Manhattan Project: Energy Empire is the latest installment in Minion Games’ critically acclaimed Manhattan Project series. According to the Minion Games Website – “Manhattan Project: Energy Empire is a stand alone game in our “Manhattan Project” line of games. It shares many of the same mechanics from the original top 150 award winning game, but with less “take that” actions. Designed by established game designers Luke Laurie and Tom Jolly.”
“World War 2 has become a memory, and global power is shifting as modernization changes the world. Nations scramble to upgrade their energy production to keep up with the rapid growth. The price of oil is going up, and nuclear energy is the wave of the future. In Energy Empire, each player takes control of a nation vying for power in the second half of the 20th century. They build up their nation’s industry, commerce, and government by acquiring resources, building structures, and tapping new sources of energy.”
One of my gaming buddies (we’ll call him Mike Meeple) is a big fan of euro style board games. He has played Energy Empire at least 10 times, and I asked him a few questions about his thoughts on the game. Check out what he had to say about the game:
1) What is the goal of the game, what are the main mechanics, and how does it end?
Energy Empire is a worker placement game that puts your resource management and employee efficiency skills to the test. The game lasts for 6 rounds and the player with the most points at the end of the game will be the winner.
2) What actions can players take each turn?
Each turn you may either work or generate. When you work, you use your workers in combination with your energy tokens to perform actions. You are allowed one main board action followed by as many actions as you can perform on your personal structures matching the same color of the main board action. Available actions include producing resources, buying structures, or cleaning your environment.
3) Do you think there is one dominant strategy?
The best way to play the game, as is true with many other worker placement games, is to grow your workforce quickly and use each turn as efficiently as possible. If you can combo multiple structures with one action, you will be able to get more accomplished on your turn. The first few times I played, I neglected the energy die which caused me to have to spend more turns generating, which takes your entire turn. Also, keep your environment as clean as possible. There are 6 scoring phases that reward you for having less pollution.
4) The box says it should take 60-120 minutes to play. Is that accurate in your experience and do you think there is an optimal player count?
I have played about 10 times now. The game plays 1-5 and it scales well with each player count, although I prefer the increased interaction with a 4 or 5 player game. Most games last between 1.5 and 2 hours. After a few plays, we have gotten it down to about 1.5 on average.
5) How does it measure up to other worker placement games in general, and Manhattan Project specifically?
It is a solid worker placement game. The “work or generate” mechanic is the heart of the Manhattan Project franchise. I prefer Energy Empire to the standard Manhattan Project game; I love the mini-game of having to maintain the environment section of your player mat.
Well, there you have it. Mike loves Energy Empire, and if you tend to like euro style games, it is a must play. You should give it a try at your earliest convenience. Thanks for reading and keep nerding on!