Empyreal: Spells & Steam Review

Empyreal: Spells & Steam - Level 99 Games - $89.99
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Game title: Empyreal: Spells & Steam

Game description: Build railways to connect key resources in a budding industrial network, then supply them to cities around the world. Each contract fulfilled will build up the player’s company infrastructure leading to the development of new abilities and redefine how to play.

Overall
4.5
  • Play (Mechanics)
  • Presentaition (Art/Quality)
  • Plan (Rules)

Summary

As a kid growing up, I had a train set—beautiful G-Scale LBG trains. While I never had an elaborate setup, I enjoyed putting together tracks, adding new cards, and running the train in loops for hours on end. I’ve never had an adoration of trains like some enthusiasts, but there has always been something cool about them for me. The same goes for train games. I don’t actively seek them out, but the ones I’ve played I tend to enjoy. Toss in a bit of fantasy? Now we’re talking. Empyreal: Spells & Steam scratches an itch I never realized I had.

Pros

  • Amazon production quality/artwork
  • Easy set up/tear down thanks to trays
  • Easy to grasp and a blast to play

Cons

  • Requires lots of reference guides for cards & spell cars in the rulebook
  • Box doesn’t fit well on shelves
  • Wasted space in the box due to all the cardboard that needs to be punched

Full Empyreal: Spells & Steam Review

As a kid growing up, I had a train set—beautiful G-Scale LGB trains. While I never had an elaborate setup, I enjoyed putting together tracks, adding new cards, and running the train in loops for hours on end. I’ve never had an adoration of trains like some enthusiasts, but there has always been something cool about them for me. The same goes for train games. I don’t actively seek them out, but the ones I’ve played I tend to enjoy. Toss in a bit of fantasy? Now we’re talking. Empyreal: Spells & Steam scratches an itch I never realized I had.

The basics of Spells & Steam are simple. Each turn, you may use a special power and then either move your conductor and activate spell cars to build your network or take an administrative action to recover used crew and mana. Once your conductor reaches the end of the line, you can deliver goods from your routes to a city they connect to. The amount of victory points you earn is dependent on how many goods you deliver and how much demand there is for those goods. The whole game plays fairly quickly at around 20 minutes per player. It’s incredibly streamlined, with each players’ turn only consisting of a minute or so.

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The entire game is increadibly well organized

At first glance, the game looks more daunting than it is. There are many pieces, though once you finish the initial sorting into the included trays set, up takes no time. While thick, the rule book is mostly full of reference material for each of the spell cars and character cards you can pick up during the game. The actual rules are well written and easy to understand.

Empyreal’s World of Indines also fantastic. Being a fantasy game, the setting is steeped in interesting, game-spanning lore. Level 99’s other games set in Indines are BattleCon and Argent, each expanding on differet aspects of the realm.

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The different Captains for each company

Unlike most train games, Empyreal packs many options and replayability into a game that plays in under 2 hours with four players. It also does so while looking absolutely stunning. It seems nothing was left out in the production of this game. Everything from the artwork to the actual cardboard it’s printed on is top quality. My only wish is that less reference material was needed and that the box fit on a shelf better.

A copy of Empyreal: Spells & Steam was provided free for review by Level 99 Games

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