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Steam Time Board Game Review

Steam Time board game review

Image courtesy of: PZS69 @BoardGameGeek.

In Steam Time, players take on the role of time travelers in a Steam Punk world. The time travel is done by zeppelin. With your zeppelin you can visit Stonehenge, the Chinese Wall, the Pyramids and the statues on Easter Island. However, this is a very thin thematic sauce that does not go beyond the design of the game. The game itself is a workerplacer where you have to try to collect as many points as possible. For just about everything you can do in the game, you get points, but the trick is to choose the combinations of actions that yield the most points. It’s a game where a lot happens and everything is ingeniously interlocked.

At each location there are different actions you can perform. For example, you can buy crystals in different colours (and you can use those crystals later to buy other things), you can meet well-known scientists who give you nice things as a present or you can expand your zeppelin (which will give you extra benefits every round). Each action also includes a bonus action. And how good it is depends on how well the cockpit of your zeppelin is equipped with crystals. For example, if you have chosen to meet famous scientists, then you’ll see how many blue crystals you’ve collected. For each blue crystal you get one extra steam (which you can use to change the colour of the crystal or to score points).

Each player has three zeppelins every round. Each era can only be visited by one zeppelin and you also have to keep in mind that the zeppelins can only fly forward (every next zeppelin has to be placed at a location further away).

Steam Time is challenging but fun!

I think Steam Time is a great game. A lot is going on, but after two rounds, everything falls neatly into place because everything fits together very well. However, I do understand that people are put off by the complexity of the game. Especially because all kinds of elements are connected, it is difficult to explain the game well because a lot happens at the same time and you have to make a lot of references at the beginning (for example: and then you get steam and I’ll explain later what you can do with that). So it is not a game for people who occasionally play a game, but lovers of the heavier games will have a great time with this game. A turn in itself is simple (choose a location and perform the action and bonus action), but because there can only be one zeppelin on each spot (and your opponents can mess up your plans by hijacking that crucial action in front of you) and you can only go to one spot per location and also have to fly forward, it is a fun puzzle to think about what you will do during your turn.