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Popular Space Exploration Board Games (Category)

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You say that you caved..... But, it looks like you are counting it as a next years expense. If you are going to cave....Go all the way, LOL!!! Count it as this years expense. LOL

I'll mention two aquisitions that came out of left field for me.

#1862: Railway Mania in the Eastern Counties. This is an 18xx game, and I am a solo player. 18xx games are profoundly ugly. They have no theme. They are just not for me. Than, I started listening to some podcasts that talk a lot about 18xx, and I started seeingthe appeal of them. Then, I heard about this 18xx game which you can play solo. I looked it up on, and read a review or two.... And, then I got it. I was sorta worried about it, because I had had so little interest in the theme, or the gameplay, or the whole genre of 18xx. But, I love this. Quite frankly, it has been much better than I had even dared hope.

#High Frontier 4 All. I was strongly against the whole evolution of High Frontier, from #Rocket Flight on. I thought that they were complex for complexity's sake. I wasn't that interested in the harder parts of space exploration. But, then I did something that I should not have done. I watched the Heavy Cardboards playthrough with #High Frontier (Third Edition) components, and fourth edition rules. That put a hook into me. The #Pax Viking, Pax Renaissance & High Frontier 4 All: Module 3 was running at the time, I had already backed Pax Ren and Viking. But, after watching the teach and play, I went and added HF4 + all three current modules to my pledge. I haven't received it yet. Latest guess from Ion/Sierra Madre puts delivery in Feburary, but we will see.

I've always lusted after High Frontier (that board is a work of art!), but I know there is a 0.00% chance of actually getting it played. :)

Have you played any other space exploration games, like #Leaving Earth or #SpaceCorp?

Hi, thanks for the welcome!

    1. How did you find Board Game Atlas?

I don't recall. But I was very surprised to find it!

    2. How long have you been in the hobby?

Well, I've been playing board games since as long as I can remember. It started to be more serious when I was 12; I discovered #Go and I played it every week on Friday during my high school years. Recently, in 2018, I became more seriously, in that I found a local game store and started playing games on the regular. I started with #Magic: The Gathering, but found it soon too commercial. The market value of cards is a let-down for me. That's how I rediscovered that board games are really my thing. You have everything and you play; that's all to it.

One of my motivating factors is to promote critical thinking through playing. It's only at this age that I fully appreciate the skills that can be learnt from board games. This fully explains my passion for them.

I wrote three books, each on a different board game (see below for links). "Play Go. And Other Games with a Go Set" (2015) on #Go, explaining the rules and with information about handicapping. "Abalone. Guide to the original game, its variants, and other games" (2019), on #Abalone (New Edition) with variants, handicapping and other games to play. "Play Homeworlds. Rules, Strategies, Variants" (2020) on #Homeworlds, with 14+ variants and all the rule variations and a lot of extras.




    3. What are your favorite 3 games at the moment?

My top 3 looks like this:

1. #Homeworlds - the new PQ version is avaialable now for $20, see  This game is potentially more deep than Go with a branching factor that can rise to over 1 million (that's right).

It is a 4X space exploration and space battle game, where your pyramids are used for both stars and starships. Your goal is to destroy your opponent's Homeworld. The game has a lot to offer in terms of strategy, with 2 sets you can play multiplayer variants with up to 5 players, it is very portable (no board, and pieces fit in a simply storage box (see my book), and uses economy as part of the strategy.

2. #Go - start here: This game is arguably the oldest abstract strategy board game.

The simplicity of the rules, the minimalist style, and the unfathomable depth of this game has kept it interesting for thousands of years. New generations are as much fascinated as ever. The AI-era has given it a hype. In comparison to Chess, Chess is a battle, Go is a war.

3. #Zendo Classic (playable with 2 Homeworlds sets--see 1. above--and some additional materials) - read the original rules here: Zendo with Looney Pyramids is more fun, if you ask me.

