Top 7 Steampunk board games you should not miss

Top 7 Steampunk board games you should not miss out on

Steampunk is essentially an alternate universe that takes place in the Victorian Era. In this universe, there is a lot of exposed gearing and mechanical devices which mostly run on steam. To know more about steampunk visit What is steampunk? A steampunk board game can be an interesting pass time for steampunk and board game fans. Here are some board games which steampunk fans may find interesting to play during cosplays, festivals, and other steampunk-themed events.

  1. Steampunk rally
  2. Planet Steam
  3. Mission Red Planet
  4. Spyrium
  5. Machina arcana
  6. Sky Traders
  7. Steam Works

Steampunk Rally

Steampunk rally board game

Steampunk Rally is a really cool and clever steampunk racing board game that involves a unique dice-placement mechanism. It is a cookie game where you are gonna be drafting cards in order to get lots of crazy pieces to put together to create these crazy mechanical contraptions. You have to race to the alps trying to get to the finish line first and go as far beyond it as you can. You have drafting, die rolling, and also a bunch of engine building along with lots of exploding machines. At the start of every round, players carefully select machine parts to add to their invention along with one-shot boost cards to aid them or hinder opponents.  

Here is a full 3 player playthrough of this game by JonGetsGames

Steampunk Rally playthrough

In this steampunk board game, players take on the roles of famous inventors from the turn of the last century like Nikola Tesla and Marie Curie, constructing fantastical contraptions that make use of steam, heat, and electricity in an attempt to win a no-holds-barred race through the Swiss alps. Players can also choose to discard drafted cards for dice or cogs to power their inventions. However, they must make this tricky choice when each card is drafted.

When the players are done with venting dice to revitalize their machines, they roll their dice and use them to activate machinery parts which give them abilities to move, shield, and acquire additional dice which can be used to activate more parts.

Players must drive through terrain which damages their inventions. The damage is measured by a damage gauge which when red, causes the player to lose parts from their invention. The parts need to be replaced in the draft phase, constantly forcing players to discover new synergies.

Planet Steam steampunk board game

Planet steam steampunk board game

Planet Steam is a board game suitable for two to five players. This game is set in a stunningly illustrated steampunk world which features steam shafts, airships, steam-powered tanks, converters, and many more. The players have to take an entrepreneurial role in this highly advanced steampunk world and assemble equipment, claim plots of land, collect resources and harvest those resources from tanks and converters. The players need to manage their resources by manipulating the supply and demand of the ever-changing market and rise to the top in terms of income. The player with the most income in the end wins.  

This is a fantastic board game about volatile and dominating markets in a steampunk future. The gameplay is very interesting and keeps the players involved at every step of the game. It requires complex strategies to control the market. This is a really cool game for board game lovers and strategists. 

For a detailed gameplay walkthrough of a four-player game check out this video by HeavyCardboard

Plant Steam walkthrough

Mission Red Planet

Mission Red Planet

Mission Red planet is a low complexity steampunk board game that is suitable for two to six players and has a playtime of 60-90 minutes. The game is set in the late 1800s during the reign of Queen Victoria at the height of European imperialism. Mars is a new frontier that is perfect for colonial expansion and resource harvesting. You and your team of brave pioneers must be sent there to harvest these resources and stake claims in the unknown lands of mars. 

Each player represents the heads of major mining corporations which are in competition with each other. Points are gained by collecting resources which can be done in the 5th, 8th and 10th rounds of the game. The resources are allotted to a player with the most astronauts in a region. If two players have the same number of astronauts in a region, then the resources are shared. The players also have a secret mission card which grants them extra points and is scored at the end of the game. 

Each player has ten rounds to send astronauts to the resource-rich regions of Mars. The players are provided with nine roll cards and the players can use one for each turn. The role cards are chosen secretly and determine the actions of that turn. Each card can only be played once. The cards allow you to place one or two astronauts on the ships and also have some special abilities from helping your astronauts traverse the Red Planet to blowing up spaceships before they launch. A ship departs for its destination once it is filled with astronauts and can only go to the destination mentioned on the ship. A round ends once all the actions mentioned in the role card are done and the ships take off for their destinations. New ships are used at the beginning of the new round. The winner is the player with the most victory points at the end of ten rounds. 

For a brief walkthrough of the game check out this video by 3 Minute Board Games .

Mission Red Planet walkthrough

Mission Red Planet is a quick-paced, area of control game with interesting strategies to explore and execute. It is meant for steampunk lovers and cutthroat strategists who can make smart decisions. 


Spyrium Steampunk Board Game

Spyrium is a steampunk board game with a unique worker-placement game style that is set in a steampunk world. This is a 2013 game from William Attia who was the designer of Caylus which was really famous amongst board game enthusiasts. He is also referred to as the father of modern worker placement games by some. This game is based on a steampunk style Victorian England where they discover a new element called Syprium. This element basically provides the players with a lot of energy. 

