[Top 13] Best Sci-fi Board Games Loved By Millions Worldwide

Best Sci-fi Board Games
Reach for the Stars

 

Board games that every Sci Fi Nerd will Love.

I have always been a huge sci fi fan. Since I was a kid, it has been my favorite genre. Naturally sci fi board games would be a big hit for me. So, here are my top 13 sci fi board games I want to share with you.

13. Android

Android is a cyberpunk-themed game published by Fantasy Flight Games. Set between the city of New Angeles and a colony on the moon named Heinlein. Android has you playing an investigator. Your goal is to solve a murder and uncover malevolent conspiracies.

You have the choice of five different characters to play. You don't have a lot of time to conduct your investigation, so get out there and start snooping. The game only lasts for twelve days (rounds).

The goal of the game is to be the player with the most victory points at the end of the 12 rounds. Earn victory points when you:

  • Solve conspiracy puzzles
  • Work out the murder
  • Resolve plot cards.

Publisher – Fantasy Flight Games
3-5 Players
180 Minutes
Age 13+

12. Specter Ops

Specter Ops is a stealth game published by Plaid Hat Games. The game will take two to five players about one or two hours to play. One player controls the stealthy A.R.K. agent. Everyone else plays genetically modified Raxxon hunters that are trying to track the A.R.K. agent.

The goal of the game is different depending on the side you choose.

  • As the stealthy A.R.K. agent, collect three mission objectives in the Raxxon facility. After you have them in your possession you have to escape with your life.
  • As a lone A.R.K agent, you get to move in secret. Making note of the agent’s location on the board using a separate smaller version of the board. You only reveal your location if you pass through a hunter’s line of sight. Don't forget that Raxxon hunters can also use a special ability to reveal your location.

Playing as a Raxxon hunter, you need to prevent the A.R.K. agent from gaining their mission objectives. Stop your opponent by exposing and killing them. Whenever you have the agent in your line of sight, you can attempt to damage them. If you kill the agent, congratulations, you have been successful in your mission to keep the facility safe. But you have to find them to succeed. Don’t forget that the A.R.K. agent also has special abilities that will make them a troublesome opponent.

Publisher – Plaid Hat Games
2-5 Players
60-120 Minutes
Age 13+

11. Space empires 4x

Space empires 4x is a space exploration and combat game This game is easy to pick up and moves quickly. The board is a hex map. You start at your homeworld and explore the galaxy. You are trying to gather supplies and colonize new worlds.

Watch out. Your opponents are also looking for supplies and colonies. They may even take them from you. If you colonize an opponent’s homeworld you can knock them out of the game.

There are two types of turns in Space Empires 4x. Regular turns and economic phases. The sequence of play is three regular turns and then on the economic phase.

Regular turns

  • move
  • combat
  • explore

Economic phases

Buy units and technology

Exploring can be dangerous. Other than your opponents, you need to watch out for hazards in space. There is a variety of things to find in space. Some hurt you, some help you. Keep an eye out for black holes, they can destroy your ship in a heartbeat.

Space Empire 4x isn’t as pretty as some other games on this list. There are no cool plastic figures, only cardboard chits to represent your ships. But this game is fun to play.

Publisher – GMT Games
1-4 players
180 minutes
Age 12+

10. Xcom: The Board Game

Xcom is a coop Sci-Fi game where an extraterrestrial combat unit has to save the world from an alien invasion. Each player in the game has a role. Each role in the game plays like a mini-game within the game. All the roles are working together towards the same goal.

Xcom requires an app to play the game. One player handles control of the app.

  • The player controlling the app presses the start button to get the first time phase going. Their responsibility is to relay information to the rest of the players. Complete tasks that the app designates to the team. Once these tasks are complete, the player controlling the app marks them as finished. Each task only has a finite amount of time.
  • The app keeps track of where and when UFOs spawn on the board. It keeps track of the time left to complete a task. The app keeps track of everything that happens in the game so players don’t have to. This helps to make the game easier to pick up and allows for smooth gameplay. If you had to keep track of everything the app does, the game would bog down and become complex and tedious.

There are four roles that players can step into when battling the alien invaders.

