best engine-building board games

First of all, not all board games can be considered engine-building board games, so some of the most well-known board games that you have known might not be listed here. 

The true connoisseurs of engine building board games consider the “engine building” part not a mechanic but rather a game style that combines the other games’ other mechanics. 

What is mentioned here is considered the best engine-building board games that have been reviewed thoroughly. These board games are considered to be the top-tier in the line of engine building board games because of their quality, fun gameplay mechanics, and replayability. Without further ado, here are the best engine building board games on the market.

What is an Engine Building Board Game?

The name suggests that the game has to do something with “engine building.” Yes, these games build gradually from simple to complex. It depends on the type of “engine builder” that what its setting should be. However, all the games share a common feature: players start from nothing and develop resources and powers. Your development in-game is directly proportional to the decision you make. In some games, you may have to conquer the civilization; in others, you have to explore the space, i.e., “terraforming Mars” for human settlement. 

Comparison Table for Best Engine Building Board Games

Photo
Stonemaier Games Scythe Board Game - An...
Furtherance - The Tactical and Engine-Building...
Wingspan Board Game - A Bird-Collection,...
Everdell
City of Iron: Experts and Engines Board Game
Title
Stonemaier Games Scythe Board Game - An...
Furtherance - The Tactical and Engine-Building...
Wingspan Board Game - A Bird-Collection,...
Everdell
City of Iron: Experts and Engines Board Game
Genre
Wargames
Tactical Civilization Strategy Game
Strategy
Strategy
Fantasy
Players limit
1-5
1-4
1-5
2-4
2-4
Suggested Users
Ages 14 & up
13 year and up
Ages 14 & up
Ages 12 & up
Ages 13 & up
Playing Time
90-120 minutes
60-90
40-70 minutes
40-80 minutes
120 minutes
Cautionary Statement
Choking Hazard- Small Parts
No warning applicable
No warning applicable
Choking Hazard- Small Parts
Choking Hazard- Small Parts Not for children under 3 years
Brand
Stonemaier Games
Stonemaier Games
Stonemaier Games
Starling Games
Red Raven Games
Photo
Stonemaier Games Scythe Board Game - An...
Title
Stonemaier Games Scythe Board Game - An...
Genre
Wargames
Players limit
1-5
Suggested Users
Ages 14 & up
Playing Time
90-120 minutes
Cautionary Statement
Choking Hazard- Small Parts
Brand
Stonemaier Games
Details
Photo
Furtherance - The Tactical and Engine-Building...
Title
Furtherance - The Tactical and Engine-Building...
Genre
Tactical Civilization Strategy Game
Players limit
1-4
Suggested Users
13 year and up
Playing Time
60-90
Cautionary Statement
No warning applicable
Brand
Stonemaier Games
Details
Photo
Wingspan Board Game - A Bird-Collection,...
Title
Wingspan Board Game - A Bird-Collection,...
Genre
Strategy
Players limit
1-5
Suggested Users
Ages 14 & up
Playing Time
40-70 minutes
Cautionary Statement
No warning applicable
Brand
Stonemaier Games
Details
Photo
Everdell
Title
Everdell
Genre
Strategy
Players limit
2-4
Suggested Users
Ages 12 & up
Playing Time
40-80 minutes
Cautionary Statement
Choking Hazard- Small Parts
Brand
Starling Games
Details
Photo
City of Iron: Experts and Engines Board Game
Title
City of Iron: Experts and Engines Board Game
Genre
Fantasy
Players limit
2-4
Suggested Users
Ages 13 & up
Playing Time
120 minutes
Cautionary Statement
Choking Hazard- Small Parts Not for children under 3 years
Brand
Red Raven Games
Details

6 Best Engine Building Board Games Review

01- Stonemaier Engine-Building Scythe Board Game

Stonemaier Games is known for creating beautiful, story-rich, and enjoyable tabletop board games. Some of these games include Red Rising, Pendulum, Tapestry, Wingspan, and Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, My Little Scythe, Charterstone, Between Two Cities, Euphoria and Viticulture.

The Stonemaier Scythe board game transports you to Europa’s alternate and fictional land during the 1920s, where war and turmoil still lurks the land. Your quest begins by leading your faction to the once-famous place called “The Factory,” which was the main source of all the heavily armored mechs during the war. 

The game’s objectives include building mechs, developing the land, and exploring the mystery-filled factory, all while defending your base from other factions.

