4000 AD - An Interstellar Conflict Game

4000 AD

An Interstellar Conflict Game

House of Games - 1972
2 - 4 Players; Ages 12+


4000 AD is a science fiction game set 2000 years into the future. Players maneuver fleets of ships in an attempt to conquer the known galaxy.

Each player starts on their home world with a small fleet of ships. Fleets move using "warps". The warp is represented by a grey disk holding the ships in the fleet. The warps do not move on the board but instead move along the tracks on the edges of the board. A marker on the warp shows what "sector" the fleet started in. Each turn the fleet is in the warp it moves one sector and when it leaves the warp it can appear in any sector that is the proper distance from its starting point.

If the fleet arrives at an unoccupied planet the player gains control of that planet. A player controls a planet as long as they have at least one ship there.

If the fleet arrives at an occupied planet the arriving fleet engages the fleet already there. The larger fleet destroys the smaller fleet with no damage to itself.

Planets provide "resources" which are used to build additional ships. There are two types of resources, coded as a plus sign and a circle. For every pair of resource producing planets a player controls they can produce one ship on their home world on every other turn.

Play continues until all but one player has been eliminated. That player is the winner.


4000 AD is a very abstracted science fiction wargame. The most interesting thing about it is that there is no chance involved at all in the game which brings it into the realm of a pure strategy game. The space warp is a good idea in that it allows the players to keep their plans secret while having everything in plain sight. (You can see that a fleet is moving but not where it is going.) There is some attempt to make the game three dimensional in that planets are coded as to what "level" they are on. The only downside to the game is that the spaceships are very small and the colors chosen for them are close enough together that it is difficult to distinguish them. This is still a very good strategy game with a science fiction flavor.

9 comments on 4000 AD:

NJS at October 20, 2013 23:32 said:
JT -- Contents should be (I'm going from memory):
- 4x sets of ship counters. Small units are ones, larger units are fives. Risk pieces will suit.
- 8x hyperspace piece holder (pictured above, with the letters). Two per player.
- A bunch of yellow and red pins to go into the hyperspace holders. This tells you which sector the ships left from.
I think that is it; no dice.
JT at January 27, 2013 18:10 said:
Can anyone tell me what contents the game should have, in addition to the Board? I have a second hand game but the rules don't appear to list the contents and I am not sure whether I have all the pieces.
K walsh at December 3, 2012 21:28 said:
My self and some friends liked it so much we built a five level game out of plexiglass and could host six or seven players.Finding game pieces at that time was hard,we raided every game we had for pieces.
Roger.Lynch@kabelmail.de at August 18, 2012 16:04 said:
Roger Lynch; Germany August 18th 2012
I enjoyed the game when I understood the rules, but that took its time. Even my elder cousin, Intelligence level,very high, now a Doctor in Astro Physics has had trouble couldn?t explain it. So I had to figure ist myself.
The comment about chess isn?t so bad but the game is for two people to short. Three or four will have more fun with it because of the included strategie discussions. So, it is somewhat like DIPLOMACY.
I don?t think the SF theme is to short. There are hundreds of novels about a civil war in Space where Earth is already an unimportant place, compare Asimov, Clarke, Hamilton or in German Mahr and Alphers.
Chasch at May 27, 2012 06:25 said:
Good memories with that game (I love sci-fi, strategy and logic), but very few people like to play it. It would propably have been more popular with a bit of luck involved.
Eric Duhamel at January 1, 2012 22:40 said:
In this game, if a fleet in warp is not larger than the fleet at a destination planet, it is considered an illegal move, a rule that makes 4000 A.D. somewhat like Chess because only the active player can defeat the another's fleets, and players distributing their fleets across the board becomes an important defensive strategy.

I've heard all about the problems of similar-colored pieces but my used copy came without pieces, so I had to substitute RISK pieces.
John at August 10, 2011 15:10 said:
I still have my copy. Bought on one of the shopping trips to London when games like these were not available in my country (Netherlands). Didn't play it very often, though, but I think it's a great game regardless.
Adrian Bright at October 19, 2009 04:31 said:
An excellent game - if you managed to get to grips with the rules and the 3d game play environment. As a child, I remember one of the big brothers giving this game, and helping coach the youngsters in how to play. Once you got the gist of it, AD 4000 was very satisfying - partly because of the effort you had to make to understand it. A bit like a simpler version of chess.
Robert J. Sawyer at February 16, 2008 22:44 said:
I very fondly remember spending many a pleasant afternoon playing this game as a teenager with my friend Steven Scott. Thanks for bringing back memories!

ROBERT J. SAWYER, Science Fiction Writer

Hugo Award winner for HOMINIDS
Nebula Award winner for THE TERMINAL EXPERIMENT
John W. Campbell Memorial Award winner for MINDSCAN

http://www.sfwriter.com * sawyer@sfwriter.com

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