10 Best Sci-fi Board Games To Play With Friends

best sc-fi board games to play with friends
Captain the galaxies in these nerd-fest filled games.

Welcome to the world of the future: space fights, lasers, time travel, colonization, and illegal trade make up this category of toe-curling, edge-of-your-seat games. Whether you’re more of a space opera kind of guy, or simply a fan of the classics, there’s a sci-fi board game that was made for you. 

10. Twilight Imperium

The world is your oyster - be careful not to spoil it. 

Twilight Imperium is a classic, epic, space opera game. Several factions are vying for the opportunity to claim the throne left behind by the Lazax Empire. Players can choose from a range of seventeen different factions, each with their own unique abilities, in an attempt for galactic domination. 

Players take turns trading, claiming planets, and winning land. At the end of a round, players can vote on a new rule to be made and obeyed by all players moving forward. As play progresses, players complete “objectives” which are determined by cards pulled at the start of the game. As objectives are completed, players claim victory points. Players can also earn and complete secret objectives. The first to ten victory points wins!

Choose This Game If You Like…

  • World Building; Twilight Imperium involves a good deal of creation of your own empire, making laws, and continuing the empire. 
  • Long Game Play; Twilight Imperium is not a game for those in a rush. Commit to playing Twilight Imperium only if you truly want to commit. 
  • Strategy; Like most sci-fi games, Twilight Imperium is going to rely heavily on the different strategies of the players in determining how the game play will progress. 

9. Terraforming Mars


Be the colonizer you were always meant to be. 

Terraforming Mars is a space opera meets capitalistic economic agenda. It takes place in a future where corporations have been employed to terraform Mars into a habitable colony. Players work for these corporations and strive to further the terraforming project. To do so, players can buy project cards that create resources or events to help or hinder the terraforming process. The cards can be quite pricey, so players need to weigh the costs and benefits carefully before purchasing. As you help raise the global parameters, players gain “victory points”. The game ends when all three global parameters (temperature, oxygen, and ocean) reach their goal and the terraforming is complete. 

Choose This Game If You Like…

  • Collaborative Game Play; Terraforming Mars relies on the cooperation of the different players attempting to raise the global parameters and make Mars liveable. This being said, there is still an individual winner at the end, so don’t get too friendly with your neighbors!
  • Space; The game includes all sorts of boons and obstacles that come with trying to build a colony in space, including things like asteroids and mining from the moons of Jupiter. If you’re a bit of a space nerd, you’ll enjoy this game. 
  • Resource Allocation; Terraforming Mars is a more resource based economics game - each player has to manage their resources and try to compete for the best places to put their city, greenery, and ocean tiles. 

8. Android: Netrunner

1v1 the government and see who comes out on top. 

Android: Netrunner is a two-person, card-based game. In the dystopian future, corporations own and control the world, while underground hacker agents called “netrunners” try to subvert their plans. Players can represent either the corporations or the netrunners. As a corporation, try to accomplish your goals without being waylaid by the netrunners. As a netrunner, attempt to steal the corporation's plans successfully. 

Choose This Game If You Like... 

  • Small Games; this two-person game is perfect if you and a friend want something fun to play without going through the hubbub of coordinating ten different preferences into choosing a game. 
  • Shorter Games; Android: Netrunner has all the hallmarks and thrill of a sci-fi game without the lengthy gameplay associated with the genre. 
  • Card-Based Games; Android: Netrunner does not operate on a board, and all game play is held in the cards. 

  7. Race for the Galaxy

Build, build, build and remember to lie, lie, lie about your identity. 

Race for the Galaxy is a card-based civilization building game. Players use cards allocated to them as resources, worlds, and technical or social advancements. At the beginning of each round, players are given secret roles (ie the Settler). Each player can make the action of the role - for example, each player would be able to settle a colony in that round, but only the one with the settler card would get a special bonus. Earn victory points through building your developments, and the player with the most VP at the end, wins!

Choose This Game If You Like... 

  • Concise Game Play; although some parts may be confusing for beginners, Race for the Galaxy involves straightforward and concise gameplay that makes it easy to pick up after a few rounds. 
  • Solo Games; Race for the Galaxy is possible to play alone, if you’re stuck with no one to play with you. 
  • Keeping Secrets; Be careful about using your secret role too much, as other players can also profit off of it. Secrets and lies will be your friend as you build your empire. 

6. Firefly: The Game

Do you have what it takes to captain the Firefly crew? 

Based off of the cult classic of the same name, in Firefly: The Game players commandeer their own Firefly Ship with a crew of zany characters, traversing the galaxies and doing whatever they can to make a quick buck. Players will encounter backstabbing employers, complications of smuggling, and more in this twist on the TV show. As game play progresses, the first player to complete the goal of the chosen storyline will be the winner. 

Choose This Game If You Like... 

