Ok, so I am trying to find the perfect space exploration game. I would prefer to use different mechanisms...but not a card game. So, auction, worker placement, area control, battle, dice, are all mechanics that are enjoyable. I would prefer to play a game with a great rulebook (don't we all) but would like something challenging. Planet searching or exploration would be great maybe an alien or two....perhaps mining and economic theme would even be more perfect.
Games I haver researched that may seem very interesting: Alien Frontiers (available?), Space Empires 4X (available?), High Frontier (if the rule book was better) Space Alert
Games that seem ok but somehow....well you know, I don't know Battlestar Galactica- bluffing? hmmm Race for the Galaxy- card game...not my favorite mechanic Ascending Empires- no clue, have to look at the reviews
So, with all that being said, maybe someone can point me in the right direction. A Perfect Space Game.... "these are the voyages of the intrepid gamer"..... searching, searching
Also..to note: I sponsor middle school game club and would prefer to have a game that would play 2-4 or 2-6 players
All indications are that Eclipse is the pinnacle of sci-fi 4x board-gaming at last. [I haven't played yet to say whether these indications are confirmed personally or not, but it has one of the highest early ratings I've ever seen.]
I think you are asking for something that doesn't exist. I doubt you could get a clear consensus on what the perfect space exploration game is from this site (or any really). And even if you did, I doubt a game considered to be the best by a group of hobbyest boardgamers would be accessible to middle schoolers.
My choice would be Alien Frontiers, Race for the Galaxy or Eminent Domain as they are my favorite space games.
Last edited Wed Nov 2, 2011 8:41 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
Ascending Empires is great with just about any group and any skill level. I've played it with people ranging in age from 10-64 and everyone has enjoyed it. It's a strategy game first and foremost with a flicking/dexterity element. Turns last no more than 10 seconds per person (once everyone understands what they can do). This ensures near constant player involvement. It's also just fun to flick discs and to have others hoot and cheer (or grimmace and groan) for particularly fantastic shots. The board does have some problems, but never enough to take away from the game. I would highly recommend this game for just about anyone. Play time is between 1-2 hours.
Eclipse is fantastic. It's a heavier game than Ascending Empires, and it supports from 2-6 players (instead of AE's 2-4). Our 4 player games have lasted between 2-3 hours. There's quite a bit going on in this game, but it all makes sense. Just about everything you could want in an epic Space Exploration game is here in some form or another. Right now if I had to name a game of the year, this is it.
Space Empires 4X is a good game. However, my experience is that it is much longer and much heavier than the previous two games. For a middle school group I would suggest you look elsewhere. There are a lot of little chits on the board at any given time, and bumping the table can ruin a game. If players are focusing on defense over attacking, this game can easily take over 4 or 5 hours.
Eminent Domain is a pretty solid card game with some Puerto Rico style role selection and following elements. Games last under an hour and it supports four. While it's a good game, I never quite get the feeling that I'm exploring space. The story that a tableau can tell at the end of a good Race for the Galaxy game is missing here. It's fun, but I don't think it's quite what you are looking for.
Space Alert is hilarious. This is one of my favorite games of all time. It's not a game to take too seriously and honestly half the fun of this one is failing in spectacular and unexpected ways. If your group hasn't played a coop game or even if they have and decided they hate them, you have to try this game at some point, there's a good chance it will change your mind. I'd suggest taking a look at this review if you're at all interested in this game:
So in summary, I'd say go for Ascending Empires, Space Alert or Eclipse. I really don't think you'd go wrong with any of them. Ascending Empires would be kind of cool, given the other games you've played since it introduces a dexterity element that's missing from the other games your group is playing. Space Alert is tons of fun and just funny. Great game to play in a group and a great way to kill an afternoon. Eclipse would be cool because anyone familiar with the games you list would feel at home with Eclipse pretty quickly. Also it's just a really really really solid and fun game.