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Subject: I don't get worker placememt games rss

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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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I'm not criticising games like Agricola or Fresco etc, or the players thst like them, but I can't understand for the life of me why they're fun. A friend rates agricola higjly, but all I see is bean-counting and my eues glaze over. Somehow I accidentally ended up looking at Container (EDIT: subsequent posts from knoedgable folk have pointed out that Container is not actually a worker placement game, and the poster mlcarter815 on page 4 expressed this strongly enough that I felt it wise to adjust my OP here so people could focus on my intent rather than my Container misconception. Obviously, the next few pages are going to contain references to my think g it was a WP gamr, hence this explanation rather than a complete change - I don't want to confuse anone reading the follow-up comments. However, I now know that Container is not a WP game), and I thought it was a joke at first. I gather from its forums that its a really good game of its type, again I don't wish to sound harsh, but its a game about shipping containers. And they don't even contain alien invasion forces!

I'm well aware that there's nothing particularly highbrow or of any more value in games about space battles, zombies, lovecraftian horrors or robots, either, mind. Each to their own, and I'm happy the hobby is wide enough to include games Whose theme I find deadly dull.

Can anyone tell me why these types of games are attractive?

Eco

PS really want to stress that I dont intemd any flame here. I'm genuinely interested in worker placement/logistics game fans' pov.
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I've only done a few true worker-placement games, but I think WP's lend themselves to playing the other players rather than playing the game in a manner of speaking and this appeals to many. Kinda like a constant battle of wits between Wesley and Vizzini from Princess Bride. "I know you are going to place your worker there, but I know that you know that you are going to place your worker there, but I'm sure that you know that I know that you know, so I'll do this instead."
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David Debien
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Theme means very little to me. I would play a game literally about counting beans if it had solid mechnisms and engaging gameplay.

ALL games are abstracts. If you want to tell yourself you are blasting aliens with rayguns, knock yourself out.
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Seth Baur
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I think for a lot (or maybe just some) of us, myself included, theme is secondary to gameplay. Theme often attracts me to a game initially, but when it comes to what I actually enjoy playing these days, theme is pretty trivial. Working on an VP engine, trying to "math" out the best turn, these are the things that I find to be enjoyable. Worker placement games often give just the right amount of player interaction to keep things interesting, without a lot of super direct interaction like "attacking" or generally messing up your opponents.
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Bryan Thunkd
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Eurogames tend to be about the mental challenge of the game. At their core, they're just a series of tough choices, and you've got to navigate through them to get the best result. It's about taking pleasure in doing something difficult. Because of that, they tend to stress the game mechanics over the artwork, miniatures, etc.

If you are the type of person who doesn't enjoy that, then you probably won't like worker placement games.



This basically comes down to whether you prefer Ameritrash games or Eurogames.

If you like chucking dice and being surprised at how well or how poorly things are going, then you probably should stay away from Eurogames.

If your imagination needs to be led down the path and given glossy full color artwork, tons of miniatures, and some very established sci-fi/fantasy genre for you to be able to feel the theme, then you should probably stay away from Eurogames.
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Jordan Fraser
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In my mind, there are few mechanics that create tension like worker placement. As you prioritize your actions, you're constantly trying to deduce other players' priorities, and you take risks every time you hold out on an important action.
When things go well it feels great, but when you mess up, it can hurt so bad. Love it.

On a side note: neither Fresco nor Container are worker placement games.
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Michael F
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For me it all goes back to games like Command & Conquer, Starcraft, and the early Warcraft games. You send your workers out to harvest materials, you gain actions and abilities from doing so. Most WP games aren't really war games, but that's what helped me make the connection to that mechanic.
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chuck dunn
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turn around time seems to be the big draw... game ends in 30 minutes per player ....then the stress of winning losing is gone... ah lets play another ...
 
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Graham Walker
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Quote:
Somehow I accidentally ended up looking at Container, and I thought it was a joke at first. I gather from its forums that its a really good game of its type, again I don't wish to sound harsh, but its a game about shipping containers. And they don't even contain alien invasion forces!


Just a point of clarity, Container is not a worker placement game, but I think you already knew that.

The allure of Container (to me) is that is that it is a game where there are no random elements to effect the gameplay other that than the decisions that the players make. It does a fantastic job of mimicking a 'real world' economy in its abstracted form. If you appreciate that kind of game then Container is great. If you need alien container oozing goo, then Container wont be your cup of tea.


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Bill Eldard
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Ecosmith wrote:
Can anyone tell me why these types of games (worker placement) are attractive?

Eco


Sure. I like worker placement games, because it's all about planning, making tough choices, and competing -- which is what I'd probably say for any good Euro game.

