27 Best Sci-Fi Board Games (and Space Board Games)

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best sci fi board games

Check out our list of the best sci-fi board games based on popular science fiction TV shows and movies, as well as other space board games.

When choosing what is best for you will need to consider the number of players you are likely to have, their age, and how long you are likely going to play for.

Read below for our list and all you need to know to find the right one for you.

Best Sci-Fi Board Games

Dune Board Game

Classic Sci-Fi/Fantasy Board Game

dune sci-fi board game

Based on James Herbert’s classic 1960s sci-fi/fantasy novel Dune, this game was originally released in the 1980s and then recently updated and re-issued by the company Gale Force Nine.

It’s a strategy game where you can engage in building diplomatic alliances or betrayal and warfare as you advance the interests of one of the major houses or factions from the Dune universe.

It’s an extremely popular board game with 40+ years of people playing it and loving it. It’s fairly complex and takes a bit of time to get your head around, but very rewarding once you are in the groove. There are also basic and advanced versions of the game you can play.

Watch a quick overview from the makers here:

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 2-6
  • Playing time: 2-3 hours

Dune Board Games

There are actually four different Dune board game versions available:

  1. The Classic edition outlined above (plus an optional expansion pack).
  2. The Film edition is virtually the same as the classic edition but with visuals updated to tie in with the 2021 Dennis Villeneuve movie.
  3. The Betrayal edition is a slightly different – and more fast-paced – version of the classic game where you control individual characters, rather than the major houses/factions. It has a much shorter playing time of 20-40mins for 4-8 players.
  4. Dune: Imperium, which is a completely new game released in 2021 to tie in with the new movie and is very highly rated. It can be played solo as well as with up to four players.

Twilight Imperium

Space Strategy Board Game

Twilight Imperium 4th Edition Board Game | Strategy Board Game for Adults and Teens | Adventure Game | Ages 14 and up | 3-6 Players | Average Playtime 4-8 Hours | Made by Fantasy Flight Games

Possibly the best board game of all time?

This is an immensely popular sci-fi/fantasy board game that has been around for over two decades with this fourth edition being the most recent iteration.

Each player takes command of a different civilization and competes in a fantasy galaxy for dominance using diplomacy, trade, and war.

It’s about as epic as it gets with games lasting a whole afternoon or longer. It’s definitely one for a group who will enjoy a deep strategy game with an advanced and complex set of rules.

You can watch this video for a quick overview of the game:

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 3-6
  • Playing time: 4-8 hours

Star Wars Rebellion

Best Star Wars Board Game

star wars rebellion sci fi board game

For fans of the original trilogy, this is probably the greatest Star Wars board game out there.

It’s a strategy game where you direct your fleet across the galaxy.

Games last for three to four hours, so it’s a good afternoon session with two to four players. It’s great for families or friends that love the movies and the feel of the 1977 classic.

You play on either the side of the Empire or the Rebellion. The Empire needs to find the hidden Rebel base, the Rebels need to win support across the galaxy.

It features 170 miniatures of a number of the most iconic ships and bases, like the Death Star, Star Destroyers, Tie Fighters, X-Wings, and more.

You can watch a good overview of the game here:

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 2-4
  • Playing time: 3-4 hours

Star Wars Board Games – Which one is for you?

There are a number of really good Star Wars Board games available:

  1. Star Wars Rebellion: As outlined above (ages 14+, 2-4 players, 3-4 hours playtime).
  2. Star Wars Armada: Another great Star Wars strategy game with miniatures, but this time it is just for two players against each other as the Empire and the Rebels (ages 14+, 2 players, 2 hours playtime).
  3. Star Wars X-Wing: For two players only and with less than an hour game time, this is great for a couple or pair of friends that prefer shorter gaming sessions. Rather than a grand strategy like the games above, this one gets you involved in a single firefight where you command your starships in battle (ages 14+, 2 players, 45 minutes playtime).
  4. Star Wars Legion: Another two-player game, but with a longer average playtime of three hours. Like X-Wing above, the game revolves around a single battle, but this one is ground-based where you take charge of the battle scene on Endor at the end of the Return of the Jedi movie. This also features miniatures that can be painted as an additional aspect of the hobby. There is also a Clone Wars version of this game (ages 14+, 2 players, 3 hours playtime).
  5. Star Wars Imperial Assault: Another game featuring miniatures and characters from the original classic Star Wars trilogy. This is a slightly faster-paced game that is essentially a Star Wars version of the popular board game Descent where you undertake various missions (ages 14+,1-5 players, 1-2 Hours playtime).
  6. Star Wars Outer Rim: Away from the Empire vs Rebellion theme of the above games, this one allows you to play as a mercenary, smuggler or bounty hunter operating competing to become the most notorious outlaw in the galaxy. This is essentially a Star Wars version of the Firefly game covered below in this article (ages 14+, 1-4 players, 3-4 hours playtime).
  7. Star Wars Destiny: This is a fast-paced, simple, one-on-one dice game that is suitable for children younger than in any of the games above (ages 10+, 2 players, 30 minutes playtime).

