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Subject: Action drafting aka worker placement? rss

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Bartosz Popow
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Due to wording problems community has no consensus on the "worker placement" mechanism. It is imo misused where it doesn't belong (Myrmes, Spyrium to name a few). And at the same is not used where it OUGHT TO be used. Like in here.

Kraftwagen is clearly an action drafting game. Action drafting - in a Glen More way - is clearly the forefront mechanism in here. However we do not have an "action drafting" mechanic in the BGG data base. It's always been said that "worker placement" is exactly that. Well, clearly it's not. Why? Because you don't place workers here, you move one worker (a car) and choose an action with it, denying it to your opponents in a reasonable amount of time; other players would need to "pay" too much time to use the same action. And people over here take things literally, if there's no worker to be placed, it's not a worker placement. I don't blame people for it, but I do not take it that literally.

At the moment the game has "variable phase order" mentioned among its mechanism (what's interesting, there's no "time track", I will add it shortly), but it doesn't have that mechanism, you choose an action only for yourself, not for your opponents (vide Puerto Rico).

To sum up: either we agree that action drafting = worker placement, and at the same time agree that sometimes no workers actually need to be placed (role selection aspects like the one in Steam). Or on the contrary worker placement is not the same as action drafting. Therefore we should add "action drafting" to the BGG database.

What do you think?
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James Mathias
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Re: Action drafting aka worker placement
I haven't played Kraftwagen. Do you place workers from a personal supply, to gain actions, and then retrieve those workers later for reuse again in the next round?

If not, I think we should add action drafting to the database.
 
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Bartosz Popow
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Re: Action drafting aka worker placement
You have one pawn always on the board. You choose an action available in the row of actions and place your pawn on it. It is kind of "blocked" because it jumps to the front of the row and is more expensive for other players to choose. So you always move that one pawn to an action with it, you never retrieve it or anything like that.

Mind you: if we create an action drafting mechanism in BGG database, 80% of worker placement games will instantly get it too.
 
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James Mathias
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Re: Action drafting aka worker placement
I wouldn't argue that worker placement is mutually exclusive from action drafting, but I would say that what you describe is not worker placement.
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Re: Action drafting aka worker placement
BartP wrote:
you move one worker (a car) and choose an action with it


The car is for the race track, not for the action track. :-)

This game is not worker placement. Who said that?
 
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Bartosz Popow
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Re: Action drafting aka worker placement
Nobody said it was a worker placement game. But if we agreed that action drafting is the same as worker placement (and I always considered these terms to be equal), then it would be a worker placement game. Nowadays almost any game where you put a meeple on the board is a worker placement game, that's why imo this term has hardly any meaning. I always took the definition of "blocking action spaces" - that was worker placement to me. But blocking action spaces is nothing but action drafting.

Thanks for that car clarification, I have not actually played the game, just browsed the components today.
 
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Re: Action drafting aka worker placement
Great post. I applaud you, it is confusing.
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Re: Action drafting aka worker placement
BartP wrote:
But if we agreed that action drafting is the same as worker placement (and I always considered these terms to be equal)


I disagree on that assumption.

For me worker placement is not a real action selection mechanism, but a kind of using worker figures to place somewhere.

Normally I would say, that worker placement has two phases: placing and execution. But there are too many variants on this...

Most of the time KEYDOM is considred to be the first worker placement game. But this is most of the time just blind bidding for actions.

If you say worker placement is action drafting, then almost every gameis worker placement.

So, for me just the fact, that you place a player token from your personal supply to an action you want to take is worker placement. How the actions are processed is of no concern.

Let me give you an example:

If you play Puerto Rico in a different way, it could be considered worker placement. Just give every player one worker. If you choose one action you just place the worker on the tile instead of taking it out of the middle. You chose this action. Nobody else can later in the round.

If you just change the administration how the action gets marked as chosen, you get worker placement. Nobody would say otherwise.

So what is the core in what got changed? Placing a worker from your supply to the action. Instead of taking it from the middle of the table. Et voila: Worker Placement!

What I am up to: If you reduce everything to the core, than you just have this small statement to be worker placement: placing a worker from your supply to an action you'd like to take.

This is not the case in Kraftwagen.

Could just be that I am talking stupid... But what the heck! It's no fun if there is nothing to talk about!!! ;-)
 
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Bartosz Popow
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Re: Action drafting aka worker placement
Andreas, yes, I see that people understand worker placement this way. Due to that it's more of a physical description of what happens in the game (like dice rolling), instead of a mechanical indication - a fact of placing a worker to choose an action doesn't tell you much about mechanisms in the game. Bearing that in mind many games with action drafting are not really recognized as such due to lack of a proper option in BGG data base.
I hope you agree that Kraftwagen has action drafting, right?
On the one hand "action drafting" is a more narrow term, because it would include only those worker placement games that involve action blocking or hindrances in performing a given action (making it more expensive, like in Kraftwagen).
On the other there are also a few games with no workers being placed, but yet actions are being drafted (Florenza Card Game, Principato, Steam).
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I cannot really say. The actions are not drafted in a way, that once, an action is taken, you cannot perform the action after that any more.

It is more a random action display you choose from. And if you want to perform a certain action you have to move a long way forward. In my opinion the cost for the actions is time. For me it is more than a "living rondell" you might say... ;-)
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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bayerbube wrote:

If you say worker placement is action drafting, then almost every gameis worker placement.

This isn't really true.