But if you really don't like them -- and that's certainly okay -- just don't play them. I doubt anyone can win you over to worker placement games based on their own satisfaction. Maybe one day you'll come across one that appeals to you.
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Matt Brown
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You likely want to look at games like The Manhattan Project or Dungeon Petz. The issue seems to be more the theme that tends to come with a WP game versus the actual mechanic itself.
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Michael Carter
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A lot of the Ameritrash that I've played had neat themes and maybe lots of rules, but they didn't make my brain hurt like a good economic game does.
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M M
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Thunkd wrote:
Eurogames tend to be about the mental challenge of the game. At their core, they're just a series of tough choices, and you've got to navigate through them to get the best result. It's about taking pleasure in doing something difficult. Because of that, they tend to stress the game mechanics over the artwork, miniatures, etc.

If you are the type of person who doesn't enjoy that, then you probably won't like worker placement games.



This basically comes down to whether you prefer Ameritrash games or Eurogames.

If you like chucking dice and being surprised at how well or how poorly things are going, then you probably should stay away from Eurogames.

If your imagination needs to be led down the path and given glossy full color artwork, tons of miniatures, and some very established sci-fi/fantasy genre for you to be able to feel the theme, then you should probably stay away from Eurogames.

The moderate and balanced view

shake
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gerwalker wrote:
Quote:
Somehow I accidentally ended up looking at Container, and I thought it was a joke at first. I gather from its forums that its a really good game of its type, again I don't wish to sound harsh, but its a game about shipping containers. And they don't even contain alien invasion forces!

Just a point of clarity, Container is not a worker placement game, but I think you already knew that.

The allure of Container (to me) is that is that it is a game where there are no random elements to effect the gameplay other that than the decisions that the players make. It does a fantastic job of mimicking a 'real world' economy in its abstracted form. If you appreciate that kind of game then Container is great. If you need alien container oozing goo, then Container wont be your cup of tea.

fwiw, anything that has no random elements is by definition not mimicking a real world anything.
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Michael Carter
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Mat628 wrote:
gerwalker wrote:
Quote:
Somehow I accidentally ended up looking at Container, and I thought it was a joke at first. I gather from its forums that its a really good game of its type, again I don't wish to sound harsh, but its a game about shipping containers. And they don't even contain alien invasion forces!

Just a point of clarity, Container is not a worker placement game, but I think you already knew that.

The allure of Container (to me) is that is that it is a game where there are no random elements to effect the gameplay other that than the decisions that the players make. It does a fantastic job of mimicking a 'real world' economy in its abstracted form. If you appreciate that kind of game then Container is great. If you need alien container oozing goo, then Container wont be your cup of tea.

fwiw, anything that has no random elements is by definition not mimicking a real world anything.


It's as real world as micro/macro economic theory. That's close enough for a 2 hour board game.
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Mat628 wrote:
fwiw, anything that has no random elements is by definition not mimicking a real world anything.

fwiw that would be surprising news to quite a few scientists and mathematicians and engineers working in various specific real-world fields.

But we don't need to look at anything advanced.

I have one apple. You have one apple. Let's put our apples together. We have two apples. That's real-world and has no randomness.
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russ wrote:
Mat628 wrote:
fwiw, anything that has no random elements is by definition not mimicking a real world anything.

fwiw that would be surprising news to quite a few scientists and mathematicians and engineers working in various specific real-world fields.

But we don't need to look at anything advanced.

I have one apple. You have one apple. Let's put our apples together. We have two apples. That's real-world and has no randomness.

Math is reality-independent.

Trying to predict what someone will pay you for those 2 apples tomorrow, the next day, or a month ago, is educated guesswork that doesn't break down to pure rational rules.
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Russ Williams
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Mat628 wrote:
russ wrote:
Mat628 wrote:
fwiw, anything that has no random elements is by definition not mimicking a real world anything.

fwiw that would be surprising news to quite a few scientists and mathematicians and engineers working in various specific real-world fields.

But we don't need to look at anything advanced.

I have one apple. You have one apple. Let's put our apples together. We have two apples. That's real-world and has no randomness.

Math is reality-independent.

Trying to predict what someone will pay you for those 2 apples tomorrow, the next day, or a month ago, is educated guesswork that doesn't break down to pure rational rules.

Trying to predict what someone will pay me for those 2 apples is but one tiny part of the entire universe. Plenty of other parts are successfully modeled with non-random models, e.g. Newtonian motion.