Many of these games offer expansion packs so that you can build on the core kit once you have exhausted it or just feel like some new flavor.

In addition to these mostly strategy board games, there are also themed versions of classic board games, for example:

  1. Star Wars Monopoly: Featuring characters and concepts from all nine movies
  2. Retro Star Wars Monopoly: Based on just the original 1977 movie (A New Hope)
  3. Mandalorian Monopoly: Themed on the recent TV show
  4. Baby Yoda Monopoly: Based around everyone’s favorite character from the Mandolorian and themed in a cute style that may appeal to younger players
  5. Clone Wars Monopoly: Themed on the TV show
  6. Star Wars Risk: The classic strategy game
  7. Star Wars Clue: The classic “whodunnit” game with the feel of the original trilogy movies
  8. Star Wars Chess: A classic chess board with Star Wars figures as the pieces

Firefly Board Game

Sci-Fi Board Game

firefly scifi board game

Play the game of the cult science-fiction classic, Firefly, where you command your ship and crew as you look for work and try to steer clear of trouble.

The game really captures the feel of the show and makes you feel like you are in it. It is fairly complicated though and takes a bit of time to master.

It can be played with up to four people, but also solo.

Watch this video for a one-minute overview from the creators:

  • Age range: 13+
  • Number of players: 1-4
  • Playing time: 2 hours

Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles

Science Fiction Board Game

Ares Games Battlestar Galactica: Starship Battles

Play out another classic sci-fi TV show with this Battlestar Galactica board game from Ares Games.

Similar in some ways to the Star Wars: X-Wing game (above), you are taking part in a ship vs. ship space battle with Colonial versus Cylon.

It comes with detailed miniatures of the ships and there are a number of expansion packs that add new ones to the game.

There was also previously another Battlestar Galactica board game from Fantasy Flight Games launched in 2008 but it was discontinued and so can only be bought used now.

  • Age range: 13+
  • Number of players: 2
  • Playing time: 30 minutes

Terraforming Mars

Space Exploration Board Game

Indie Boards and Cards Terraforming Mars Board Game, Multicolor (6005SG)

Take on the role of a corporation competing to terraform Mars centuries in the future. Work to create oceans and introduce plant life and animals to make the planet habitable for humans.

This is a complex game that can be played solo or with up to five players. It was created by a university professor and could be a great way of stimulating interest in the sciences for a teenager.

Check out this trailer to get you excited about the game:

There are a number of expansion packs available once you’ve exhausted the limits of the base game, but that should take you quite a long time as it is very rich.

  • Age range: 12+
  • Number of players: 1-5
  • Playing time: 2 hours

Cosmic Encounter

Sci-Fi Exploration Board Game

Cosmic Encounter 42nd Anniversary Edition Board Game | Strategy Game | Sci-Fi Exploration Game for Adults and Teens | Ages 14+ | 3-5 Players | Average Playtime 1-2 Hours | Made by Fantasy Flight Games

A universe-spanning strategy game where players take control of different alien civilizations and look to utilize diplomacy and war to establish colonies on enough planets to gain dominance.

It’s an extremely popular game that has been around for over 40 years. There are over 50 different alien species and no two games are ever the same.

You need at least three players for a game, although there is a separate Duel version for two players only, and the expansion packs can increase the maximum to eight players.

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 3-5
  • Playing time: 1-2 hours

Space Base

Space Dice Game

Space Base

Space Base is a dice game where you command your own base and look to gain more ships to increase your influence and win promotion to Admiral of the Fleet.