Bart and I see things pretty similar in terms of the definition of worker placement. I don't know the specifics of this game, but from Bart's description, I'd say this game is closer to worker placement than many other games out there that are called worker placement. It blurs the lines a bit since the action isn't completely blocked, and there isn't retrieval step like James pointed out. Despite those factors, I'd still lean towards this being a worker placement game based on Bart's description (although I could still be convinced otherwise, especially the idea of it being a type of rondel). I really know very little about the game at this point (which is why I'm here).

Worker Placement is really a poor terminology (as has been pointed out many times over the years). When interpreted as a game mechanism, I believe that the proper definition is action drafting. The literal interpretation of the term, however, would be any game in which a player places a worker. I think it's silly to define a game mechanism by the physical way in which that mechanism is represented. In Agricola, if players took the cards on the board when they took an action instead of placing a worker, I still believe that would be a worker placement game. The game would play the exact same. On the opposite note, are games like Carcassonne, Eclipse, and Galaxy Trucker all WP games? In each one, a meeple/disc/alien is placed on the board to either score points or take an action. Does the shape of the worker matter (i.e. person vs car vs simple wooden disc)? Again, it seems silly to describe the game mechanisms based on the components.

Really, the term "Worker Placement" needs to be changed, and "Action Drafting" really should be added.
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mfaulk80 wrote:
bayerbube wrote:

If you say worker placement is action drafting, then almost every gameis worker placement.

This isn't really true.


Bart and I see things pretty similar in terms of the definition of worker placement. I don't know the specifics of this game, but from Bart's description, I'd say this game is closer to worker placement than many other games out there that are called worker placement. It blurs the lines a bit since the action isn't completely blocked, and there isn't retrieval step like James pointed out. Despite those factors, I'd still lean towards this being a worker placement game based on Bart's description (although I could still be convinced otherwise, especially the idea of it being a type of rondel). I really know very little about the game at this point (which is why I'm here).

Worker Placement is really a poor terminology (as has been pointed out many times over the years). When interpreted as a game mechanism, I believe that the proper definition is action drafting. The literal interpretation of the term, however, would be any game in which a player places a worker. I think it's silly to define a game mechanism by the physical way in which that mechanism is represented. In Agricola, if players took the cards on the board when they took an action instead of placing a worker, I still believe that would be a worker placement game. The game would play the exact same. On the opposite note, are games like Carcassonne, Eclipse, and Galaxy Trucker all WP games? In each one, a meeple/disc/alien is placed on the board to either score points or take an action. Does the shape of the worker matter (i.e. person vs car vs simple wooden disc)? Again, it seems silly to describe the game mechanisms based on the components.

Really, the term "Worker Placement" needs to be changed, and "Action Drafting" really should be added.


I completely disagree. You simply cannot connect worker placement to action drafting. I explained above. Action drafting and worker placement are two different things. They could be the same. Like in Agricola. But they do not have to.

Worker placement is an action selection mechanism. You choose an action by placing a worker at that very spot. If this action is drafted then or whatever... Doesn't matter.

The point is: You take a worker from your personal supply and place it on an action spot. That is how you select the action.

Kraftwagen is not this. Kraftwagen is more like a rondell in MacGerts games. With moving actions instead of fixed ones. And with integrated playing order...
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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bayerbube wrote:

I completely disagree. You simply cannot connect worker placement to action drafting. I explained above. Action drafting and worker placement are two different things. They could be the same. Like in Agricola. But they do not have to.

There are really two views on this subject, and there are a lot of supporters on both sides. IMO classic "Worker Placement" really is "Action Drafting", and the physical representation of the mechanism doesn't matter. I understand your viewpoint, however, as I've seen that argument many times. The point is that the term isn't really a great representation of an actual mechanism. I've seen several great suggestions on how "Worker Placement" could be broken up into a few different mechanisms, including "Action Drafting".

bayerbube wrote:

Worker placement is an action selection mechanism. You choose an action by placing a worker at that very spot. If this action is drafted then or whatever... Doesn't matter.

The point is: You take a worker from your personal supply and place it on an action spot. That is how you select the action.

So is a game like Eclipse actually worker placement? Does it matter if that actions are selected from a personal tableau? To me, that goes against everything a WP game is supposed to be. There are better terms to describe these differences in games. Worker Placement has almost become a useless term because so many games are described that way...

Either way, we can agree to disagree.

You'll find that there really isn't any consensus on the definition. It's almost funny how any discussion about Worker Placement games inevitably devolves into a discussion on what the term actually means...even threads where people are just looking for recommendations.

Anyway, here is some interesting reading on the subject (the first one may be the most illuminating):
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/154962/worker-placement-a...
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/152541/non-worker-placeme...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1359624/are-action-selectio...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1291744/hey-when-did-worker...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1155932/worker-placement-de...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1081205/its-got-worker-plac...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1059160/typical-euro-worker...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1025903/why-worker-placemen...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/894517/moderate-heavy-games...
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/489659/difference-between-w...
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James Mathias
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The more I think about this, I think "Worker Placement" is less a mechanism, and more a description of physical player movement.

The mechanism that underlies is "Action Selection/Drafting".

So in my mind worker placement is not the mechanism itself, but a layer up. It's the presentation of the structure of the mechanism.
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jmathias wrote:
The more I think about this, I think "Worker Placement" is less a mechanism, and more a description of physical player movement.

The mechanism that underlies is "Action Selection/Drafting".

So in my mind worker placement is not the mechanism itself, but a layer up. It's the presentation of the structure of the mechanism.


I second this...
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