Last Updated on January 17, 2023
There’s a list of space-themed board games out there that’s as vast as… well, space.
Who doesn’t want to take command of their own starship, liquify some Xeno scum, or even become Xeno scum?
It’s easy to get lost in the myriad of options for space hopping adventures, but have no fear. The Cows will be your guide to galactic gaming.
Let’s take a look at some of the best space-themed board games we could find.
Our Top Picks for Best Space-Themed Board Games
In a hurry? Check out our favorites below.
Cosmic Encounter is an amazing space-themed game. It offers an epic galactic feel without having to take an extra day off from work to complete.
Players will choose from 1 of 50 different alien races, each with its own unique powers and abilities. If you pick up expansions, the number of races to choose from jumps dramatically with the total possible being somewhere in the triple digits.
That’s a lot of replayability packed into one box.
It’s an epic space colonization game that hits every single space theme checkbox: space battles, planet colonization, diplomacy, betrayal, and awesome alien races.
It’s a must-have if you’re a fan of sci-fi and are looking for a solid space game that will consistently hit the table at game night.
This game is dumb as hell and I love it.
Galaxy Trucker puts you in the driver’s seat of some of the toughest and roughest hombres in the galaxy. That’s right, truckers…
The cheap-ass corporation that hired you is shipping piping and random construction materials across the galaxy and to cut costs, you’re actually responsible for building your own ship out of the random bits of pipes and junk that you’re shipping.
The game comes in 2 parts: A timed rush to build your ship and actually flying to your destination while avoiding all the hazards of space.
The game is super tense and absolutely ridiculous, making it a household favorite and securing one of the top spots on the list.
Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition)
Surprise surprise, Twilight Imperium makes it into my top 3.
Honestly, it only hit lower because I’ve been given TI a lot of love in my top lists and I want to showcase more board games.
It’s no secret that I freakin’ love this game. If you’re into space themes and sci-fi, you need to check out Twilight Imperium. It defines space opera.
The only issue I’ve ever had with this game is finding enough players who aren’t intimidated by its massive size. It especially shines with 6-players, so if you can get 5 friends together, you won’t be disappointed.
Firefly: The Game
Join Captain Mal and the crew of the Serenity as they embark on an epic adventure to get paid and not die!
Firefly is, of course, set in Joss Whedon’s iconic space western. Players will choose a captain and travel the verse, picking up jobs, and trying not to die in the process.
You’ll need to avoid authorities, shady employers, and Reavers.
The game itself is a race to complete objectives and missions but if you’re a fan of Firefly, it does an amazing job of immersing the players in the theme.
Are you a fan of Terra Mystica?
Why not give Terra Mystica in space a try?
Gaia Project is the spiritual sci-fi successor to Terra Mystica. It’s still a land grab where all players are looking to terraform territory into their preferred landscape, but it’s not quite just a reskin.
There are slight alterations to the rules and scoring, but there’s also the fact that planets are farther away and you’ll need space ships to colonize new worlds.
Think of it as Terra Mystica 2.0 in space.
In the year 2400, humanity has finally gotten to the point where it can reach Mars and attempt terraformation for future colonization.
Of course, it’s been privatized and corporations are the ones tasked with terraforming the Red Planet.
In Terraforming Mars, it’s your job to run one of these corporations and change the Red Planet into a luscious green and blue one.
Players compete for various terraforming objectives, all while juggling the responsibilities and tech necessary to make Mars liveable.
Star Wars: Armada
If you’re looking for space it’s hard to top Star Wars.
Armada is a collectible miniatures tabletop game that is massive in scope. Your entire dining room table can easily be swallowed up into an epic space battle. Similar to the X-Wing miniatures game, Armada amps up the battle by focusing on entire space battles instead of dogfight skirmishes.
Players will have full dreadnaughts and battlecruisers at their command along with full squadrons of tie fighters and X-wings.
It’s a massive game that can quickly grow out of control if you let it.
Mission: Red Planet (Second Edition)
Who doesn’t like a little steampunk action, but steampunk in space?
There have been some weird mashups, but I honestly never would have considered Victorian-era fantasy steam engines to make it into space.
Enter Celerium and Sylvanite, two newfound substances on Mars. Celerium combusts 10,000 times hotter than any other substance on earth and Sylvanite is the densest material ever found. Both are perfect for making the best steam engine ever.
As with all things, the corporations got their hands on it first… or are trying to anyway. Mission: Red Planet puts you in control of a corporation looking to lay claim to the richest veins of both materials on Mars before your rivals get there first.
Strap on your goggles and shovel that coal. You’re going to Mars!
Race for the Galaxy
Race for the Galaxy is a pretty epic space empire game, in which players spread out and expand their empires through economic and galactic expansion.
As players expand outward, they’ll gain access to new abilities and bonuses. But every action performed gives your opponents the chance to copy your moves, so you’ll need to be aware of all surrounding empires so you don’t inadvertently give them an advantage.
Race for the Galaxy is a super simple to learn, yet deep and satisfying space game.
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game
So this isn’t here because I’m rewatching the entire series or anything… (I totally am.) It’s here because it’s an amazing board game with an awesome hidden traitor mechanic.
Battlestar Galactica is an iconic sci-fi experience at its best.
Humanity creates A.I.
A.I. rebels against humanity
Earth gets destroyed and reduced to a fraction of survivors living aboard a convoy of starships.
