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Top 10 Star Trek Board Games

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Some intellectual properties really suffer for a lack of good board games. Fans of Transformers, G.I. Joe, and others have often been starved of good board games for their favorite franchises (at least until recently). One that has not had that problem, however, is Star Trek. It has a long and varied history with board games of varying qualities going back decades, almost to the Original Series’s initial run. I’m always game to try a Star Trek game, so when it is offered I rarely refuse. These are some of my favorites. Honorable mention goes to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Interactive VCR Board Game and the unmatched Robert O’Reilly (especially his Gowron eyes). No offense, Chancellor, but there just wasn’t room for you on the list!

Top 10 Star Trek Board Games

Dishonorable Top’a Award:
Star Trek: The Next Generation Game of the Galaxies

Star Trek Game of GalaxiesBefore getting to the top 10, I would like to bestow this prestigious award on what is quite possibly the weirdest Star Trek-themed game ever created, and I use the word “theme” lightly. Very lightly. You roam throughout the galaxies (yes, plural) attempting to make peace between… I am not entirely sure. Some unnamed aliens that are fighting. You collect dilithium that gives random bonuses or penalties and… yeah, I never quite figured out how it was supposed to go. The rules aren’t exactly clear. But hey, the Enterprise-D on the box cover looks great!

2-6 Players • Ages 8+ • 60 minutes

 

 

10. Star Trek Deck-Building Game

Star Trek Deck Building GameThe Star Trek take on a deck-building game came early on in the days of the genre, just a few years after Dominion. It doesn’t do a whole lot to innovate, and has some wonky rules which the later expansions corrected, but to date, it is the only deck-building game to tackle Star Trek. It isn’t without merit, however, as it does have scenarios that switch the game up from the Infection scenario covering the wide range of alien diseases from the Original Series to the Klingon Civil War from The Next Generation. The highlights to me are the Borg scenarios, based on Best of Both Worlds and First Contact. They are pretty brutal, but feel accurate to the source material and are very rewarding when you beat them. There were originally plans to do sets based on each series, but it was canceled early on, which is a recurring theme on this list…

2-5 Players • Ages 13+ • 60-90 minutes • $29Get Your Copy

 

 

9. Star Trek: The Next Generation Collectible Dice Game

Star Trek Collectible Dice GameIn the 90s, collectible card games were all the rage as everyone and their mother tried to capitalize on the success of Magic: The Gathering (more on that later!). A few games, like Dragon Dice did a twist on that collectible formula. The Star Trek take on it was a collectible dice game themed around the second Next Generation movie, Star Trek: First Contact. It was a two-player tactical ship combat game, ostensibly. The dice represented the ship systems (and some personnel) of the Enterprise-E and the Borg Sphere from the film. Some dice were for propulsion and let you execute maneuvers to get around your opponent. Some were Shields that rolled down as you took damage. Some were weapons. All required power that you had to allocate (but could become a scarcer resource as you took damage!). Trying to guess your opponent’s plan when deciding on your power allocation every turn was a pretty interesting aspect. There were some pretty rare expansions featuring Klingon and Romulan ships, as well as the Enterprise-D, but they were difficult to find because, like many games of the era, this collectible dice game flamed out quickly. It could have used more polish and streamlining, but in many ways, it was a game ahead of its time.

2 Players • Ages 10+ • 45 minutes

 

 

8. Star Trek: Discovery – Black Alert

Star Trek: Black AlertAs a Star Trek fan, the current era (featuring Paramount+’s new shows) is a great time to be alive. The downside has been, the new shows have not been adapted to games for the most part… yet! The first entirely based on one of the new shows that I am aware of is this game based on the first season of Star Trek: Discovery and its Mirror Universe arc. One team is the Federation, trying to get home to their universe, and the other is the evil Terran Empire, bent on conquest at all costs.

2-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60 minutes • $50Get Your Copy

 

 

7. Star Trek: Expeditions

Star Trek ExpeditionsSince Star Trek is such a broad franchise, there are a lot of ways to approach it: space combat, an away mission, galactic politics, etc. Of the different ways to approach a game, Star Trek: Expeditions comes the closest to nailing the feel of an Original Series episode. Based on the Kelvin Timeline version of the crew, you are cooperatively working to solve three different issues on the planet, and do so before the Klingons arrive to take over. Each character from the Original Series’s main cast is represented if you get the expansion, and each one can bring something different to the game’s puzzle. The Clix dials that it uses for the Enterprise and the characters are a little wonky, and the game suffers a little from limited options (WizKids dropped it very quickly), but what is here is a very solid cooperative game that feels like Star Trek. Every top 10 needs a Reiner Knizia entry anyway, right?

1-4 Players • Ages 14+ • 60 minutes • $60Get Your Copy

 

 

6. Star Trek: Super-Skill Pinball

Star Trek Super-Skill PinballThis is perhaps the most unique entry on the list. Whenever you slap an IP onto pinball, it sounds like it will be really cheesy. However, like Sonic and Metroid Prime before it, Star Trek-themed pinball is actually great and not too gimmicky! The use of dice gives it a nice, random feel of a real game of pinball and the Star Trek-theming feels both accurate and cute. It comes with four different boards that switch the game up each in its own way. Most notably, one of the boards features the Lower Decks crew of the U.S.S. Cerritos. One of the few appearances of a new Star Trek show on this list! Overall, it is a really unique game that’s fun to play again and again.