  • Firefly; if you (like me) are a fan of the original TV show, you’re sure to enjoy the cast of characters and range of events available in the board game. 
  • Story Lines; Firefly: The Game follows different story lines with different quests and characters to meet along the way. If that appeals to your sense of adventure, this could be the game for you!
  • Completing Quests; Similarly, if you enjoy quest-based games, Firefly is likely to peak your interest. 

5. T.I.M.E Stories


Do your job and save the universe. Getting fired simply isn't an option. 

Explore an extensive deck as time agents in T.I.M.E Stories. Players start at “home base” and receive missions. The goal is to complete your mission in as few actions as possible. Missions can be a range of different catastrophes from across the timeline, which require players to time hop into different host bodies to complete their tasks.  

Choose This Game If You Like... 

  • Time Travel; if the space side of sci-fi isn’t quite your thing, but you go a little feral for anything timey-wimey, T.I.M.E Stories is likely to stimulate your little nerd brain for a fun time. 
  • Stories; T.I.M.E Stories has a range of different problems and solutions that you’ll have to navigate in order to complete your missions (or be sent back to base in failure). 
  • Horror/Mystery; A lot of the encounters in T.I.M.E Stories can fall under the horror or mystery bracket, rather than pure sci-fi. 

4. Cosmic Encounter

Beware of friend and foe - remember alliances never last. 

Players take the role of the leaders of one of dozens of alien races across the universe. On their turn, a player can take an offensive action by moving their ships across the skies. The goal of the game? To build colonies on the other planets. The first to five wins the game overall. 

The game play becomes interesting as alliances can be created and broken in order for players to further their goals. 

Choose This Game If You Like…

  • Collaborative Game Play; Alliances, while not necessary, may help you create the colonies you need. As such, it is possible for there to be more than one winner of the game. 
  • Colonization; If you enjoy games focused more around territory acquisition, you may enjoy Cosmic Encounter. 
  • Aliens; Cosmic Encounter comes with a large range of different alien races with different perks and abilities for players to enjoy. 

3. Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy


With great power comes great. . . opportunities for failure. 

In Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy, players are the new leaders of their own civilizations and need to hold their own against their enemies while building their own land and power. With a range of alien races to play as, players need to focus their strategies on their own individual strengths and weaknesses. There are multiple different routes that can be taken to win Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy over a course of 8 rounds where players can select actions to achieve goals, build battleships, go to war, or hoard resources. 

Choose This Game If You Like... 

  • Battle; If you like games that involve a bit more battle or fighting for territory, you’ll enjoy Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy. 
  • Strategy; Each game you play will require thinking through different strategies in order to find the best possible way to win. 
  • Complicated Game Play; Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy is classified as an “advanced” game that might take you double the game play time in figuring out the rules. 

2. Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia 


Some say apocalypse, others say opportunity. 

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia takes place in a dystopian future wherein the apocalypse has occurred. The city of Euphoria stands tall, protected by walls and ignorance. Outside, the Wastelanders remember the scars of the apocalypse as they were left to fend for themselves.

The players’ goal is to take over this dystopian wasteland using workers and recruits. Players use dice as workers - be careful, roll their intelligence too high and they may abandon you. Build markets, strategize with elite recruits within the city, and claim the world as yours. 

Choose This Game If You Like... 

  • Advanced Game Play; With a lot of moving pieces, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia is classified as an advanced game, not for the faint of heart. 
  • Dystopias; If you, like a lot of us, went through a solid dystopian genre phase in your younger years, Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia will appeal to you. 
  • Resource Allocation; Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia is all about how best to place your workers in order to gain power and take over the city. 

1. Merchant of Venus


Embody the true space rogue stereotype and provide for your crew, by whatever means necessary. 

In Merchant of Venus, players take on the mantle of space captains, completing odd jobs to earn money to improve their ships, build space stations, and construct factories. Players have a choice to play as one of six races (in the original) or four races (in the updated 2012 edition). The first to reach a set amount of cash and port/factory properties will win the game. 

Choose This Game If You Like…

  • Trade-Based Games; Like Firefly, Merchant of Venus operates on the smuggler space captain side of the sci-fi genre. If you enjoy earning money and strategically buying or trading resources, this is the game for you. 
  • Firefly; As briefly mentioned above, if you enjoy either Firefly the show, or Firefly: The Game or any other of the plethora of rugged space captain meets old western trader tropes that reign prevalent in the category, you’re sure to enjoy playing space captain yourself. 
  • Long Game Play; Merchant of Venus will take up a decent chunk of your time if you’re ready to commit to a solid game night of adventure. 

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Born to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Julia spends her days collecting sea shells, walking barefoot, and pretending if she tries hard enough, she can still become a mermaid one day.
Favorite Genre: RPG
Top 3 Favorite Games:, ,