A Time of Steel and Philanthropy
By Beth Erikson
Travel back to the 19th century, an era of rapidly accelerating scientific discovery and invention and growth. Opportunities and success await as the steel industry pushes the country to new heights.
Carnegie is a new strategic action management game designed by Xavier Georges and illustrated by Ian O’Toole. Inspired by the life of Andrew Carnegie, a philanthropist and major player in the steel industry, players will be challenged to grow their companies through shrewd investments in real estate, industry, and transportation. True success will come not just from wealth but also from generosity in donations to key endeavors like education and human rights. Who will rise to the top and push the country to a new era of development?
Build Your Company
To succeed in business, players will need to carefully manage their company by developing new departments and strategically using their employees. Each of the departments in the company corresponds to one of the game’s four types of actions: Human Resources, Management, Construction, and Research & Development. At the beginning of the game, each player will start with the same company board with 1 lobby space and 5 departments. Each department can hold 1-3 active employees.
Each company building has space to expand to include a total of 15 departments. As the game goes on, players will be able to construct new spaces in their building, unlocking new strategic options. Some extra departments will have more than one tile available, but others only have one, letting players customize their board for their individual strategies. As players build up their company and fill up the floors of their building, they’ll gain more victory points. Adding departments on the highest level of the building, for example, is worth 3 victory points for each department on that level at the end of the game.
With 16 unique department tiles in the game, players will have plenty of choices for which strategy to pursue. Some departments even provide passive or ongoing effects. Adding a new lobby department tile will allow faster access to other departments, minimizing the need for employee movement. A new construction tile can enable new building capabilities and reduce the cost for building projects. Research and development can get you far; a new design department can improve efficiency with more study points or reduce the cost of transportation development costs. Players will want to make sure they have some departments available in each category to make sure they’re taking advantage of the different actions, but each player can choose which category to put more emphasis on as they build up their company with different departments.
A Strategic Timeline
In Carnegie, players will select their actions from the same timeline, which is setup at the beginning of the game. With 8 different double-sided timeline tiles, each game will present different choices.
The first player will select the timeline row they wish to use: Human Resources, Management, Construction, or R&D. Each of these rows relate to the departments in a player’s company and will activate those departments for actions. In addition to activating the departments, the players will also get to do the event printed on the timeline row.
The active player choosing the placement of the timeline marker on the row will get to select their strategy and do their actions first, but then the other players will also get to do those same actions. So, players must think strategically as they make their selection, looking at what could benefit them versus other players. Maybe selecting an action that places employees out on the board into the Eastern region will be beneficial for the future. Maybe it’s better to select the donation action since the other players don’t have enough money to donate themselves. Each action will be open to the other players so pay attention and think a few steps ahead!
A Chain of Transportation
As the steel tracks are placed across the country, transportation improves and brings more wealth and goods to businesses. Each of the four regions across the board have their own transportation track. At the beginning of the game players will start at the first level with a simple cart. During the game, players can upgrade their transportation to the railroad level or beyond, claiming extra points and bonuses.
Establishing connecting routes across the country will also be important for victory. Upgrading the transport method (cart, stagecoach, or railroad) for each region is only one piece. Players will also want to stake their claim in smaller cities to establish a connecting route between the major cities of New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Francisco. With smaller cities only having space for one player to claim them, each player will need to think carefully about their planned transportation routes!
Become a Benefactor
True success is measured by more than just wealth. Though Andrew Carnegie became one of the richest men in the world thanks to his business in the steel industry, he was also a benefactor and philanthropist, donating much of his wealth to charities and foundations across the country.
During the game players will have the opportunity to donate to education, human rights, welfare, and health. Each of these categories can be seen at the top of the game board and each offers different opportunities for boosting end game scoring.
Though there are many different options in each category, once a space is claimed by another player that bonus is only theirs. Some bonuses, like the 7 victory points in the welfare category, are straightforward to claim. Others can have a cost or give different bonuses depending on the board state at the end of the game. For example, the final space on the welfare track will give that player 1 victory point for each active employee in their company at the end of the game. If a player claims this bonus spot, they’ll want to make sure to have employees standing in their company at the end of the game to maximize those bonus points.
Whether playing solo or with friends, Carnegie is a fun and challenging strategic game where your choices interconnect across the board. Carefully select your actions, build up your company, and rise to the challenge to discover true success in Carnegie!
“Success is the power with which to acquire whatever one demands of life without violating the rights of others.” – Andrew Carnegie
Beth Erikson is the Marketing Manager for Pegasus Spiele North America. She is an avid gamer, a collector of far too many books, an explorer of the outdoors, and an artist who loves the Art Nouveau period.