10 Best Engine-Building Tabletop Games


As tabletop games become more popular, recreational gamers are discovering a variety of styles in the games they can play. From war games to mysteries, board games offer an almost endless variety of experiences for players. One of the best places to start for newbies – and fast becoming favorites for veteran players – is engine builders.


Related: Top 10 Dungeon Crawler Board Games, RankedEngine builders focus solely on starting from scratch and building an engine. Through careful strategy and insightful decision-making, players will begin by arduously acquiring resources to assemble their system and will by the end of the game be so efficient that they can grow and expand without effort. The best engine builders deliver both an exciting early game and an incredibly satisfying ending as players tweak their engines.

10/10 Power Grid is a classic economic game from a new angle

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In power grid, players compete in an abstract economy to power as many cities as possible. Most of the buying is done through auctions, which means players have to carefully consider not only what’s available now, but also what might be available in the future. Is it worth investing in a new and efficient power plant this round when there might be three less efficient but cheaper power plants available in the next round?

Players must also win auctions for the resources to power their facilities, making stealing resources that another player may need very easy. As players acquire more crops and resources, this energy war becomes more and more brutal as players’ engines allow them to spend more and more on auctions. power grid is surprisingly cheap for modern games, but still worth every penny for engine builders and economy game fans.

9/10 Century (in all its forms) is a great historic engine builder

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century is a series of games focusing on the most important trade routes of the 15th to 17th centuries. start with Spice Streeti.e. with a focus on the Silk Road Eastern Wonders covering the early age of Indian Ocean naval exploration and ending with A new world and the first colonies in America.

Related: Top 15 Co-Op Board Games, RankedAs these trade routes become more important, players move from simple independent traders to national powers trying to control the trade routes. While the first game might just focus on building trades, players will compete against each other for the best trade deals Eastern Wonders and finally establishing their own colonies for direct control of resources. The game and its goals, which evolve along with the players’ engines, make it what it is century such a satisfying experience.

8/10 Viticulture shows that “the simple life” of a farmer is anything but

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player in viticulture are Tuscan farmers before modern times who inherited an ancient vineyard. With nothing more than a few grapes on the vine and a few farmhands, it’s your job to turn their run-down farm into the best winery in Tuscany.

The most surprising aspect of viticulture is the amount of strategy packed into a farming engine building game. The very few workers players start with must be carefully placed to maximize early game payouts. After the first or second season, players will have much more resources at their disposal and will make running the farm much easier. However, careful investment is still required for victory.

7/10 Experience the beauty of nature in Everdell

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everdell is a great game where players lead a group of animals in Everdell Valley to build a new city deep in the forest. But winters in the valley are harsh, leaving players with just one year to complete their new home.

everdell is mostly about worker and card placement, and with such a limited time frame, every worker is valuable. You can build buildings, collect resources and give players more cards. The fast pace of play means a steep learning curve, but it also brings the satisfaction of a successful engine sooner.

6/10 Furnace is fun embracing the evil of capitalism

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The early industrial revolution was absolutely brutal for workers, however oven puts players at the top of the food chain and pits them against each other in a competition for resources, manufacturing, and businesses to buy. Starting with nothing but clothes on their backs, a decent fortune, and their own company capable of converting their starting resources into manufactured goods, players must use their bootstraps to haul themselves from the top of the pyramid to its new top. ve done by trampling on their competitors.

Players spend their winnings on card auctions, and as they win new cards (factories, mines, corporations, etc.) they can use them to either process raw materials or produce goods to earn more profits. By the end of the game, players will have a vast empire of subsidiaries and factories with huge profit margins. The best lube for this engine really is the sweat of the working class.

5/10 Make history and a new home in Terraforming Mars

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Terraforming Mars takes place centuries in the future, with players representing various corporations struggling to transform the red planet and expand its colonies. Each round represents the work of an entire generation, and at first progress will be incredibly slow.

Over time, the planet will cool, oceans will form, and forests will flourish. As the surface of Mars transforms before their eyes, players will realize just how powerful their engine has become. From carefully managing valuable algae plants to oxygen production, players can now literally crash asteroids into the planet’s surface, heating the atmosphere and mining the precious minerals within. It is this unique blend of the game’s themes and mechanics that makes it one of the most popular modern board games.

4/10 Splendor is the best possible introduction for engine builders

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In splendorplayers slip into the roles of Renaissance gem merchants. Each round, players can purchase one of three different gem types, reserve a card for later purchase, or buy a card. The three tiers of maps represent different tiers of their operations – with the cheap tier 1 cards being gem mines, the more valuable tier 2 cards being trade routes and artisans who transport and refine the gems, and the expensive tier 3 cards being the markets , on which they are sold in.

Also see: The 10 best food-themed board games to whet your appetiteAs players collect more cards, they will attract the attention of powerful nobles and kings. By the end of the game, the player’s network will be so big that he won’t have to stop acquiring gems to buy more cards. This simplicity makes splendor not just a modern classic, but the best possible introduction for engine builders.

3/10 Wingspan immerses players in the wonderful world of birds

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Even if players aren’t fans of engine building card games, the beautiful bird art will be enough to catch and hold their attention. In spanPlayers are different bird watchers working on a wildlife sanctuary, cataloging and breeding different species of birds.

span involves a variety of birds in its gameplay, different birds have different needs. A hawk cannot eat the same food as a sparrow, and an eagle and a blue jay have different egg-laying conditions. Add to this the variety of habitats within the reserve, and players have nearly limitless options for building their bird-powered engine.

2/10 Race For The Galaxy lets players build an interstellar dominion

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Race around the galaxy manages to turn the exploration of the galaxy into a 45-minute card game. The cards in the game represent entire colonized planets or important technological developments. The game consists of seven phases. While anyone can participate in each phase, only the player who secretly assigned themselves a specific role that round will receive powerful bonuses unique to each phase.

Related: 10 Board Games That Travel Light As the game progresses and technology advances, certain cards will be able to provide these bonuses on their own or even counteract them, so players will need to pay attention when their rival begins to heavily favor a particular role or phase. It’s this careful balance and added mysterious elements that deliver an engine-building experience that’s out of this world.

1/10 Res Arcana is magic

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Res Arcana is widely regarded as one of the greatest engine builders, in part because of its unique fantasy elements. Players are different types of mages, from alchemists to necromancers, who compete with each other not in duels but for resources.

Whether it’s a magical artifact, a hidden place of power, or the ingredients for a new potion, these are the keys to power and prestige. The goal is not to be the only magician left, but to be the most famous and successful magician in the country. As their skills and inventory grow, players will love how this engine explores a new side of the fantasy genre.

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