Sky Galleons of Mars

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Sky Galleons of Mars
Sky Galleons box cover
Sky Galleons of Mars (1988) by Game Designers' Workshop
Designer(s) Frank Chadwick, Marc W. Miller and Loren Wiseman
Publisher(s) Game Designers' Workshop
Publication date 1988
Genre(s) Victorian Science Fiction
Players 2+
Age range 10 and up
Setup time 10 minutes
Playing time 30–120 minutes
Random chance Medium
Skill(s) required Strategic thought

Sky Galleons of Mars is a board wargame designed by Frank Chadwick, Marc W. Miller and Loren Wiseman, published in 1988 by Game Designers' Workshop. It is set in an alternate Victorian Era where the major nations of Earth are extending their colonial interests on Mars (a barbarian, Edgar Rice Burroughs-style planet) and Venus (a primitive planet teeming with dinosaurs). The discovery of Liftwood, a Martian plant endowed with anti-gravity powers, allows the deployment of aerial fleets in the skies of the Red Planet.

The game won Origins Awards for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame of 1988 and Best Graphic Presentation of a Boardgame of 1988,[1] and was the inspiration for the role-playing game Space: 1889. It can be played on its own or used as the tactical ship combat system for Space: 1889.


The game is played on an hexagonal mapboard that serves to regulate movement and combat. Each hex on the map represents 200 yards, each turn represents one-minute of time. A single plastic model represents an individual cloudship or aerial gunboat, though paper counters can also be used.

The rulebook is split into two main sections, Basic Rules and Advanced Rules. Basic is the game at its simplest form, with rules for moving, firing and taking damage. The Advanced section adds detailed rules for ramming and grappling, towing other vessels, crew small arms, crew quality, and more. The rest of the booklet includes seven scenarios along with rules for a campaign game.

During a battle, play proceeds through turns, each of which is broken down into three phases:

Initiative Phase: The players change crew assignments. If desired, boarding parties can be assembled or disbanded at this stage. Players also roll dice to determine who is the First Player that turn.

First Movement/Fire Phase: The First player moves all of his ships. Both players attack (taking into account range, weapon type, etc.). If damage is taken, it is resolved now.

Second Movement/Fire Phase: The second player moves all of his ships. Both players attack (taking into account range, weapon type, etc.). If damage is taken, it is resolved now.


  • Rule Book
  • Introduction to Space: 1889 (16pp)
  • Ship Form Book (16pp)
  • 2x Reference Folders
  • 15 plastic Sky Galleons and Aerial Gunboats
  • 4x dice
  • 2x 22"x28" maps


  1. ^ "Origins Award Winners (1988)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Designs. Archived from the original on 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 

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