Kalle Malmioja
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A showerthought I had about game mechanisms. I personally think that all worker placement games are action selection games but not to other way around. Then this idea game in my head that are action selection and worker placement games just action point allowance systems with one action point available per turn?

The answer doesn't really matter but can act as a ludological brainteaser.
 
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Ron
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Isn't action drafting/blocking usually considered inherent to WP games? That seems to make it quite a different beast than APA.
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Christian Gienger
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I don't think that WP is an APAS. In my understanding APAS is something like Tikal (probably the forerunner) where you have 10 points and can do actions with separate costs or even a normal game that says: 3 actions a turn with a list of actions.
WP games deny actions to other players, something that doesn't happen in APAS games.
The term action selection is too broad in my opinion. Isn't every game with more than one option an action selection? If there's more than roll x dice, move y spaces where y is number shown on the rolled dice there's action selection.
Even in 7 Wonders I choose which actino I do after I picked the card.
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Matt Brown
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Kuula wrote:
Then this idea game in my head that are action selection and worker placement games just action point allowance systems with one action point available per turn?


Not really. You could essentially strip any game down to an action point allowance system if you included games that only allow for one action. The heart of that system is you are given "x" amount of points and actions then take "y" amount of points to do so the player needs to manage those points. If a player only has one action, there's no real management.
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Adam Taylor
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I suppose you could ultimately boil all games (aside from games of chance or dexterity) down to "You are presented with a series of choices and try to make the most beneficial selection for short and/or long term benefits."

A lot of the definitions that we use when describing games bleed into each other. When I'm designing I often try to think of mechanics or combinations of mechanics that don't fit simply into existing definitions. But the distinctions between definitions are useful as a short-hand for describing games.

If something is described to me as WP, I assume that blocking and timing of selections will be an element of the game.

If something is described to me as APAS, I assume that there is no blocking; that I will always have the same options available to me each turn and that different actions may cost a different number of action points.

In short: 1. Interesting question. 2. IMO there is a distinction between the two.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Action point allowance systems tend to give you all the points in a go and you use them all. So you do multiple things on your turn. Worker placement games usually allow you to place a single worker on your turn and do a single thing. And the worker occupies a space so that no one else (usually) can do that thing.

So even if there was a way to technically make them equivalent they feel radically different. Worker placement is all about being limited in what you can do at the moment and prioritizing what needs to be done now and what you can wait on, knowing that other people can deny those things to you. Action point allowance systems are all about needing to do many things all at once, but only having the ability to do some of them, and having to figure out the best way to spend a limited pool of action points.

Those differences mean the games play out very differently and feel quite different. I don't see any advantage to trying to classify one as the other. At best, it would be an awkward attempt to make a square peg fit in a round hole, and only for the sake of saying "See! Look what I did!"
 
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Dave Lartigue
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the answer is no
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Pete
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Kuula wrote:
A showerthought I had about game mechanisms. I personally think that all worker placement games are action selection games but not to other way around. Then this idea game in my head that are action selection and worker placement games just action point allowance systems with one action point available per turn?

The answer doesn't really matter but can act as a ludological brainteaser.
Yes. Essentially the worker placement mechanic is analogous to an exclusive action point allowance system, in which each player can (in turn order) play an action point, but no action can be duplicated. The worker serves merely as a marker to prevent someone from expending a subsequent action point on their turn.

Pete (would have posted "who cares?" but you covered that with the last sentence of your original post)
 
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Désirée Greverud
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This seems to be true in the same way that Chess can be said to be a game about scoring victory points and the first person to score 1 is the winner
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Joel L
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No. The purpose of categories is to distinguish games from other games. If all worker placement games are also action point allowance systems then the APAS category is meaningless.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Joel_L wrote:
No. The purpose of categories is to distinguish games from other games. If all worker placement games are also action point allowance systems then the APAS category is meaningless.
That's silly. All ice cream dishes are also desserts, does that make the dessert category meaningless? It's entirely possible to have a category that is entirely a subset of another category without it being meaningless.

I object to the idea of forcing Worker Placement games into the APAS category, but primarily because it's really forced, artificial and atypical.
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J M
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plezercruz wrote:
Yes. Essentially the worker placement mechanic is analogous to an exclusive action point allowance system, in which each player can (in turn order) play an action point, but no action can be duplicated. The worker serves merely as a marker to prevent someone from expending a subsequent action point on their turn.

