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Subject: Interesting Worker Placement Game rss

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Ian Kissell
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Disclaimer: I understand that interesting themes and mechanics are in the eye of the beholder.

I have a hard time getting into worker placement games. Many of them have very little player interaction, besides maybe blocking someone else. Often, the theme is simply a disguise for placing pieces on the board. For instance, I like Stone Age, and have fun playing it, but don't really feel like I am in the Stone Age.

The one WP I have that I really like is Lancaster, mainly because of the increased player interaction. I also really like the theme of the game.

Anyone have suggestions for WP games that either have a really fun theme that pulls you into the game, or maybe an interesting mechanic that makes it more than just placing people on the board (for instance, many people like the killing worker portion of Village).

Please do not recommend Agricola, which seems mandatory for any WP thread.

EDIT: Due to the nature of the responses Please note that I am NOT looking for a "good WP game," or one with "player interaction." I am looking for one with a theme that draws you in, or has an interesting mechanic.
 
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Ian Kissell
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AS a side note, I am willing to overlook not the best game ever for a great theme. For instance, I love [thing=170][/thing because the gangster theme is so well integrated, and makes the game easy to get into.

I really like games that suck you into the world of the game, which I find WP's rarely do.
 
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Easiest recommendation of my life: The Manhattan Project

You would be hard pressed to find ANY other board game that focuses on worker placement that has as much interaction as The Manhattan Project. Also, unlike 90 percent of the worker placement games on the market, The Manhattan Project perfectly captures its theme!
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Derek
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You might check out Dominant Species. It has worker placement, but I would say it adds a lot more player interaction if that's what you want.

I would say it is much more than worker placement.
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Chris Puram
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Lancaster could actually be considered a bidding game as much as worker placement. While the theme may not WOW you (I like it), I think if you like Lancaster you'll probably love the mechanics in Keyflower

As for a worker placement game where the theme excels, I'd recommend Francis Drake. The second half of each round (The exploration/conquest phase) really drives home the theme of the worker placement that takes place in the first half of each round.

Another worker placement game that integrates mechanics to theme very well is Yedo
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David B
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You might consider straying just a tad away from worker placement and trying a mechanic that is very similar: action selection. Edo is a really good game that uses simultaneous action selection and has a lot of similarities with worker placement and does have more interaction than your average worker placement game.
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Mitch Willis
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Age of Empires III
Lords of Waterdeep
+1 Francis Drake
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J M
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Yedo whistle
Lots of theme with story based missions. Players can trade with each other if their workers are in the same areas, or mess with each other to varying degrees (surprise replacement of workers, manipulating the city guard so he arrests opponent's workers, foiling each other's schemes, etc) which can be emphasized or de-emphasized by the inclusion, or removal of a set of cards to the decks.
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Ryan Trepanier
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+1 Dominant Species
+1 Keyflower

I would also recommend Kingsburg. While the theme is thin for sure, it is a chaotic worker placement in that there is a lot of competition for spaces. And it has good, built-in catch-up mechanics that ensure good, close games.
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Markus Hagenauer jr.
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My favorite worker placement game - maybe besides Stone Age - is Kingdom of Solomon. Especially the verry powerful spots where you have to send all your remaining workers to add an interresting new feature to the worker placement genre.
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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Carson City!!! Duels, land grabbing and robberies man!!

Another one with a very strong theme which the mechanics support is Myrmes, where you manage an ant colony and where your ants have to venture outside the colony in order to gather, hunt, and sometimes engage enemy colonies.
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Sean Ramirez
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I really enjoy the theme of Euphoria. It's a dystopian future where when you're workers get smarter they can do more, but can potentially run away because they've realized too much.

Tzolk'in is a great worker placement game where you place your workers on gears that move each turn. This way time becomes a resource, because the longer you leave them on the gears, the more powerful their available actions become.

Russian Railroads is a new favorite with my group. The worker placement actions are pretty typical and straight-forward. However the objective is really cool... your extending your rails (5 levels of rails actually) along 3 different lines and developing your locomotive power on each one to score points. You get bonuses along the way that can chain together and create some cool combos and big turns.
 
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Jesse Bouvier
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+1 Keyflower

Much more interactive than your typical WP game. Also, if you imagine that the various colours of meeple are different races that don't get along, then the theme gets a bit of (weird? uncomfortable? historically accurate?) flavour.
 
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david landes
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It can be a brutal game to new players, but the KING of theme in the worker placement genre has to be Dungeon Lords. Dripping with theme. Oozing. Suppurating even.
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Kevin Shillinglaw
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Spyrium is worth looking at.
 
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Kerstin
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I also struggle with Worker placement games in general a little, I think it's just not my favorite mechanic.
One I really do enjoy though is Lords of Waterdeep although it is not because of interaction with other players, that you state is lacking for you (you have just a little bit through the Intrigue cards but it's really not a big deal) but I somehow just find this quest nature very appealing. Picking your quests, fulfilling the ones you have, maybe one quest gives you a bonus that helps with another one. It's just one of the few workerplacement games that I find kind of "elegant" (in lack of a better word).
It's not very complex and maybe even on the easy side, but I just really enjoy it.
 
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Tor Iver Wilhelmsen
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Province is a different take on the theme: Players start out by moving the same three workers in a cycle of spaces, in a very compact two-player game, eventually building up the number of workers as you build structures.

Oh and get Viticulture and Euphoria too.
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T. Nomad
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The most underrated (and undereferenced) WP game is What's He Building in There?.
 
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Craig McRoberts
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I'm a big fan of Alien Frontiers.
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Drew Duke
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I'm very surprised that Ninjato has not been mentioned. Perhaps it is because I was taught the game with the theme in mind, but it really does feel like I'm training and deploying ninjas while playing the game. Additionally, the art work is great. Check it out! (Sorry...I don't know how to hyper-link the game title.)
 
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J M
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ovis wrote:
I also struggle with Worker placement games in general a little, I think it's just not my favorite mechanic.
One I really do enjoy though is Lords of Waterdeep although it is not because of interaction with other players, that you state is lacking for you (you have just a little bit through the Intrigue cards but it's really not a big deal) but I somehow just find this quest nature very appealing. Picking your quests, fulfilling the ones you have, maybe one quest gives you a bonus that helps with another one. It's just one of the few workerplacement games that I find kind of "elegant" (in lack of a better word).
It's not very complex and maybe even on the easy side, but I just really enjoy it.


You may really enjoy Yedo- everything you mention that you like, it has in buckets.
 
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Kerstin
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AceAceBaby wrote:

You may really enjoy Yedo- everything you mention that you like, it has in buckets.

It's on my list already, thanks.
The advantage with LoW is mainly that it's much easier to get on the table. With 90 minutes + games I always need a little convincing to do.
 
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Ian Kissell
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Thanks for all the great replies. I'll try to respond a little:

Carson City looks interesting, but is too expensive
Lords of Waterdeep I want to give a try to, but I don't feel interested in it. Keyflower the same.
As far as Dominant Species, I have limited chances to play 3 hour games, and I have ones I like.

I realize there are other genres to consider, but I am really trying to find a WP that I really like.
 
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Ian Kissell
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dvdhwkaz wrote:
I really enjoy the theme of Euphoria. It's a dystopian future where when you're workers get smarter they can do more, but can potentially run away because they've realized too much.


I've been looking at Euphoria, but it seems like the interest is the dice. The theme, though interesting, seems a bit added. Is that the case?
 
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J M
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There is a lot of theme in Euphoria, but I do think it's fair to say that it doesn't especially inform the mechanics of the game. You can call the four areas "Red, Yellow, Green, Blue". It's a neat game, all the same.
 
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