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Subject: Is this a good intro to worker placement? rss

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joel hansen
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I have moved recently, and as I am sharing different games with friends here, one type of mechanism that we haven't used yet is a worker placement mechanic.

I'm just wondering if anyone who has played this game would be able to weigh in and answer whether my perception is correct, that this would be a good game to get some gateway game players to experience worker placement in an enjoyable way, to give them a taste for that sub-genre of games.

 
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David Timmerman
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One of the common elements from most worker placement games is that you can block other players by taking the actions that they need.

Pursuit of Happiness has a lot less of that (you can take cards they may want but new cards will come out).

I enjoy Pursuit of Happiness and think it is a pretty good game but it isn't as deep as a lot of other worker placement games and lacks some of the normal player interaction of a worker placement games. I'll let you judge if that is what you want to play.
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Mike DiLisio
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While this isn't a particularly difficult game, I'm not sure it would be my first choice if I was introducing this mechanic to non-gamers. I'm honestly not sure it would be in my top 10 choices, although I like the game quite a bit. The worker placement element is pretty straight forward, but there are some relatively involved card effects to interpret and manage. I could see that seeming overwhelming to a new gamer.

There are a number of good "gateway" worker placement games out there, and I'll refrain from suggesting them, since I'm sure a deluge of suggestions will show up soon.
 
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Trevor Schadt
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joelddhans wrote:
I'm just wondering if anyone who has played this game would be able to weigh in and answer whether my perception is correct, that this would be a good game to get some gateway game players to experience worker placement in an enjoyable way, to give them a taste for that sub-genre of games.
No. Pursuit of Happiness is a fantastic game -- in fact, it's currently one of my favorite games -- but it is not a good example of the Worker Placement mechanic.

As others have said, the defining characteristic of a standard Worker Placement game is that an action space is available only a certain number of times per round (usually, but not always, 1), and once that action has been taken that number of times, it is unavailable for the rest of the round.

The "denial" aspect of Pursuit of Happiness comes in the Card Drafting mechanic, where once a card has been drafted, it is off the table. This is a separate mechanic from worker placement.

PoH employs a "reverse worker placement" mechanic, where your own piece "blocks" your further actions (by making you pay a penalty -- in this case, taking Stress -- when you take a Board Action on which you already have a marker) rather than your opponents' pieces blocking your actions.

My personal recommendation for a "first Worker Placement game" remains Lords of Waterdeep.
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Atnier Rodriguez
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ryudoowaru wrote:
joelddhans wrote:
I'm just wondering if anyone who has played this game would be able to weigh in and answer whether my perception is correct, that this would be a good game to get some gateway game players to experience worker placement in an enjoyable way, to give them a taste for that sub-genre of games.
No. Pursuit of Happiness is a fantastic game -- in fact, it's currently one of my favorite games -- but it is not a good example of the Worker Placement mechanic.

As others have said, the defining characteristic of a standard Worker Placement game is that an action space is available only a certain number of times per round (usually, but not always, 1), and once that action has been taken that number of times, it is unavailable for the rest of the round.

The "denial" aspect of Pursuit of Happiness comes in the Card Drafting mechanic, where once a card has been drafted, it is off the table. This is a separate mechanic from worker placement.

PoH employs a "reverse worker placement" mechanic, where your own piece "blocks" your further actions (by making you pay a penalty -- in this case, taking Stress -- when you take a Board Action on which you already have a marker) rather than your opponents' pieces blocking your actions.

My personal recommendation for a "first Worker Placement game" remains Lords of Waterdeep.


I concur.

Lords of Waterdeep has never failed me when introduced to new players.
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joel hansen
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Thanks for your thoughts.

I have Lords of Waterdeep, so I guess, I should just use that instead.

I thought maybe the theme of PoH would make it easier to get people interested in. (And hoped for an excuse to buy this game)
 
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Trevor Schadt
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joelddhans wrote:
I thought maybe the theme of PoH would make it easier to get people interested in. (And hoped for an excuse to buy this game)
You shouldn't need an excuse to buy the game, other than "it's a really good game that is a lot of fun."
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Jorge
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joelddhans wrote:
I have moved recently, and as I am sharing different games with friends here, one type of mechanism that we haven't used yet is a worker placement mechanic.

I'm just wondering if anyone who has played this game would be able to weigh in and answer whether my perception is correct, that this would be a good game to get some gateway game players to experience worker placement in an enjoyable way, to give them a taste for that sub-genre of games.
Hey there,

When talking about gateway games to worker placement, first thing that comes to mind is Stone Age: a quick and easy worker placement game that can be found almost everywhere and takes little time comparing to other ones. Now, I've never personally considered The Pursuit of Happiness as a gateway game to worker placement, but it depends on the group you know.

The POH can definitely sell itself better to casual or inexperienced gamers due to its theme; "build your life as you want" or "the Sims board game" vs "let's lead a stone age tribe". You get the idea.

Nevertheless, be aware that from a rule-wise perspective, the POH is one grade heavier than Stone Age, as it offers immensely more decisions. Actions on the board, actions on the cards, upgrading items, fulfilling objects, not to mention the stress mechanism. Not to mention that it can devour table space, which may intimidate inexperienced players. Having said that, it's not difficult to explain it, the stress mechanism is quite easy to explain especially if you advertise it well like "in this game we should manage our stress or perish". Proper marketing is the key to luring casual board gamers. arrrh On the contrary, in Stone Age you have to explain the two different phases (place-activate), whereas explaining "place your hourglass; do your action" is much more straightforward.

Furthermore, bear in mind that the POH can run a little longer with higher player counts. A 4-player game can play up to 90-120 minutes, which is just about ok for my standards, but might scare off new people.

Then again, if your group is quite comfortable, you may completely disregard my post, as none of these will be an issue. POH can definitely be a gateway worker placement game. Nevertheless, my only reservation is, if your group has only played monopoly and scrabble, then it's better to start them with Stone Age, instead.
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Leon Z.
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It's really an action selection game, the "worker placement" is just there to remind you watch action you've taken and how many you have left.
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Adrian Abela
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ryocho wrote:
It's really an action selection game, the "worker placement" is just there to remind you watch action you've taken and how many you have left.


Not exactly - since you "block yourself" due to the stress mechanic.

So it's a kinda-sorta worker placement except that you block yourself* instead of other players. So there is a mechanic involving the workers you've placed, just not the traditional one.

*well, you take penalties, so it's a sort of blocking
 
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Trevor Schadt
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Picon wrote:
When talking about gateway games to worker placement, first thing that comes to mind is Stone Age: a quick and easy worker placement game that can be found almost everywhere and takes little time comparing to other ones.
Stone Age used to be my WP gateway game of choice as well, until I went through a couple of games where new players got frustrated by bad die rolls. The idea of creating a long-term strategy (even when "long-term" involved "my actions for this round") seemed futile when a bad die roll could deprive someone of the resources they were expecting to get.

Lords of Waterdeep has had a much better reception by new players because of its more deterministic nature. They can plan better, and better see how their plan unfolds from action to action and turn to turn.

YMMV, of course.
 
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Manuel Gracia
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I think Lords of Waterdeep is way more intuitive and more straightforward.

In TPOH, when you take an action you have to pay attention to other subtleties such as:

Does this cause me extra stress?
Does short term happiness affect my action?
Am I placing this hourglass marker in the right place?

In Lords of Waterdeep, Quest cards are simple to mentally process. In TPOH, each card has multiple levels and options to think about. Having all these options seem to increase play time.
 
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