Explore further if you are looking for the best space exploration board games, because that is what we are going to give you. Space is a vast and ominous setting for anything to take place. It could be grounded in the mysteries of science or it could be in a futuristic sci-fi tale of galactic civilization. Regardless, it is always big and exciting. Space is vast and can many different things but it usually has to do with exploring and building into the unknown. This is our list of the top 10 best space exploration board games.
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#10 | Galaxy Trucker
A great team-based real-time tile-laying and building title on the list of the best space exploration board games is Galaxy Trucker. It is mostly a great strategy game but there are dexterity movements like grabbing tiles from the center to build a ship before time runs out.
Galaxy Trucker is a game that plays out over two phases: building and flying. The goal is to have the most credits at the end of the game. You can earn credits by delivering goods, defeating pirates, building an efficient ship, and being the furthest along the track at the end of the flying phase. For 2 – 4 players, games last about 1 hour each.
FOR MORE: Buy Galaxy Trucker
#09 | Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Xia: Legends of a Drift System makes the list of the best space exploration board games because of its sandbox style that allows you to spy around the deep reaches of space and choose your path to glory. This is an adventure game driven by dice rolling and action points.
You fly your ships about the system, completing a variety of missions, exploring new sectors and battling other ships. Navigating hazardous environments, you choose to mine, salvage, or trade valuable cargo. Captains vie with each other for Titles, riches, and most importantly Fame. For 3 – 5 players, games last 1 – 3 hours.
FOR MORE: Buy Xia: Legends of a Drift System
#08 | Cosmic Encounter
Cosmic Encounter is a great best space exploration board games entry because it lives up to its name. It is all about the encounters in the deep cosmic realm. You are dealing with alien creatures, you have planets to explore and you have countless fleets of ships to move.
You are the leader of an alien race. On your turn, you become the offense and must move a group of your ships through the hyperspace gate to that planet. The offense vs. the defenses ships are in the encounter and both sides are able to invite allies, play an encounter card as well as special cards to try and tip the encounter in their favor. For 3 – 5 players, games last 1 – 2 hours each.
FOR MORE: Buy Cosmic Encounter
#07 | On Mars
Another fantastic best space exploration board games entry that takes you deep into a real life future is On Mars. This is an interesting worker placement and area control game that has a unique switch mechanism that has you almost playing two different games that happen to interact with one another. Very smartly constructed with many mechanics working together seamlessly.
Several rounds are played, each consisting of two phases – the Colonization Phase and the Shuttle Phase. During colonization, you take actions based on your location. If in orbit, you can take blueprints, buy technologies, and take supplies from the Warehouse. If you are on the surface of the planet, you can construct buildings with your bots, upgrade using blueprints, take scientists and new contracts, welcome new ships, and explore the planet’s surface. In the Shuttle Phase, players may travel between the colony and the Space Station in orbit. For 1 – 4 players, games run 90 – 150 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy On Mars
#06 | Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
The iconic sci-fi tv franchise is also an easy choice for the list of the best space exploration board games. The Battlestar Galactica board game is not just a big name slapped on a box, it is a great game that lives up to the hype. This is a traitor and hidden role game that has you explore and build with plenty of intensity and satisfaction.
You are one of ten favorite characters from the iconic show, each with their own special traits. All the characters must work together in order for humanity to have any hope of survival. Problem is, one of you is a Cylon. Players must attempt to expose the traitor while fuel shortages, food contaminations, and political unrest threaten to tear the fleet apart. For 3 – 6 players, games last about 2 – 3 hours.
#05 | Race for the Galaxy
Race for the Galaxy makes the list of the best space exploration board games because it is a fast-paced card game that not only has satisfying mechanics you would expect out of a space game but also a fantastic and immersive theme. This title is very popular and has spawned numerous expansions and stand-alone games.
In the card game, you build galactic civilizations by playing game cards in front of you that represent worlds or technical and social developments. Some worlds allow you to produce goods, which can be consumed later to gain either card draws or victory points when the appropriate technologies are available. These are mainly provided by the developments and worlds that are not able to produce, but the fancier production worlds also give these bonuses. For 2 – 4 players, games run about 30 – 60 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Race for the Galaxy
#04 | Eclipse
The top title on the list of the best space exploration board games that is all about combat and area control strategy is Eclipse. You need to build up to be more powerful than your opponents and you need to conquer them. You are looking at a very macro level, moving many forces around the vastness of space, but also on a micro level, have to grow and support each and every piece of your civilization.
You are in control of a vast interstellar civilization, competing for success with your rivals. You will explore new star systems, research technologies, and build spaceships with which to wage war. There are many potential paths to victory, so you need to plan your strategy according to the strengths and weaknesses of your species, while paying attention to the other civilizations’ endeavors. For 2 – 6 players, games last 1 – 3 hours.
FOR MORE: Games Like Eclipse | Buy Eclipse
#03 | Gaia Project
Gaia Project makes the list of the best space exploration board games because it is as big as space itself. You have to get many planets under your belt to fuel your machine and grow as possible. This a very peaceful game that promotes growth and science, though it is in a futuristic sci-fi package. This is a fantastic area control game that requires you to build networks and a stream of income.
In Gaia Project, you lead a faction living on one of seven different kinds of planets. To develop and grow, you must terraform neighboring planets into your home environments before others do. You will need to excel in six different areas of development — Terraforming, Navigation, Artificial Intelligence, Gaiaforming, Economy, Research — leading to advanced technology and special bonuses. For 1 – 4 players, games run about 60 – 150 minutes.
FOR MORE: Buy Gaia Project
#02 | Terraforming Mars
Terraforming Mars makes the list of the best space exploration board games because if you want something that dives into Mars exploration, but in a realistic and relatable way, this is it. Terraforming Mars is a few years old but it has won many accolades, including board game of the decade, for being one of the best heavy engine builders to ever exist. A great game that takes you into a space that is based on reality but still fun,
You are a corporation working with other corporations to make Mars inhabitable, but not in a co-op game way, you are very much trying to defeat others and be the best. You have six resources you can build up and you have countless options you can take and which path to victory you want to strategize toward. The overall goal is to get the most points. Raise the life conditions (oxygen, water, temp), mine, settle, focus on science, focus on nature, many options. For 1 – 5 players, games take 1.5 – 3 hours.
FOR MORE: Terraforming Mars Guide | How To Play Terraforming Mars | Terraforming Mars Review | Games Like Terraforming Mars | Buy Terraforming Mars
#01 | Twilight Imperium
When you think space exploration you think giant epic spanning a distance we cannot even fathom. Twilight Imperium takes the top spot on the list of the best space exploration board games because it delivers on that it such deep and satisfying ways. This is very intense and you should expect to be at the gaming table for many hours. It will make your head hurt but in a good way.
This is a game of galactic conquest in you take on the role of one of seventeen factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political maneuvering, and economic bargaining. Every faction offers a completely different play experience, from the wormhole-hopping Ghosts of Creuss to the Emirates of Hacan, masters of trade and economics. For 3 – 6 players, games last about 4 – 8 hours.