This is a fast and easy-to-learn game that is perfect for families or just groups of friends wanting to get stuck into something less complicated than many of the deeper strategy games on this page.

It is an engine-building game, meaning that each player starts with the same set of simple abilities but – since it’s a dice game -there is a large luck element and that is part of the fun.

This video gives a good run-through of how the game works:

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 2-5
  • Playing time: 60 minutes

Space Team

Fast-Paced Space Card Game

Spaceteam: A Fast-paced, Cooperative, Shouting Card Game

Space Team is a super-fast and simple card game with each game lasting just five minutes or less.

You need to avoid the black hole and build your spaceship to win.

It’s chaotic and a bit silly and so perfect for those that like their board games a bit more shouty and funny.

Check out this quick video introduction from the makers:

  • Age range: 12+
  • Number of players: 3-6
  • Playing time: 5 minutes

Star Trek Ascendancy

Best Star Trek Board Game

Star Trek Ascendancy

This game is Star Trek in a box and is one of the best board games ever if you’re a fan.

It is a “4X” space board game, meaning that it involves:

  1. eXploring
  2. eXpanding
  3. eXploiting
  4. eXterminating

It is for three players only, with each taking either the Federation, Romulans, or Klingons. There is a lot of strategy to it as you look to dominate the galaxy.

Like many of the great games from Gale Force Nine, there are multiple expansion packs available to build on this base pack which can increase the number of players taking part.

You can watch a four-minute overview video from GFN here:

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 3
  • Playing time: 3 hours

Star Trek Board Games

As you might expect from such a long-running and popular tv/movie franchise, there are a number of different Star Trek-themed board games available:

  1. Star Trek Ascendancy: Galactic strategy board game – as covered above
  2. Star Trek Frontiers: This is a Star Trek-themed version of the game Mage Knight. Players command ships for either the Federation of the Klingons in a contested region of space. It’s fairly complicated and has a good solo-player mode (ages 14+, 1-4 players, 1 hour).
  3. Star Trek Expeditions: Cooperative board game with a steep learning curve (ages 14+, 1-4 players, 1 hour).
  4. Star Trek Galactic Enterprise: Card game themed on the Deep Space Nine series (ages 11+, 3-8 players, 45 mins).
  5. Star Trek Chrono-Trek: A card game based on the popular time travel game Chrononauts. It’s simple, fast-paced and suitable for children (ages 11+, 2-6 players, 15-45 mins).

There are also Star Trek-themed versions of other popular board and card games:

  1. Star Trek Fluxx: Fluxx is a card game for 2-6 players and this is themed on the original Star Trek series (although there is also a Next Generation version)
  2. Star Trek Panic: A Star Trek-themed version of the Castle Panic game
  3. Star Trek Monopoly: Themed version of the classic Monopoly game

Space Empires 4X

4X Space Board Game

space empires sci-fi board game

Another great 4X space game where you – explore, expand, exploit, and exterminate.

It is a war game set in space that has actually been around for 20-30 years with various improvements being made over that time to improve it.

The rulebook is relatively short and simple compared to many of the more complex games on this page. It uses counters instead of plastic pieces and so feels more retro than other games with detailed miniatures but the gameplay is fantastic.

You have to compete for galactic dominance and is not for the faint-hearted as aggression and deception are rewarded.

Number of players: 1-4

Playing time: 2 hours

Alien: Fate of The Nostromo

Best Alien Board Game

Ravensburger Alien: Fate of The Nostromo Board Game for Ages 10 & Up – A Cooperative Strategy Game of Suspense

Based on the story of the original Alien movie, you play Ripley and the other members of the crew trying to survive being hunted by the Xenomorphs.

This is a suspenseful, cooperative strategy game where you play as a team against the aliens, rather than against each other, which may appeal to some families and groups.

It’s fairly complicated but games are relatively quick at under an hour.

If you love the movie(s) then this really gives you the tension and feeling of being hunted.

  • Age range: 10+
  • Number of players: 1-5
  • Playing time: 45-60 minutes

Aliens: Another Glorious Day In The Corps

Alien Miniatures Board Game

Aliens: Another Glorious Day In The Corps

A relatively new game from Gale Force Nine, this is based on the sequel movie, Aliens.

It’s another cooperative game where you will need to work together with the other players to survive and fight back. It’s not too complicated, but also not too easy, and hits the sweet spot between tactical thinking and ease of play.

