I played the original Manhattan Project two years ago at my first Buckeye Game Fest in Columbus, Ohio & I immediately fell in love with the game. Manhattan Project falls into two of my favorite categories for gaming; world history & worker placement. I have thus played Manhattan Project many times then after.
So when I heard that Minion Games was planning to do a second Manhattan Project I had to immediately review it. Let me introduce you to the up & coming Kickstarter project from Minion Games, Manhattan Project: Energy Empire.
Manhattan Project: Energy Empire will be for two to five players, ages 13 years to adult, & will probably run between an hour to two hours for game play. This game relies on three game mechanics: tableau building, worker placement, & resource management. There is a ton of playability in this game.
The game is based on an idea that after the original Manhattan Project the world has changed. Nations are now competing for power in the late part of the 20th century & they must build upon their commerce, industry, & government. In order for the player to do this is they must collect resources & build structures. However players must watch as they industrialize their nations because as they build the more the pollute the air, the land, & the sea.
At the beginning of the game a player will choose a color to play as (receiving workers & a player board), randomly draw two nations, & randomly draw two achievement cards. Players then choose one nation to build & one achievement to start out with.
The ten nations competing for power are: Great Britain, Japan, Saudi Arabia, China, Soviet Union, Canada, West Germany, France, & the United States of America. Each of these nations start out with a certain type of resources & will also produce certain resources.
Also at the beginning of the game, at the top of the main board pollution counters will be stacked into six stacks. The amount of pollution counters depends on the number of players involved in the game. Three “Early Global Impact” will randomly be dealt face-down & another three “Late Global Impact” cards will also be randomly dealt face-down into the play area. When the last global impact is revealed the last turn will begin.
On a player’s board there will be spaces for the various resources, the workers, achievements, & an environment track where pollution tokens are placed throughout the game. As players play through the game they will have a chance to generate resources by moving their workers from their board to the main board at the center of the table.
On the main board players will find places for industry, commerce, government, private enterprise, public services, industrialization, a power plant, achievements, & lastly the United Nations. The United Nations track will be important for end game scoring. Each of the nations available to play with during the game has the ability to be activated to move a players token up the United Nations track.
On a players turn they will have the opportunity to do a handful of actions. The first thing a player can do is take a worker action will will allow them to place a worker on the board to either collect resources or to procure structures. Then they can active a structure & their nation card if they have enough workers or energy to do so.
If a player happens to run out of energy or is running low on workers they can take the generate action for the turn. This gives a player a chance to take up to five actions. First they can try to claim an addition achievement, a player is allowed up to five. Next a player can return all their workers back to their player board, however they lose any energy that happens to be left. After that if a player has any oil in their stock they may refine or discard to gain oil energy dice. Next they may roll all of their energy dice to gain energy for their next turn. And lastly if they polluted their environment by collecting energy they must collect a pollution token to place on their environment grid or if no pollution was collect, one token may be discard from the pollution track.
When a stack of pollution tokens is emptied a Global Impact card is flipped face up & the actions on the card activates. Some of these actions can be good but most are bad & can slow down a players momentum. Emptying a stack of pollution will also change the price of oil.
As players take pollution they will not only take regular pollution but they may also take nuclear contamination. Nuclear contamination takes several turns to get rid of when taking a clean up action. The clean up action is the best way to get of pollution from a players environment grid.
When the final Global Impact card is revealed each player will get one last turn to take. Each player must make sure they take the appropriate action to ensure that they can earn more points. Players must remember that they can still gain pollution tokens, even on their last turn. Once each player is finished taking their last turn, the game ends & scoring begins.
Now at the end of the game the player that happens to end up on the last place of the United Nations will lock in a special leader bonus. This bonus will give additional points to that player at the end of the game.
Once points are scored the player with the most points has made themselves the most power nation on the planet.
Now what you see if the photos are of prototype game pieces. There will be all new components published with this game when it comes out. I want to thank Luke Laurie for letting me borrow the prototype for Manhattan Project: Energy Empire.
I know I love & will continue to play the original but Manhattan Project: Energy Empire has amazed me from every angle. Manhattan Project: Energy Empire has truly wowed me to the very center of my gaming core with every choice I made. There is simply a ton of actions to take & sometimes you end up second guessing yourself because you see a much better move as your opponents play out their actions.
I obviously can’t wait to get this on the table whenever I’m out playing games. If you love playing the original then prepare to be stunned at Manhattan Project: Energy Empire. This game is available now on the Manhattan Project Kickstarter page.
Lets get ready to lead our nations into the 21st century will energy building, pollution control, & to game on!