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Peak Oil, a tabletop game about Crisis and Profit

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You are the top manager at one of the big oil companies, tasked with leading your enterprise into a future without oil. With peak oil looming ahead, you try to squeeze the last drops from oil fields around the world to gather the resources to invest into various oil replacement technologies. While you may try to emerge from the coming crisis by regular means, your competitors will most probably not, forcing you to dirty your hands as well.

Peak Oil is an eurotrash-style game of worker placement, set collection and push your luck for 2 to 5 players of ages 10 and up. Games last around 45 to 60 minutes.

What do the pros say?


Peak Oil is an interactive game with just the right about of interference. I really dig the game because of the clever action selection mechanism along with the artwork is amazing. For me, backing this game is easy. I love interaction in my games and Peak Oil has it in spades, plus its not hard to teach. This means more table time.” – Larry Cruz (U.S.A.), of The Boardgame Group

This game is great. I went in wanting to make all the right decisions and by round 3 I was doing everything wrong.” – Patrick Leder (U.S.A.), of Vast: The Crystal Caverns

There haven’t been very many oil drilling based games through the years. But Peak Oil is a fantastic game of drilling, shipping, & investing in the future. Peak Oil hits on the real reality of things.– Christopher Richter (U.S.A.), of Board Gaming For the Win

The base mechanics are easy to teach and learn, but there’s a lot of factors that give it great depth and replayability. Plus, the graphic design and illustrations are fantastic!– Juegos y Dados (Spain)

The art work while simple is very easy on the eye and it would be a mistake to think of it as just a satire take on a global industry. Behind the exterior is a deep game offering great player interaction and choice but above all else its great fun to play. – Martyn Poole (UK), of Zatu

The game’s duration is great, as you can never do all that you want to do. There’s also plenty direct interaction with other players, by blocking them and forcing them to push their luck. We can’t wait to have the final version on our shelf! Doctor Meeple (Spain)

What do the playtesters say?

Throughout the development of Peak Oil, the game has been available as a free download on our website, and we wanted to give a voice to the worldwide early testers of the game here.

I find Peak Oil to be a worker placement knife fight–everything is scarce and tight! The flow of oil as a multi-use resource is very cool, and the worker majority cap is brilliant and tense (…) My wife and I really enjoyed playing through the new two-player rules, as well as playing more sessions with higher counts.– Jim Parkin (U.S.A.)

“Peak Oil is a beautifully designed game with a pertinent theme and a very interesting action selection mechanism – good fun!” – Arne Kjell Vikhagen (Sweden)

Peak Oil is not only a pretty face, it also has brains. Highly thematic mechanisms and plenty of player interaction are two things that I treasure. Peak Oil has both – and it is a lot of fun to play. My favourite at Essen 2016.” – Morten K (Denmark)

Finally played it after having heard so much about it! Tried and proved, Peak Oil is the rightful heir to Lord of the P.I.G.S., delightfully sarcastic and well thought out. A number of actions to choose from, some control with a little luck factor, the flow of the game is set like a swiss clock – Patrick Surdez (Switzerland)

“After playing it in Essen Spiel 2016, I know that Peak Oil is a well designed and thematic game. You certainly get the intense feeling of the race before oil runs out. Something unique on the table and will be a gem in our collection.” – Piotr Grzywna (Poland), of Mepel

“I wanted to play Peak Oil just for the art, which I pleases me for its distinctiveness. But after playing it, I got hooked. The mechanics are easy to learn and players take their turns fast (…) A very interesting strategy game.” – Marcos Valle (Spain), of Zombies y Princesas

Peak Oil packs a lot of premium quality components, because we’re determined to give you, dear backer, the best possible playing experience (We obviously don’t expect a top manager at one of the big oil companies to play with inferior components…)

Also, we’re happy to announce that all game materials are FSC certified.

If stretch goals are unlocked (see further down), we will be adding the unlocked components to the list.

OK, let’s get serious here.

It plays great: Whether you play a more cut-throat 2-player game, or a free-for-all backstabbing festival with 5 players, the game works as a well-oiled machine. That’s precisely the reason why we haven’t included a solo mode: we tested a ton of variants but none encapsulated the playing experience we wanted to offer.