One thing to note that is a potential upside or downside depending on your point of view is that the miniatures come in parts and have to be glued together. For many, meticulously clipping and assembling the miniatures is part of the experience, but others will just want something they can play out of the box.

A number of expansion packs are available.

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 1-6
  • Playing time: 1-2 hours


Sci-Fi Horror Board Game

Nemesis Board Game | Sci-Fi Horror Game | Miniatures Game | Strategy Game | Cooperative Adventure Game for Adults and Teens | Ages 14+ | 1 - 5 Players | Average Playtime 1-2 Hours | Made by Rebel

Clearly inspired by the Aliens franchise, Nemesis was originally a Kickstarter project that is now a legitimately excellent game in its own right.

It’s a semi-cooperative survival game. Each player chooses a character to start with that has a unique set of skills and abilities. Players then have to work together against the common alien enemies but also each has their secret objectives and may eventually involve betrayal and back-stabbing to win.

This game has been immensely popular since it was first launched and there are a number of expansion packs available now.

Watch the promo here:

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 1-5
  • Playing time: 1-2 hours

Xtronaut 2.0

Solar System Board Game for Families

Xtronaut 2.0: The Game of Solar System Exploration

This is a great card and dice board game suitable for kids as young as 7 and can encourage interest in STEM sciences and teach them about space exploration in our solar system.

It was co-created by an individual who was involved in NASA exploration projects and reflects the real-world challenges of space exploration, including physics and politics.

This is perfect for those looking for a good space board game for kids and is far from many of the sci-fi concepts of many of the other games in this article.

  • Age range: 7+
  • Number of players: 2-6
  • Playing time: 45-75 minutes

Solar Quest

Space Board Game for Kids

SolarQuest The Space-Age Real Estate Game: Deluxe Edition - Space Adventure - Family, Children, Teens, Adults - Educational - Competitive - Object: To Monopolize the Planets of our Solar System

This is a great new version of a classic game that has been around for a couple of decades.

In the game, players compete to dominate the real estate of the solar system – not too dissimilar from Monopoly in space.

It’s great for families and kids from 8 upwards and will help them learn about the planets and other objects in our solar system and (maybe) stimulate some interest in the sciences.

There are two sets of rules included – one for beginners, and one for more advanced players. This is great as it gives everyone an easy entry-level to get into it and then move up to the more complicated version when they are ready.

  • Age range: 8+
  • Number of players: 2-8
  • Playing time: 2-3 hours


Budget Space Monopoly

Late for the Sky Space-opoly

This is a space-themed (unofficial) version of classic Monopoly with some small variations.

It’s a great option for families wanting a good space-themed game suitable for kids that is also relatively inexpensive.

  • Age range: 8+
  • Number of players: 2-6
  • Playing time: 60 minutes

Orbital Velocity

Educational Astronomy Board Game

Orbital Velocity Board Game

This is a numerical strategy game for kids and adults. You play as a rocket scientist trying to deploy satellites into the Earth’s orbit.

Gameplay involves making mathematical calculations and so is a fun way for kids to learn math and for grown-ups to sharpen their brains!

The rules are easy to understand and it is perfect for a family of four.

  • Age range: 10+
  • Number of players: 2-4
  • Playing time: 30 minutes


NASA-Themed Board Game

Buffalo Games - Apollo Games (NASA)

This is a NASA-inspired cooperative game set in the 1960s where players work together to execute a successful moon landing.

It’s another good game for families with an educational aspect, but it is more complicated than games like Xtronaut and Orbital Velocity and takes longer to get the hang of.

The games are relatively quick though and there is a random element from the dice rolling that means every game is different.

  • Age range: 12+
  • Number of players: 2-5
  • Playing time: 30-60 minutes

Empires of the Void II

4X Galactic Board Game

Red Raven Games Empires of The Void II

Set in a fantasy galaxy, this game from creator Ryan Laukat and RedRaven involves players controlling alien civilizations on far-off planets as they compete for survival and dominance.

It is essentially a condensed 4X game, bringing all the aspects of space exploration and exploitation etc., but games last as little as an hour, which is much shorter than many of the other 4X games with much longer playing time like Twilight Imperium.