Pete (would have posted "who cares?" but you covered that with the last sentence of your original post)


Both Viticulture and Argent: The Consortium offer methods for players to take actions already claimed by other players*, so unless they're not worker-placement games, exclusivity of action doesn't seem to be a defining factor.

*Grande Worker in Vit, Shadowing in Argent.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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AceAceBaby wrote:
Both Viticulture and Argent: The Consortium offer methods for players to take actions already claimed by other players
In Viticulture, you cannot generally place a worker in a spot another player has already used... the Grande worker is an exception to the general rule. I haven't played Argent, so I can't speak to that example.

So yes, there are worker placement games that allow you to make exceptions to the exclusivity of a spot... but those are exceptions. Usually some spots have to be exclusive in a worker placement game... or else it's simply an action selection game.
 
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Joel L
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Thunkd wrote:
Joel_L wrote:
No. The purpose of categories is to distinguish games from other games. If all worker placement games are also action point allowance systems then the APAS category is meaningless.
That's silly. All ice cream dishes are also desserts, does that make the dessert category meaningless? It's entirely possible to have a category that is entirely a subset of another category without it being meaningless.
I'm talking about the categorization of game mechanics on BGG. It's a flat organization -- no hierarchy; no subcategories.

https://boardgamegeek.com/browse/boardgamemechanic

The implication is that each category is distinct. Even if they were to switch to a hierarchical organization, we the editors would still only be choosing the leaf nodes of that tree. The parent categories (e.g. desserts) would be determined automatically.

I don't see any benefit to a multi-tier organization of game mechanics.
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Thunkd wrote:
In Viticulture, you cannot generally place a worker in a spot another player has already used... the Grande worker is an exception to the general rule. ....

So yes, there are worker placement games that allow you to make exceptions to the exclusivity of a spot... but those are exceptions.


A good example of when the exception proves the rule.
 
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J M
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Thunkd wrote:
In Viticulture, you cannot generally place a worker in a spot another player has already used... the Grande worker is an exception to the general rule. I haven't played Argent, so I can't speak to that example.

So yes, there are worker placement games that allow you to make exceptions to the exclusivity of a spot... but those are exceptions. Usually some spots have to be exclusive in a worker placement game... or else it's simply an action selection game.


The grande worker is part of the game from 2nd ed on. It's not an exception as such, it's an available option/action. Other special workers in the Tuscany expansion can do more similar stuff, including "bumping" workers off of spots to re-use the action. Viticulture also includes the element of asynchronous worker removal, in which a canny player going late in the turn, with sufficient workers left over, will get to use an action that was cleared out by a previous player passing out of the turn. That reminds me that Euphoria also includes "bump" spots as well as communal placements. In the case of Argent, two players can take the same benefit in a room via the shadowing mechanism, which can be used multiple times. Situations can arise where every mage you place is shadowing another, if you have the right mages and spells.

These are just the games I own, described as "worker placement" which do not enforce exclusivity of spaces/actions. They're not exceptions, they are core mechanics of the games mentioned.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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AceAceBaby wrote:
The grande worker is part of the game from 2nd ed on. It's not an exception as such, it's an available option/action.

AceAceBaby wrote:
They're not exceptions, they are core mechanics of the games mentioned.
The general rule is that meeples cannot be placed in a spot that is already occupied by another meeple. The exception is that Grande workers can be.

Viticulture is hardly the only game where there is non-exclusivity of action spaces. Many games have at least one spot where multiple workers can be placed, ex: Food collection in Stone Age. In fact, in many games there is a space which can be used by all players as many times as they want, as a sort of "I have nothing else left to do" option. Allowing players to place meeples in the same space as other meeples is the exception to the rule "You can't place a meeple in a spot where there is already another meeple."
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Joel_L wrote:
The implication is that each category is distinct.
They are distinct. They're only not distinct when you add in certain restrictions... namely:
Quote:
Essentially the worker placement mechanic is analogous to an exclusive action point allowance system, in which each player can (in turn order) play an action point, but no action can be duplicated. The worker serves merely as a marker to prevent someone from expending a subsequent action point on their turn.


It would be just as valid to say that the "Roll and Move" mechanic is essentially the same as the "Dice Rolling" mechanic, in which each player moves a pawn a number of spaces equal to the value shown on the dice.

