Best Star Trek board games 2023

It's board games, but not was we know it - here are the best Star Trek board games worth the time of any Trekkie tabletop gaming fan.

Three Star Trek board games

The best Star Trek board games translate the most beloved features of the sci-fi series into some truly excellent tabletop gaming. Starships, space exploration, and more than a few brushes with Klingons are their bread and butter. If you’re a Trekkie looking to boldly go where you’ve never gone before, we’ve got plenty of tabletop titles to recommend.

Below you’ll find an in-depth look at the best Star Trek board games out there. The best board games in this genre cover a variety of genres, playstyles, and complexity levels – so there’s a space board game out there for everyone.

These are the best Star Trek board games:

Star Trek Ascendancy, one of the best Star Trek board games

Star Trek: Ascendancy

Most thematic Star Trek board game

Player count 3
Game length 3 hours
Complexity 3/5

Pros:

  • Highly thematic
  • Great exploration mechanics

Cons:

  • Lots of downtime
  • Some balance issues

Star: Trek Ascendancy is a highly thematic strategy board game that captures the grand feeling of space exploration. In the core game, you’ll take charge of the United Federation of Planets, the Klingon Empire, or the Romulan Star Empire, and it’s up to you to expand your civilization. Ascendancy shares a lot of DNA with 4x games, allowing you to explore, build, battle, and negotiate your way across the galaxy.

Few games are quite as thematic as Ascendancy. If spending several hours pondering the progress of your chosen empire sounds like fun, we can’t recommend this title enough. Space exploration is a particular highlight, with Ascendancy’s modular board making each newly discovered planet feel fresh and exciting. Each player race has unique abilities that also provide plenty of replay value.

It’s not all grand in this strategy game, though. Star Trek: Ascendancy has a real problem with bloated player downtime – as well as balance.

Where exploration mechanics feel well-crafted and complex, others (like combat) feel underwhelming in comparison. Plus, a reliance on randomness makes it hard to topple a player with an early lead, and a harsh random event can completely destroy your carefully-crafted plans. As Jean-Luc Picard once said: “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose”. 

Star Trek: Five-Year Mission, one of the best Star Trek board games

Star Trek: Five-Year Mission

Best simple Star Trek board game

Player count 3 – 7
Game length 30-45 minutes
Complexity 1/5

Pros:

  • Easy to learn
  • Fast-paced fun

Cons:

  • Heavily luck-based
  • Not the most thematic

Star Trek: Five-Year Mission is for lovers of quick, punchy co-op board games. Three to seven players take control of the USS Enterprise or the USS Enterprise-D and must work together to address alerts of varying levels of difficulty. This is a dice game where you’ll need to combine different numbers and colors to complete a mission – think Yahtzee with more starships involved.

Five-Year Mission is incredibly easy to learn, and it can be played in under an hour. It’s an excellent family board game for Star Trek fans of all ages. Despite its simplicity, the core gameplay can be addictive, making it the perfect game to squeeze in if you haven’t got a whole day to play.

This simplicity will be off-putting for some, though. Beyond the basic dice placement mechanics, there’s not much that really makes Star Trek: Five-Year Mission stand out. And there’s nothing that really makes the game feel like Star Trek – there’s a big disconnect between theme and gameplay here. 

Star Trek Catan, one of the best Star Trek board games

Star Trek: Catan

Best middle-weight Star Trek board game

Player count 3 – 4
Game length 1.25 hours
Complexity 2/5

Pros:

  • Classic gameplay remains engaging
  • Support cards improve core game

Cons:

  • No longer widely available
  • Overshadowed by Catan: Starfarers

Catan is a classic board game for a reason, and Star Trek: Catan is every bit as good as the original eurogame. You’re still collecting and trading resources, and you’re still building as many settlements as possible to score points. The main difference is you’re now dealing with starships, transporting you to undiscovered planets.

There’s also one other major difference between Catan and Star Trek: Catan. The Trekkie version includes Support cards that feature an iconic Star Trek character, as well as a unique in-game ability. These are balanced to give players disadvantaged by turn order an extra edge, so early players are less likely to run away with a sure victory.

If you love both Catan and Star Trek, this is a must-have (if you can manage to find a copy second-hand). However, it’s worth mentioning that other space board game in the Catan series. Catan: Starfarers is arguably the stronger game overall – so if you’re prepared to give up the Star Trek theme, this might be a better buy instead. 

Star Trek: Frontiers, one of the best Star Trek board games

Star Trek: Frontiers

Best complex Star Trek board game

Player count 1 – 4
Game length 1 – 4 hours
Complexity 4/5

Pros:

  • Excellent strategic gameplay
  • Highly replayable

Cons:

  • High complexity may be off-putting
  • Theme doesn’t quite hold up

Star Trek: Frontiers is a reskin of one of the best board games out there – the massive deck-building dungeon crawler, Mage Knight. Several mechanics have been tweaked, and it’s been given a new, space-y theme, but the two games have a lot in common.

This is a high-complexity game that you can expect to last multiple hours. It’s a little more forgiving than its fantasy board game sibling, but the challenge of optimizing your turns (and your deck of cards) is still part of the delicious core experience. You’ll need to explore the galaxy, choose between combat or negotiation, and manage your reputation and recruits – meaning no turn can be wasted in a scenario.

The application of a new theme is mostly successful, but it does feel a little too focused on violent combat for a Star Trek board game. But if you can forgive this, and you don’t mind a heavy session of rulebook reading, you’ll find a lot to love in Star Trek: Frontiers.

For more space adventures, check out the best Star Wars board games. Or, for another tabletop encounter entirely, here are the best tabletop RPGs to set your space operas in.