A.I. is still pissed and pursues humanity.
Battlestar Galactica definitely took a few pages out of the Asimov playbook.
The game is fantastic though because the main premise of Battlestar Galactica is that the Cylons (A.I. race) have adapted machines to look exactly like humans. There could be Cylons aboard the ship that don’t even know they’re machines.
It translates beautifully to the tabletop.
Players will be working together to stop the Cylon threat but throughout the game, Cylon agents will be activated and a once-loyal player could become a traitor. The worst part is there’s no way of telling who’s who.
Space Hulk: Death Angel
You’re trapped aboard a derelict spaceship infested with Xeno scum and there is no escape.
Death Angel is the card game successor to the classic Space Hulk from Games Workshop. Players play cooperatively as a group of Space Marines, loaded up as only Space Marines can be, working to clear out the Genestealer infestation.
It’s surprisingly easy to learn and plays relatively quickly for something from Games Workshop.
If you’re looking for a Warhammer 40K fix without the guilt of leaving unpainted miniatures on your workbench for 6 months, Death Angel does the trick.
Star Trek: Ascendancy
This is possibly the best Star Trek board game in existence.
Star Trek: Ascendancy puts players in command of one of three iconic Star Trek factions: the Federation, the Romulan Empire, and the Klingon Empire.
This 4X-inspired game has each faction vying for supremacy through conquest.
Players will need to manage their empires’ economies and spread out through the galaxy to become the dominant faction in space.
Who doesn’t like a good ol’ fashioned space coup?
In Core Worlds, the old dynasties are falling and you, the barbaric empires at the fringe edges of space, are looking to capitalize on their weakness.
Core Worlds is a deck-building game in which players invade the core worlds of the galaxy. As players progress, they’ll pick up new technology, tactics, and troops to continue their invasion.
Among the Stars
In a different twist on the galaxy-wide war theme, Among the Stars takes place after the war is over. A galaxy-wide conflict left all the alien races reeling and now they’ve banded together against a greater threat.
Each player controls a different race and tries to build the best defense against this new invasion.
The entire game lasts 4 in-game years at which point the player that built the best defense is declared the winner.
Space Alert is one of the most stressful games I’ve ever seen. The game itself only takes 10 minutes.
Whaaaat? “How do you have a space game in only 10 minutes?”, you may ask.
The Answer: As fast as you freaking can!
Space Alert uses an automated soundtrack from an app that plays in the background. In those STRESSFUL 10 minutes, Murphy’s Law beats the hell out of your spaceship and it’s up to you and your crew to put out all the fires, avoid the asteroids, and fight off space pirates and aliens, all in 10 minutes.
Eclipse: New Dawn for the Galaxy
Eclipse is an epic 4X game in which players each control one of seven factions.
The galactic government can no longer contain the growing tensions.
This game is epic and only keeps getting better. There are spaceship upgrades, planetary invasions, alien races, and a weak-willed galactic council.
The stage is set for an epic space saga and Eclipse is currently getting a new makeover on Kickstarter with a second edition.
This could be the time to pick up the original (which is amazing, by the way) for cheap, once the newer edition hits shelves. Or if you’re a Kickstarter fiend, check out their Kickstarter to see what exclusive goodies you can score.
Alien Frontiers is a worker placement planet colonization game with a twist.
Instead of adorable meeple people, dice substitute for your workers.
This adds a bit of randomness, but a heck of a lot of strategy to a solid little dice game. Players will always have a set of actions they want to perform but it’ll be up to the RNG gods to determine what happens.
Avalon Hill made a space game? I’m in, I’m totally in!
Nexus Ops is a wargame in the vein of Axis and Allies. Replacing the familiar human troops are a host of alien creatures. One of the niftier aspects of Nexus Ops is the fancy glow-in-the-dark alien miniatures. They’re completely unnecessary, but cool nonetheless.
Players compete in a total war-like fashion to dominate the battlefield and crush their opponents.
Eminent Domain is a space game, blah blah I’ve said that a thousand times already.
It does, however, do something incredible.
It manages to pick and choose mechanics from various games and turns it into something remarkable.
There are deck-building elements, follow mechanics, engine-building, and a host of others yet, it manages to come together to create something unique. In a world of derivative games, it’s hard to point to a mechanic and not see another game in it, but Eminent Domain manages to hold its own while creating something special.
Xia: Legends of a Drift System
Xia is a sandbox space game.
That’s a freaking bold claim for a board game. A sandbox game means that you’re free to do whatever the heck you feel like, and Xia offers that in spades.
Each player is given a small junker and a few credits before being let loose on the galaxy. What a player does with their ship and money is 100% up to them.
Make the speediest ship to jet-set around the galaxy, arm yourself to the teeth, become the most profitable space merchant, or just be Nathan Fillian. The choice is 100% yours.
The idea of outer space has fascinated humanity since the possibility of space travel first entered our minds. As a species, we have a tendency to romanticize and fear the unknown, which has become a major theme in the sci-fi and space genres.
Jet-setting among the stars, heroically fighting an alien enemy, and bravery against all odds are some of the things that made me fall in love with sci-fi at a young age. It’s always humanity at its best.
Of course, this may have biased my list, but these are the games that I think of when I think of space themes.
Did you have a favorite space-themed board game that didn’t make the list? Leave a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.
Looking for more Space Board Games? Check out our best Star Trek Board Games below: