Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!
User reviews: Mostly Positive (200 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 15, 2014

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Why Early Access?

“Early Access is the single most influential tool we can find to receive feedback to improve the game. We've had tremendous success with doing this on smaller scales in the past with Dungeons of Dredmor, but with a larger game, especially a sandbox simulation game, more testing is dramatically more valuable. Early Access will make Clockwork Empires the best game we can possibly make it.

The benefits of Early Access for the players are, of course, early access to the game, and the ability to not only watch the game take shape but to help us shape it with suggestions on how we can improve systems, and be able to log in every month and see notable content additions and systems improvements inspired by your feedback.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We have a list of features to complete which we've discussed in detail on our Clockwork Empires: Development Progress site. We'll release the game when these features are done. Current estimate for their completion is about 9 months, but the most important thing for us is that the features we've discussed and wanted to include in the project make it in.

We also provide weekly development progress updates with changlogs on the Gaslamp Games blog and through the Gaslamp Games mailing list.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

This our giant Development Progress Report page (as mentioned) which we shall keep updated with each major public release of Clockwork Empires.

In terms of how the full version will differ from the current version:

The full version of Clockwork Empires will have more monsters, more character interactions, more vehicles, more events, a much improved user interface (based on feedback), more biome diversity, multiplayer, and ... of course, we will be improving game performance and resolving any crash bugs that are found as we go. (If anyone sees any crashing, please report it to Gaslamp Games for immediate Purging).”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“Upon loading the game, the player is set to the task of building a thriving colony out of a pile of supplies and handful of characters. Making sure they don't starve and aren't killed by monsters are the most important considerations. Your military will shoot monsters if given access to weaponry, and your non-military characters will get to work building houses and workshops, and tilling farms as the player gives them orders to do so.

If you haven't read the giant Development Progress Report page (which we shall keep updated with each major public release of Clockwork Empires), then we urge you to do so.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“No, we are not planning on changing the price. Price changes tend to be confusing for everyone.

Increasing the price upon release is contrary to the long-standing tradition of games getting cheaper as they get older. Decreasing the price upon release effectively makes people pay a premium to participate in early access. While we feel that participating should be valuable to you, we don't want to set that price as something other than what everyone would have to pay anyway.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“The scale of community involvement is pretty heavily dependent on the size of the community.

To start, we spend time on our forums as well as right here on the Steam forums trying to answer questions directly, letting people know when we've logged bugs they find or responding to content or design suggestions. We've been doing this with our internal test group for the last few months, and with the Earliest Access players for the last month, which has benefited us a ton. At a some point, though, the community can get too big to guarantee that level of communication, at which point we might use other tools to answer questions. Reddit for direct conversations, strawpolls to gauge interest in different feature implementations, stuff like that which can help us hear everyone as effectively as possible. We're open to experimenting with this process to find out what works best, and we'll definitely listen to suggestions from players about how to better communicate with the community.

We have had a running development blog for Clockwork Empires since before we officially announced the project, and we will be keeping that up to date with our progress and changelogs for new versions. We will also keep our Clockwork Empires Development Progress report up to date with our monthly releases. People who want more information can visit the Clockwork Empires Portal to see the latest updates on our twitter account for the game, @ClockwrkEmpires).”
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Recommended By Curators

"Clockwork Empires is a game where you to start a civilization from the ground up, with a nice tutorial, a wide variety of materials and groovy graphics."
Read the full review here.

Recent updates View all (28)

July 7


As always, Revison 40A may be found in the Experimental Branch on Steam for your enjoyment and horrific death.