Here are 12 features to expect:

  • Item Dimensions (L x W x H): 11.81 x 4 x 14.57 in
  • Item Weight: 7 pounds/ 3.17 kg
  • Recommended Age: 14 years old and above
  • Player Count: Up to 5 players
  • Playtime Duration: 90 – 120 minutes
  • Best Sellers Rank: #83 in Board Games
  • Artwork by: Jakub Różalski’s
  • Solo Playability
  • Multiple Expansion packs available
  • Digital Version available
  • Easy Replacement for Missing parts
  • Includes Character Miniatures, Mech Miniatures, Coins and Pieces

The plastic pieces that come with the board may be replaced with higher-quality pieces that may resemble a real thing. An example would be an iron ingot made with real metal. You can readily purchase them almost anywhere and will make a great addition to the overall gameplay.

Pros
  • Game information can easily be found on the Internet
  • Replacements Parts are easy to find
  • Beautifully crafted pieces
  • Board and pieces are made of the highest quality material
  • Expansion Packs available can change the gameplay experience
  • It can be played solo
  • Very affordable
Cons
  • It contains choking hazard pieces 
  • Complicated Rules and Dense Guidelines that makes the first play through difficult

02- Furtherance – The Tactical and Engine-Building Civilization Strategy Game

Furtherance is a tactical, engine-building game. It allows you to be the ruler of your kingdom by simplifying the concept of civilization with straightforward tactical combat and 6 basic actions. 

In this game, you need to utilize workers to earn money, acquire advantageous cards from the marketplace, and get private technology that only you can use. Once the player’s action is decided, they can attack or move with their units. 

Here are the key features of the game: 

  • Item Dimensions: 9.5 x 9.5 x 2 inches
  • Item Weight: 2.24 lbs.
  • Recommended Age: 13 years old and above
  • Playtime Duration: 60 to 90 minutes
  • Best Seller Rank: 21,187
  • Player Count: Up to 4 players
  • Solo Playability
  • Manufacturer: Flannel Games
  • Standard card stock
  • Cards are coated with wax
  • Includes 114 cards and 196 tokens
  • The beautifully illustrated game board

You can win this game by finishing goals that can improve your kingdom. You also have the option to prove that you can protect your civilians, take control of the board center, build an amazing park, or achieve the Holy Grail. 

Pros
  • Easy to learn
  • Fun tactical game for the family
  • It can be played solo
  • 30 days money-back guarantee
  • The goals can be stretched
  • Rules are easy to follow
  • It has a combat mechanism
Cons
  • Game pacing can be a bit slow
  • Some of the parts are too small, so it’s easy to misplace

03- Wingspan Engine-Building Board Game – A Bird-Collection

The Wingspan is another one of Stonemaier’s engine-building board games considered a beautiful and accurate masterpiece. The board game was designed by none other than Elizabeth Hargrave and has won multiple awards, including the 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres for the best connoisseur game of the year.

In Wingspan, your role as a bird enthusiast is to discover new birds that you can add to your network of wildlife reservations. Each of the birds you obtain will grant you a chain of combos that can greatly impact your overall score. Your ultimate goal in the game is to gather the most points within four rounds for you to win.

This board game is considered to be a unique entry to the world of engine-building board games. It offers a new kind of experience to the genre and is enjoyable to people who love birds.

Some of the features that the game offers include:

  • Item Dimensions: 11.5 x 11.5 x 3 in
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Player Count: 1-5 players
  • Gameplay Duration: 40-70 minutes
  • Age Recommendation: 14 years old and above
  • Best Sellers Rank: #26 in Board games
  • Initial Release Date: October 13, 2019
  • High-quality materials and pieces
  • Purchasable Accessories that can change the gameplay
  • Expansion packs available anytime
  • Includes 170 Unique Cards with Beautiful Bird Illustrations
  • 3 Rulebooks included

Due to the high popularity of Wingspan, a digital version has been created so that fans of the game can enjoy a competitive playstyle online. The gameplay of both the physical and digital versions of Wingspan offers the same mechanic, which means that you will still enjoy the true gameplay even if you have the digital copy.

Pros
  • Unique Gameplay Mechanics
  • Beautiful cards
  • Cute pieces and materials
  • Easy to learn
  • Impressive Selection of moves
  • Requires heavy strategy and thinking
  • Maximum Replayability
Cons
  • Complicated for those who are new to the game
  • It contains choking hazard pieces

04- Everdell

Starling Games is best known for creating stylish games with unique gameplay mechanics paired with beautiful, top-notch artists. Starling games have produced popular and memorable board games such as Archmage, Anomaly, A War of Whispers, Alien Frontiers, Black Orchestra, Flourish, King’s Forge, Nothing Personal, Shadowrift, and of course, Everdell.

