Stargate SG-1 Review

Stargate SG-1 the board game in play

Did you know that there was a Stargate SG-1 Board Game? If not, I'm sorry that I brought it up - I may have given you false hope that there was a Stargate SG-1 board game that was worth playing... which, in my opinion, is yet to be discovered.

In Stargate SG-1, which feels very similar to Risk (but not as good), players take turns collecting armies and ships and then moving around attempting to take opposing Stargates. When they encounter enemy units, they roll a die per number of ships or combat units involved (only once though, and there can only be one ship per space, so the "exciting" die rolls will be fights with 2 on 2 combat unit rolls). The object of the game is to control a certain number of "sectors" (ie, space continents), and once one person has a certain number of them and keeps them for a full round, they are the winner.

The first (only) pro for Stargate SG-1 the board game is that the pieces look cool. I would say that the production quality is high, but that's not true. In fact, to go along with the 840 cool plastic playing pieces, you also get a "Phenomenial board of the universe." That's right - phenomenial. This not only made it into production, but it is on the back of the box where they are trying to advertise how good their game is! So, yes, the pro is that the plastic pieces look cool.

Now for the cons. First of all, the instructions are missing lots of crucial things (and therefore, several of these cons may be because we played the game wrong. To be fair, we thoroughly read the rulebook first, and felt like we had an understanding of everything it covered. In fact, I even read some FAQs before we started). Here's an example of the problem. In a two-player game, the object of the game is to control 4 sectors. You start with one sector, and you place a Stargate on each planet in your sector (as does your opponent). Whenever you conquer an opponent's Stargate, you replace it with one of your own. There is no mention of how to place a new Stargate.  So, if you have followed the math, this means that if you completely eliminate your opponent, then you now control 2 of the 4 sectors that you need to win. We discovered after reading the FAQs (after finding FAQs) that you basically just pretend that every planet has a Stargate. Which leads to the next problem...

In Stargate SG-1 (this was in a 2-player game) most of the game was spent sprawling armies across the galaxy. You're not really trying to defeat your opponent (after all, if you have a bad roll when attacking 1 of his ships with 3 of yours, you wasted 3 ships for the turn and lost a ship by doing so) - instead you simply try to take up more space than he does. And, whoever goes first seemed to have a major advantage because they were able to sprawl out and gain a handful of Stargate cards that can be used to blast their opponents (everyone gains these, but the first player gets to use his to nuke his enemies before they get extra reinforcements). We realized who was going to win the game before the first turn was over!  I really hope that we missed something here and that we were supposed to place neutral units on every sector to start the game.

Aside from these problems, even if you could get past the sprawling and the seemingly unbalanced nature of turn position (that is incredibly apparent in two-player), the game itself doesn't really seem very fun. Since you cannot have more than one ship on a single space at a time, and you can't continue the attack if you lose on your first roll (in a three-on-one scenario), I found the fighting aspect of the game to really be pretty boring. It seems wasteful to spend an entire turn preparing for a few fights and then rolling poorly and losing ships - and then not being able to press the fact that you still have a numbers advantage.

I don't really know how to express this.  The game really feels like Risk (and I don't really like the original Risk in the first place), but I didn't even like it as much as Risk!  I can continue trying to say more things I disliked about the game - like the fact that the pieces barely seem to fit in the territories, even with the only one ship per space limitation, but why continue ranting about a game that you hopefully have already been able to form an opinion of.

Overall, I give Stargate SG-1 a 2.5/10. I really desperately hope that we missed something that was absolutely crucial to the game (every time we read the rules, both now and when we first got the game several years ago). It makes me sad that games like this are made specifically to get people to buy them based on theme - it causes people to be more hesitant when good games like Battlestar Galactica come out.

Instead of playing Stargate SG-1, you might consider trying Star Trek: The Next Generation Deck Building Game, Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Sentinels of the Multiverse, or just about anything else.


  1. Ah, unfortunate. I am a pretty big Stargate fan so it was exciting to find a strategy board game. Unfortunately it looked not so great from reading the rules, though I haven't had a chance to play it yet.

    Another franchise-themed game I have and am dreading to play is called Star Trek: The Trivia Game. It is a trivia/strategy game that appears to be very loose on the "strategy" part. In addition, being good at the "trivia" part gets you extra turns. It is not a good sign when the RULEBOOK states clearly and specifically that it is possible for the first player to win the game on their first turn if they get all their trivia questions right. Yikes.

    I'll have to try out the SG-1 game and give it a review of my own.

  2. I have played the game. Risk has more depth. The rules are confusing and useless, so my brother and I made up our own rules (that come closer to what we believe would be true to the TV series)as the game seems to be designed to frustrate you until you do so.