  • Commander – You balance the budget and dispatch planes to continents when UFOs show up.
  • Central Officer – You are in control of the app. You also get to deploy satellites to aid your team in the fight against the invaders.
  • Squad Leader – The squad leader fights aliens and goes on missions. Once completing enough missions, you unlock the final mission. Complete the final mission and win the game.
  • Head Scientist – The easiest job in the game is Head Scientist. At least it is the least stressful. You play using a hand of science cards. Using these cards, you conduct research to build tech that helps the team.

After everyone has taken a turn to do their specified jobs, you will move on to the resolution phase. This is when combat happens between deployed planes and UFOs.

Unfortunately, this game does not come with a paper manual. The app has a tutorial that teaches the game.

Publisher – Fantasy Flight Games

1-4 Players

60-120 Minutes

Age 14+

9. Space Hulk

Space Hulk is a two-player game where you play as a space marine or an alien. You are on board a large ancient ship found drifting towards the space marine’s home territory. Sent to investigate you unknowingly awaken the alien Genestealers.

  • One person plays the Space marines. The other player takes control of the Genestealers.
  • This can be a fast-paced game and tension can be high as the aliens close in on the space marines.
  • The game objectives change from scenario to scenario. Tiles make up the board using the configuration laid out by the scenario played. The game ends when the first player completes their objective and declared the winner.

Turn phases

  • The Space Marine player goes first.
  • Space Marine Command Phase –Earn bonus actions to use during your action phase.
  • Space Marine action phase – You activate your Space Marines taking up to four actions with each marine you have.
  • Space Marine turns are timed adding a bit of tension to their turns. The Genstealers do not have timed turns.
  • Genestealers have an advantage over the Space Marines. The aliens have up to six actions they can take per turn.

Action that Space Marines can take:

  • Move forward – This action costs one action point.
  • Move Backwards – Moving backward cost two action points.
  • Turn 90 degrees – A Space Marine cannot move to the side but they can turn 90 degrees at the cost of one action point.
  • Open door – This action will cost you one action point.
  • Shoot weapons – The cost of shooting a weapon depends on the weapon. You must have a line of sight to the target hit it.
  • Overwatch – Space Marine holds an action to scan the area for threats. If a Genestealer comes into the line of sight, the Space marine gets a free shoot action. This cost one action point.
  • Guard – Prepares for the Space Marine for a close assault. Using the guard action allows you to re-roll dice when a Genestealer uses a close assault action against you. Guard will cost you two action points.
  • Close assault – A melee attack that happens between two players. This can only happen when they are a space away from each other.

Genestealer actions

  • Move forward – Cost one action point.
  • Move backward – Cost two action points.
  • Move blip on to the board – Cost one action point.
  • Genestealers can move sideways for one action point.
  • Genestealers get to turn 90 degrees without having to spend any action points. There are some advantages to being the bad guys.
  • Close assault – Just like the Space Marines action. A melee attack that happens between two players when they are a space away from each other.

Publisher - Games Workshop

2 Players

60 Minutes

Age 12+

8. Human Interface: Nakamura Tower

Human Interface: Nakamura Tower is a miniatures game published by Postindustrial Games. The gameplay is for one to five players taking one to three hours to complete. Human Interface has an interesting feature. Some scenarios can allow for single-player games.

  • You represent one of two factions in the game world. Your team has skills, abilities, and weapons to help them fight towards their goal. You can upgrade characters with different equipment and augmentations. Human Interface uses a modular board made up of interlocking tiles. The board represents the inside of the Nakamura Tower.
  • The object of the game differs from scenario to scenario. New expansions add in new factions and scenarios.

Publisher – Postindustrial Games
2-6 Players
60-180 Minutes
Age 12+

7. Forbidden Stars

Based on the Warhammer 40,000 franchise, Forbidden Stars is a game played between warring factions for control of the galaxy. In the game, you control a mighty faction that is trying to be the first to collect all your objectives. You must explore the galaxy to find your objectives. Build armies and wage wars to crush your enemies before they can complete their objectives.

Factions

  • Ultramarines
  • Eldar of Craftworld
  • Evil Sunz Ork Clan
  • World Eaters Warband

All factions have their own special abilities.

  • The game starts with the board set up using tiles to create the galaxy. Each player takes turns placing system tiles and putting any units they want on that tile. This continues until all players have run out of tiles to place.
  • The game lasts eight rounds or until a player has completed all their objectives. Whichever happens first.
  • Each faction has its own deck of cards for use during battles.

The game progresses in phases.