Everdell is considered to be Starling Games’ most popular engine-building board game ever made. It is set in the land of Everdell, and your primary mission is to lead a bunch of critters to do tasks such as building new territories and cities. The scores you will obtain at the end of each game will vary depending on the success of the town you and your critters have built.

During the game of Everdell, you will encounter some characters and events that may affect your overall success and final score. Each round you have with Everdell is considered a new experience, so its replayability is considered very high.

Here are the features of the Everdell:

  • Item Dimensions: 2.95 x 11.81 x 11.81 in
  • Item Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Player Count: 2-4 players
  • Gameplay Duration: 40 – 80 minutes in which each player has about 20 minutes
  • Recommended age: 12 years old and above
  • Best Sellers Rank: #381 in Board Games
  • Initial Release Date: October 26, 2018
  • Materials and Pieces are high quality
  • Beautiful illustration for the game
  • Multiple Expansion Packs Available
  • New Accessories Available for Purchase
  • Includes the Standard edition pieces, cards, and materials

Everdell has attracted a lot of attention because of how cute the illustrations are and how in-depth the gameplay mechanics can go. Everdell is undeniably easy to learn, but even the most seasoned players will still have to think of brand new strategies to overcome their opponents.

Pros
  • Graphics are considered high-tier
  • Affordable
  • Maximum Replayability
  • Easy to learn
  • Requires advance strategy
  • Interesting mechanics
  • One of the best worker placement type of game
Cons
  • The rule book is poorly-made
  • It contains small choking hazard pieces

05- City of Iron: Experts and Engines Board Game

The City of Iron: Experts and Engines board game is the first expansion pack of the game City of Iron. The original game was already enjoyable, but this time, new mechanics had been added to the game that greatly amplifies the overall experience. 

The gameplay is not the only thing that was updated in the game. New citizen and military cards were added for every nation. These new game cards will open up a bunch of new strategies and experiences from every nation. 

In this expansion pack, new pieces such as the Steamboat tokens and Kraxian Pirate tokens have been added, which will greatly change how the game works. These tokens can be used to alter the current bonus a building card may give. Steamboat tokens will provide extra goods for the building cards, while the Kraxian Pirate tokens will negate the bonuses for the building cards.

The main goal for this expansion pack is similar to that of the original game, which is to build a supreme nation in a land filled with chaos, magic, and machines.

Some features of the Experts and Engines expansion pack:

  • Includes New Citizen Cards
  • Includes New Military Cards
  • New Building Cards
  • Steamboat and Kraxian Pirate Tokens
  • Requires New Strategies for Each Nation
  • Requires the original City of Iron game
  • Item Dimensions: 1.25 x 5 x 6 in
  • Item Weight: 8.2 ounces
  • Recommended Age: 13 years old and above
  • Best Sellers Rank: # 26, 440 in Board Games
  • High-Quality Crafted Pieces
  • Player Count: 2-4 Players

Although this is just an expansion pack of the popular game, City of Iron, this will still add a new sense of experience. Every card added through the expansion pack can be used to create new strategies to defeat your opponents and conquer the entire game.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Maximum Replayability
  • Adds a new experience to the base game
  • A unique experience for every nation
  • Some Cards have been updated
  • Easy to Learn
  • Very Enjoyable
Cons
  • It May contain choking hazard pieces
  • Requires base game to play

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Engine Building Board Games

Engine building board games have the unique ability of simultaneously keeping “players” excited, increasing imagination, give something to learn, and enhancing strategic ability. Therefore, these games prove very helpful for children above 10 years. Now, what makes them best, and what should you look into these games to have the best engine-building board games? These two questions are to be answered here. Hence, if you like to enjoy engine-building board games, ran a glance at the following features for better understanding. 

Players limit

More players better the game. The best “mechanics” of the engine building game is that it provides group fun. Engine building usually comes up with the feature of 1-5 players. However, some games have the feature to extend the player number by addition in-game—the challenges and excitement increase with an increasing number of players. You can have a game for one player, called solo games. The above-given games have all these three features: solo games, 1-5 players’ games, and games with the extension of players.

Playtime

The time of the game is another feature that every player should look for. The gradual building of games with good time helps players to make strategies. Games with less time will be abrupt. Also, the game with less time will not be good at building. Most of the above-given games provide good playtime ranging from 40 to 120 minutes. As a player, you should know that the more the time better, it will be to make a strategy. 

