CBS is going all in with original Star Trek series to get us hooked on yet another streaming service as the long-awaited Picard spin off premieres this month on January 23 via CBS All Access.
This beloved anti-Kirk character was exactly what the franchise needed for its reboot as The Next Generation, and exactly what we need now going into an uncertain future.
Renowned for his ability to overcome obstacles and solve problems through logic, reason, and compassion, the titular star ship captain still has plenty of adventures ahead. Hopefully he still takes his tea Earl Gray and hot.
Want to jump into some classic games to fuel that nostalgia trip and get in the proper mood for the Picard premiere on January 23?
Much like geeky fantasy counterpart Dungeons and Dragons, the Star Trek franchise has seen an absolutely absurd number of game releases of wildly varying quality.
Starting with text based games back in the late '70s all the way up to VR titles in more recent years, there's no shortage of Star Trek video, board, card, and roleplaying games to sift through.
Many of the best are far in the past, sadly, but if you don't mind dated graphics there's a treasure trove of top-notch games to relive. Ready to see the best of the best? Engage!
We'll look at plenty of digital adventures shortly, but first up its worth noting that infinite Star Trek tales await if you go the tabletop RPG route rather than pulling up a PC or console game.
Right now Star Trek Adventures is the one to keep your eye on, whether you just want the main rulebook or are willing to shell out for the the ludicrously expensive (and ludicrously awesome) Borg Cube version. That release for the uber-fan includes its own Borg ship complete with drawers to hold the books and dice.
This latest iteration of the Star Trek pen and paper RPG comes from Modiphius, a designer known for making high quality and visually appealing RPGs like the latest Conan, Fallout, and Mutant Year Zero tabletop games.
Not a fan of the Modiphius rules system, or prefer something a little more classic? There have been plenty of other versions over the last few decades that can still be readily acquired second hand.
The sadly defunct FASA (known for classics like Earthdawn, Shadowrun, and Battletech) released dozens of supplements throughout the '80s before The Next Generation even hit TV, and many of them can still be found on Amazon or eBay.
If you prefer a system more directly derived from the TV series, the hard cover Star Trek: The Next Generation core book released by Last Unicorn Games in the late '90s had a solid rules framework as well.
One of the absolute best board game iterations of the franchise, Ascendancy goes an unusual route in that there's not actually a board at all!
To maintain ultimate flexibility as the Romulans, Klingons, and Federation vie for supremacy, the entire board has been ditched for a more freeform experience with cards and tokens.
Despite that change, there's still a ton of depth here (as you'd expect from a $100 tabletop box set) and a lot of give and take between exploration, diplomatic trade ties, and conquest.
The polar opposite of Ascendancy, the Fluxx take on Star Trek is way less epic, but also has way less setup time. Additional pluses lie in its far fewer pieces to keep track of, and it having basically no learning curve.
You can jump right into Fluxx even with a brand new group of players for fast paced, zany fun with a Star Trek twist. Just about every franchise out there was received the Fluxx treatment already, but if you haven't played before, here's the low down: the rules are constantly changing.
In essence, the changing rules are the game itself, so no two matches are ever the same and a player who seems on the verge of victory is probably the farthest from the finish line.
Now its time to get to the real goods: the actual Star Trek video games. While many of them throughout the last 40 years have been mediocre to outright bad, more than a handful are rightfully remembered as hallowed classics.
We'll start with one many players have probably forgotten about, despite being one of the best Trek games of all time: Klingon Academy. If you have fond memories of Starfleet Academy, do yourself a favor and make sure to return to this Klingon focused follow-up that is the pinnacle of Star Trek space flight simulators.
It's great fun, but you won't be able to buy this anywhere. Instead you'll have to scrape the abandonware sites if you don't still have the old discs, because this one never made it to GOG or Steam!
A VR take on the tactical decisions taking place in the iconic bridge, Bridge Crew is as close as you are going to get to running your own star ship anytime soon.
For serious Trek fans, this is a must-play experience — and its available on PSVR, so you don't have to buy a whole new gaming rig.
Since Bridge Crew is heavily multiplayer focused, you have to actually work together as a team like the characters from the show, while dealing with diverging personalities and leadership types.
Want to really, really get into the universe? Some players will only go rounds speaking in Klingon! That's a level of dedication I haven't been able to get into yet.
Don't let the pixel graphics turn you off — Judgment Rites is the ultimate original series game experience. The episodic nature of the levels, usage of classic sound effects, and overall storylines on display here are a serious love letter to the Enterprise crew.
Unlike most other old school Star Trek titles, Judgment Rites somehow got a digital re-release and can now be picked up for a very reasonable price through outlets like GOG and Steam.
An RTS set in the Trek universe, Armada should be on your shortlist if you like the idea of outfitting ships and then going around firing photon torpedoes at your enemies.
While the sequel had improved mechanics, the original probably still has the best overall campaign missions, and there are plenty of mods to extend its life.
Sadly, Armada doesn't play well with Windows 10 on its own, even if you find an abandonware version. You'll need to conjure up some serious computer magic to get it running, but there are tutorials out there to help you along with a little Google Fu.
For now, be sure to add the series to the GOG wishlist and keep your fingers crossed we get a legitimate re-release that works on modern PCs one of these days!
This might sound like heresy, but one of the best Star Trek games of all time isn't even a Star Trek game at all, but rather a total conversion mod for Sins Of A Solar Empire!
Basically this a spiritual successor to Armada 2 that is entirely fan-made, and its absurdly high quality. With five factions to pick, a customized UI, and a complete re-skin of the game to match Star Trek lore, somehow this mod ends up being one of the definitive titles in the entire franchise that you could easily sink 40 - 50 hours into.
While those early 2000s 3D graphics are looking pretty dated now, and there are some repetitive areas, The Fallen is one of the few attempts at a third person shooter in Star Trek that actually works.
While this isn't exactly a horror game, you'll notice some big similarities between the gameplay here and later big name sci-fi horror entries. It's clear The Fallen had some influence on how characters are interacted with and even level design in a few titles.
Fans of DS9 in particular will want to jump into this one, since you get to play through as Sisko, Worf, and Major Kira Nerys. In fact if you want the whole story, you need to play through all three characters in separate runs, as the major plot beats are split between each character option.
Even more of a rarity than The Fallen's third person shooter take, Elite Force is probably the only first person shooter that makes sense and is worth playing in the Star Trek franchise.
Yes, the character models (particularly the faces) are quite ugly by modern standards. Some of the injury sound effects are obnoxious, too — but otherwise Elite Force is a solid FPS. This is basically Unreal masquerading as a Star Trek story, and its a lot of fun.
Long before Bridge Crew offered a virtual reality take on ship command, there was Bridge Commander to put you in the role of newly-minted captain needing to keep your crew alive while researching space mysteries.
The aesthetics of the UI and way you issue orders to complete tasks on your ship will be very pleasing to Next Generation fans, and as a bonus you get to interact directly with Picard and Data!
Despite some solid contenders, I don't think we've seen the pinnacle of Star Trek gaming yet. While there are have been some great command sims, RTS space combat titles, and third person action games, we haven't seen them all come together yet.
One day we'll get a title that seamlessly combines the exploration, diplomacy, logic and reason-based method of overcoming conflict, ship combat, and RPG elements all together.
Until then, we've got these 11 classic games to play, and you can soon watch Picard on CBS All Access. What did you think of our listing of the best Star Trek games, and did we miss any that should have made the list? Let us know in the comments below while you're waiting for the new show to premiere!