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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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51. Board Game: Star Trader [Average Rating:7.06 Overall Rank:2432]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2, 3 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 62

No poll rating

PilotOfficerPrune: "I don't think there's a better economics game out there. The supply and demand system works like a dream, permitting manipulation of markets and all sorts of tricks. There are many, many options, but I like the way the game rewards commodity trading rather than piracy and ship trading. The random event chits can unhinge things a little, but make the whole influence-peddling side work well. I umpired a PBM game of this many years ago and it translates smoothly to play by mail format."

Rating Pts: 40 Rank Pts: 54 Plays Pts: 61 Poll Pts: 50 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 205
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52. Board Game: Frontiers [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:3951]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players

Total Plays: 68

Poll rating average 0.0
Median: Okay
Love it!: 6.2%

Subhuman: "This game really accomplished what it was intended for. It is fast pace, easy, exciting game that gives a miniatures game feel at a very good price.
Slight downside is that the rule book may have been too simplified. Some issues such as special abilities of units really need further explaining."

Rating Pts: 57 Rank Pts: 66 Plays Pts: 59 Poll Pts: 25 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 207
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53. Board Game: Space Junkyard [Average Rating:6.09 Overall Rank:4260]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 47

FREE Print n Play

No poll rating

gwen: "Fun, fast tile placing game. Totally language independent.
You get to build your own space ship, hard to resist for an 9 yo boy !"

Rating Pts: 55 Rank Pts: 73 Plays Pts: 69 Poll Pts: 61 PnP Bonus: -50
TOTAL: 208
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54. Board Game: Star Fleet Battles [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:1219]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, more than 2 players

Total Plays: 702

Chris Marchand: "PRO: *sigh* What can one say about SFB? Most complex, comprehensive & challenging space combat series, ever. Can be off-putting to those wanting a simple "blast em" space combat. BUT: if you use only the basic rules, it's very fun and quick. If you enjoy that, you will want to use the later, more complex rules, weapons and ships.
CON: Record keeping/die rolling at advanced levels can be tiring. It BEGS for proper conversion to computer to deal with the massive recording keeping in advanced games. That will never fully happen due to ST licensing complexities. But the biggest problem can be finding other SFB fanatics to play! SFB can easily become a way of life."

Rating Pts: 76 Rank Pts: 31 Plays Pts: 25 Poll Pts: 77 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 209
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55. Board Game: Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:2814]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with more than 1 players
Recommended with 1, more than 1 players

Total Plays: 70

No poll rating

Nutzoide: "A totally riveting solitaire game with lashings of both theme and depth. Rather daunting for first time player and definitely on the crunchy side, but the excellent variable turn mechanic makes for a lot of excitement and strategy. Add to this the amazingly low price and it has to be a winner.
It's just a shame the rulebook makes the game seem more complicated and hard to follow than it should, because that will put off people who would otherwise really enjoy this. I know I'm very glad I stuck with it."

Rating Pts: 49 Rank Pts: 51 Plays Pts: 58 Poll Pts: 57 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 215
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56. Board Game: Twilight Imperium: Armada [Average Rating:6.82 Overall Rank:4193]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2, 3 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 24

No Poll Rating

GaryP: "I've only played a few games so far, but this looks like it has a lot of potential to keep me entertained for a long time. It uses a simple - if physically unrealistic - way to simulate inertia and programmed moves similar to RoboRally. There is high potential for adapting to campaign play."

Rating Pts: 34 Rank Pts: 60 Plays Pts: 78 Poll Pts: 45 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 217
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57. Board Game: Dirtside II [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:3331]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 15

No Poll Rating

RockyMountainNavy: "Best generic sci-fi ground combat game there is. Can be adapted to any background/storyline you want. Chit pull system was confusing at first then (after a bit of some analysis) the simple beauty of it becomes apparent."

Rating Pts: 33 Rank Pts: 56 Plays Pts: 87 Poll Pts: 44 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 220
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58. Board Game: Starship Command [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:6746]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 9

FREE Print n Play

No Poll Rating

DrFlanagan: "Fun game, and plays especially well with 9 and up kids to force them to do math. Disguised Star Trek universe. Only thing holding me back from a 10 is the random ships to start the game, so your fleet has the equivalent of Feddies plus Romulans plus Klingons. Star Fleet Battle Force steals the system (a mod of Naval War) without attribution, without the math, and without the ability to draw after playing a card even if it is not your turn."

