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Renowned for its playability and appealing design, this board game developed a devoted fan base before going out of print in the late 1990s. Players travel through the solar system acquiring properties, charging rent, and building fuel stations within individual planetary systems. It seems almost impossible to fall over in a game store without knocking over a few dozen sci-fi themed games, so we wanted to take a look at the ten best examples of the genre. It is a rare thing to find a game that is not only a ton of fun, but also quietly educational. The basic idea is that you’re zooming around the solar system buying up every major rock (mostly moons) you can find. While the basic game-play is, well, pretty basic, it adds a layer or two to the well-worn Monopoly formula.

Zac Bentz is a regular contributor to the Japanese culture blog Japanator, runs his own Japanese music review blog ZB’s A-Z of J-Music and plays crazy electro-rock in The Surfactants.
Patterned after Monopoly, the game replaces pewter tokens with rocketships and hotels with metallic fuel stations. The player who builds the greatest financial empire and survives the perils of space travel to become the last player on the board wins the game, according to the 1986 Solarquest rules. Built on Monopoly’s core mechanics, Solarquest adds a bit of depth as well as a lot of polish and eye candy to the otherwise dry franchise.
Instead of moving in a fixed path, players may choose to orbit around the home planets for as long as they wish, building up fuel and cash. Solarquest has attracted a renewed following in recent years due to its availability on eBay and other auction sites.

Once a player has bought up a planet’s surrounding moons they essentially have a monopoly and gain more money for rent and fuel when another player lands there.
They seek to knock their opponents out of the game through a combination of bankruptcy, laser blasts, and dwindling fuel supplies. There are also special rules to allow cutthroat laser battles that are sure to end friendships and destroy marriages. Sure, it may be a little dry, and some of the information may be, well, wrong, but it certainly makes the few long hours it takes to finish a game much more tolerable.

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