Sun Day is celebrated annually on May 3rd - and has been since 2007. But be careful: United Nations Sun Day is not to be confused with the North Korean national holiday of the same name. However, the sun - or suns - hang high in the sky, far away. They bring life to people and at the same time they are a possibility of low-emission energy supply. Board gamers are also off to space: We present five good board games in space.

The sun has many billions of years under its belt and doesn't seem a bit tired. The star provides light and energy to Earth, and stands still while our blue planet orbits it once every 365 days. The center of our solar system is science and myth at the same time – the star that is closest to earth floats deep in space. It's time for board gamers to venture into the great outdoors. In the following we present five recommended board games for high demands, in which everything revolves around foreign galaxies.

Twilight imperium

Twilight Empire 1
Twilight Imperium is available in German via Asmodee. Image: Publisher

Twilight Imperium is the prototype for what is called "a thick board" in the board game scene. Enormously complex, at least bulky, often far too long, but exciting to the end. Twilight Imperium is a phenomenon in the board game sector and a title that can destroy friendships. The idea of ​​the authors Dane Beltrami, Corey Konieczka and Christian T. Petersen builds on the well-known and popular 4X concept: It's about exploration, exploration, development and conquest - and it's competitive, but at the same time not without alliances.

Twilight Imperium is considered a prime example of an outstanding board game. It is not without reason that the title has meanwhile reached a fourth edition, which is distributed in German via Asmodee. Three to six players steer the fate of a faction selected at the beginning and unique in terms of their abilities. From then on, it's up to the players to come up with the cleverest possible strategy in order to emerge victorious from the game. The goal is comparatively simple: you have to collect ten points. With Twilight Imperium, there is no doubt that the journey is the reward. The strategic 4X board game is full of decisions until the finale. It follows directly from this: No two games are identical - the processes differ at least in detail, even if you try to play with always the same cast and always the same factions.

The material is plentiful, as are the tactical possibilities. Quite a few experts consider Twilight Imperium, which was originally published via Fantasy Flight Games, to be the perfect board game. Some players find a shortcoming is the sometimes overly long playing time, which can sometimes significantly exceed the specified maximum length of 480 minutes. However, if you've made a fool of Twilight Imperium, this title is one of the best, if not the best, space-themed board games.

If the basic equipment is not enough for you: In the meantime, there is an expansion of around 90 euros with Prophecy of the Kings, which makes the board game playable with up to eight players. If you don't know what to do with Twilight Imperium and need a comparison: It's a kind of "Master of Orion" for the board game table - violent, bulky, difficult, unrelenting, frustrating, and still outstanding.

Twilight Imperium is recommended for 3 to 6 (8) people aged 14 and over and has a playing time of 240 to 480 minutes.

Eclipse - The Second Galactic Age

Eclipse 2
Eclipse - The Second Galactic Age is a 4X board game distributed in Germany by Pegasus Games. Image: Publisher

In this 4-pound, 8X expert game, players take on the roles of leaders of vast interstellar civilizations and try to gain dominance in the galaxy over 8 rounds. In each round, one's own civilization can be enlarged by exploring and colonizing new space sectors, researching new technologies and expanding one's own space fleet. Victory goes to the person who has accumulated the most points after XNUMX turns through won battles, diplomatic alliances, control of sectors and monoliths, discoveries and technological achievements.

The contents of the box alone show that the game is not suitable for a short family game night. Among other things, 149 miniatures, 210 game pieces and over 570 tiles fill the box. Compared to these big numbers, a round is "only" divided into four phases. At the beginning of each round is the action phase. Here one of the six possible actions is chosen in turn until everyone has passed. The actions are Explore, Build, Research, Move, Upgrade, and Affect. If you have passed, you can carry out reactions later in the action phase. These are watered-down versions of three of the available actions. In the battle phase, battles are resolved and sectors conquered. 

Battles occur when there are ships of one person and markers and/or ships of another person or neutral ships in a sector. After the combat phase, the maintenance costs must be paid. In addition, materials and research are produced. If a person cannot cover their upkeep by trading or giving up sectors either, they are eliminated from the game. In the last phase of a round, clean-up and preparation actions are carried out.

Eclipse is recommended for 2 to 6 people aged 12 and over and has a playing time of 60 to 120 minutes.

