The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

More on Worker Placement

Continuing on what I’ve missed ….

I did miss Leonardo da Vinci. I don’t consider Aladdin’s Dragons to be a worker placement, but more like an auction game. It does have a “walk the path” element of Caylus, but auctions happen in an order in most games. It’s a judgment call; but the correct one. I don’t remember much about Bus or Keydom, and haven’t played Tribune or AoE III.

Adding to my rules, I’ll pull:

  1. Worker placement games are fixed fun. Too many people makes it chaotic and goes against the planning element. [Thanks to Frunk].

  2. Actions should be atomic. If you place a worker it may be a good or bad move, but it shouldn’t strongly depend on future elements. [Based on Joe’s criticism of Caylus].

Chris’s point about Randomness (in Pillars vs Stone Age) and the appeal of the system are well taken, but randomness should always be interesting. Similarly, Joe’s comment about Frustration. Games shouldn’t be frustrating, even if you lose. Agricola nails this for most people. Everyone is trying to optimize their farm, and may not notice if they win or lose. For me (and not Joe and Chris), Pillars is intensely frustrating due to lack of control. The spots I need disappear according to a random scheme, not player order. I can’t feel good if I got them by drawing first (or in the middle after the first few people pass).

Agricola’s truly dizzying array of scoring means that you can always be doing something. Is the feeling of accomplishment based on reality or illusion? Either way, it’s worth noting for any serious critic. I have lost exactly one game here in San Antonio (having played 7 or 8) and everyone is still clamoring to get this to the table.

I’m off to have dinner and stare at the butterfly invasion that started earlier today. More thoughts later, perhaps.


Written by taogaming

September 10, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Posted in Ramblings

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  1. (Since the other worker placement post said that it could no longer take comments, Ill post here.)

    Have you considered games with mechanics that are functionally equivalent to worker-placement, but don’t have actual worker tokens? The two that always come to mind are In the Shadow of the Emperor and Im Auftrag des Königs. The former has a money system on top of the actions, but just think of that as different number of workers and different costs of actions in number of workers. Actions taken are not available for others, with 1 exception. Seems equivalent to me. The latter uses a very straightforward drafting of 3 actions. The only difference would be physically taking the card vs. putting a marker on the card. Are there any other games like this, with drafting actions?

    Luke Hedgren

    September 24, 2008 at 9:33 am

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