The longer the game progresses, the more the bag is checked...
The longer the game progresses, the more the bag is checked…

It looks great: Author Heiko Günther (of Tesla vs. Edison, Glory to Rome, Potion Explosion, among others) is also the responsible for both the graphic design and illustrations. Being in charge for the art of his first published game as an author has inspired him, and we think that transpires on the final look of the game.

...and this is an old version of the prototype
…and this is an old version of the prototype

It feels great: The game packs only premium quality components. We believe that going the extra mile in this not only ensures the durability of the game, but also enhances the gaming experience.

It’s fun: Who doesn’t want to experience the power of an oil magnate? Fly on the Concorde, hire Mercena…erm, Consultants, buy start-ups, sway the masses, shape the future! This is a game with a light-hearted, ironic approach to a “serious” theme.

It is a finished & tested game: Peak Oil was initially concepted in 2005, and has been in professional development since Essen Spiel 2015, when the authors pitched the game to 2tomatoes (You can read the full story here). The game has been thoroughly tested and perfected until we all felt it was ready for release: besides our in-house testing, the game has been available on PnP form (with more than 800 distinct downloads) thorough the development process, and has also been present in major Fairs & Events (Essen Spiel 2016, DAU Barcelona 2016 and Cannes 2017). The invaluable feedback we’ve got from those varied testing groups and has been taken into account and incorporated into the game. And last but definitely not least, we were blessed to have the generous input of awesome boardgame designer Gil Hova (of Bad Medicine & The Networks, among others) during the development.

Co-author Tobias explaining to a tester why he always wins at Peak Oil (Essen Spiel 2016)
Co-author Tobias explaining to a tester why he always wins at Peak Oil (Essen Spiel 2016)

Your pledge actually matters: Unlike other publishers out there, 2tomatoes needs your help to release this game in time for Essen 2017. This is an expensive game to produce, and despite our previous successful games (which you can check out here), we need you backing in this project.


Peak Oil is an eurotrash-style board game. What does that fancy word mean? It means that both the mechanics and the theme are an integral part of the game, and they been wrought in together to create a unique playing experience.

Since you already know about the theme, let’s talk mechanics. Peak Oil’s gameplay revolves around 3 main mechanics: worker placement, set collection and push your luck.

Worker placement: On your turn, you assign your agents to different action spots on the board. If your agents are in the majority, or tied for the majority, at any given action spot they squelch the competition there and allow you to take the linked action(s).

Actions include developing and harvesting oil fields, building pipelines, hiring new agents, buying new ship contracts, investing in oil replacement technologies, conducting PR campaigns, engaging in piracy, and manipulating public opinion and oil prices (Yes, you can do a lot of stuff.)

Here's some of the gals and lads willing to lend you a hand
Here’s some of the gals and lads willing to lend you a hand

Push your luck: At the beginning of the game you will put barrels (red, yellow and black) in the bag. Black barrels represent earth’s remaining oil supply, and its number will dwindle down when you drill for oil. Each time you do something “cost-efficient(I mean, you’re an oil corporation, right?), you have to draw 1 or more barrels from the bag. If you draw a red or yellow barrel, it means the media has learned of your misdeeds and you get a PR Crisis (Yes, those are bad for you. You don’t want to be on TV.)


Set collection: After some time, the oil will run out. This is called “peak oil” and marks the end of the game. Players then show the cards they’ve collected during the game: This is the point where you want to hold the cards that are worth more points. Whoever shaped the future best,wins the game (best as in best for their company, obviously. You’re not that concerned with the welfare of the populace!)


You can download the full rules of the game, and also take a look at the game’s components here (Contains a fully playable free PnP.)

Here videos of how to play (spanish)




You can also play the game for free on Tabletopia, the leading digital boardgaming platform, here (You need an account to play. No worries, they are free.)

You can also check the game’s entry on Board Game Geek, the leading boardgaming forum, here (You can find all sorts of interesting stuff in this link, including microbadges!!)

Please note that there are no early birds in this campaign. We value all our backers equally, and we do not want to give anyone a pricing advantage (And we’re fully aware that you’re too busy managing your oil empire to be constantly checking this website for the start of this campaign.)


If you’re a retailer, and want to buy copies of the game, please pledge for the $1 reward. After you pledge, contact us and we will provide you with further information. A survey will be sent to you after the campaign has ended.

A brief note about Lord of the P.I.G.S.

