Publisher: Pegasus Spiele
Player Count: 1-4 Players
Dedicated Solo mode: Yes
Game Length: 90-120 Minutes
Complexity 3.75/5

Inspired by the life and business exploits of entrepreneur and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who rose to fame in the steel and railroad transportation industries, becoming one of the world’s richest men during the late 19th & early 20th century. He ended up donating $350 million dollars to foundations and charities throughout his life building a legacy that still produces fruit to this day.

In this heavy network building and economic efficiency game, players will manage a staff of workers and a series of interconnected company departments. Players will be working to establish companies across major train routes in the United States in order to build a network of transported goods while growing your work force and individual business as you earn wealth and contribute to various charitable organizations. In Carnegie, points represent an impact in both economic and charitable endeavors with the high score proving the biggest imprint on culture. Is this historical, economic builder right for you? Check out our in-depth review:


The game of Carnegie takes place over 20 rounds, with each round consisting of 4 phases. Players will take turns being the first player and choose 1 of 4 timeline actions that will trigger an event, a department within the players company to activate and an end-of-round clean up phase.

Timeline actions are the primary motivator for each round. The timeline is a series of 4 company actions and 16 event actions across 4 tabs that are randomized at setup and triggered one at a time. The active player will choose 1 of 4 actions that serve as different aspects of the company’s organizational structure: Human Resources, Management, Construction and Research & Development. Choosing 1 of these actions will activate those departments within the company later in the round. This is followed by an event where players have the potential opportunity to take income or make a donation to a cause.

Each player has a personal player board that, to begin, consists of the same 5 company departments. New departments can be added as your company grows giving you new and more powerful actions. To use a department, that department must have at least 1 active worker. Each department’s actions vary, but maintain similar end goals based on the department icon. Human Resources moves workers around the company, Management allows you to acquire goods and money while expanding your operation, Construction allows you to build new projects and R&D allows for new designs and to develop transportation networks.

Throughout the game, players will be sending workers to different regions of the United States. These workers can then be brought back through events within that region. These events act as a secondary action, but precursor to the primary department actions. Each region has a track that can be upgraded through R&D. When that region is activated, any workers in that region can be returned to your player board taking with it the rewards on that region’s track. In addition, your company can take income earned on project tabs. These project tabs serve as a catalyst for R&D to develop new building project designs and generate residual income.

Another big portion of the game is the opportunity to make donations to various causes. By donating money, players reserve end-of-game scoring opportunities in a variety of ways across 4 charity categories. While players can grab the occasional victory point during the game, the primary way to earn points is by snagging these end-of-game multipliers earning you points in a variety of ways such at “most buildings in the midwest” or “most human resource departments” on your player board.

All of Carnegie’s different areas are so interlaced, I couldn’t discuss building until now—which is one of the game’s primary features. Building or Construction allows players to build projects in various cities across the map. Connecting cities (specifically major cities) will earn players points at the end of the game for how connected the game’s 4 major metropolitan areas are as well as how developed those regions tracks have become.

I know this description is a little wordy, but I wanted to properly convey how the theme is tied into the mechanics for those who are into those things.

Once players have completed all 20 rounds (exhausting all the timeline’s actions), the game ends and the player with the most points is the winner.


Carnegie can be a bit of a challenge in your first few plays, but the production does a great job attempting to bridge the concepts with both beautiful and informative pieces.

The board is bright, colorful and well organized. The layout and illustration style compliment each other very well. There is a ton of iconography to learn, but it’s relatively easy to pick up on and you likely won’t need to reference the rulebook by your second play.

The standout component is the personal player boards. These triple-layered boards have space allowing for project tabs to slide in and out charting your building opportunities. Not only do these look and function great, they provide a unique and fun way to organize and reveal new information available to the player. I’m starting to see this type of thing more in other games, but Carnegie was the first (that I saw) and have really done it the best so far.

