If you like board games about economy and industry or are searching for games that dwell into the mechanics of supply and demand, trading, money, production and distribution of goods, check out these highly recommended and rated picks.
Games about economy typically involve thinking and planning. They are also educational and can help you teach students or teenagers about economics, manufacturing and industry.
Brass: Birmingham is an economic strategy game sequel to Martin Wallace’ 2007 masterpiece, Brass. Birmingham tells the story of competing entrepreneurs in Birmingham during the industrial revolution, between the years of 1770-1870. As in its predecessor, you must develop, build, and establish your industries and network, in an effort to exploit low or high market demands.
Each round, players take turns according to the turn order track, receiving two actions to perform any of the following actions (found in the original game):
1) Build – Pay required resources and place an industry tile.
2) Network – Add a rail / canal link, expanding your network.
3) Develop – Increase the VP value of an industry.
4) Sell – Sell your cotton, manufactured goods and pottery.
5) Loan – Take a £30 loan and reduce your income. Brass: Birmingham also features a new sixth action:
6) Scout – Discard three cards and take a wild location and wild industry card.
The game is played over two halves: the canal era (years 1770-1830) and the rail era (years 1830-1870). To win the game, score the most VPs. VPs are counted at the end of each half for the canals, rails and established (flipped) industry tiles. Birmingham features dynamic scoring canals/rails. Instead of each flipped industry tile giving a static 1 VP to all connected canals and rails, many industries give 0 or even 2 VPs. This provides players with the opportunity to score much higher value canals in the first era, and creates interesting strategy with industry placement.
Twilight Imperium (Fourth Edition) is a game of galactic conquest in which three to six players take on the role of one of seventeen factions vying for galactic domination through military might, political maneuvering, and economic bargaining. Every faction offers a completely different play experience, from the wormhole-hopping Ghosts of Creuss to the Emirates of Hacan, masters of trade and economics. These seventeen races are offered many paths to victory, but only one may sit upon the throne of Mecatol Rex as the new masters of the galaxy.
No two games of Twilight Imperium are ever identical. At the start of each galactic age, the game board is uniquely and strategically constructed using 51 galaxy tiles that feature everything from lush new planets and supernovas to asteroid fields and gravity rifts. Players are dealt a hand of these tiles and take turns creating the galaxy around Mecatol Rex, the capital planet seated in the center of the board. An ion storm may block your race from progressing through the galaxy while a fortuitously placed gravity rift may protect you from your closest foes. The galaxy is yours to both craft and dominate.
A round of Twilight Imperium begins with players selecting one of eight strategy cards that both determine player order and give their owner a unique strategic action for that round. These may do anything from providing additional command tokens to allowing a player to control trade throughout the galaxy. After these roles are selected, players take turns moving their fleets from system to system, claiming new planets for their empire, and engaging in warfare and trade with other factions.
At the end of a turn, players gather in a grand council to pass new laws and agendas, shaking up the game in unpredictable ways. After every player has passed their turn, players move up the victory track by checking to see whether they have completed any objectives throughout the turn and scoring them.
Objectives are determined by setting up ten public objective cards at the start of each game, then gradually revealing them with every round. Every player also chooses between two random secret objectives at the start of the game, providing victory points achievable only by the holder of that objective. These objectives can be anything from researching new technologies to taking your neighbor’s home system.
At the end of every turn, a player can claim one public objective and one secret objective. As play continues, more of these objectives are revealed and more secret objectives are dealt out, giving players dynamically changing goals throughout the game. Play continues until a player reaches ten victory points.
Kanban EV (Electric Vehicles) is a game where players will be overseeing the production of these vehicles. During the game, players assume the role of rookie employees trying to secure their careers. To boost production and impress the factory manager, players must manage suppliers and supplies, enhance and innovate automobile parts, and work on the assembly line. Kanban EV is a game about time and resource management with production points earned for different actions in the game. The player with the most PP at the end of the game wins.
In the board game Gaia Project, fourteen different factions live on seven different kinds of planets, and each faction is bound to their own home planets, so to develop and grow, they must terraform neighboring planets into their home environments in competition with the other groups.
In addition, Gaia planets can be used by all factions for colonization, and Transdimensional planets can be changed into Gaia planets. All factions can improve their skills in six different areas of development — Terraforming, Navigation, Artificial Intelligence, Gaiaforming, Economy, Research — leading to advanced technology and special bonuses.
As you play, you’ll colonize new planets, upgrade mines into better structures, and unite planets into federations. Which will you choose: will you expand near other factions, so you can trade with them, or will you expand on your own, so you can expand more freely? Besides that, you’ll need to learn new technologies to get better.
In the end, only the best will survive and win.
Maracaibo, the new strategy game for 1-4 players by Alexander Pfister, is set in the Caribbean during the 17th century. The players try to increase their influence in three nations in four rounds with a play time of 40 minutes per player. The players sail on a round course through the Caribbean, e.g., you have city tiles where you are able to perform various actions or deliver goods to. One special feature is an implemented quest mode over more and various tiles, which tells the player, who chase after it, a little story. As a player, you move with your ship around the course, managing it by using cards like in other games from Alexander Pfister.