Rating Pts: 36 Rank Pts: 96 Plays Pts: 91 Poll Pts: 47 PnP Bonus: -50
TOTAL: 220
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59. Board Game: Starmada [Average Rating:7.00 Overall Rank:5431]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 27

No Poll Rating

mundungus: "I've played (and designed) quite a few tactical starship combat boardgames, and Starmada is by far my favorite. The core game is extremely simple, but there are lots of optional rules for those wanting more depth. The optional rules are almost entirely independent, so it's easy to pick and choose which weapons/equipment/rules you like. It's also very easy to make up new rules.
This is one of the few starship combat boardgames to provide a really balanced ship design system."

Rating Pts: 31 Rank Pts: 74 Plays Pts: 75 Poll Pts: 42 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 222
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60. Board Game: Star Hopper [Average Rating:4.40 Unranked]
Mark Salzwedel
United States
New York
New York
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Best with 3,4 players
Recommended with 2-6 players

I hope you don't mind me adding this forthcoming game. It's been delayed in publication, so now it won't be out until May. It's geared in mechanics a bit more for kids, but quite a few adults seem to enjoy playing it. All you do is roll a die and move, but there is some strategy to when you roll your die and where you move.

The theme is set in a time when we have faster than light travel, and star systems are being colonized. The first player to colonize four star systems wins the game.

For more images and info: http://strategic-space.com/sh.html
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61. Board Game: Wormhole [Average Rating:6.87 Overall Rank:5911]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, more than 2 players

Total Plays: 26

shadegate: "An excellent looking game. The mechanics are clearly well thought through and the ability to build as many ships as your current army list requires for no extra cash is an excellent feature.
The consoles for orders record keeping are a very good idea and give the feel of 'being on the bridge'
The game is very simple to build as well and is well withing the capability of most people. There are extensive tutorial video's included in the package and available online at the worldworks website."

Rating Pts: 22 Rank Pts: 93 Plays Pts: 76 Poll Pts: 37 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 228
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62. Board Game: Killer Bunnies and the Journey to Jupiter [Average Rating:5.73 Overall Rank:7820]
Kyle W.
United States
Up Nort' Der
Wisconsin
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Here's a brand new one.

The gameplay is very similar to the original Killer Bunnies game, but this adds a whole extra phase at the end of every player's turn where you get to fly your bunnies around in spaceships on a large hex board.

At the end of each round the planets (Earth, Mars, and Jupiter) move to the next positions in their orbits around the Sun, so travelling from one to another requires some careful planning and/or good timing.

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63. Board Game: Starship Troopers Miniatures Game [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:4274]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players

Total Plays: 48

No poll rating

cheeseontoast: "Awesome! However, rules could be a lot better as they are very confusing as explainations for movement/battle are not in one set place. You read one chapter then find out something else in another - all you end up doing is consulting the rules constantly during play. Also, the rules for cover are bizarre as even when some models are hidden they can still be hit - we have moded the rules as this just makes no sense at all.
A decent summary sheet showing dice roles etc could have been included plus a parts list of what components were suplied, and a clearer chart showing assembly. Other than that its is an awesome 'war' game."

Rating Pts: 47 Rank Pts: 65 Plays Pts: 68 Poll Pts: 55 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 235
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64. Board Game: InterSpace [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:5831]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 3

FREE Print n Play

No poll rating

Joeyeti: "I really enjoy this game (though only a solo play took place yet) and looking forward to play with more players!"

FNH1: "A fun discovery and economic game, a very clever technique for allowing players to meet on the table top. Can go quite long"

Rating Pts: 42 Rank Pts: 97 Plays Pts: 99 Poll Pts: 51 PnP Bonus: -50
TOTAL: 239
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65. Board Game: Star Fleet Battle Manual [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:4599]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 4

No Poll Rating

tphinney: "One of my all-time favorites. Quick game-play, unusual mechanics, and high flexibility in number of players add up to a first-rate game. But it seems like people can sometimes get a little uptight about measuring the angle of shots - easy for somebody to cheat, even subconsciously, which is not something you can say about most games."

Rating Pts: 30 Rank Pts: 75 Plays Pts: 96 Poll Pts: 41 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 242
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66. Board Game: Star Wars Miniatures Battles [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:4038]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 16

No poll rating

The DoLittle: "One of the best tabletop miniatures game ever produced. Although I've been leaning toward the Chain Reaction 2.0 game from Two Hour Wargames, I still play and run this game at the local conventions and game stores.
The game is simple enough for beginners with plenty of game material for experienced players, especially if you really want to delve into campaign style games. Background history is no problem because almost everyone knows what Stormtroopers, Wookiees, and Jawas are.
This is a wonderful gaming system and well worth the price if you can find it. Although the license was lost before the new trilogy was released, just a few tweaks with the stats and you can play Republic era games just as easily."