Suggested users

Engine building games are top-rated among adults compared to children. However, now, these games also have become good for children. No denying that adults enjoy these games is way better because victory in engine building games is proportional to decision making. However, now games are also manufactured for the user of as low as ten years. Most of the games are suggested for the player of 14 and above years. In this article, you can find games for both children and adults. 

Project Completion 

How many projects have to be completed in a single engine-building game? More the project betters the games. More projects give you different challenge and your enticement increase with every passing project. Enlisted engine building games have as many as 200 projects. Therefore, these games are the best engine-building board games.

Characters Quality 

All engine-building board games have characters. The quality of these characters affects the game a lot. If you have a game with dull characters, you will hardly enjoy it. Therefore, games with lively characters are favored. This is also one of the factors that these above-given games are on the list. All these games have lively characters that you may feel the character of flesh and blood.

Adventure 

Adventure in the game is defined by many factors such as player limit, project limits, game setting, and character quality. You know all these games meet these requirements. As a result, these engine building games are the most adventurous.

Epic Game

All the above-given games are epic. You have to conquer civilization, restore the honor, and help humanity to tackle the crisis. Therefore, epic games are more interesting games. You should look at them first.

Challenging scale 

For children of age 10, games should have average challenges. However, the game’s high challenge scale develops players’ ability to make strategy and enjoy suspense. 

How to Play Engine Building Games?

Engine building games are a game of progress where you need to score points or accumulate the goods and resources. You start fresh and goes on have many powers and resources. Your progress depends on your decision to make power. Hence, if you can develop strategy well, you will win. In this sense, you have to develop the ability of strategy. Some games are played solo, where challenges are inbuilt. In other games, your partners create a challenge for you when developing their civilization. Therefore, the engine-building game is delightful once you can think well. This is the reason most of the engine-building games are for 14 years and older.

Best Engine Building Board Games: Frequently Asked Questions

Is it challenging to play engine-building board games? 

You start very simply and go on to build your resources. Your final option is nothing but your own decision. Therefore, it may seem a little challenging in the beginning. However, you can develop massive powers. It is never a challenge in a fashion that robs the fun off. It is challenging excitingly. Without challenge, there will be no adventure; everyone knows this. Rather the game should be challenging.

Can you play an engine-building board game alone? 

The board game is an adventurous game that can be played solo. The sole play does not mean there will be no challenge for solo games feature challenges for you. These features make the sole game very enjoyable. For your convenience, the link to some great solo games is given below.

The 7th Continent Classic Edition - Core Box - English...
  • A MUST! One of the biggest hits on Kickstarter now available for everyone.
  • SOLO OR COOPERATIVE: Designed to be played solo or cooperatively with up to 4 players.
  • EXPERIENCE FOND MEMORIES: Rediscover the experience of adventure game books from your childhood.
  • HOURS OF ADVENTURE: Dozens of hours of adventure await you as you discover the Continent.
  • A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE IN EACH GAME: Dozens of random events and alternative maps mean you'll experience a different adventure every time you play.

Is Catan an engine-building game?

Catan is a great game that features satisfying strategies. An engine-building game builds as it progresses. On the surface, it may seem that Catan settlers are not an engine game. However, one catan settlers feature engine-building. Like all other engine building games, the Catan settlers also features slow progress in the game. 

What bird is on the cover of the wingspan?

The bird on the cover of the “wingspan” is Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. This bird is also known as the bird of paradise. The bird, given on the cover of the wingspan, indicates new heights in the game. As the game progresses, you acquire great powers and resources. 

My Recommendation

After much deliberation from the team, we have chosen Everdell as the best engine-building board game on the list here. Not only does it give a unique gameplay mechanic, but it also a wide variety of beautiful illustrations and game pieces that enhance the general experience of the players. We consider Everdell as a masterpiece that truly deserves every penny spent on it.

Sale
Tapestry Board Game - A Civilization Building...
  • Create the civilization with the most storied history, starting at the beginning of human-kind and reaching into the future
  • Start from nothing and advance your science, technology, exploration, and military to progress your civilization, either through balanced growth or by focusing on a specific aspect
  • Features 18 unique, painted landmark miniatures
  • For 1-5 players
  • Plays in 90-120 minutes

Read More: Best Dungeon Crawler Board Game

Conclusion

Game is the great anti-boredom remedy. Therefore, this article selected some widely desired games and others appropriate to excite your dull time. Further, for your convenience, some prevailing questions are also tackled in this article related to these engine building games generally and these games particularly. Consequently, you can run a glance at the article and be benefited from this service.

Last update on 2021-06-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API