Engine building games are the ones in which you build an engine, which is, something that produces more points or goods as the game advances. These kind of games are thrilling and keeps you glued to the gaming device till you achieve the goal. Some of the best and top engine building board and card games are given below. These games along with giving importance to the board/card game also incorporate different missions, things to-dos, and other activities along with it, which makes the game more interesting and thrilling. Its more than just a time pass, victory can be achieved only by properly concentrating, thinking and planning.
Race for the Galaxy
2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 30-60 minutes to play
This is one of the best engine building card games in which the player has to play with the cards provided and build galactic civilizations. Each card has its features. Some represent worlds, while others are used to bring about social and technical developments. Also, goods can be produced which can later be used to gain points or extra card draws.
At the beginning of the game, each player can secretly select any one of the seven different roles, corresponding to the phase of the round. The selected phase gets activated, and each player in the games gets to act accordingly. However, a bonus will be achieved only by the player who has chosen the role. One can also acquire bonuses by development, so there is a chance for your opponents to take advantage of your role choice.
1-5 Players • Ages 12+ • 120 minutes to play
Terraforming Mars is one of the realistic engine building games which is played in the timeline of 2400s. Humans initiate huge projects to try and transform the planet Mars Giant into a habitable one by bringing changes in the planet’s temperature, oxygen concentrations, and the ocean coverage. The player has the role of one of the organizations trying to shape the planet and competes for victory points with the other players.
Victory points are awarded not only for the transformation process but also for improving the human infrastructure.
The players can buy unique project cards in their hand. Each such cards will contain unique features like introducing animal life, hurling asteroids, mining the moons of Jupiter, building cities, etc. There are also other features like bonus points, increase production rate, income, terraform rate, etc. The game ends, when the temperature, ocean, and oxygen reach their goals.
2-4 Players • Ages 13+ • 30 minutes to play
Dominion is one of the engine building card games in which you, the player is a monarch leader, like your parents before you. Your kingdom is a small peaceful and pleasant one of rivers, trees, and evergreens.
Unlike your parents, you are a little thoughtful, ambitious and have your dreams. You want to create a bigger empire with more rivers and greenery. To achieve this goal you will have to look beyond your kingdom, bring even the small lands under your command and bring civilization to all the people alike.
But you are not the only monarch in the game, so it’s about racing past them, to claim the unclaimed lands, construct buildings, hire minions, reconstruct the castle, and fill up your treasury.
2 Players • Ages 12+ • 20 minutes to play
Star Realms is one of the top ten engine building games which was first introduced in 2014. This game incorporates both a deck building card game as well as space compact into one. As you move along the game you interact, trade and acquire ships and bases. These ships and bases are either used to generate compact or to generate trade. The new ships and bases are acquired by drawing cards in the Trade row.
The main agenda is to reduce the opponents score using trade as well as compact. In a compact, the player attacks the opponent’s ships and bases and thereby reducing their total score.
When the Authority (opponent’s score) is zero, you are declared the winner!
2-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 30-45 minutes to play
Fleet is one of the best strategic engine building games which features an entirely different theme on commercial fishing. The game uses the latest mechanics to give an exciting gaming experience. The game is concentrated on the previously inaccessible Ridback bay, off of the Arctic Ocean, on the Northwest part of Canada.
The player has to acquire licenses for fishing, launch boats and fish from the waters. The one who manages all the acquired resources efficiently will be able to build the best and strongest fleet. Each fleet’s round has five different phases. The winner will be the one with the best crew and fleet. The game challenges one’s decision-making skills, strategies, and patience which adds to the thrill of playing.
2-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 45-60 minutes to play
San Juan is one of the engine building card games one can get addicted to. The games is based on Puerto Rico. There is a total deck of 110 cards which can be divided into two categories. The first one is the production buildings which consists of sugar indigo, tobacco, silver, and coffee. The second category is the violet buildings which are special cards which grants special abilities to the player.
The cards in hand can be used as money or can be directly used to build something. But the cards in the deck represents the goods from the buildings of production. There is a hand limit of even cards per round. The only way to gain victory points is by buildings, and the games come to an end only when twelve buildings are set up.
2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 240 minutes to play
Through the Ages is a game in which a big civilization is built. Each player has to use their skills and resources and build the best civilization possible. To achieve this goal new technologies needs to be discovered, resources properly managed, elect representatives, build wonders and build up a strong defense force. Any weakness can be spotted by the opponent and can be used against you.
The main highlight of the game is card drifting. You can make use of technologies, leaders, and wonders through card drifting. But first, this technology needs to be discovered by the player. In order to do so, one needs to have a proper supply of food, resources, and military. It is easy to win against small militaries whereas it becomes difficult with the larger ones.
The player with the most culture becomes the winner in the end.
2-4 Players • Ages 10+ • 30 minutes to play
Splendor is an engine building game that focuses on card development and chip collecting. The player in the game is a Renaissance merchant who is trying to purchase shops, gem mines, means of transportation, etc. to achieve a prestigious level of points. Once you become very wealthy, there is a chance for the noble to come and visit you, which again will bring an increase in your prestige.
When it’s the player’s turn, he/she has three choices. He can either collect gems or buy and construct a card or reserve a card. If you are buying cards, there will very much increase in your wealth and added to that; you will gain a gem bonus for all the next buys. Some of the cards you by also contains prestige points. The first one to reach 15 prestige points becomes the winner of the game.
2-4 Players • Ages 12+ • 45-60 minutes to play
This engine building game was developed by Carl Chudyk. It is a long journey of the changes or innovations that came about from the past Stone Age to the modern times. Different cards represent different technologies, cultural developments, ideas and the player has to build up a civilization using these cards.
Every card has different powers which will help in further advancement through the game by attacking other civilizations or by point scoring. You should be very careful so that other civilizations do not benefit from your ideas. You can become the winner by scoring achievements. This can be done by increasing points or crossing certain requirements of innovations.
Proper planning and outmaneuvering the opponents is the main road that takes you to victory.
The Manhattan Project
2-5 Players • Ages 13+ • 120 minutes to play
In this engine building game you, the main player of the games is the leader of big country’s atomic weapons program. The game revolves around the race between the nations to build the bigger and better bombs. Your job is to assign different works to people like building infrastructure expanding military, sending spies and stealing your enemy’s work
The Nation’s destiny is in the player’s hands. You control the workers, prepare a strategy and protect your country at any cost.
The players need not nuke each other but can order small air strikes at times against the enemy’s facilities. The proper management of workers and their timings is a must. The player can activate and block the enemy’s buildings or facility through an espionage action
In one’s busy life it is equally important to have some fun. Playing an engine building game takes a person into a different world and is a way of relaxation from the tensions and stress of the outside life. It gives you the thrill and a fun experience, even while you are sitting on a couch in the corner of your home.