Rating Pts: 46 Rank Pts: 69 Plays Pts: 86 Poll Pts: 54 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 255
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67. Board Game: Perry Rhodan: The Cosmic League [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:910]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players

Total Plays: 249

No poll rating

pdclose: "Wow, what a fun game! It hits a lot of sweet spots: the length and complexity are "just right", with interesting decisions but not a brain burner. Fun theme, and will probably hit the table more than Starship Catan (mostly due to length). Don't be put off by the German-language edition, there are English rules and paste-ups to help, and the card art is so distinctive (and the card summary well done) that you may not even need the paste-ups."

Rating Pts: 69 Rank Pts: 49 Plays Pts: 37 Poll Pts: 70 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 225
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68. Board Game: The Awful Green Things From Outer Space [Average Rating:6.48 Overall Rank:1244]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players

Total Plays: 381

RDReilley: "My all time favorite "beer and pretzels" game; always happy to play (which is not nearly often enough) even after owning it 20+ years. A game I will never get rid of."

Rating Pts: 85 Rank Pts: 38 Plays Pts: 29 Poll Pts: 85 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 237
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69. Board Game: A Call to Arms: Babylon 5 Space Combat [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:3707]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 87

No poll rating

Queex: "The complexity is in the decision-making, not in the rules here. Still feels like a work in progress- with quite a bit of errata on the official website. Plenty of playtest material for new fleets/ships/rules just slung up where anyone can get at them. What it may lack in polish it makes up for with designer dedication to improve it."

Rating Pts: 66 Rank Pts: 57 Plays Pts: 49 Poll Pts: 68 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 240
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70. Board Game: Imperium [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:1806]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2 players

Total Plays: 87

No poll rating

GerryRailBaron: "I have always enjoyed the grand strategic scale of this game, war after war after war. It's a bit pre-determined, in that Terra gets pummeled, but never destroyed. and eventually takes over the board. But it adds so very much to Traveller feel and play. It, Dark Nebula, and Fifth Frontier War add huge strategic level play to GDW's Third Imperium in Traveller."

Rating Pts: 74 Rank Pts: 42 Plays Pts: 50 Poll Pts: 75 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 241
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71. Board Game: Mag·Blast (Third Edition) [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2087]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 1238

No poll rating

zyph: "A blast for lunchtime at work! Three of us average 3-4 games during lunch break. We use the Brutal Barrage rule the entire game. Favorite races: Freep, Recyclons. Least favorite: Cranium. Favorite action card: The Spock card! (Help me, Spock!) Least favorite action card: Ramming Speed.
Good work de-stresser."

Rating Pts: 90 Rank Pts: 45 Plays Pts: 16 Poll Pts: 90 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 241
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72. Board Game: Starfire [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:2837]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, more than 3 players

Total Plays: 55

No poll rating

hundvig: "Ah, the original Starfire. In its heyday, this was probably *the* best mass combat starship boardgame written. These days, it's got a lot of competition (Starmada springs to mind) and the more recent editions seem to have lost sight of the old KISS principle...but the original I'm always up for a game of. Shame hardly anyone around here plays anymore."

Rating Pts: 64 Rank Pts: 52 Plays Pts: 66 Poll Pts: 66 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 248
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73. Board Game: Free Trader [Average Rating:6.32 Overall Rank:4102]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 1 players
Recommended with 1 players

Total Plays: 75

No Poll Rating

FREE Print N Play

ShaunGamer: "Very good game with simple rules but has some depth to the gameplay. The random mechanic allow for a high amount of repeatability without sacrificing it all to luck. I find myself continuing to play this even though I have won it a couple of times now. The game does create tension especially towards the end"

Rating Pts: 73 Rank Pts: 99 Plays Pts: 54 Poll Pts: 74 PnP Bonus: -50
TOTAL: 250
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74. Board Game: Starship Command II [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.03 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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User suggested # of Players: (no votes yet)

Total Plays: 3

No poll rating

minionhunter: "Excellent expansion, you'll "need" it once you play with it."

Rating Pts: 23 Rank Pts: 94 Plays Pts: 98 Poll Pts: 38 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 253
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75. Board Game: Throneworld [Average Rating:6.75 Overall Rank:3419]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 10

No poll rating

saxophone: "I really like this game. I know that it has been compared with Twilight Imperium as being more of a wargame, but that's probably what I like about it. The only drawbacks are that the game is long, and I can't seem to find enough enough opponents to play. It is also the game I wished Stellar Conquest was."

Rating Pts: 52 Rank Pts: 61 Plays Pts: 89 Poll Pts: 59 PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 261
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