For those of you who know me well, you will be aware that I’m a massive fan of board games! One of my all time favourites is ‘Planet Steam’ – as long as my Hubby Simon isn’t conning me out of resources! Here’s an outline of Planet Steam and many others in my top 10 Steampunk Board games.
Top 10 Steampunk Board Games
‘BioShock Infinite: The Siege of Columbia’ is a board game from the well known manufacturing company, Plaid Hat. The game itself is based on the popular BioShock games series. The board game allows players to explore the world, atmosphere and characters of the video game series. The players take the role of the Founders and Vox Populi factions and gain points by staking their claim to the city’s territory and completing other goals. As well as this, the player is also commanding an army of small, detailed figures.
- Based on the exciting BioShock Infinite video game
- Players take on the role of the Founders and Vox Populi factions, desperately seeking to seize control of Columbia
- Challenging objectives offer tempting advantages
- Ages 15 +
- 2-4 players
2008’s ‘Planet Steam’ from Heinz-Georg Thiemann sees players transported to 2415. The fictional group, the Interplanetary Federation (IPF), have spent many centuries conquering a planet known as ‘Steam’. The game can be played by 2-5 people. These people take the roles of entrepreneurs in a ‘steampunk boomtown’, racing to create equipment and claim plots of land. When resources are harvested, players can buy and sell them in the ever-changing market. The player with the most wealth by the end of the game is crowned the champion.
- A board game of bidding and resource management
- Set in a stunningly illustrated steampunk world
- Playing Time: 120 mins
- Ages 12 +
- Players 2-5
Read our full Planet Steam Board Game Review.
Mission: Red Planet
‘Mission: Red Planet’ was designed by Bruno Cathala and Bruno Faidutti and required 2-6 players. In the game, players are in a Victorian-era world where the earth’s technology is always advancing and the planet’s resources desperately need to be replaced. The player becomes an astronaut on Mars and the head of a mining corporation. The players get ten rounds to send the astronaut to space, occupy the land with the best resources and harvest them. Players deploy a member of their team secretly at the start of each round using one of their character cards and collect resources three times during the game.
- A boardgame of planetary exploration and mining for two to six players
- All-new graphic design refreshes the game's Victorian steampunk style
- Easy-to-learn, highly interactive gameplay
- Includes rules for a two-player variant
- Incorporates revisions and fine-tuning by the game's original designers
Kevin Wilson and Richard Launius’ ‘Elder Sign’ is considered more Lovecraftian than steampunk but does have some steampunk elements. The game is played by 1-8 players and is a fast-paced, cooperative dice game. The players of the game are investigators who are racing against time to stop the imminent arrival of the antagonist, the Ancient One. A countdown begins as players explore the museum looking for elder signs. If the countdown runs out, the Ancient One appears and players must fight it.
- Endure adventures within the museum and prevent the Ancient One’s arrival
- Innovative dice mechanics
- Cooperative game for 1-8 players
- Standard game duration of 1-2 hours
- Ages 13+
‘Forbidden Island’ by Matt Leacock is another cooperative board game. Players work together and take it in turns to move their figures around the board which is created by arranging the various screen-printed tiles before the start of the game. As the game goes on, the tiles begin to sink and become unusable. Players must use strategies to stop the island from sinking while collecting treasure and other items. The game has different difficulty levels and can be played by almost any age (10+).
- Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise
- Adventure based collaborative play game involving problem solving and strategic thinking
- Several different levels of play are available in this multi-award winning game
- For 2-4 players aged 10 and up
- Playing time is around 30 minutes
Read our full Forbidden Island Review.
Based on novels from Mervyn Peake, Philip Cooke’s ‘Gormenghast: The Board Game’ is set in the centre of the fictional Gormenghast castle. The players take on the role of a kitchen rat with a murderous desire for power. The player must get as much influence as they can, which comes in the form of Victory Tokens, and become the Master of Ritual. The player gets a Victory Token when travelling around the board and completing tasks found on plot cards. The first player to achieve 9 or more Victory Tokens wins the game.
‘Steampunk Rally’ by Orin Bishop sees players take on the role of various historical figures such as Nikola Tesla and Marie Curie. The players must construct machines that run on steam, heat and electricity in order to win a race through the Swiss Alps. At the start of each round, players carefully choose cards with various machine parts to add to their racing contraptions. Players roll their dice to activate their machine parts which can provide shielding, movement and more dice to activate more machine parts.
‘Spyrium’ by William Attia is set in an alternative universe – the country of England crossed with a steampunk universe. Players build factories and need workers to work for them to manage the production of Spyrium. Players can earn Victory Points by producing Spyrium in one factory and then processing it in another. As well as this, Spyrium can also be purchased but is very expensive and players are always short of money. The player who has best dealt with their workers, money and Spyrium is the winner.
- A 2 to 5 player game for ages 13 and up
- Great care has be given in the creation of the artwork
- Circular type game play where players decide when to change phases
Alex Churchill’s 2015 game ‘Steam Works’ players collect components and power sources and combine them to make build various devices. Those devices also become actions spaces which other players can use. Each player takes on the role of an inventor with unique components and special abilities. Due to the number of different component combinations, the game can be played over and over again as the player creates new devices.
The player can command their own skyship and become a merchant master in Gioacchino Prestigiacomo’s ‘Sky Traders’. The game can be played by 2-5 people where players evade the Wind Pirates while trying to collect influence from the Sky Guild. The game is played in two main phases. In phase 1, players sail their ships and perform various actions. In the second phase, the Guild Council takes place. Players negotiate with each other to help influence the price of their goods.