Please Note: The UI code has received a huge overhaul for this patch. If you see any alignment issues or other oddities in the UI, please let us know so we can get them cleaned up. (Sub-note: We know that you can't click on or drag the character portraits in the work crew panel but we did not want to delay the patch. You can still add/remove workers from crews using the +/- buttons. Also we know about the heads thing. You'll see.)


added various selectable game-start loadouts to the starting screen
added "Prisoner" character type
added "Ravenous Herd" event
added "Foreign Invasion" event
added option to disable tutorials to loadout screen
coconut palms will provide some lumber when removed
cleanup of stockpile handling code performed; prevents duplicate entries being put in the stockpile list
stockpile handling code optimization performed: do an early out from the job handling code once one goods job has been successfully evaluated
Bandits/Fishpeople/Foreigners now have proper tooltips which describe their state as neutral, hostile, or friendly
bandits now walk from edge of map to set up camp rather than teleporting in
bandit camp size now corresponds to number of bandits in gang
bandit gang selection for bandit attack event improved
bandit stealing logic made less dumb
player can now directly order a mineralogical survey
increased materials range on gabions
polished the ui a bit
performed animal job cleanup pass (should eliminate some instances of... weird behavior)
all characters gained by prestige favours are now temporary and will depart after a certain number of days.
balance, prestige favours: prisoner favour now comes with a manager to oversee the prisoners.
balance, prestige favours: artisan favour now comes with high starting skills.
balance, prestige favours: most commodity-granting favours removed
balance, prestige favours: food favour now grants food amount based on current population
balance: Lower-class and middle-class immigration are now separate events. Lower-class will continue to be sent by the empire every few days. Middle-class overseers will come when you reach commodity production milestones.
balance: all starting guns are now pistols
balance: radar favour made to be more consistently useful
balance: musket is now cheaper
balance: pistol -> revolver upgrade is now cheaper
balance: bandits give gifts less often
balance: obeliskians made tougher
balance: naturalist will prioritize mineralogical surveys & survey search range increased
balance: made fishpeople slightly less enthusiastic about destroying your crops
balance: made colonists made less enthusiastic about Fishpeople hassling outside of civilization
balance: made humanoid combatants less enthusiastic about shooting fleeing targets
workshop missing overseer can now be given a reason other than "death"
balance: removed a ton of surface nodes, put in a bunch of hidden ore that requires surveying & underground mining
balance: foreign troops stand up to combat better now
FIXED: slowdown in work crews panel when colony has a high population
FIXED: Naturalist will no longer avoid workshop duty if assigned to a workshop
FIXED: temptools no longer show up in commodity window
FIXED: flax to cloth said it took more flax than it did
FIXED: fishpeople hassling requires being in civilization
FIXED: various typos
FIXED: sleeping people can no longer object to your policies
FIXED: dead bandits can no longer be harvested by fishpeople for infinite longpork
FIXED: possible scripterror from foreigner corpses
FIXED: broken modules should no longer be usable in workshops
FIXED: scripterror when Upper Class Sympathy event fired
FIXED: gabion deconstruction now displays a progress bar
FIXED: first character in your list will not always be the person upset about illegal goods (and various other events will now also pick a character at random correctly)
FIXED: right-clicking to create a shortcut on Steam now actually creates a shortcut with the correct icon
FIXED: characters will no longer discover they are distant relatives of themselves
FIXED: characters will not make friends with themselves, either
FIXED: about 20 instances of "receive" are now spelled correctly

(World generation will be along once it's further along.)

- Gaslamp Games

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June 24

June Update Now Live for Clockwork Empires: "THE REACTIVATION OF ASSEMBLAGE 14538"

Our June Update, "THE REACTIVATION OF ASSEMBLAGE 14538", is now on Steam! Notable changes:

  • Obeliskians! (What are they? Find out for yourself! It might take some digging.)
  • Foreign military units!
  • Massive save/load stability improvements
  • Deathwurm shoving
  • and more!

The full changelog is once again far too mighty to fit within the paltry character limits of a steam announcement! You can find the full thing over on our development blog!

The development progress page has also been updated, with exhaustive notes on the status of the project, as well as even more details on the stuff we included above.

Feel free to discuss the update right here, over on the Steam discussion page, on our official forums, or in the comments of the latest blog post!

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“Victorian Steampunk at its finest”

“I have a feeling it’s going to be something rather special”

“Clockwork Empires makes me uncomfortable”
PC World

About This Game

Take on the role of a Junior Bureaucrat (Colonial Grade), sent forth to seek fame, promotions, and natural resources to feed the ravenous maw of Imperial Industry & Commerce. Build a prosperous colony, fill it with magnificent factories worked by oppressed labourers, and harness the awesome power of steam through fearsome machines invented by determined men and women of Science! History is yours to seize for fame and fortune, for Science, and for the Queen and the glory of the Clockwork Empires!

  • Colonists are simulated with individual personalities, memories, and will be happy or miserable depending on your management.
  • Free-form building: Design your own floorplans & arrange machines, furniture, and decorations as you see fit. (Or stuff everyone into bunkhouses.)
  • Mine ore, chop trees, farm cabbage, brew beer, tin weird caviar and try to keep your people from eating one another!
  • Weird horrible things: Menacing Fishpeople, cults, cannibalism, and more await your colonists.

System Requirements

Mac OS X
    • OS: Windows 7, Operating System of The Lower Classes
    • Processor: Intel i5 Processor or Equivalent ("The Little Scrapper" model)
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD card capable of supporting OpenGL 3.2 Core or Above. INTEL HD3000 AND HD4000 GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NOT SUPPORTED.
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    • Sound Card: Lord Palmerstoke's Sound-Reproducing "Old-Timey" Wax Cylinder Driver
    • Additional Notes: INTEL HD3000 AND HD4000 GRAPHICS CARDS ARE NOT SUPPORTED. The Ministry for Video Game Drivers would like to remind you: true Patriots of the Empire always install their latest Graphics Card Drivers before Enjoying A Bracing Video Game, lest the Blackness Consume Us All.
    • OS: Windows 7, 64-Bit Version (By Appointment to Her Majesty)
    • Processor: Intel i7 or above, fashioned of Stout Empire Tin and Burnished of Solid Pewter
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: A Big, Shiny NVIDIA or AMD Graphics Card With Lots of Fans Stuck to It. (Remember: More Fans Means More Steampunk!)
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Hard Drive: 8 GB available space
    • Sound Card: "His Masters' Voice" Novorusian All-Wailing Gramaphone Module and Borscht Dispensary
    • Additional Notes: The Ministry for Growth and Monitoring encourages you to buy a Really Big Monitor.
    • OS: OS X 10.9 ("Mavericks") or above
    • Processor: 2013 Generation Macbook Pro or iMac or Mac Pro
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: We're still trying to figure this out. Stay tuned.
    • OS: OS X 10.... what number *is* Yosemite anyway?
    • Processor: 2014 Generation Macbook Pro or iMac or Mac Pro
    • Memory: 16 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA or AMD Integrated Graphics Parts
    • Additional Notes: Note: some GeForce cards (700m series) are currently experiencing peculiar slowdowns. We are trying to figure this out. Stay tuned!
Helpful customer reviews
3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
15.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 23
Early Access Review
TL;DR Version: A hugely entertaining game for an early access definately worthy of at least having a look at, you wont regret it despite its bugs


Ok so to sum this games performance up in 3 words "buggy as hell" comes to mind, but seeing as this is still early access and every bug that gets reported gets fixed fairly quickly, i'll let it slide. The only real problem i have on this front when it comes to this game is that it does tend to crash alot and i'm not really sure why, this has prevented me from experiencing alot of content that the game has to offer which is a shame as there is alot more to this game than your average colony/town building game. so in short if you dont like crashes or bugs...stay clear of this one for now.


Ok this is probably one of my favorite games of the genre at the moment purely because of the games wacky (and sometimes dark) sense of humour. so far i have needed to choose policies related to faction attitudes (how my colony will react when it spots some people fromanother nation etc.) and some related to a small cult that formed in my colony. Different colonists will react differently to certain policies (xenophobes wont like it when you make friends with fishpeople for example) which is something i absolutely adore as it makes your colony seem more alive and more entertaining especially when you get people with the "strange" trait then things start to get really fun. there are also ways to gain influence from the empire that can be spent on extra materials, food, more colonists or more soldiers.


