10 Great Sci-Fi Board Games

Neuroshima Hex

The future is dark... and hexagonal. Image via Portal Games

Much like cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic sci-fi tends to focus on Earth-bound dystopias rather than conflict in space. As such, the future depicted in the polish board game "Neuroshima Hex" is one of decimated cities and robotic armies, of rampaging mutants and human war bands. Each player picks an army, each with its own special tactics, and then sets out to crush its enemies.

This might not sound very exciting at first. Long-winded war games are everywhere and who needs another miniature-crowded map on the dining room table? That's where "Neuroshima Hex" differentiates itself: confining all action to a 19-tile hexagonal board no larger than a dinner plate. What's more, the average two-person battle tends to run 20-30 minutes -- far easier to fit in your day than 1985's "World in Flames" and its much-touted 6000-minute playtime.

Each player begins with a single hexagonal headquarters tile in play and subsequently deploys tiles from his or her hand representing military units in that given army. So if you're playing Moloch, you send out killer robots with high-power ranged weapons. The Neo Jungle, on the other hand, will deploy interconnected tiles of mutated vegetation. Game play continues until only one headquarters remain or the players run out of unit tiles in their army.

Originally published in 2006 by Poland's Portal Games, "Neuroshima Hex" is now available via a number of international publishers -- including Z-Man Games in the US. Given its small game board and streamlined design, it even works well on a smart phone in the form of Big Daddy Creations' app version.

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.