For decades the oil companies around the world have been worried about the term “peak oil”. Peak oil means that the oil being pumped from a locations will run out. This is something that we have to be worried about because as the oil fields & reserves run dry we must look toward the future at alternate types of energy.

In the game of Peak Oil, from 2 Tomato Games, this plays out as reality. Peak Oil is worker placement game for two to five players, ages eight years to adult, & may take forty-five to eighty-five minutes to play.

In Peak Oil players will run their own oil companies using their Agents to perform different tasks. These Agents will use be able to drill & ship oil. Or they will be able to buy into Start-Up companies for Tech companies that are providing alternate energy. In doing this the Agents will be able to promote those Tech companies & manipulate the way the public sees the alternates. When the oil runs out, represented by black barrels in a bag, the game ends.

There are basically three steps to a player’s turn. First they will either reassign an Agent or take an action, if they can not take an action then they must assign an Agent. The second step they will take is assigning an Agent. In the third step a player may pay Barrels to reassign an additional Agent.

To take an action, a player must have more Agents at a spot than anyone else to take an action. Or if a player is tied for most Agents, they may still execute the action but must first draw a Barrel from the bag of barrels & resolve the action associated with the color of barrel.

There are three different types of Barrels that can be found in the bag of barrels. The black barrels are the heart of the game. Emptying the bag of these barrels ends the game. These are added to a Black Market space after they are pulled. Red barrels represent a Public Relations crisis. The player that pulls a red barrel will lose half of their oil barrels from their HQ resolve the effect of a PR card. These barrels are placed back into the bag of barrels at the end of the turn. And the yellow barrels act as the same as the red but get discarded after use.

When players take an action they will either be expanding, developing, investing, shipping, or taking part in Grey Ops. These actions will allow players to do a number of things from recruiting more Agents, drilling for oil, getting rid of PR Crisis cards, investing in Start-Up Tech companies, moving barrels from the Black Market, & shipping.

The last black barrel removed from the bag will signal the end of the game. The player to pull the last barrel will finish their turn as normal. Then, in turn order, players will assign one Agent. Each player will be given a chance take one action at each of the action spots an Agent is on. The player with the majority of Agents will take the the first action.

Scoring will begin after all actions have been taken. Players will score points for Start-Up cards, Consultant cards, & PR cards. The player with the highest score wins Peak Oil. 2 Tomatoes also has some advance rules to play with once a group has played a few games using the standard rules.

I’m a sucker for a good worker placement game. Be it big or be it small a worker placement allows a player to get involved with running strategies they want to. These strategies may involve blocking others or even deciding on doing something harmful to themselves to doing something great in the future.

To me the game of Peak Oil from 2 Tomatoes is that it really does represent the reality of oil drilling & the energy companies that do the drilling. Getting into Start-Ups is a great way to get points along with having great PR. PR Crisis cards card hurt since pulling a crisis gets rid of the oil you need to invest.

Peak Oil will be up on Kickstarter on April 5th. You can back this project here: Peak Oil.

Obviously this is a niche theme. There haven’t been very many oil drilling based games through the years. But Peak Oil is a fantastic game of drilling, shipping, & investing in the future. Peak Oil hits on the real reality of things.

-Christopher Richter

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