Overall what clockwork empires does it does REALLY well and i applaud it for its wacky whilst sarcastic sense of humour and if the bugs and crashes dont bother you or you want to help the Devs find them, i cannot stress enough how much you should get this game as it is a true joy to play and i just wish i could play more of it without it crashing.
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4 of 6 people (67%) found this review helpful
53.2 hrs on record
Posted: June 15
Early Access Review
The game is consistently moving forward in Early Access and they're adding new ways of interacting with the game world every patch. This is the sort of early access product that I have no problems supporting. It's not done, but I feel it is apparent what kind of product they're aiming for, and I think they're moving towards that at some speed.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
17.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
Early Access Review
Like Banished, Tropico, Anno... ?
Then this could be for you :-)

Right now the low performance is a bigger problem then appearing crashes.
I hope the developer will soon spend an entire month improving performance and stability.
When that is done, then please also implement 2x &4x game speed. Thanks.

For the asking price I would say the game is right now 20% content complete.

Positive outlook for this title
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
0.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 27
Early Access Review
I will recommend Clockwork Empires only to the people that know what beta testing is like. I like this game but it can clearly be seen that this is an incomplete and unfinished game. I noticed immediately that there are only 2 video resolutions to choose from and no ability to configure the preset keyboard and mouse controls. Game play and saving are slow. Graphically it's got a nice art style and I look forward to seeing the interface and visuals improve. Like others have said this has tons of potential but buy in its current state only if you're prepared to be a paying game tester.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
42.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 4
Early Access Review
First of all, I want to say thank you to the developers; and to avoid boring everyone with my praise, I will leave it at this: Clockwork Empires brings me great joy and I constantly look to the gamelapse to see if new content and articles are written.
Now to the suggestions:
I am not a tech guy, in fact I am taking the BAR soon, so my line of expertise is so far from game development that I wouldn’t dare scrutinize things I cannot understand. Instead, I want to limit my input to conceptual matters based on my love for H.P. and the macabre in general.
1. RNG: One of the best parts of this game is the RNG, or as I understand it, inability to break the game (not terribly) by exploiting. My main suggestion on this matter is to expand SUBSTANTIALLY is this department.
a. Add more variables to the variables. You are all on the right track, by implementing things like “should we kill the crybaby who doesn’t want to keep the suspicious goods” or “only teach the fishpeople not to damage crops.” However, it seems as though there needs to be more choices and more random occurrences/events within the colony (we can call them pop-ups for now). Even something so, seemingly mundane as “Jon Smith has been harassing Jake Doe by waking Jake up to try and get him to leave the cot. Usually Jon proceeds to harass until Jake gives up the cot in favor of trying to fall asleep on the floor unmolested rather than in a cot being constantly berated.” (Sorry that was a longer description than needed, but I hope you see my point.)
b. We also need more difficulty in the game…I am not entirely sure how or even where to increase the difficulty—but I definitely am NOT suggesting that it become more difficult to gather resources or take longer to turn nodes into bricks. Instead, I mean there should be more difficulty in what events occur. As some others have mentioned, I can currently get way too far in the game without anything bad really happening. Even the Obelisks only killed two of my people before leaving, never to be seen again. It’s not that I feel having a totally random event kill your entire village in a frequent manner is a good idea, but I try to think in terms of the entire premise of H.P. Lovecraft’s mythos and world. This is a world of doom and the never ending struggle against the ancient ones (and more as you all know). It just doesn’t seem like the game is difficult at the moment. As a last point of clarification on this issue, I DO want more difficulty, in part, as a result of RNG; but in a form akin to Call of Cthulhu tabletop games. I suggest that the developers act more like GameMasters of CoC and don’t allow players to go 30 or more days without consequence and little decision making (that likely leads to consequences).

P.S.: Yes, this is a copy and paste of my discussion. I did this in hopes of Developers and other players will read it and chime in.
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