The limitations that you have to impose on mechanic X to get it to be the same thing as mechanic B are the things that make them distinct.
 
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J M
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Thunkd wrote:

Viticulture is hardly the only game where there is non-exclusivity of action spaces. Many games have at least one spot where multiple workers can be placed, ex: Food collection in Stone Age. In fact, in many games there is a space which can be used by all players as many times as they want, as a sort of "I have nothing else left to do" option. Allowing players to place meeples in the same space as other meeples is the exception to the rule "You can't place a meeple in a spot where there is already another meeple."


I was debating the assertion that action exclusivity was an element of worker placement. I pulled out three games that don't enforce that (and I can add Alien Frontiers, now I think about it), so I don't see that you've argued anything against what I said. I understand if you're not familiar with the games I've listed, but you should understand how they work before dismissing them as exceptions. Viticulture also has that "dump" spot on the board- that's not the issue, and not how Argent or Euphoria work.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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AceAceBaby wrote:
I was debating the assertion that action exclusivity was an element of worker placement. I pulled out three games that don't enforce that (and I can add Alien Frontiers, now I think about it), so I don't see that you've argued anything against what I said.
Action exclusivity is most definitely an element of worker placement in Viticulture. You cannot place the majority of your workers in spots where there are already workers. The fact that there is an exception to that rule doesn't mean that the rule isn't part of the game.

If you want to debate the assertion that action exclusivity is an element of worker placement, then give me one example of a worker placement game that contains no action exclusivity at all.


 
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You're redefining the terms to suit your argument now. I gave plenty of examples of games that don't rely on exclusivity on action spaces. It's up to you to research them for yourself.
 
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DragonsDream wrote:
This seems to be true in the same way that Chess can be said to be a game about scoring victory points and the first person to score 1 is the winner
Like how Ra could've been a card game. Or how you can remove dice from most games and replace them with a deck of "probability cards", or a bag of "chance tokens".

Hell, I've gotten waay too many arguments in video gaming how Super Mario Bros. is a role playing game because you're playing the role, of Mario. I guess Puerto Rico can be an RPG since you're picking roles Or how Nefertiti is an RPG because you're playing as a Noble (.. who's trying to get as many VP as possible)

Joel_L wrote:
No. The purpose of categories is to distinguish games from other games. If all worker placement games are also action point allowance systems then the APAS category is meaningless.
Alas, BGG is about at the halfway point. Games where you play on a team now encompass co-op games like Shadows Over Camelot, or "fully-co-op" games where everyone's on the same team and strictly vs. the game like Pandemic. Even games like Cranium were (still are) considered a team game.

Thunkd wrote:
Joel_L wrote:
No. The purpose of categories is to distinguish games from other games. If all worker placement games are also action point allowance systems then the APAS category is meaningless.
That's silly. All ice cream dishes are also desserts, does that make the dessert category meaningless? It's entirely possible to have a category that is entirely a subset of another category without it being meaningless.

I object to the idea of forcing Worker Placement games into the APAS category, but primarily because it's really forced, artificial and atypical.
But then you have folks who count fruit or glazed carrots as desserts! And macaroni & cheese... it's both an entrée AND a side dish wow I had mac & cheese with a side of mac & cheese!
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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AceAceBaby wrote:
You're redefining the terms to suit your argument now. I gave plenty of examples of games that don't rely on exclusivity on action spaces. It's up to you to research them for yourself.
No... you're claiming that because there are some exceptions to the general rule of action exclusivity for worker placement, that the general rule isn't a defining characteristic of worker placement.

Let's say that I'm on a diet where I only eat healthy vegetables and lean meat... and only a reasonable amount (which is less than I would normally eat). But once a week I let myself have a treat of a chocolate donut.

Just because I give myself an exception to general rule of exclusively eating healthy food, doesn't mean I'm not on a diet. Or that eating a reasonable amount of healthy food isn't the defining characteristic of diets.

 
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Bryan Thunkd
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ackmondual wrote:
But then you have folks who count fruit or glazed carrots as desserts! And macaroni & cheese... it's both an entrée AND a side dish wow I had mac & cheese with a side of mac & cheese!
All taxonomies are somewhat arbitrary. When you try to organize the world into different categories there's always going to be some edge cases that don't neatly fit into your categories. But we still categorize stuff, because it's useful most of the time. When you hit those odd edge cases, you just recognize the limits of the system and accept that not everything fits perfectly.
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