From your apple payment example, I wonder if you are restricting the "real world" to only include human behavior...?
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To put the thread back on track, I think the appeal of the mechanic is that it is a stripped-down version of an auction. But instead of taking the time to bid up to people's reservation prices, they express their preference (and beliefs about other people's preferences) in order selection. It loses a little granularity but picks up quite a bit in speed.
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Guido Gloor
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Ecosmith wrote:
And they don't even contain alien invasion forces!

Don't worry, you're not alone. I much prefer containers with alien invasion forces to those without.

Theme is a difficult thing to do right for board games. It's easy for designers to fall into the trap of designing a game only for the theme, and forgetting that it should also provide players with interesting choices, and varied paths to victory, and engaging gameplay without lots of downtime ... too many thematic games only have their theme going for them, and that gives them a bad vibe among many players who like their games challenging and brainburny, and like to have a say in whether they win or not (as opposed to letting the dice decide for them).

Because of this, if you like theme and state so in public in these Euro-gamer-dominated forums, you'll get answers exactly like ... well, pretty much every single one in this thread so far

For the record, I generally also don't like games that are too luck-dominated. Except for those that also have strategic components, like King of Tokyo, or are so completely luck-dominated that they can pretty much count as a satirical take on the luck-dominated-games genre, like DungeonQuest (third edition) or Wiz-War (eighth edition).

Personally, I play games both because they provide a mental challenge and because I like to escape into fantasy worlds from time to time. When I'm in the mood for mental challenge alone, I would and do choose other (more productive) venues for spending my free time and energy. When I play a game, I want to be excited (which disqualifies farming as a theme) and engaged (so no "you want to please your king and thus have to gather influence" games) and involved (so abstracts are out). I like imagining to be a wizard that throws fireballs across an arena, I love hacking my way into an evil corporation's servers, and conquering the universe sounds like a great use of my time. A point salad game that is about having as many ways to score arbitrary points as possible by mixing as many mechanisms as can possibly be fit into a single box without providing a real connection to any theme that goes beyond the superficial bores me to tears.

Sure, there's games that have a rather dry theme and yet manage to excite me because the designers and developers spent a lot of effort on reducing the theme to its bare minimum while keeping it recognizable. Reiner Knizia is bad at that (he just reduces it until it's gone altogether), but there's gems like Troyes or Race for the Galaxy or Tash-Kalar: Arena of Legends. Whether these or other games are what works for engaging the fantasy also depends on the player, but if the designer didn't really care about the theme, it's rather obvious.

And that's fine. Those games are perfectly fine games, and there are plenty of gamers wired differently from me that enjoy them. The games just don't manage to hold my interest because they're not working with my fantasy, only with my problem solving skills. And I prefer using those for solving real problems; I've got plenty of interesting specimens of those both at work and in personal projects.

Or alternately, for wasting my time on BGG because somebody is wrong on the internet

If you want to try a worker placement game that actually has a theme and kind of works great with integrating it, have a look at the aforementioned The Manhattan Project, or Dungeon Petz or Dungeon Lords (which isn't strictly worker placement, but close enough).
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Bryan Thunkd
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Mat628 wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
Eurogames tend to be about the mental challenge of the game. At their core, they're just a series of tough choices, and you've got to navigate through them to get the best result. It's about taking pleasure in doing something difficult. Because of that, they tend to stress the game mechanics over the artwork, miniatures, etc.

If you are the type of person who doesn't enjoy that, then you probably won't like worker placement games.



This basically comes down to whether you prefer Ameritrash games or Eurogames.

If you like chucking dice and being surprised at how well or how poorly things are going, then you probably should stay away from Eurogames.

If your imagination needs to be led down the path and given glossy full color artwork, tons of miniatures, and some very established sci-fi/fantasy genre for you to be able to feel the theme, then you should probably stay away from Eurogames.

The moderate and balanced view

It's hard getting through to Ameritrashers. Subtle just doesn't cut it. If it's not garishly colored, armed to the teeth, oversized and flaming, they tend miss it. I'm just playing to my target audience.
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casualgod wrote:
Theme means very little to me. I would play a game literally about counting beans if it had solid mechnisms and engaging gameplay.


I actually love that game

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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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haslo wrote:


If you want to try a worker placement game that actually has a theme and kind of works great with integrating it, have a look at the aforementioned The Manhattan Project, or Dungeon Petz or Dungeon Lords (which isn't strictly worker placement, but close enough).


Just had a look at Manhattan Project. It looks great!

Lol i love gaming.

Eco
 
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Koldfoot wrote:
I don't get worker placememt games

Don't feel bad. Neither does Uwe Rosenberg.

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Dominant Species

Is a nice hybrid game. And one of my favourites of all time.
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