The rulebook does a good job explaining the game. The game’s concepts can be a little confusing at first, but the rulebook does its best to communicate everything up front, but also serves as a great reference for the first few plays.


➕ Think-y gameplay that not only rewards forward thinking, but building contingencies that benefit you in light of your opponents choices.

➕ Beautiful presentation including some standout components

➕ Tight resource system that forces you to stay on your toes

➕ While it is a solitaire-style game, each player is directly affected by choices made by their opponents

➕ Careful planning can build nifty combo opportunities throughout the game

➕ Turns move quickly for seasoned players


➖ Familiar mechanics aren’t anything new

➖ Grabbing the more beneficial department tiles can give you an unfair advantage

➖ Despite a 3rd AI player, the board feels a little loose at 2 players

➖ While the iconography is pretty good, it takes a couple plays to really familiarize yourself with them


Economic, Eurogamers looking for a unique theme and think-y gameplay with quick turns and satisfying results are going to find a lot to like here. Carnegie is an efficiency puzzle, but it doesn’t come across as work. Colorful choices, engaging gameplay and a bright theme masks what could have been another relatively dry euro.


The best thing for me are the community/timeline actions. You can plan ahead, but with Carnegie’s tight resource management system and unpredictable opponents, you’re never guaranteed things will play out like you planned.  Carnegie rewards players who not only build a solid, strategic plan, but one that accounts for contingencies.


It took me quite a few plays to fully appreciate Carnegie. This is a game tightly wound where mistakes can be costly, but successful planning can be truly rewarding.

The biggest initial hurdle was learning the iconography (which is well done). There are a number of different icons from department labels to worker activation, project types, map symbols and donation benefits. There is a reference sheet on the back of the rulebook, but it still took me a game and a half to get a good grasp on these. From there it was building a strategy.

Carnegie is truly an efficiency puzzle. Figuring out how to manage your departments in a way to benefit one another, gain resources and plan for the future… all the while building in contingency plans since the timeline actions aren’t going to always trigger at the time and in the order you want them to. You can definitely thank rogue opponents with their independent strategies for this one! But that’s what keeps you on your toes and makes Carnegie so engaging. It’s the layers that force you to think through your approach, consider obstacles and then make the best of it.

As I got more plays under my belt, I could definitely see more optimal approaches that worked best for me, but Carnegie is a game that shifts from game to game (thanks in large part to a variety of setup options from the timeline to new department growth opportunities). There are many different ways to approach the game and I found most to be equally satisfying.

As long as you’re playing with players familiar with the game, the turns go by quickly and the time length is acceptable. There is definitely room for over thinking, so you may want to be careful who you bring along to the table.

While I’m really enjoying Carnegie, I do wonder if I’ll get into a groove where I follow a similar strategy each game. While there is a fun amount of variability, I could see this becoming “same-y” after you’ve seen everything the game has to offer. The mechanics aren’t necessarily unique in their own right, so it could eventually fall into that preference area where choosing Carnegie over something similar depends on our thematic tastes for the night.

My only other criticism was at 2 players. I did enjoy it at 2 players, but I had some issues with the 3rd, mandatory, AI player and the looseness of the board. A 3rd, AI player is used to block random donation goals, limiting your end game scoring opportunities. I can’t think of a better option, but it was frustrating to see my favorite goals tied up before the game began. Additionally, the 2-player board (despite certain building spots blocked prior to the start by the AI) felt a little too loose. Most often 1 player would move out west while the other would start work in the south. This may be the case of just having a limited number of plays, but there never seemed to be too much tension fighting for spots on the board.

Criticisms aside, Carnegie is a very good game that I would highly recommend. If you’re looking for a tight, thematic euro with fun, satisfying decisions, you should definitely give it a look. It took me a minute to get into it, but once I did, I really enjoyed the turns, the planning and exciting finish where players tally up their donation bonuses and you see how you stacked up. Carnegies is one of the better heavy euros of the last few years and one of the best of 2022.