board Game: Babylon 5 Wars [Average Rating:6.52 Overall Rank:5815]
Roberto Silva
Italy
CARPI (MO)
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We BABYLON 5 fans don't want let the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" guys forget us! devil

This is really a great game ... one of the best space combat games for sure; medium complexity and all races have their peculiarities well defined ... long live to the Vorlons! arrrh

Roberto
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88. Board Game: Voyage of the B.S.M. Pandora [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:4357]
Jack Stalica
Canada
Ottawa
Ontario
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You are ALL sadly mistaken...

THIS IS THE BEST SCI-FI GAME OF ALL TIME!!(...and it's solitaire!)

Butterfield's genius shines through so brightly in it. I also had the pleasure of meeting him at WBC. A class act and true gentleman.

Get your hands on a copy any way you can; play it; and you'll see what I'm talking about...

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89. Board Game: Iron Stars [Average Rating:6.46 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 1

No poll rating

Reprint: "Nice concept. Not too rules heavy.
Simple movment, buckets of dice shooting, ship construction rules, nice assortment of weapons."

Rating Pts: 50 Rank Pts: 98 Plays Pts: 102 Poll Pts: 58 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 308
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90. Board Game: Stellar Conquest [Average Rating:6.41 Overall Rank:3814]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 4 players

Total Plays: 54

jbcarr83: "I played the Metagaming version of this game far too many times to count. It was our favorite game from the time it came out until we graduated from HS and left town in 1979. I think the game still holds up well.
The tech tree is well-designed and absolutely crucial to the course of the game. This is a great explore, expand, research, and conquer game.
I also enjoy Twilight Imperium v2. I don't know that I can say that one is superior to the other. They play differently.
As has been noted this is the game that inspired the computer games"

Rating Pts: 92 Rank Pts: 58 Plays Pts: 67 Poll Pts: 92 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 309
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91. Board Game: Skräll [Average Rating:5.68 Overall Rank:15930]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 88

No poll rating

dpanec: "Holy Moly!! What a great game! I have 3 boys, ages 17, 10, and 8, and we had a blast. My youngest can understand the rules and my oldest (who loves complicated boardgames) really enjoyed the diversity of play. I read the reviews before I bought the game. Now that I've played the game, I think some of the reviewers must have been playing a different game. I've played boardgames for 30 years, and this is now one of my favorites."

Rating Pts: 88 Rank Pts: 89 Plays Pts: 48 Poll Pts: 88 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 313
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92. Board Game: Triplanetary [Average Rating:6.99 Overall Rank:5434]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 3

No poll rating

theaney: "Sigh, why hasn't this ever been republished? A old favorite of mine in which one could have equal fun racing around the solar system, opening interplanetary shipping lanes, or battling pirates. The movement rules covering fuel, energy, inertia, and gravity are a wonder to behold."

Rating Pts: 75 Rank Pts: 70 Plays Pts: 100 Poll Pts: 76 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 321
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93. Board Game: Venus Needs Men [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:10676]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 71

No poll rating

SkipM624: "Fun, 'alien invasion' themed game with minimal complexity but enough going on to keep it entertaining throughout an hour and half (+ or -)of playing time. It takes more than one play as each planet (Mars, Venus, Ganymede, Pluto, Titan or Earth itself) to appreciate each of their offensive and defensive peculiarities. Happened to play the 'role' of Ganymede 2 or 3 times in a row and was convinced that it was the most powerful planet, until I'd played as Mars a few times and figured out how to make best use of its capabilities. Strengths and weaknesses of each planet (player) are supplemented by randomly drawn and limited "Zap" cards which enhance one's own abilities and throw monkey wrenches into the plans of opponents. Enough decision making at each turn to make it interesting without any serious brain-drain issues."

Rating Pts: 91 Rank Pts: 82 Plays Pts: 57 Poll Pts: 91 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 321
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94. Board Game: Amazing Space Venture [Average Rating:5.77 Overall Rank:13628]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 57

No poll rating

batmatt72: "I had the opportunity to play the game with its creator at my local store, All Things Fun!. Nice guy. Great game. I had a lot of fun playing this. Yes it does play similar to Carc. but what sets this apart is the "screw" factor. It made the game very funny & enjoyable. It added a nice element of Ameritrash to a Euro classic. I finally picked this up."

Rating Pts: 87 Rank Pts: 84 Plays Pts: 63 Poll Pts: 87 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 321
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95. Board Game: Sucking Vacuum [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:14016]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 216

No Poll Rating.

mikellis: "Awesome game. We've played this game a number of times in my gaming group and each time the outcome has been decided in the last few turns. Gameplay is quick and the social aspects of the game are the high point for my group.
The graphic design of the game, however, moves beyond anything you've ever seen in this type of game. The map design is gorgeous with hundreds of little details scattered throughout. Each time we play it seems like somebody is noticing something new, and new players spend as much time searching through the map for hidden easter eggs as they do taking their turns.
This is certainly one of the best new games of 2004 and is a refreshing break from the German invasion."

Rating Pts: 99 Rank Pts: 86 Plays Pts: 38 Poll Pts: 99 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 322
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96. Board Game: Big Game Hunters of the Universe [Average Rating:6.38 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 8

No poll rating

Cheap: $5 download

FNH1: "This is an auction game with a sci fi theme. Winning is a balance between gaining money and collecting aliens. Fun, short, good lunchtime game."

Rating Pts: 89 Rank Pts: 102 Plays Pts: 92 Poll Pts: 89 PnP Bonus: -25
TOTAL: 347
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97. Board Game: The Succession Wars [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:6624]
J.L. Robert
United States
Sherman Oaks
California
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A very challenging 5-player wargame set in the Battltech universe. Waging war is easy, except when there are 3 other players eager to jump on the remnants of your empire. Diplomacy plays an important part in this game as much as building the right troops and mechs.
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98. Board Game: WarpWar [Average Rating:6.30 Overall Rank:6060]
Davido
United States
California
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an early Metagaming microgame-plays quick, and the diceless combat (a matrix of ship speeds) was cool. like Car Wars, it was fun to design specialty ships (my fave was the interplanetary shield-all shield, 1 movement, towed by a carrier (all speed, no defense or offense), dropped on a planet, forcing the opponent to RETREAT off of his OWN planet good times.
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99. Board Game: Vector 3 [Average Rating:5.20 Overall Rank:15914]
Miklos Lipcsey
Australia
Victoria
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This game is now free. The original designer has updated the rules and it plays a little easier, lessening the impact of the 3D Newtonian motion mechanics. Once you get use to that, it becomes a fun and intriguing game - especially when mines and torpedoes are deployed.
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Hunga Dunga
Canada
Oakville
Ontario
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An oldie, but a goodie - simultaneous movement in 3 dimensions!

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