Top 10 Space Empire Games
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Below is my Top 10 list of games covering the establishing of an empire in space. These are games that meet all of the following criteria: (1) focuses on building an empire in space; (2) strong emphasis on most, if not all, of the 4X elements (i.e, eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate); (3) compelling "theme" (not too abstract); and (4) fun to play. That said this is a list of the BEST! As always, your mileage may vary and some entries may be "controversial." As such, please feel free to comment, debate, or just express your own point of view. Feel free to thumbsup this list (to draw attention and more comments) or any pleasing, interesting or thought provoking entries. If I missed one that you feel is essential or I am "insane for not listing" (trust me, it has been said before), then by all means let the comments fly . . . just be civil. FYI - I am a sucker for comments and discussion and usually thumbsup most if not all of them.

I find that these lists sometimes are helpful for others seeking similar games and the more rich the discussion for more useful the list.

For a complete listing of my Top 10 lists, see--MetaList: Nap's Top 10 Lists.

As always, thanks for reading and participating!

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1. Board Game: Twilight Imperium: Third Edition [Average Rating:7.83 Overall Rank:80]
Board Game: Twilight Imperium: Third Edition
"This is the best game ever. And I really don't care if I'm the only person on Earth who thinks so. It goes without saying that if you didn't like the first 2 editions you won't like this one. Me? I loved 2nd edition, and love this one even more. If it were a woman I'd make sweet sweet love to it down by the fire."

--Paul Ollenberger (Wyrenn)
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2. Board Game: Eclipse [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:52]
Board Game: Eclipse
"Surprisingly fast. Very engaging and streamlined. The first 4X game that I played where taking control of a new sector implies careful planning as it may have important consequences on your entire empire if not done right.

Overall, great components, great theme implementation, smart mechanics and a decent play time.

The only minor issues I have with it is that even though it plays fast, standard setup takes a while and the space required is considerable.

Despite that, as people are not always willing to invest 8 hours in the TI3 monster of epicness, Eclipse is the best alternative if enough table space is available."

--Adrian Pop (Tretiak)


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3. Board Game: Space Empires: 4X [Average Rating:7.69 Overall Rank:495] [Average Rating:7.69 Unranked]
Board Game: Space Empires: 4X
"This game quickly earned a spot in my top 10, and I also think it'll stay in there for a bit. What I really like about it:

* The concise rules
* The hidden unit deployment and fog of war mechanics
* The neat tech tree
* The dangers of deep space
* The feeling of rapid colonization at the start that seamlessly transitions to open warfare

Quite awesome."

--Guido Gloor (haslo)
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4. Board Game: Race for the Galaxy [Average Rating:7.76 Overall Rank:60]
Board Game: Race for the Galaxy
"Hey, it's 'Space Juan'! (Thanks to Tod for that.)

After one play, this is a slick little game. We're all fans of San Juan, and science fiction, so this one's a natural for my group. I was lucky enough to know ahead of time that this was multiplayer solitaire with minimal "screwpportunity" and was, like it says in the title, a race game. Bring your economic engine online, get it humming & working parasitically off of others' actions, rake in the VPs and end the game on your terms. At least, that's the idea. For me it was more like "guess wrong and waste several turns" and fall behind all red-shifted and small in the rearview scanners.

The integration of theme and design is very good—every card contains a nascent story.

STRATEGY NOTE: Doing nothing but feeding heavy metals to Planet Disco will not get you the win. No matter how cool it seems at the time.

Rating could rise (or decay!) with future plays. We'll see...

UPDATE: More plays, more of the game reveals itself. Wonderfully subtle, and requiring a deft touch—at this point I feel like I'm doing brain surgery with Mickey Mouse hands and usually the patient... dies. Most games that feel like this push you away and keep you from wanting to do the work to figure it out; this one is so captivating, so tip of the tongue, so almost-that-time I find I can't wait to play again. I feel there's a couple of metric tons of game in there, game that won't fully come to light until everyone is comfortable with the cards—much like San Juan (in which, I must admit, I only recently figured out when to pick Prospector—but when I got that it became a whole new game).

And, like Dave says, "Pursuing the military strategy is just fun."

So there's always that."

--Chris Tannhauser (HiveGod)
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5. Board Game: Galactic Emperor [Average Rating:6.61 Overall Rank:2335]
Board Game: Galactic Emperor
"TI3 with less calories . . . If I had never played TI3, then GE would be the best space empire game out there . . . or is that Eclipse . . . or . . . It has a lot to offer: (1) has all the basic elements of TI3, plus some new nuances like the supernova which bans the scientists, surprise attacks/no retreats from the remnant black hole, explorer role turning to warlord, etc.; (2) IMHO feels like a better adaptation of Puerto Rico's role system and economics than TI3; (3) unique use of dice to establish the Market (that feels a bit like Kingsburg); and (4) plays relatively fast for the conqueroring of an entire galaxy, nay the universe. The downside (which has been expressed by more than just me) rests primarily in the last point--it plays relatively fast, maybe too fast. Just when you feel that the game has some teeth and is getting interesting, boom, its over. Also, even though it has the overall look and feel of an epic space game, it is just . . . missing "something" . . ."

--Robert Carroll (Nap16)
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6. Board Game: Core Worlds [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:734]
Board Game: Core Worlds
"A well-scripted narrative arc is something that a lot of my favorite boardgames share, whether it is the nile flood of Amun-Re, the ever-increasing actions of Agricola, the seasons in Rune Wars ... well, I certainly have a lot of favorites. In Core Worlds, you lead an initial fleet of primitive doofuses on their conquests through increasingly sophisticated planet systems, picking up more and more nice stuff that goes kaboom, until you finally reach the core world systems with their impressive defenses and just as impressive rewards.

Although it still a large debt of inspiration to Dominion, this is one of the welcome games that expand and add the basic idea of deckbuilding, instead of just being an inevitably weaker carbon copy. Apart from the structured buildup of cards you can buy or invade, the main innovation is the war zone, where you deploy troops you can later throw at fresh new conquerable planets. Deploying a lot of your cards makes you more predictable, but it allows you to react faster to new targets and has the subtle effect of thinning your deck.

This is only one of the strategic routes I’d like to explore here, and this interest along with the excellent art and smooth gameplay makes this a game I’ll certainly play again and might even buy."

--Maik H (Maik)
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7. Board Game: Throneworld [Average Rating:6.68 Overall Rank:6868]
Board Game: Throneworld
"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."

--Gregory Wong (saxophone)
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8. Board Game: Stellar Conquest [Average Rating:6.44 Overall Rank:4412]
Board Game: Stellar Conquest
"The best exploration style space game. You don't really know what you will get until you explore the system. You have to balance between ship/colony building and research. The computerized version was known as 'Rearch for the Stars'."

--Andrew Hung (andrewh63)
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9. Board Game: Galaxy's Edge [Average Rating:6.08 Overall Rank:9887]
Board Game: Galaxy's Edge
"Neat space 4x game with novel ideas and an assload of screwage."

--SuperflyCircus Pete (superflypete)


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10. Board Game: Eminent Domain [Average Rating:7.04 Overall Rank:570]
Board Game: Eminent Domain
"This is an absolutely brilliant deck-building game. It manages to incorporate the feel of an expansive 4X-style game while maintaining the simplicity and manageable game length of a card game. It is very refreshing to play a deck-building game with such a refreshing mechanical system. Good stuff!"

--Mike Watne (thegreybetween)
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