Collect Planet Steam's four resources: Water, ore, quartz, and energy, to become a steam-powered tycoon.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Planet Steam! We got hot rocks and water—plenty of it! We got a whole mess of ore! We got quartz! We got abundant energy! This is your chance to get in on something—something big!
The discovery of valuable ores and other resources has led to the founding of a new colony, hidden away in an untouched corner of a steam-powered world. It won’t stay untouched for long, however; prospectors from all over are boarding their airships and then risking a trip across the Boiling Sea to stake their claim. Can you outbid and outbuy your rivals to acquire the most wealth?
Planet Steam is a board game in which two to five players take the roles of entrepreneurs in a steampunk boomtown, racing to assemble equipment, claim plots of land, extract resources, and accumulate riches. After harvesting resources using tanks and converters, players must buy and sell those resources in a volatile and ever-shifting market. The one who earns the most income will, in the end, be victorious. However, only through shrewd resource management and clever manipulation of supply and demand can a player reign supreme!
Commerce and Industry in a Steampunk World
Planet Steam is sure to take its place among the industry’s most popular economic games, but it stands apart due to its stunningly illustrated steampunk world. Massive airships, mechanical wonders of their time, patrol the sky over a steam-gray landscape that’s dotted with massive extraction tanks.
The game is played over a set number of rounds, and whoever has the most money at the end is the winner. The rounds in Planet Steam are broken into phases, during which players will bid on resource-rich territory, purchase and upgrade their extraction equipment, manage the storage of their newly acquired resources, and buy and sell their resources on the open market.
The board clearly and intuitively conveys all the information needed to rise to wealth and power. On one side, a polluted but resource-rich landscape is divided into zones that are won by auction; it is here that budding entrepreneurs will build the tanks required to harvest resources. The other half of the board is largely devoted to tracking the constantly fluctuating prices, as players buy and sell the very resources upon which the game’s economy is built: water, ore, quartz, and energy.
Plastic extraction tanks indicate that a zone is being mined, while interchangeable converter attachments change the target resources and supercharger attachments increase efficiency.
Resource extraction is accomplished by building or purchasing extraction tanks, then customizing them to collect exactly the resource you want. Represented by detailed plastic figures with cleverly designed interchangeable attachments, these massive tanks cover the land, belching steam into the air and as they draw riches from the ground. Of course, harvesting resources is only half the job. Will you use them to build more tanks and storage ships, reinvesting in your infrastructure? Or will you carry your raw materials to the open market, skillfully manipulating prices to turn a profit? Only with a firm grasp of both approaches will you earn your fortune.
The Right Specialist for the Job
One of the key ways in which Planet Steam differs from other auction and economic games is through its specialist cards. During each round, a player will hire a different character, and this hired agent will establish that player’s turn order and special abilities. Players must bid on specialist cards at the start of each round, resulting in tense one-upmanship as everyone clamors to grab the card effects most vital to them. The character each player chooses has important consequences throughout that turn...as well as to his overall game strategy.
For example, whoever wins the aristocratic Lady Steam will be the first player for that round. This has powerful implications, indeed! In addition to beginning all auctions, the first player buys and sells his newly extracted resources before anyone else, allowing him an unparalleled level of control over the marketplace. Should the first player choose, he could buy up all the quartz, driving the price up just to resell it all in the following round!
The Specialist that you select each round determines not only your turn order, but other important advantages as well.
The Airship Captain, on the other hand, is able to increase the efficiency of any extraction efforts in his local area. When his airship marker is placed next to a row of zones producing resources, those zones produce extra! This benefit extends to all players under this specialist’s jurisdiction, however, so whichever player hires the Airship Captain should be sure to place his marker in a way that maximizes his own gains while leaving rivals out in the cold.
As a final example of a specialist card, take a look at the hardworking Bank Agent. This clever businessman gives the player controlling him the ability to claim an additional all-important resource, without affecting market prices. Alternatively, the player controlling the Bank Agent can upgrade a carrier, a card that provides storage for resources, for free. Such storage capacity is vital in Planet Steam, since any resources that cannot be stored are lost. You cannot corner the market on water, after all, if your inventory keeps dripping through your fingers.
Periodically upgrade your Carriers, or you'll find yourself unable to store newly extracted resources and you'll lose them.
With tense bidding, challenging resource management, and compelling decisions, Planet Steam is sure to become a quick favorite among fans of economic games. And best of all, its well-crafted and engaging mechanics fit perfectly alongside its beautifully imagined steampunk setting. Outwit and outmaneuver your rivals! Create shortages or flood the market with resources to stymie your opponents! Are you canny enough to turn a handful of credits into a fortune?
1 - 3 hours
2 - 5 players
The copyrightable portions of Planet Steam are ©2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Planet Steam and Fantasy Flight Supply are trademarks of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.