  • Planning Phase – In this phase, all players take turns placing order tokens on the board. Resolve these tokens in a later phase of the round.
  • Operations Phase – This is where players take turns resolving the orders placed on the board in the previous phase.
  • Refresh Phase – You will score objectives, collect materials to spend on units and upgrades, resolve event cards, place the first player token, and advance the round tracker.

There are a few different orders available to play.

  • Deploy – Spend resources to buy units and build structures.
  • Dominate – Gather assets from worlds you control and use your faction’s special abilities.
  • Strategize – You can upgrade your orders and combat deck. With strategize, you can also draw and resolve event cards.
  • Advance – Move your units and engage in combat.

Publisher – Fantasy Flight Games

2-4 Players

120-180 Minutes

Age 14+

6. Star Wars Rebellion

As you might have guessed you play as either the empire or the rebellion in Star Wars Rebellion. This game has some awesome figures for the ships, vehicles, and characters (including the Death Star) that you are familiar with from the movies.

  • In the game, the rebels have a secret base and the Empire is trying to destroy that base. If the Empire finds and destroys the base they win. If the Rebels can keep the base a secret until they get enough reputation built, then they destroy the Empire.
  • As the Rebels you have objectives. When you complete these objectives, you increase your reputation.
  • Playing as the Empire you get to send out probes to look for the secret rebel base.

Round phases

  • Assignment - Assign leaders to missions.
  • Command - Review a mission card or activate a system.
  • Refresh - Retrieve leaders, draw cards, advance time and reputation markers.

Combat

  • Add a military leader to combat
  • Draw tactic card

Combat steps

  • Space battle
  • Ground battle
  • Retreat
  • Start again

Star Wars Rebellion can be complex to learn but can also be a super fun game once you get into it.

Publisher - Fantasy Flight Games
2-4 players
180-240 minutes
Age 14+

5. First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet

First Martians is a complex sci-fi co-op board game that requires an app to play. You and your team are the first people to land on Mars and you are trying to tame the land.

Complete the goals listed in the scenario you are playing. You must also make sure that the base has not sustained too much damage by the end of the game.

The layout of the board represents the base's computer console. The board shows you all the systems in the base. If a light is green, the system is good. If the light turns red, well, you have a problem.

Player turns

  • The app manages turn order.
  • First is an event.
  • Check moral and stress increasing stress for each astronaut in the base. Living in such close quarters can take a toll on you.
  • Check production. IF oxygen, power, or food is low you will need to shut down rooms to make up for it.

Assigns actions

  • Explore
  • Gather
  • Research
  • Build
  • There can be complications on the actions that the app will manage.
  • Some scenarios have a special action.
  • Once you resolve all actions, move on to the next turn.

Publisher – Portal Games
1-4 Players
60-90 Minutes
Age 10+

4. Tiny Epic Galaxies

As the title says, this game is small. At least in box size. Gamelyn Games packed a lot into this tiny box. In Tiny Epic Galaxies, you will explore the galaxy, colonize worlds and meet other spacefarers as you grow your empire.

To start, set up your personal board and take a secret mission card. Each player then takes their planet cards. Place the control mat and the dice in the center of the table where everyone can reach them, and we are ready to play.

You want to colonize plants for victory points. If a player reaches 21 victory points trigger the end of the game. Finish out the round and check your secret mission to see if you have completed it. If you have completed your secret mission, you will receive more points. The player with the most points wins the game.

Turn order

  • Check your galaxy mat. It will tell you how many ships you have active and how many dice you roll on your turn.
  • Roll the dice. They tell you what actions you can perform on your turn. Re-roll dice at the cost of energy.
  • Players can follow other players and perform the same action that players took by spending culture points.

Dice actions

  • Move Action - Move a ship placing it on a planet card. You gain benefits listed on that card. Or you can colonize the planet by going into orbit and completing the track.
  • Diplomacy and Economy Actions help you colonize planets
  • Energy and culture actions – Gain energy equal to the number of active ships you have. You can gain culture equal to the number of ships you have in orbit around a planet that requires culture to colonize.
  • Utilize a colony – You can activate the ability on a colonized planet card.

When you colonize a planet, you return all ships to your home galaxy. Then place the planet card under your galaxy board. Each planet provides you with victory points.

Upgrade your empire. Spend culture or energy to move your token on the empire track. You have to spend energy or culture equal to the next space on the track. You cannot mix energy and culture for this action. Upgrading your empire not only gives you victory points, it also gives you new ships and can increase the number of dice you roll.