The “Stone Age” times were hard indeed. In their roles as hunters, collectors, farmers, and tool makers, our ancestors worked with their legs and backs straining against wooden plows in the stony earth. Of course, progress did not stop with the wooden plow. People always searched for better tools and more productive plants to make their work more effective. In Stone Age, the players live in this time, just as our ancestors did. They collect wood, break stone and wash their gold from the river. They trade freely, expand their village and so achieve new levels of civilization. With a balance of luck and planning, the players compete for food in this pre-historic time. Players use up to ten tribe members each in three phases. In the first phase, players place their men in regions of the board that they think will benefit them, including the hunt, the trading center, or the quarry. In the second phase, the starting player activates each of their staffed areas in whatever sequence they choose, followed in turn by the other players. In the third phase, players must have enough food available to feed their populations, or they face losing resources or points.
In Die Macher, seven regional elections in Germany take place sequentially. Players are in charge of national political parties, and must manage limited resources to win. Those with the most victory points at the end of the game win. Victory points can be earned in four different ways. In each region election, your party can get one to eighty victory points, depending on how well it does. A party that wins a regional election and has influence in the media will receive media-control victory points. The membership of each national party will increase as the game progresses, and this will give some victory points to each party. Lastly, parties score some victory points if their platform aligns with national opinions.
Released in late 2010, Prosperity is the 4th addition to the Dominion game family. It adds 25 new Kingdom cards to Dominion, plus 2 new Basic cards that let players keep building up past Gold and Province. The central theme is wealth; there are treasures with abilities, cards that interact with treasures, and powerful expensive cards. (Source: http://www.riograndegames.com/games.html?id=361 ) From the back of the box: “Ah, money. There’s nothing like the sound of coins clinking in your hands. You vastly prefer it to the sound of coins clinking in someone else’s hands, or the sound of coins just sitting there in a pile that no-one can quite reach without getting up. Getting up, that’s all behind you now. Life has been good to you. Just ten years ago, you were tilling your own fields in a simple straw hat. Today, your kingdom stretches from sea to sea, and your straw hat is the largest the world has ever known. You also have the world’s smallest dog, and a life-sized statue of yourself made out of baklava. Sure, money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy envy, anger, and also this kind of blank feeling. You still have problems – troublesome neighbours that must be conquered. But this time, you’ll conquer them in style.” Part of the Dominion series.
It’s a Wonderful World is a solo or up to 5 player strategy card game. Players lead an expanding empire, where they must choose a path that will allow them to develop faster and better than their opponents. There are 4 rounds in this game, where each round consists of 3 phases where each player plays each phase simultaneously. There 3 phase comprised in each round are: The Draft Phase which allows players to select cards while minimising the luck factor of the draw and focus their picks on a particular strategy. The Planning Phase where players must make a decision for each Development Card in their Draft Area to construct or recycle it. The Production Phase where this phase is made up of 5 sequential Production steps, one for each resource. A player wins the game by obtaining the most Victory Points.
In Vinhos (Portuguese for “Wines”), players assume the role of wine producers in Portugal. By promoting their label, building a favorable reputation and gaining prestige at home and abroad, players demonstrate their skills of fine winery. Over the duration of 6 years, players will expand their businesses by establishing estates around Portugal, buying vineyards and building wineries. The value of wins increases over time, but only if players have the appropriate cellar to age it. Positive weather conditions allow players to produce high quality wines whilst cloudy or rainy weather can have devastating effects. Players gain Victory Points throughout the gain and the player with the most VP’s wins.
1303. England loses the war, but Guyenne is still theirs. Caylus Castle, located close to the border, needs to be reinforced and modernized. Your job as a master builder is to supply workers, materials, and food to the construction site.
Create buildings, hire powerful characters, and manage your workers to become Caylus’ most prestigious builder
A Feast for Odin is a saga in the form of a board game. You are reliving the cultural achievements, mercantile expeditions, and pillages of those tribes we know as Viking today — a term that was used quite differently towards the end of the first millennium. When the northerners went out for a raid, they used to say they headed out for a viking. Their Scandinavian ancestors, however, were much more than just pirates. They were explorers and founders of states. Leif Eriksson is said to be the first European in America, long before Columbus. In what is known today as Normandy, the intruders were not called Vikings but Normans. One of them is the famous William the Conqueror who invaded England in 1066. He managed to do what the king of Norway failed to do only a few years prior: conquer the Throne of England. The reason why the people of these times became such strong seafarers is due to their unfortunate agricultural situation. Crop shortfalls caused great distress. In this game, you will raid and explore new territories. You will also experience their day-to-day activities: collecting goods to achieve a financially secure position in society. In the end, the player whose possessions bear the greatest value will be declared the winner.v
Updated and streamlined for a new generation of players, Agricola: Revised Edition features a revised rulebook and game play, along with wood pieces and components for up to 4 players. Agricola is a solo or up to 4 player game where players are farmers in a wooden shack with their spouse and little else. Players need to build their farmstead by sowing fields and raising livestock. This game supports many levels of complexity and is a turn-based game. There are 14 game rounds occurring in 6 stages, with a Harvest at the end of each stage. On a turn, players get to take only two actions, one for themselves and one for their spouse, from all the possibilities found on a farm such as collecting clay, wood, or stone; building fences and more. However, each action can only be taken by one player each round, requiring players to choose in order of preference.