WARNING: Contains Pig Meeples
WARNING: Contains Pig Meeples

Lord of the P.I.G.S. is 2tomatoes’ first game. It is a fast-paced filler card game of hand management and negotiation for 2 to 4 players of ages 14 and up. In it, you and your friends will take the role of Meridia’s (a melting pot of southern European countries) leaders and will vie for economic supremacy!

We include it in the pledge level Pig Oil for 2 reasons:

  • It is not so easy to get hold of a copy of it, as it didn’t really enter international distribution
  • Thematically, it has a lot of common with Peak Oil: it deals with a contemporary issue (in this case, the economic & social crisis in southern European countries) with an ironic, tongue in cheek approach.

Please note that Peak Oil is a finished game, and we want you to get the full gaming experience straight away with the components included in the “default” box. However, unlocking the following stretch goals will amplify and diversify your playing experience by introducing extra cards and upgrades on the already superb components (Because sometimes luxury is not enough.)

But don’t worry, if the campaign goes really well, we might have a surprise or two planned…(And it’s not buying ourselves a yacht. We already have one. Each one of us.)

  • Retail upgrade: This upgrade will be included in all copies of the game, always. That includes all copies of the 1st printing, and of future printings too.
  • Limited edition upgrade: This upgrade will be included in all copies destined to backers of this campaign, and may be available for sale later on.
  • KS exclusive upgrade: This upgrade will only be included in all copies destined to backers of this campaign, and will not be available for sale later on.

While every backer means the world to us, regardless of where you are based in, we can’t avoid the reality: shipping is very expensive and is a cost we all need to share for this project to be successful. However, since we want to do our best, we have included a discount for ALL shipping.

The rewards will be shipped to anywhere in the world. Depending on the number of backers of each region, we will ship from different logistics centers or from a single one. In the latter case, shipping might be slightly delayed. In any case, all shipping will be done through experienced fulfillment companies, so that you don’t need to worry about anything regarding the shipping process, nor customs.

Shipping costs are detailed on the reward text, on the rewards sidebar. For your convenience, we’ve also assembled them here:

  • Peak Oil, Start-Up and Corporation rewards: $0 if pick-up at Essen Spiel 2017 (see below), $7 U.S.A, $2 Spain, $6 Rest of E.U., $10 Canada & Australia, $15 Rest of the World.
  • Pig Oil reward: $0 if pick-up at Essen Spiel 2017 (see below), $11 U.S.A, $5 Spain, $10 Rest of E.U., $14 Canada, $15 Australia, $20 Rest of the World.

However, if you’re attending Essen Spiel 2017, you can skip this cost by simply coming to our booth and picking up your copies. To do so, simply select the “United Nations Neutral Zone” when you choose the shipping destination of your reward (After all, Essen Spiel is the Neutral Zone for the United Nations of Gamers!)

Peak Oil is the brainchild of awesome game designers Tobias Gohrbandt and Heiko Günther.

The authors pose stylishly in their HQ
The authors pose stylishly in their HQ

Here’s Tobias’ very official bio:

Tobias was constructed in the early 15th century as a semi-sentient cyborg, designed to rid the world of the threat of the dodo. That noble goal accomplished, he commenced to work as a lawyer. He currently resides in Saarbrücken. Should the dodo one day return, he stands ready.

Here’s Heiko’s very official bio:

Heiko was found on the doorstep a shaolin temple deep in the darkest Texas. At the age of five, by then versed in every way of fighting imaginable, he was sold to traveling gypsies, and introduced to the ancient art of the shadow. A few years later, after acquiring degrees in philosophy and criminalistics, he started to work as a vigilante in Shanghai, under the guise of managing a gallery for contemporary nihilistic arts. In 2010, he discontinued his promising career as No performer, and since then lives in Saarbrücken and works as a graphic designer.

The game will be published by 2tomatoes games.

Everything was blurry back in the noughties
Everything was blurry back in the noughties

There are 2 tomatoes: Álvaro Lerma and Jordi Rodríguez. We met at uni and after having adventures more or less all over the world we founded the company with a simple goal in mind: make games that are different, that stand out.

We’re a young publishing company, based in Barcelona. We’ve published and distributed several games including Lord of the P.I.G.S., and the Spanish editions of Guilds of London and The Walking Dead – All Out War. We’ve also done other crowdfunding campaigns in the past.

We’re very passionate about what we do and we only publish games that we love. It is a lot of work but we can live with the burden. Expect more from us soon…

The whole team wants to give very special thanks to Gil Hova for his outstanding input during the development process, and for the great times passed sharing the booth at Essen 2016. Fist bumps!

