Pilot a submarine to harvest the riches of the sea in this scramble for wealth and power inspired by Jules Verne’s classic tale.
|Nautilus Industries||Lamplight Games||Board Game|
In The Box
This preview of the game, which has a Kickstart launching on 8/7/2014, already looks promising. As you may guess from the title, Nautilus Industries is inspired by the fictional landscapes of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea. Just as Captain Nemo’s technology in that 1870 novel made use of the previously inaccessible ocean depths, you and your opponents in this game will mine and make use of precious resources. Those resources are depicted in the game as tiny plastic crystals that you’ll draw blind from a bag to populate mining tiles. The tiles themselves are lavishly illustrated in a style that’s consistent with the Victorian period Verne drew from in his work. We love the material this is based on and kudos to Lamplight for breaking out of orbit around the usual tropes and trends.
All the player mats and cards in Nautilus Industries are similarly decked out with original art, and even our preview version featured very sturdy supplies. We especially liked the cool design of certificates that represent stock offerings from each of the five mining companies. You’ll find a generous amount of tokens representing money in the box since the essence of the game is making profits from your undersea endeavors. There are a number of heavy cardboard mats (one for each player) depicting the areas where you’ll distribute and mine resources. A set of three submarine tokens for each player are included, and although the preview version included cardboard rounds, we’d love to see something more tactile and toylike in the final game.
How It Plays
The source material most easily lends itself to an adventure theme, but Nautilus Industries takes a different approach. This is a game about gathering resources and making decisions to sell or hold those resources that build your wealth. The simplest game is a two-player affair with two mining tiles, each with five distinct areas where you can gather the game’s key resources. Resources are initially priced according to their supply and the companies that mine them are young start-up ventures. Your actions from that point forward will drive the price of individual resources up or down, and affect the stock price of each company. Once one company’s stock is maxed out, the game ends and the richest player wins.
It’s ironic that mining and profit is connected to Verne’s Nautilus, since Captain Nemo was disgusted by the profligacy of modern man and society. That aside, we loved the flow of Nautilus Industries and especially the economic simulation aspects of the game. Seeing how supply and demand influence prices on the commodity market and how sales drive company values is a great way to teach kids about the stock market. There’s a ton of interaction each round, with lots of money changing and movement of resources that make the game feel fast-paced. It’s a decent time commitment, but still modest compared to deeper sim and strategy games. The wide range of strategic options each turn make Nautilus Industries a fantastic entry point for game groups looking to add some depth, and parents will love all the inherent money lessons it offers kids.
This is a game where you’ll stay incredibly busy each turn, and requires a lot of attention to detail. Even though we’d consider it lighter than many Euro-style games we’ve played, it still may take some getting used to for those new to the genre. The payoff is that you’ll definitely feel smarter by the end of a game, like you’ve been exercising your brain for 60-90 minutes.
It’s very realistic and makes the idea of stocks more fun. It gets a little easier every time you play, and you can try different strategies like building cash, buying stock, or some combination. What makes it fun is trying to balance stock values with selling prices, and you never know exactly how resources will come into play.