Now that Pyramid Quartet is shipping, there is no reason to buy the new edition of Zendo. Just get two Homeworlds Sets, and play many different games, including Homeworlds and Zendo. Extra materials can be found in any craft shop. If you need some help with Secret Rules, get the Pyramid Zendo Cards here

Zendo is an INDUCTIVE logic game (unlike Mastermind, which is DEDUCTIVE), and your goal is to guess a secret rule that Game Master has come up with. In order to guess the rule, you initially get partial information in the form two structures of pyramids the Master builds, one follows the rule (and is marked with a white marking stone), and one doesn't follow the rule (and is marked with a black marking stone). You participate by building a structure during your turn. You opt for having the Master mark the strucutre directly, or ask everybody to guess how the structure should be marked. Players that guess correctly get a guessing stone that they can exchange at the end of their turn for a guess at the Secret Rule. You win if you can guess the rule. The Master accompanies a wrong guess with a structure that either follows the wrong rule but is marked black (doesn't follow the Secret Rule), or doesn't follow the wrong rule but is marked white (follows the Secret Rule). The game is moderately complex, but is very satisfying and fun, one of the few games that use inductive logic (the scientific method).

(I am not affiliated with Looney Labs, but I promote them, because their games are awesome.)

This is an interesting topic. While I’m not personally offended by Colonialism or other historical situations as themes I do think it all needs to be done with sensitivity as has been stated. I appreciate the game publishers that have  taken the time to write a bit i the rule book explaining their approach to the theme of the game and acknowledging the situation and not condoning the actions of the times.

Stoll I don’t see many publishers going this route because, they want to sell their games to a wide audience. The same game themed as a space exploration  game will probably end up selling more. 

OK, here I go with mine...

The year is 2848, and the powerful empires of old have had a resurgence. Wars and conflicts on Earth have spread to the nearby exoplanets. Empires of old have reclaimed their lands, and now seek to claim the stars by both conquering planets and discovering new ones. In this space-exploration game, players take the role of a futuristic empire based on its historical achievements, military, and other accomplishments. These aspects of each empire have been modernized to reflect the high-tech world of the year 2848.

There will be two boards: one of Earth in the year 2848, and a modular board (randomly set up) for space exploration. Each empire has a hyperporter at its capital which transmits their ship to one of the far reaches of the modular map. Each hyperporter has its limits, and can only teleport a ship so far, but this was the best way determined by the Empires so that each government could start in its own fresh corner of space, rather than follow and fight each other the entire time. That way, everyone is on equal footing.

Each empire has a unique faction ability that relates to its ancient attributes (of course, modded to work in a futuristic environment). All players start on their empire's starting country on Earth. At the start of each game and each subsequent round, players draft a hand of 7 cards. Card types include combat, science, arts, and missions. Depending on the draft, players may opt for a more militaristic round, fighting to claim more of Earth's precious space, launch into space (via hyperporter) to begin exploring, develop new scientific advancements, or gain points and upgrades for completing missions.

Players control both their Earth empire and their conquesting ships. Players must focus on both their Earthly empire as well as their interstellar vessels or risk being attacked at one front or the other.

When exploring a space location tile, flip it over and add resources (if applicable). Empty space have no bonuses, but are good places to construct waypoint stations for easier travel. Some space hazards exist, such as unknown alien ambushes, meteor showers, and old space mines from a long forgotten battle.

If a planet is discovered, it is possible to colonize. There are two options for colonization: 

1. Send down a scouting party  to check for dangers and/or habitability, or

2. Deploy a landing craft and hope for the best.

Scouting is advised when no other players are nearby. However, sometimes you must risk the safety of your people in order to be the first ones planetside to stake your claim. Of course, others can also land on your planet on a different continent (if it has more than one), but the first player to land always gets a bonus.

If a second player wants to colonize a world that is already occupied, they may do one of two things:

1) Negotiate with the occupying player for safe passage. Trade what you will as agreed upon by the other player. The initial trade is binding, but promises of future actions are not.

2) Arial bombardment. Weaken the pre-existing colony by bombarding their continent. Roll for damages. The higher the damage, the more resources and player units are destroyed. There is no real reason not to bombard a planet (if you can afford the resources to do so), other than it takes an action and if no one has revealed the opposing player's upgrades, it may be a waste of time and resources since they may not have anti-enemy weapons in place.

3) Just land anyway. There's always a risk the already-settled player has installed upgrades like turrets to deal with pesky intruders. These upgrades are secret until used, after which they remain faceup in front of the player.

When moving into the same space space (space space?) as another player you may take another action to initiate combat. Combat is resolved by playing combat cards, plus or minus any upgrades or damages. The attacker wins all ties.

Missions have players looking for specific things, including planets and resources, or building a certain amount of something, such as waypoint stations.

Alliances can be forged with other players as well. Again, the initial trade to establish thee alliance is binding; all future promises are not.