On Mars is a solo or up to 4 player game where players are Chief Astronauts a part of the private exploration companies that are starting to work towards a self-sustaining colony On Mars. Players want to be a pioneer in developing the biggest, most advanced colony by achieving DOME mission goals as well as their company’s private agenda. This game is played over several rounds and each round comprises of 2 phases:
- The Colonization Phase where players are able to take actions, this of which is determined by what side of the board they are on. Actions that players can choose from include taking blueprints, buying and developing technologies, constructing buildings with their bots, upgrading these buildings and more.
- The Shuttle Phase is where players may travel between the colony and the space station in orbit
Throughout the game, players are trying to complete missions. Once a total of 3 missions has been completed, the game ends. To win the game, a player needs to contribute the most to the development of the first colony on Mars, this of which is represented by players earning Opportunity Points. The player with the most Opportunity Points wins the game.
Kanban is set in an assembly line. Players are ambitious managers who attempt to impress the board of directors in order to achieve the highest position possible in the company and secure their careers. Through solid management, players must strive to shine next to their peers, with promotions offering advantages at the factory as well as more storage for precious materials. Managing suppliers and suppliers, improving automobile parts and innovating are some things that players need to do to succeed.
Container is the classic game of big ships and big production. This game features an open economy requiring lots of meaningful decisions. Players build (or destroy) their economy by building factories and warehouses, or focus on shipping goods to their island. Governent subsidies allow players to ensure maximum profits however, they need to be aware of their cash reserves as the player-driven market can go sour at any time requiring strategy changes.
You are one of the two most powerful traders in the city of Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, but that’s not enough for you because only the merchant with two “seals of excellence” will have the privilege of being invited to the Maharaja’s court. You are therefore going to have to do better than your direct competitor by buying, exchanging, and selling at better prices, all while keeping an eye on both your camel herds. Jaipur is a fast-paced card game, a blend of tactics, risk and luck. On your turn, you can either take or sell cards. If you take cards, you have to choose between taking all the camels, taking one card from the market, or swapping 2-5 cards between the market and your cards. If you sell cards, you get to sell only one type of good, and you receive as many chips for that good as the number of cards you sold. The chips’ values decrease as the game progresses, so you’d better hurry! On the other hand, you receive increasingly high rewards for selling three, four, or five cards of the same good at a time, so you’d better wait! You can’t sell camels, but they’re paramount for trading and they’re also worth a little something at the end of the round, enough sometimes to secure the win, so you have to use them smartly.
Hallertau is a board game set around 1850 – the time that made the Hallertau region what it is today. Hallertau is the biggest hops producing area in Germany and in this game, players assume the role of a chief of a small village in the Hallertau region where they need to provide local craftsmen with the goods they require by cultivating crops, breeding sheep and strategically playing cards. The winner is the player with the best developed village.
It’s time to tame the Red Planet! Humanity begins terraforming Mars in the 2400s. Corporations, sponsored by the World Government on Earth, initiate huge projects to raise temperatures, oxygen levels, and ocean coverage until the environment becomes habitable. More and more people will migrate from Earth to the Red Planet as terraforming advances. As you compete to be the best corporation on Mars, experience ‘Science Future’!
The merchant players in Port Royal, which won the Austrian Game Designers Competition under the title Händler der Karibik, are trying to earn as much as they can out of the Caribbean Sea, but if they set their goals too high, they might take home nothing for the day.
The 120-card deck depicts a coin on the back of each card — with players earning and paying coins throughout the game — and different items on the card fronts. On a turn, a player can first draw as many cards as he likes, one at a time from the deck, placing them in the harbor (an area near the deck).
Each card shows one of the following:
- Person, who stays in a face-up row next to deck.
- Ship, which the player can attack immediately if he has enough swords on his people cards, after which the ship is discarded; otherwise, the ship stays in the harbor.
- Expedition, which remains above the harbor until a player fulfills it by discarding people who have the items required for the expedition.
- Tax Increase, which forces everyone with twelve or more coins to discard half their money, after which the card is discarded.
If the player draws a ship with the same name as a ship already in the harbor, he’s spent too much time dilly-dallying and his turn ends (after using the ship to attack, if possible), with all the cards in the harbor being discarded.
Otherwise, the player can stop whenever he likes, then use/acquire one card if three or fewer ships are in the harbor, two cards if four ships are present, and three cards if five ships are present. Players rob ships, collecting the number of coins shown on them, then discarding the card, while they hire people, paying the number of coins depicted. After the active player takes his 1-3 cards, each other player may pay the active player one coin in order to take one card in the same way.
When one player has at least twelve influence points — which are on both people and expedition cards — the game is played to the end of the round, giving everyone the same number of turns, then the player with the most influence points wins.
Port Royal differs from Händler der Karibik in that it includes ten more cards to allow for play with up to five players and players can win without fulfilling an expedition.