Best Sci Fi Board Games of 2017


While 2017 may have been a rough year for some of us, it was a great year for the board game community.

Surprisingly, not many science fiction board games were published last year; perhaps because of the success of the 2016 year of games, or maybe because companies were focusing on other genres.

Whatever the reason, there were still a few gems that came into the world last year, and these were the cream of the crop.

5. Mole Rats in Space

This is a game from Peaceable Kingdom–created by well-known cooperative games designer Matt Leacock–that the whole family will enjoy, even kids as young as seven.

2-4 people play as mole rats in space suits on a space station infested with snakes. Climb ladders up shafts and rocket down garbage chutes as you flee from the serpentine invaders in this space-faring game reminiscent of Chutes and Ladders (which it is most definitely not according to Opinionated Gamers!).

Collect your equipment and avoid getting bitten by the snakes as you try to escape before your time runs out. If it gets too easy for you, there are cards you can add to the deck to ramp up the challenge.

Work alone or together to defeat this fun and quirky game of animal animosity in space!

Published by: Peaceable Kingdom

Players: 2-4

Year Published: 2017

Recommended Ages: 7+

Time to Play: 20 minutes

4. Twilight Imperium 4th Edition

This sprawling galaxy engine builder is not for the faint of heart.

In this truly massive game from Fantasy Flight Games, 3-6 players war for control of the galaxy as one of a mind-boggling 17 different factions.

Every single game of Twilight Imperium is unique, from the factions the players choose to the construction of the board to the strategy cards drawn during each round. Players also form a galactic council to pass laws and advance personal secret agendas or immense and unseen plans as their roles dynamically change and grow throughout the game.

Players plot against one another—and occasionally themselves—as they vie for the throne. Be warned: this game is designed to play between 240-480 minutes—that’s between 6-8 hours!

Published by: Fantasy Flight Games

Players: 3-6

Year Published: 2017

Recommended Ages: 14+

Time to Play: 4-6 hours

3. Clank! In! Space!

Want a deck-building adventure that pits thieving players against the evil emperor of space? Then Clank! In! Space! is the game for you!

Gameplay is built on the same system as Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure (which has a more fantasy feel to it) in which players build a deck throughout the game. These cards let you perform actions, attack, gain new cards, and other sneaky an insidious things in your efforts to steal artifacts from the dread Lord Eradikus. Stockpile loot, recruit allies, and potentially draw the attention of Lord Eradikus if you make too much noise.

This game is a survival of the fittest free-for-all, and you better hope your companions are clumsier than you are if you have any hope of making it out in an escape pod.

Published by: Renegade Game Studios

Players: 2-4

Year Published: 2017

Recommended Ages: 8+

Time to Play: 60 minutes

2. FlipShips

If games like Twilight Imperium aren’t your style, might I recommend a fun, light dexterity game FlipShips.

In a style reminiscent of the Atari classic Space Invaders, 1-4 players take on the role of spaceship pilots defending their homeworld from an alien invasion.

How do they do this?

By flicking their cardboard ship tokens at the alien vessels in the hopes of taking them out. With an adjustable difficulty scale, you can defend the Earth with friends and family of all ages with this game from Renegade Games.

The art style pops, the setup and learning curve is simple, and the gameplay should last between 30-45 minutes, making for an excellent party or family gathering game.

Published by: Renegade Game Studios

Players: 1-4

Year Published: 2017

Recommended Ages: 8+

Time to Play: 30-45 minutes

1. Alien Artifacts

Build an empire engine? Check.

Fight aliens? Check.

Research new technologies? Check.

Discover and mine resources from planets? Check.

Play as a variety of diverse factions as you attempt to conquer the galaxy? Check.

Alien Artifacts has a little bit of everything for everyone, and in my opinion is going to become a sci-fi staple. This 4X-style card game from Portal Games, Matagot, and Pegasus Spiele is a resource engine builder with a heavy strategy element. Players can choose to attack each other and blockade opponents’ cards, or attack alien systems in the hopes of gaining Alien Artifacts, special cards that will offer unique abilities or bonuses. Players can also choose not to attack at all—victory points are gained in a plethora of ways, allowing for a wide range of play styles.

This 2-5 player experience can be completed in under an hour, but you’ll want to play again in no time.

Get galactic with any one of these excellent sci-fi games from the last year, whether it be a quick fun game of flicking spaceships or an epic day-long journey of conquest. And don’t forget to live long and prosper!

Published by: Renegade Game Studios

Players: 2-5

Year Published: 2017

Recommended Ages: 10+

Time to Play: 60 minutes

Bergen Adair

Bergen Adair is an avid reader and creator with a serious podcast addiction and a love for all things outer space. She lives in Colorado with her dog and her lifelong game partner Tony.

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