Publisher – Gamelyn Games
1-5 Players
30-45 Minutes
Age 14+

3. Terraforming Mars

Strategy sci-fi board game set in the 2400s. The game uses resource management and tile placement mechanics. You play as a corporation. You are in a race with other corporations (players). You want to be the first to terraform the red planet making it habitable but profitable.

Needed elements

  • Oxygen levels
  • Temperatures
  • Oceans

Once the board setup is complete, pick a color that represents the corporation you want to play, and the game board that goes with it. This board shows you the resources available to you. Take two random corporation cards and 10 project cards. Pay three units of money per project card you keep.

Score victory points by raising one of the three elements, hitting a milestone, or by funding an award.
Placing tiles grant bonuses and victory points
You can take one or two actions per turn.

Actions

  • Playing and paying the cost of a project card in your hand
  • Pay for a standard project. The board lists the standard projects you can complete.
  • Pay and claim a milestone.
  • Fund an award.
  • Activate action on a card.

When all players have taken all their actions to play moves on to the production stage.

Production – In the production stage you gain resources and turn energy into heat
Now, draw four project cards and choose which one you want to keep. It will cost you three units of money to keep it.

Once any player meets the three goals the game then ends as soon as that generation (round) is over. If you have the most points, congratulations, you are the winner.

Publisher – Stronghold Games
1-5 Players
120 Minutes
Age 12+

2. Twilight Imperium

An empire used to rule the galaxy. Like all empires, it eventually collapsed. This plunged the galaxy into a dark age. You play as a new rising power in the galaxy. You are looking to claim your place as the new ruler of the galaxy.

Each Player represents one of the rival empires. The first empire to reach the required victory point total is the winner. The game immediately end.

  • Each turn you can claim one public objective. Planet provides you with production and influence.
  • Combat occurs if you move into another empires system
  • Strategy cards are essential to the game. They allow you to use special abilities during gameplay.

Strategy cards

  • Leadership – Gives command tokens and allows to purchase more with influence.
  • Diplomacy – Protects one system from attack, and will allow players to refresh their planets.
  • Politics – Politics cards let you pick the first player for the next turn, gain action cards and set the political agenda.
  • Construction – These cards allow you to build defensive systems and space docks.
  • Trade – You can give trade goods. You spend trade goods on production or influence.
  • Warfare – Warfare allows you to pick up a command token. You can then move from an area that is active and lets others build in their home systems.
  • Technology – Research new technology.
  • Imperial – This card makes scoring victory points easier.

There are a lot of things happening in this game. It can be very long and complex but a lot of fun to play.

Publisher – Fantasy Flight Games
3-6 Players
240-480 Minutes
Age 14+

1. Star Wars: Imperial Assault

Set in the Star Wars universe after the destruction of the Death Star. One player takes the side of the Imperials. They deploy storm troopers and other Imperial resources to stop the traitorous Rebels. This game is scenario-based. Play scenarios as a single mission or one big campaign.

Assemble a map based on the scenario you are playing. The mission will show the layout of the map and where to place items.

Each side activates one character at a time. The character can perform 2 actions per activation. Rebels always go first.

Actions

  • Move - Move up to your speed.
  • Interact – Manipulate objects such as doors, creates, or other objects on the board.
  • Rest – Resting removes strain up to your endurance.
  • Special – Use various abilities listed on cards.
  • Attack – An attack is melee or ranged. First, declare a target. Roll dice based on the item card you are attacking with. If a character receives damage equal to its health, that character becomes defeated. Any defeated imperial character gets removed from the map. Defeated rebels become wounded. Remove all damage tokens and turn over the Rebels card over. A wounded Rebel has lowered stats. If a wounded character becomes defeated, removed from the game.

If all rebel players become wounded, they lose. Long live the Empire!

Winning the game depends on the mission being played. Each mission will have a different objective that needs completed.

Publisher – Fantasy Flight Games
2-5 Players
60-120 Minutes
Age 14+

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Spawned in the toxic Mid Ohio Valley, I am impervious to the Green Dragons poison breath. When not creating D&D adventures, I spend my time listening to records and watching sci-fi and horror films.
Gamer Since: 1988
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: D&D, Shadowrun
Top 3 Favorite Games:DOOM, Left 4 Dead 2, Guild Wars 2
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