The best Star Wars board games - essential picks from a galaxy far, far away

Star Wars board games
(Image credit: Fantasy Flight)

Because it's one of the most popular franchises in the known universe, you might not be surprised to hear that there's no shortage of Star Wars board games. In fact, you can choose from cheap novelty distractions to all-singing, all-dancing RPGs that challenge you with taking down the Empire as a member of the Rebel Alliance. 

However, what you might not expect is how darn good some of these Star Wars board games are. These aren't simple cash-grabs - many have a shot at being the best board games overall. In fact, you could even say that they'll make a fine addition to your collection (ahem). To give you an idea of what to prioritize, we've been busy rounding up the very best games for you to check out here. 

There's no need to spend all your credits on these Star Wars board games either. We've enlisted the help of our bargain-hunting software, and it's the Boba Fett of discounts - no matter the hour, it won't stop until it's found you a decent reduction. Happily, there should be plenty of offers to choose from over the next few weeks; the Black Friday board game deals are here, and they're often some of the best Black Friday gaming deals overall.

Wondering how we decide what makes the cut for this list of the best Star Wars board games? We only include items that our writers and freelancers have spent a decent amount of hands-on time with, so you'll never find us recommending something we don't believe in.

Star Wars board games - top 5

Star Wars: Imperial Assault board close-up

(Image credit: Future)

1. Star Wars: Imperial Assault

The best Star Wars RPG board game

Specifications

Players: 1 - 5
Ages: 14+
Difficulty: Moderate
Lasts: 1 - 2 hrs

Reasons to buy

+
Story campaign with numerous side-missions
+
Dungeon Master-esque setup for the Empire
+
Upgradeable characters

Reasons to avoid

-
Takes a long time to set up

Adventure board games have exploded in popularity over the past few years thanks to a certain RPG called Gloomhaven, but Imperial Assault was singing the same tune long before that. Having launched back in 2014, this Star Wars story puts you in charge of Rebel heroes or villainous Empire troops following the events of A New Hope. And while its upgradeable characters will feel familiar, it stands out thanks to mechanics that allow the Imperial player to act like a Dungeon Master from the best Dungeons and Dragons books.

That's because they're in control of each scenario. Broadly speaking, anyway. From setup to game-end, team Empire is responsible for controlling all enemies, narrating the plot, and deploying any twists that come up during each mission. However, this doesn't give them too unfair an advantage. Despite being undeniably powerful, Imperial units can't hold a candle to the Rebellion's best and brightest. This hardened team will make short work of the average Storm Trooper, and our playtest featured a wookie warrior that was able to carve through their ranks like butter (all while shrugging off blaster fire like a furry Terminator).

This results in one of the better cooperative board games on the list. Unexpected obstacles (such as sudden reinforcements or a gun emplacement behind a locked door) force you to strategize on the fly, and that pulls you into the story by the scruff of your neck. Equally, being able to improve your character between matches keeps you in the thick of it. This is an easy one to become invested in, so we'd definitely recommend it if you're up for something substantial.

Spot It! The Mandalorian product shot

(Image credit: Asmodee)

2. Spot It! The Mandalorian

The best cheap Star Wars board game

Specifications

Players: 2 - 8
Ages: 6+
Difficulty: Easy
Lasts: 15 mins

Reasons to buy

+
Short
+
Fast-paced
+
Suitable for all ages

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get repetitive

If you're in need of a Star Wars board game for younglings, Spot It (or Dobble, if you're based in the UK) should be at the top of your wishlist. Basically, it's a more complex version of Snap; you have to match pictures before anyone else can. However, these pictures aren't limited to colors or symbols - they're adorable, chibi-style Mandalorian cartoons instead.

Just don't be put off by the game's simplicity. Even though the rules are straightforward, it's not as easy as it sounds. That's because the illustrations are mixed up on each card, and they also come in varying sizes. This makes it satisfyingly challenging to find a match. In fact, there's nothing better than getting the answer a split-second ahead of your rivals.

Spot It! The Mandalorian is versatile, too. Alongside multiple game modes to keep things fresh, it's easily thrown into a rucksack or pocket thanks to its small carry case. Indeed, we usually have a copy with us to play in the airport departure lounge if we're heading on vacation; it doesn't need a lot of space. As such, it's the perfect distraction (particularly if you want board games for kids) when you're out and about.