It’s beautifully crafted with moderate complexity. Check out this video for a quick overview:

  • Age range: 12+
  • Number of players: 2-5
  • Playing time: 1-2 hours

Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy

Space Strategy Board Game

Lautapelit.fi Eclipse: 2nd Dawn for The Galaxy

Immensely popular among hardcore board gamers. This is a complex 4X space game but with the advantage that games can be played in around one hour.

It bears some similarities with Twilight Imperium but with much shorter gameplay.

You control vast interstellar civilizations and compete to explore new star systems, research technologies, and build spaceships to wage war.

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 2-6
  • Playing time: 1-3 hours

Beyond The Sun

Tech Tree Board Game

Rio Grande Games Beyond The Sun Strategy Board Game for 2-4 Players, Ages 14+

In the future, the dying Earth means that humans are having to set off into the galaxy to look for new planets to be potential homes.

It is a technology tree game whereby you have to advance your tech to improve your prospects.

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 2-4
  • Playing time: 90-120 minutes

Catan Starfarers

Spaceship Board Game

CATAN Starfarers Board Game 2nd Ed. (Base Game) | Family Board Game for Adults and Kids | Adventure Board Game | Ages 14+ | 3 to 4 players | Average Playtime 120 minutes | Made by Catan Studio

One of the popular CATAN range of board games, Starfarers sees players look to upgrade their ships to explore space and alien worlds and compete to become Ambassador to the Galactic Council.

This game is an update of the Starfarers of Catan game that was available more than 20 years ago.

The game is fairly complex and will take some time to understand. It combines dice and cards and requires a balance of strategy and luck.

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 3-4
  • Playing time: 2 hours

The Crew: Quest for Planet Nine

Space Game for Kids

The Crew - Quest for Planet Nine | Card Game | Kennerspiel des Jahres Winner | Cooperative Space Adventure | 2 to 5 Players | Ages 10 and up | Trick-Taking | 50 Levels of Difficulty | Endless Replay

The Crew is a fast-paced trick-taking collaborative card game that is suitable for families. Each game takes just 5-10mins with 50 different missions available.

In the game, players cannot talk to each other but a large part of gameplay revolves around players attempting to communicate and work together to accomplish tasks, without actually having the ability to speak to each other.

The collaborative elements are great for those that prefer players cooperating and it is great fun for those wanting something quick to get stuck into.

  • Age range: 10+
  • Number of players: 2-5
  • Playing time: 20 minutes

Alien Artifacts

Space-themed 4X Board Game

Portal Games Alien Artifacts

Alien Artifacts is a 4X space board game from Portal Games that boast in giving the full 4X experience (explore, exploit, expand, exterminate) in under one hour.

It’s a beautifully presented and complex game with a real depth of strategy and lots of difficult decisions required to be made.

  • Age range: 10+
  • Number of players: 2-5
  • Playing time: 60-90 minutes

The Expanse Board Game

Science-Fiction Board Game

The Expanse recently finished its sixth (and final?) season on Amazon Prime and has staked its claim as one of the greatest science-fiction TV shows of all time.

Based on the set of nine novels (plus accompanying novellas) it starts in the not-too-distant future with a complex political story of an Earth ravaged by climate change and over-population, a colonized Mars in the midst of a terraforming project, and the Asteroid Belt where a community of people live a hard existence mining for the Earth and Mars.

In this card-driven game (CDG), you take the role of either Earth, Mars, the OPA (Outer Planets Alliance), or the Protogen Corporation and battle for control of the solar system by directing your fleets around space.

If you are a fan of the TV show or books then this is a great way to keep enjoying the story and trying out a new hobby in board games with friends or family.

(Separate to this, there is also an Expanse role-playing game (RPG) available).

  • Age range: 14+
  • Number of players: 2-4
  • Playing time: 60 minutes

Best Sci-Fi Board Games

What’s Your Favorite Space Board Game?

Let us know if we’ve missed any of the best sci-fi board games in the comments below.

If you are looking for gift ideas, then see our article covering the 37 Best Space Gifts and other guides like this in our Astronomy Sales & Gifts hub.

About the Author

Anthony Robinson is the founder and owner of Skies & Scopes, a publication and community focused on amateur astronomy and astrophotography. His work has been featured in publications such as Amateur Astrophotography, Forbes, the Guardian, DIY Photography, PetaPixel, and Digital Camera World - read more.


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