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Subject: Looking to get into worker placement (but not Agricola!) rss

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Brian Boyle
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I am looking to expand my collection into worker placement games.

My first forays into this genre have been somewhat disappointing. Solitaire Agricola left me cold and the dice-rolling of Kingsburg (for me) felt very repetitive.

However, it looks like there a lot of really interesting new WP mechanic games out there, and I don't want to miss out on a whole genre.

I therefore turn to the collected wisdom of the BGG for a recommendation.

Ideally the game would scale well from 2-4 (with emphasis on 2) and have a fairly immersive theme. Some conflict would help - multi-player solitaire doesn't put me off, but I have quite a few of those games. Playing length of 45-60 minutes would be ideal.

Possibly games that might fit the bill are: Stone Age, Carson City, Stone Age, Le Havre and perhaps even the new kid on the block; Fresco.

Thanks in advance.
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David Zevin
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You like Stone Age so much your wrote it twice!

I too loves myself some worker placement games. My all-time faves are -

Agricola
Stone Age
Caylus

More recent good ones are

Dungeon Lords (def. check this one out)
Municipium
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Brian Boyle
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Thanks. Stone Age must be lurking as a favourite in my subconscious mind!
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Geoff Burkman
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Caylus and Agricola spring instantly to mind as excellent 2-player worker placement games, along with Le Havre and possibly Age of Empires III.
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Cyrus the Great
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Maybe not as good with 2 as you'd like, but otherwise The Pillars of the Earth or The Pillars of the Earth: Builders Duel is a good fit.
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David Jackman
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Dungeon lords is definately a on-the-fence worker placement game (it kinda has simultaneous action selection blended in), but i would recommend it.

Agricola was pretty dry for me too. :)
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Ian Klinck
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Caylus is one of my favourite games, but it's not going to fit in your requested play time.

Stone Age is the one I would recommend.
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Le Havre is too long for your time requirements, even with 2. Some people swear they play hour long games, and maybe after enough plays we could too, but expect 2 hours at the start.

Pillars of the Earth might work, but the conflict is mostly blocking a spot that someone else wanted. Not sure what kind of conflict or interaction you're looking for.

Stone Age is considerably lighter than Agricola. Again, the minor conflict is in taking a spot someone else wants, and it is more forgiving than Agricola.

Perhaps A Castle for All Seasons would interest you? In addition to worker placement, it has role selection, and depending on the roles played, you can steal a resource from another player, etc.

While not quite worker placement in the same way the others are, La Citta might interest you - it's a city building/resource game where your cities gain powers based on their buildings, and you can take citizens from neighboring cities.

Cuba has role selection/worker placement, and it has direct interaction in the bidding phase where someone wins the right to choose what Acts will pass through Parliament. These can have a significant impact on the game. There is also the standard swoop-in-and-take-a-spot-someone-wanted, like a prime ship for lots of VPs. Also, if you buy items from the Marketplace, it's more expensive for someone else to buy goods, or, if you sell items back, they get lower prices for their goods.
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Neil Christiansen
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Stone Age, Carson City, and Neferttiti are popular with my group.

Carson runs longer but has the most depth. Stone age scales well to 2 or 3. Nefertitti has a neat combo worker placement and auction mechanic. I think I'd recommend Nefertitti for you guys as it is a little unique.

Le Havre is long and fiddly.
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Justin Moore
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Stone Age is definitely the place to start. It's quick, especially two-player, has a great dice-mitigation mechanic, and is just a lot of fun.

I think Leonardo da Vinci is another really good worker placement game. It has a nice theme of building Da Vinvi's projects, and the actual worker placement mechanic is very well done. Very underrated game.

I would start there. If you found Agricola dry, I don't think Caylus is what you want either.

A game that's a little deeper would be Vasco da Gama, but I think it would only fit in your timeframe as a 2-player game. Though it does scale very well, and it's not nearly as dry as caylus or agricola.
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J.R. Shoenberger
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We've been enjoying Leonardo da Vinci a lot lately. And it's only $10 over at coolstuffinc.
win. win.
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Keith Anderson
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If Kingsburg's die rolling felt repetitive, then I'm not sure that you would care for Stone Age's die rolling...good game though
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Henrik Lantz
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I've played quite a few worker placement games, and Stone Age is probably your best bet for that time frame and number of players. A great game, an all-time favorite for me.

If you ask me again in a week I might give you a very strong recommendation for Homesteaders. Just got it in the mail so I haven't played it yet, but it looks really promising.

I can also recommend Royal Palace. It has a nice twist on the worker placement mechanic, in that the workers stay on the board and have to walk between the rooms to do different actions. Not so much interaction in the worker placement, but there is a area majority part where there is plenty of interaction. I prefer Stone Age, but this is still a good game.
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Well, Amyitis is more of a worker selection game than a worker placement but I think the outcome is roughly the same... on your turn you can choose a worker and his corresponding benefits. It plays pretty quickly for two and scales up quite well for 3 and 4.

Brian
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Norman Hedden
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Caylus and/or Pillars of the Earth
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Matt Drown
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I found agricola so boring I sold my copy. However, I enjoy Caylus and Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery. Neither will fit in your time frame, each taking roughly 2 hours, and I found each much more enjoyable than agricola. Something quicker and almost worker placement would be Pirate's Cove. Worker placement is simultaneous, and when multiple people pick the same location, direct conflict occurs, only one can take the space.
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Max Maloney
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The first two I thought of from the subject line are also listed in the OP: Stone Age and Carson City. Carson City in particular has a little more conflict than the "race to get it first" mechanic of Agricola.
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ErikPeter Walker
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Even though solitaire Agricola left you cold, I suggest playing it with other players, because they're very different experiences. Solitaire is entirely about planning ahead and optimizing your actions way down the road; there's no tactics. I enjoyed both, but there's no reason to play solitaire once you've beaten a couple games.

Don't play the family game either. The cards make the game.

If you still don't like it, then I'd think about a different genre.
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Carl T
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I'm suprised no one mentioned Caylus Magna Carta. I like it and it's quicker than Caylus - Think Caylus elements (Photoshop and elements) Also I Nth Stone Age. If you don't mind the price and/or the wait Hansa Teutonica.
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Tim Collins
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You'de be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out Carson City is a fantastic rendetion of this genre and the only game I prefer to it in my whole collection is Agricola (which happens to be my favorite game.) Dungeon Lords is also quite a good game though a bit more on the complicated side.
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Mitch Willis
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I'd recommend Fresco as it scales from 2 to 4 and it should fall within your time frame guidelines; plus it comes with 3 expansion modules included which lets you add strategy as you wish and increases its re-playability factor...
 
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Jay Volk
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Of your list, I would say that Stone Age and Stone Age are the two I would recommend.

I just picked up Fresco, so no opinions yet.

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Brian Boyle
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Wow... thanks for all those great responses.

Stone Age & Carson City have now gone into my latest order.
 
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William Springer
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Caylus is probably your best choice, but it won't fit into your preferred time with more than 2 people.
 
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Joe Pastuzyn
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I will ditto the consensus around Stone Age. Caylus has more conflict and scales well, but slightly longer playing time. I do think Caylus is the much deeper game.
 
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