Component Game Systems came out with a number of component game systems that used the same sort-of-collectible approach (a roughly similar game is Space Race). Besides Babylon 5, there was Hercules, Xena, and Star Trek. The Babylon 5 game was apparently derived from the unpublished Galactic Empires board game, based on the CCG of the same name --Companion Games (Galactic Empires' publisher) became Component Game Systems in the process.

The basic idea is that each player need only buy his part of the game, representing in this case a specific political entity from the Babylon 5 universe. Players sit down at the same table and put their components in common to have a game. Pretty cool.

In the Babylon 5 game, you take control of a certain faction which is trying to gain power in the galaxy. You play the role of an ambassador on board Babylon 5. You explore the vast stretches of space, lead huge fleets into battle, and control the economy of your faction. There are several ways to achieve victory ranging from economic growth to all out militaristic control of the universe. Diplomacy is not to be neglected either, as the more powerful game changes are brought up in Babylon 5 council vote to be decided.

You construct your playing 'board' using hexagonal shaped pieces that come with the game. The various pieces are
different and can represent a multitude of things so that the game is different every time you play. In addition to the board and the ships that move on it, there are cards. Players may buy cards allowing special actions above and beyond the normal game, like an extra move or more EPs. You can create decks for each player as per CCGs, or you can just draw from a common deck after handing out the empire specific cards.

Using your faction's wealth and resources you play the game and explore the map. You search for planets to colonize and possibly conquer. Use your fleets to engage in battles and use characters to assist you in reaching your faction's goals. The choices are yours and will decide if your faction is successful.

The game does a very good job of recreating the B5 universe, with play action matching pretty closely the series' happenings. In terms of mechanics, it is similar to Twilight Imperium and Les Cochons de l'espace.

There are two core sets, although CGS initially intended five (one for each of the show's seasons). They are the 2258 and 2259 Core Sets. The first was published in two formats, the 1997 first printing (Limited Edition; CB5-101) using a smaller, unimpressive box (they were in a hurry to get it to the store shelves by Christmas of that year), whilst the 1998 second printing (CB5-001) came in a beautiful large box (allowing room for the storage of extra sets) labeled as "Babylon 5: The Board Game". The 2259 Core Set (CB5-102) was only published in the big box format. The core sets include the Earth Alliance, Narn Regime, Centauri Republic and Minbari factions, which were each available separately (although the core sets include some extra cards and stuff beyond the combination of the four individual Starter Kits). There is supposedly enough difference between the 2258 and 2259 core sets to warrant buying both, although I haven't received my 2259 set yet so I can't be sure.

Component Game Systems has now disappeared from the face of the earth, and even their domain name (www.c-g-s.com) has been recycled by some unrelated outfit.

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Babylon 5 Component Game System: Core Sets

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