Pulsar 2849

Pulsar 2849
Pulsar means play in the year 2849. Image: publisher

As the title suggests, the players in this game are in the year 2849. Mankind has learned to harness the energy of pulsars. It is now up to the player to harness this energy and explore space, claim pulsars and develop technologies that will help them build an energy infrastructure on a cosmic scale. In the eight rounds, in which the players have a maximum of 3 dice per round, it is important to deal with these limited actions as efficiently as possible.

Each of the eight rounds begins with the throwing of the dice. These are grouped by their eyes and then a marker is placed on the median. The distance from the median determines how high the "cost" for the dice with a certain number is. Alternately, the drafting of the dice begins. Depending on the distance to the median marker, one's own markers must be moved forwards or backwards on the initiative or technology track. Before the next person chooses a die, the median marker is adjusted. In the action phase that follows the dice phase, the players can now use their chosen dice to carry out actions that require the corresponding values.

For example, you can fly with your own spaceship. New planetary systems are discovered that bring bonuses, or pulsars can be claimed. These can be expanded in two stages in different sizes by means of a further action. Other actions allow you to build transmitter structures, patent technologies or use actions on your private headquarters. In the production phase that concludes the round, the new turn order is determined, among other things, and there are points for finished structures.

The game ends after eight rounds. Whoever has the most points wins the game.

The dice drafting/dice placement game Pulsar 2849 is recommended for 2 to 4 players aged 14 and over. A game lasts about 90 minutes.

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Beyond the Sun.

Beyond the Sun.
Beyond the Sun is available localized from Strohmann Games. Image: Publisher

The search for a new habitat for humanity and its exploration and colonization is a popular theme for board games. Here it can go under water, on Mars, or out of the solar system like in Beyond the Sun. Earth is just a dying planet in the 23rd century. In a joint effort, humanity has managed to develop technologies with which they can travel out of the solar system. The factions on Earth have put their differences aside to secure the future of humanity. As leaders of these factions, it is now up to the players to find a new home among the dozens of planetary systems. All vying to become the dominant faction in the new age.

The complexity of this upscale connoisseur's game does not lie in a huge set of rules, but is more evident in the diverse possibilities that exist for your own development. In the first step of your turn, you move the action piece on the central technology board to an action space and carry out the associated action. These actions must of course be researched beforehand. In the second production phase, you choose between population growth, ore production and resource trading. At the end of the turn, an achievement can then be claimed. Then it is the next player's turn. This continues until there are a total of four achievement markers on the achievement cards. Then the end of the game is triggered. In the end, the faction with the most victory points wins. The possibilities in the action phase are diverse and can be adjusted as desired depending on the expansion of your own tech tree.

Beyond the sun is published by Strohmann Games. It is recommended for 2 to 4 people aged 12 and over and lasts between 90 and 120 minutes.


Cryo is about drama in space. Image: Publisher

In Cryo, a spaceship has crashed on a frozen planet after an anonymous act of sabotage. In this engine builder and worker placement game, the players take on the role of enemy groups of this spaceship, fighting for survival on the hostile planet and for control of the underground cave network. The caves are the only place where survival will be possible after sunset. Drones are sent out and resources are collected, your own platform is upgraded and as many followers of your own crew are brought to safety in the caves.

In your turn you can choose from two possible actions. Either you send out a drone or all your own drones are recalled. Various docks on the ship parts of the crashed spaceship are available for sending out the drones. In addition to resource tiles, which can also be used to improve your own station, there is the option of salvaging your own crew capsules or exchanging resources for actions or other resources in various combinations. Additionally, drones can also be sent out to transport crew pods previously placed on vehicles into the caves.

If you call back all drones instead, you receive the resources of any crew capsules that may have been sent out, resolve an incident and then place the drones back on your own platform. Depending on the dock on which the drones land, there are bonuses placed there beforehand. The game ends when the Sunset Incident tile has been resolved. Then the players get points for rescued crew capsules in caves, cave majorities, upgrades and vehicles of their own platform and for mission cards. The person with the most points wins.

Cryo is an accessible connoisseur game for 1 to 4 players and recommended for ages 13+. A game lasts about 60 minutes

Last updated on 8.02.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API