2tomatoes wants to thank the special playtesters Guillem Roig, Sergio Navarro, Alberto Cano, Victor Samitier, Chris Halaska, Arne Kjell Vikhagen and Patrick Surdez; all our fellows at the “Pati Llimona” playtest meetings;  all our fellows at the “Ludo” (Spain’s game designer’s association) playtest meetings; all our fellows at the BGG’s Peak Oil forums and everybody who has downloaded the PnP and/or has come to visit us and test the game in all the events we’ve attended. Without you this would not have been possible.


(Listed in alphabetical order, we don’t play favorites here)

Game Design: Tobias Gohrbandt and Heiko Günther

Game Development: Gil Hova, Álvaro Lerma and Jordi Rodríguez

Illustration & Graphic Design: Heiko Günther

Campaign video: Carlos Luján at Pupu Producciones, voicing by Carrie Margulies.

Risks and challenges

The publication of a board game is a complicated process. It is prone to many mistakes and things can sometimes go wrong. However, 2Tomatoes has successfully run and delivered all of our crowdfunding projects (Kickstarter, Verkami), and this one will be no different.

Here are the steps we have taken in order to reduce the likelihood of mistakes and delays:

1 – We have done significant pre-production. This includes having all the materials for the game complete and the graphic art over 95% complete; the remaining 5% will be achieved by taking the backer feedback into account. We already have the production quote and an agreement with our manufacturer. We just need the funding to be able to start producing!

2 – We use fulfillment companies for shipping when we have a large number of orders to ship in a short period of time. Peak Oil will use fulfillment for at least international shipping

3 – We are fully committed to transparency and backer communication. We will be updating you on a regular basis and we will be present during the whole process to answer any questions and read every comment

We want to thank you, dear backer, for your support and trust. Peak Oil could not be made without you, and in return we give you our guarantee that we’ll make it the best possible.

Yours sincerely,

The Team


11 Comments on "Peak Oil, a tabletop game about Crisis and Profit"

  1. ________________________________________ on Wed, 5th Apr 2017 8:58 pm 

    Play your games while the Titanic is sinking.

  2. Outcast_Searcher on Wed, 5th Apr 2017 9:08 pm 

    So now, “articles” about peak oil are blatant ads?

  3. makati1 on Wed, 5th Apr 2017 11:28 pm 

    Outcast, ALL oily articles are about selling something even if it is only propaganda. Most articles are selling something. It is ALL about $$$.

  4. rockman on Thu, 6th Apr 2017 12:43 am 

    Hilarious. I bet there are many players that think they get a real sense of the oil patch as folks who engage in paintball “firefights” think they get a real sense of combat. LOL.

  5. dave thompson on Thu, 6th Apr 2017 10:20 am 

    For a real sense of the world.

  6. Dredd on Thu, 6th Apr 2017 10:24 am 

    This game, all reality considered, is Russian Roulette (Numb: Number & Number – 2).

    Not knowing how many bullets are in the magazine does not make it a safer ‘game’ …

  7. Sissyfuss on Thu, 6th Apr 2017 11:52 am 

    I give it a 2 tomatoes rating, out of a 100.

  8. Apneaman on Thu, 6th Apr 2017 11:59 am 

    Just going by the photo’s one must conclude it’s a game for fat ugly white men.

  9. Apneaman on Thu, 6th Apr 2017 12:03 pm 

    The Fakest News of All: The Fracking Revolution

  10. Nony on Sat, 8th Apr 2017 12:24 pm 


    Does walking on the top of a 250 foot wide, 80 foot tall crude tank, give me a feel for oil? How about getting sludge on my (company issued) Nomex and then in the seat of my (company issued) truck.

    But I have never been on a drill rig. Buncha prima donnas the upstream boys are. Then again, we just buy it from whoever sells it to us a few dimes cheaper, (with some rather simple lab tests for quality). Onshore, offshore, name player, non name player. A-rab or Tex-an.

    [Oh…could I have some of that Eagle Ford rat piss the peakers complain about please? Funny how people were trashing 47 API, .1% S oil, as if it were worth way less than Basra 28 API 2% S.]

  11. Nony on Sat, 8th Apr 2017 12:25 pm 

    I do wonder if the game has fracking? Permian? Associated gas?

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