Star Wars: Jabba's Palace - A Love Letter Game cards, counters, and case

(Image credit: Future)

3. Jabba's Palace - A Love Letter Game

The best quick Star Wars board game

Specifications

Players: 2 - 6
Ages: 10+
Difficulty: Easy
Lasts: 20 mins

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to understand
+
Multiple replayable objectives
+
Comes in a velvet bag

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't combine story with mechanics like the original 

Looking for something more lighthearted? Love Letter is already an excellent board game for 2 players, so sprinkling a Star Wars theme over the top makes this rework ideal for fans of a galaxy far, far away. Although it puts a sci-fi spin on the formula, Jabba's Palace keeps hold of the mechanics that make its predecessor such a classic.

Whereas the original challenges you with getting your love letter to the princess (its cards represent the person carrying your note), Jabba's Palace is set during Return of the Jedi and features multiple objectives. Known as 'Agendas', these range from a Han Solo rescue attempt to last-person-standing dust-ups. However, the mechanics remain identical - you're aiming to knock other players out while staying active for as long as possible. It's quick, intuitive, and self-explanatory enough that you can get into the swing of things fast. During our sessions, newcomers were strategizing and playing the odds in under five minutes.

Sure, Love Letter isn't about grand tactics or an immersive atmosphere. But in terms of easy-going board games for families, this Jabba's Palace reskin is a good choice. Plus, it's very portable; everything's contained within a pocket-sized velvet bag, allowing you to game on the go without any trouble. 

Star Wars: Outer Rim product shot

(Image credit: Fantasy Flight)

4. Star Wars: Outer Rim

The best Star Wars adventure board game

Specifications

Players: 1 - 4
Ages: 14+
Difficulty: Moderate
Lasts: 1 - 3 hrs

Reasons to buy

+
Reputation system
+
Story-driven events
+
Mechanics encourage scum and villainy

Reasons to avoid

-
Lots of systems to learn

Outer Rim shakes things up by sidestepping the war between Rebels and Empire; rather, it's about getting famous. You see, this particular Star Wars board game revolves around scoundrels like Lando Calrissian and Boba Fett. As is befitting for such self-interested rogues, you're aiming to become the best-known mercenary in the galaxy.

This involves odd jobs and cargo runs aplenty where you ferry items from one planet to another, not to mention story-driven events that offer you a choice. But things get really interesting with the reputation system. A faction's opinion of you will wax and wane depending on your actions, and this can confer bonuses (like helping you avoid conflict with patrols). Be careful who you offend.

That goes for players, too - you can decide to screw each other over as well. Perhaps you've promised assistance to another player down the line, and now they need you to make good on your oath. If you'd benefit from reneging, there's no reason you can't go back on your word… No hard feelings, right?

Star Wars: Legion painted scene

(Image credit: Fantasy Flight)

5. Star Wars: Legion

The best Star Wars strategy board game

Specifications

Players: 2
Ages: 14+
Difficulty: Moderate
Lasts: 1 - 2 hrs

Reasons to buy

+
Relatively low barrier to entry
+
Interesting Commander system
+
Create your own Star Wars armies

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks the depth of rivals

Although the franchise has always revolved around battles between good and evil, Star Wars usually focuses on the characters at the center of it all. Not so with Legion. Although major heroes and villains are featured, this is a miniatures wargame like Warhammer or The Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms. That means it emphasises rank-and-file troopers. 

Basically, a standard Legion game involves dozens of models on a 3-foot by 3-foot board, ideally with cool terrain to fight over. Your aim? Wipe out your opponent and/or complete objectives within six rounds. The rules are suitably snappy as a result; as with Imperial Assault, the attack mechanics rely on dice with hit or defend symbols. It's an elegant, straightforward system that significantly lowers the barrier to entry. We were able to get into the swing of things after quickly scanning Legion's rules, and a lot of that's down to self-explanatory unit cards which lay things out for you in a clear way. While these share DNA with Warhammer 40,000's Datasheets, there are less stats to wrestle with here. Similarly, the game's focus on unit commanders to dictate their squads actions gives it a unique flavor.

The obvious downside of all this is less complexity, but it's a worthwhile trade for the most part. Star Wars: Legion boasts many qualities found in similar hobby games (such as making, painting, and creating your own armies), but it lacks the intimidating depth of those rivals.


Looking for presents worthy of a galaxy far, far away? Don't miss these Star Wars gifts or the best Lego Star Wars sets. As for more tabletop shenanigans, take a look at these board games for adults.

Benjamin Abbott
Tabletop & Merch Editor

As the site's Tabletop & Merch Editor, you'll find my grubby paws on everything from board game reviews to Lego buying guides. I have been writing about games in one form or another since 2012 and can normally be found cackling over some evil plan I've cooked up for my group's next Dungeons & Dragons campaign.