1-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 45 minutes • $23Get Your Copy

 

 

5. Star Trek Catan

Star Trek CatanThis one feels like cheating a little bit, because… well, it’s Catan! Of course, it is great. But this isn’t just Catan… it’s Catan with Klingons! And starbases! And Enterprises! Catan is probably a game that most people have made up their minds about, and having Star Trek theming on it isn’t likely to change one’s mind. Either you like it or you don’t. There’s something really fun about seeing the Star Trek theme on it though, and the aesthetic choice of the refit Enterprise and the Maroon Monster uniforms is something I enjoy enough to put this one in the top half of the list.

3-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 75 minutes

 

 

4. Star Trek: Ascendancy

Star Trek: AscendancySome might be aghast that I don’t put Ascendancy higher on this list, and that’s fair. It is an expansive game, and perhaps the only one to capture the full galactic feel of Star Trek. No game is quite like it. It has politics, it has space battles, it has technological advances.  You name it, and it is represented in some form in the game. In particular, the board set up is a really interesting way to tackle the galaxy and gives the game a unique look. It is a marathon to get through, though, and the rules at times feel like a work in progress. That doesn’t really diminish the game too much, but for me it puts it a bit behind the games on top of the list.

3 Players • Ages 14+ • 180 minutes • $80Get Your Copy

 

 

3. Star Trek: Away Missions

Star Trek Away MissionsThe newest entry on this list feels like an instant hit. A miniatures game could have ended up just being a shoot-out, which would not have felt very much like Star Trek. The way the missions are implemented here though, sometimes combat isn’t even the right answer to achieve your objectives (unless you’re the Klingons, of course). It is still early-going on this game, and so far the expansions have only added additional team options. The possibilities for expansion, though are wide open, so this game could end up as the definitive take on the away-teams aspect of the franchise.

2 Players • Ages 14+ • 60-90 minutes • $48Get Your Copy

 

 

2. Star Trek Customizable Card Game

Star Trek Customizable Card GameFrom the newest entry to the oldest. Dating from 1994 at the beginning of the CCG craze of the 90s, the Star Trek CCG was originally published by Decipher, who also made the popular Star Wars CCG. Unlike many attempts to cash in on Magic’s popularity, the Star Trek CCG felt different enough to justify its existence. The core gameplay consisted of completing missions and overcoming obstacles to score points, though combat (both personal and ship-to-ship) was also possible. It proved to be one of the longest-running non-Magic CCGs, with over 20 main sets and many ancillary products released over 13 years until its cancellation in 2007. World championships continue to be held today, and the gameplay has aged very well.

2 Players • Ages 10+ • 45 minutes • $7Get Your Copy

 

 

1. Star Trek: Attack Wing

Star Trek: Attack WingThis is not only my most-played Star Trek game, it is my most-played game overall, and by a mile. It has gameplay that I’ve always loved— both the list-building and the maneuvering during the game. It owes a lot to X-Wing, the origin of many of its basic mechanics, but the Star Trek theming and elements are what make it good. A big cornerstone of that appeal comes from the missions included with nearly every release: unique scenarios that mostly elevate it to more than just a dogfight. Cranking that up is the off-shoot, Star Trek: Alliance, which is a cooperative campaign that has “AI” rules for you to fight against. The game has been out over 10 years now and has myriad expansions, touching on most aspects of the pre-Discovery parts of the franchise. If there’s one criticism, it is that there is nothing (yet) based on any content released after 2009. That’s a small criticism though, when there are miniatures for ships like the Hirogen, the Vidiians, and even the Gorn. The variety is huge, and naming it my top Star Trek game was an easy choice. Plus, the 8″ Borg Cube “miniatures” are truly a sight to behold.

2-6 Players • Ages 14+ • 60 minutes • $40Get Your Copy

 

 

5 COMMENTS

  1. I think Fleet captains doesnt hold up to modern Game Design. It has a lot of promise, but ultimately fails. It is just too random, clonky and in the end just a points Race and Not an epic Exploration of the galaxy.

    I would have expected Star trek frontiers to appear in this list, since it is bases on the beloved mager Knight system. I think it is well designed, but no fun at all just like MK.

    I am surprised to find the ccg Ranking that high. I used to own a lot of it. Loves the stills. But Even back in 1994 we knew it was Not a good or Balanced Game. E.g. Genetronic replicator, Red alert and the Qs tent System were Game breaking. I have played 20 or so ccgs and it is by far the worst. Even most players I played with agreed. We played it only because of the Theme.

    I am curious: why Do you think it is fun?

  2. Fleet Captains is basically star trek in a box and the only star trek game I’ve played where the theme shines through and feels likecstar trek. Frontiers is just MK with a space theme, could have been Buck Rodgers, wouldn’t have changed the game much at all. It certainly doesn’t give me that Star Trek vibe a game should if it’s using a beloved IP. Just my 2 cents….

  3. While not REALLY a Star Trek game (directly) Starship Captains is a lot of fun. Although after playing it, it thematically feels a bit more like The Orville. I’d play that over anything on this list, TBH.

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