World-renowned genius (and eccentric) inventor Klaus von Essen has completed his latest creation, the "Apparatus". The world wants to know what it does. His peers want to know how it works. His wife wants to know what it did with him.
In Apparatus, players race to recruit Researcher teams to invent the Contraptions that will help fund the recreation of the Apparatus. Of course building the first Apparatus is important, but not as important as exploiting it for financial gain. As the research teams are recruited, each Contraption is endowed with ever-increasing grants, and a player wins only if he collects the most Electros (the currency in the game)!
In the first part of the game, players use grants that provide income every turn to recruit Researchers of various Professions. Some of these Researchers are in high demand and a bidding war between players can break out. As the player's spend their Electros on Researchers, various Contraptions that comprise The Apparatus will gain value in the second part of the game. Once all the Researchers are acquired by the players, the game moves on to the second phase.
In the second phase of the game, players use recruited Researchers to compete to be the first ones to discover the various Contraptions that will help fund the creation of the Apparatus. Each Contraption requires certain types of teams of Researchers. Players compare values of the various teams to determine the winner and second place teams. The winner has a choice of gaining Electros, which is used to determine who wins, or gaining research notes, which determines who builds the Apparatus first. As the Contraptions are decided, the required teams become more and more difficult to build.
The game ends with the building of the Apparatus, which has a large reward for the first place team. Players then count up their Electros, and the player with the most wins the game!