10 Great Sci-Fi Board Games


Android Netrunner

Cyberpunk shenanigans... Fantasy Flight Games

Interstellar drama makes for great board game fluff, but a lot of great science fiction is purely terrestrial. Just consider the cyberpunk genre, typified by such properties as William Gibson's "Neuromancer" and the "Matrix" trilogy. You know the deal: brooding hacker-types rip and run all over cyberspace, generally drawing the ire of powerful AIs and villainous corporations.

And so, in 1996, William Garfield and Lukas Litzsinger unleashed the world of Netrunner on the world. While originally a collectable card game like Garfield's cash cow "Magic: The Gathering," 2012's "Android: Netrunner" utilizes Fantasy Flight's "Living Card Game" system, in which regular expansion packs add continued variety to fluff and mechanics alike.

When it comes to cyberpunk flavoring, "Android: Netrunner" is fairly boilerplate. One player controls a white hat hacker known as a "runner," while the other plays one of several soul-crushing corporations. Cards fly as the corporation seeks to secure its interests, the runner tries to hack it and both sides try to undermine their opponent.

But there's something about the complexity of a good card game that meshes so well with Cyberpunk, with card interactions mimicking the labyrinthine ecosystem of programs and systems in the virtual realm.


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.