Take advantage of geothermal energy and run your own business in Salton Sea


The Salton Sea is in California, near the border with Mexico. It is a salt lake formed by accident at the beginning of the 20th century that offers many opportunities in the field of renewable energy due to its strategic location on the San Andreas Fault. In the game, players will be in charge of companies that extract brine and use geothermal energy to also obtain lithium, a material in high demand at a time of energy transition and which is used, for example, to create batteries for electric vehicles, smartphones, computers or even electric toothbrushes.

This is the context in which Salton Sea is inspired, a design by David Bernal (perhaps you have played his famous Tholos) and illustrated by Amelia Sales (awarded as best game artist at the DAU festival). It is a game that can be enjoyed alone or in groups of up to 4 people, from a recommended age of 14 years, in sessions that can last about 2 hours.

The objective is to efficiently optimize engineers and their actions to try to obtain the greatest number of victory points after a series of rounds. With many actions at their disposal (from investing in research, obtaining new engineers or warehouse space, closing contracts, or even investing in the shares of a corporation, among others), making the best decision at the right time is the ultimate test. Do you accept the challenge?

The components

As usual with Devir's proprietary games, the Salton Sea box comes with lots of components. The main element of the game is the central board, illustrated with very neutral and light tones, and which is divided into several sections. To the left is the space for the claim cards, which in turn are divided into two decks: the superficial and deep extractions. Players will be able to purchase these cards as licenses to extract the brine and later generate geothermal energy or obtain the precious lithium.

At the top of the board is the space for the objectives and on the right side are the spaces for the research, contract, and action decks. In the central part, framed by the scoreboard, is the corporation area, with which players can interact by selling resources or investing by purchasing shares.

On the other hand, each player has a personal board at their disposal, the control room of their company. At the top left is the human resources space, where the available engineers are placed. At the top right is the warehouse, where the brine, geothermal energy reserves and lithium will be stored. In the central part there is the business development marker, which will allow players to unlock new workers and spaces in the warehouse. And at the bottom is the drilling, extraction and processing machinery. In this space players will store the claim cards they buy. Finally, also at the bottom, there is the marker for damage that can be suffered by both the processing machinery and the drilling machine.

In addition to boards, Salton Sea is rich in cards and wood. An essential component of the game is the action cards, which have a double use throughout the game: they can be used as currency and also as action spaces where engineers can be placed. And to finish making the experience as satisfactory as possible, Salton Sea has all kinds of finely profiled pawns that will delight even the most detail-oriented players. 

The match

A game of Salton Sea consists of several rounds, during which turns of play alternate. On their turn, each player will use one of their engineers to take an action. To do this, you will put it in one of the available spaces both on the game board and on the action, research, and contract cards. Once that action is used, it will be locked the entire round, which will end when all players have used all their available workers.

Players have a total of 13 actions at their disposal, which we can divide into 3 large groups: industrial actions, commercial actions, and management actions.

In the group of industrial actions, we have: acquire a drilling license (buy claim cards from the central board), drill (which will allow us to move our drill around the claim card), extract (obtain the brine from the terrain), process (to convert brine into geothermal energy and lithium) and repair machinery (so we can continue drilling and processing).

In the group of commercial actions, we find: sell (allows us to earn money by selling stored products to corporations), enter into a contract and execute a contract (another way of investing resources that translates into victory points).

And finally, in the group of management actions we can: research (acquire research cards that will give us permanent benefits for the entire game or instantaneous effects), buy shares (invest in a corporation to obtain benefits in the game and points at the end). final), develop a business project (to get new workers and warehouse spaces), obtain financing (to get money and action cards) and repeat an action (in case we cannot or want to wait for the next round).

Once the claim cards are exhausted or two corporations are closed, the end of the game is triggered and the players move on to the final point count.

Solo mode

Salton Sea is also designed to be enjoyed alone. Get ready to face Green Minerals Incorporated (GMI), a leading company in the lithium extraction sector. Through its own deck of cards that serves as the opponent's AI, marking the actions it will carry out, you will face a brainy challenge that will test your mastery of the game.

Points of sale

Are you a lover of economic games? Are you crazy about the euros with worker placement and management mechanics? Are you looking for a big challenge in a small box? Think no more. Salton Sea is your game; Book it now at your trusted store!