At the first glance, Spyrium looks like a small game where the board isn’t too big. However, there is a lot of depth to the game. The game features an alternate world of England which is kind of a steampunk-ish world industrially revolutionized by the discovery of a new power source called Spyrium. The players are industrialists who have to take advantage of this by building factories and availing workers to manage the production of Spyrium. 

Here is a Spyrium gameplay Runthrough by Rahdo

Spyrium gameplay run-through

Players need to produce Spyrium in one factory then process it the next to avail victory points (VP). Alternatively, they can purchase it but the material is rare and expensive, and players are constantly scraping for money. Only those who from the beginning of the game manage to increase their regular income or their base of permanently employed workers (who can be used again and again to raise money) will be flexible enough to get their hands on the important end-of-game buildings to generate VP. Players can decide for themselves when to move out of the placement phase and into the activation phase. 

With the two tracks in the game, those involved with delivery during the worker phase can then be used to raise money, purchase an adjacent card, or work on their own in an idle factory. All of these things are important, but in the end, only the player who has dealt best with the lack of money, workers, and Spyrium will win.

Machina Arcana steampunk board game

Machina arcana steampunk board game (1)

Machina Arcana is a unique and interesting board game that can be played by up to four players. This game is one of the few steampunk-related games which can be played solo. It is a complex game with a long playtime of two to three hours and is a great choice for board game lovers. 

Machina Arcana features players taking on the role of explorers who are investigating an ancient subterranean complex of unknown origin. The game is played in chapters and each chapter requires the completion of set tasks in order to advance. It initially begins in co-op mode where each player is trying to help each other survive and overcome the monsters in-game. Once a player dies they can control the monsters in the game. 

Each player gets action points equal to their stamina. It requires one stamina to move one square on the board and it can be used on numerous strategic locations spread out over the board.  For example, stamina can be used to close doors at strategic locations to slow the monsters or to shoot a flammable barrel to kill monsters. Killing monsters grants players with essence which can be used to move chapter spaces and advance to the next part of the story. 

The players roll to spawn monsters for each player and the level of the monsters keeps increasing as the story progresses. The monsters can attack players based on positioning. The player characters have attack, armor, and other futuristic gear. The level of the gear and the monsters keeps increasing as the game progresses. The players need to roll dice to get the number shown on their attack score and try to beat their opponent. The game continues until all the players are defeated or if you finish the scenarios. 

Check out this video for an introduction and setup description by Meet Me At The Table.

Machina Arcana introduction and set up

The gameplay of this steampunk board game is hard and can be quite punishing for even minor mistakes. There’s a lot of curses, blessings, and equipment in the game which will make it interesting to build different strategies. The game provides players with scenarios that can’t be played the same way twice which enables varying strategies and approaches. 

Sky Traders

Sky traders board game

Sky Traders is a steampunk board game featuring flying on dirigibles having crazy contraptions with tesla coils and other fascinating steampunk-ish mechanisms. It can be played by 2-5 players. In addition to the aspect of buying, selling, trading and building, you also have the ability to pirate and avoid pirates. You need to essentially influence everything which is gone within the game by subverting your opponent’s actions along with a bunch of other stuff. The game is designed very much in the spirit of Queen Victoria and Victorian England.

Here is a play-through of this game by Sweethearts Or Rivals

Sky Traders play through

Players need to command their own skyship in order to become master merchants in this game. They need to evade ruthless wind pirates and gain influence with a powerful sky guild and manipulate the commodity market using their powers of persuasion. The goal is to become the master of the sky guild which can only be accomplished through clever trades and resourceful captaining.

There are two main phases in each round of Sky Traders. The first phase includes sailing and performing a few other actions which have a variety of effects that can help or hinder other players. This is followed by the Guild council phase, in which players deliberate with each other in hopes of persuading their peers to help influence the price of goods.

Being the captain of their own skyships, players need to decide at different points in the game how to best serve their needs. A great way to make profits is to buy cargo at one port and deliver it to another city where the goods are more in demand. Captains also need to hire new crew, check for ships’ phlogiston (Skyship fuel) levels, repair damage sustained by pirate attacks, and undertake other important tasks to keep the ship running properly. Quick money can also be made by hauling toxic sludge or collecting minerals from the countryside.

Steam Works steampunk board game

Steam works board game

Steam Works is a steampunk-themed worker placement game that focuses on building grandiose machines. These machines help players build other machines and get points in the game. The player needs to collect parts, pieces, and components that he/she will use to build different kinds of devices. These devices will end up being used by either the player or his/her opponents. This game is full of ideas of engineering and building devices which is basically the essence of steampunk.

Here is a Steam Works gameplay run through by Rahdo

Steam Works gameplay run through

In this game, each player is an inventor having his or her own unique special ability. The game revolves around assembling component tiles into a device for other players to use. The three sources of power used to run the devices are clockwork, steam, and Tesla-style electrical power. The game features varying action spaces due to the modular and mix-match nature of the components. This provides a new great experience each time you play the game where players can create devices never seen before.

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