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Subject: Break the 3-way tie -- Worker placement games rss

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Jennifer Derrick
United States
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I'm looking for a new game for Christmas and I'd like to get a worker placement game. I've narrowed it down to three, in no particular order:

Lords of Waterdeep
Alien Frontiers
Dungeon Petz

All three have themes that appeal to me/us and after watching videos and reading reviews, I just can't decide. The game would be played 95% of the time two player so any 2p experiences are welcome. We are fairly experienced gamers, although we haven't played too many worker placement games (thus the need to fill a gap in the collection). So we don't need something that's too difficult right out of the gate, or that will be super frustrating to learn.

I've looked into Stone Age, Kingsburg, Agricola, and a few others and they don't appeal. I know Stone Age is the most highly recommended worker placement game, but I played it once at a friend's house and the theme bored me silly. Agricola I think would go the same way.

I also looked at Fresco and really liked the looks of it, but the reviews say 2p is weak so I've scratched that one off the list.

So, give me your votes/ideas and help me break this 3-way tie! Thanks.
 
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Malko Mann
Denmark
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I haven't played Dungeon Petz, but I own the other two - both hit the table quite frequently, and both are great games for their weight. Gun to my head I would probably go with Alien Frontiers, and I'm assuming that the expansion will make the game even better (haven't played with it yet). Both games work well with 2 people, but probably best with 3 or 4. When we're just 2 players, I'd probably stick with AF.

Really though, IMO you can't go wrong with either of those.

 
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Chris Dugas
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Of the three, I've played Dungeon Petz and Alien Frontiers and enjoy both of those.

Alien Frontiers is a much more accessible, easy-to-learn (or teach) game. It has a strong area control element as well as worker placement. Choices are reasonably straightforward, but players are always blocking each other from the choices they want. Shorter gameplay than Dungeon Petz.

Dungeon Petz is a heavier game, despite the cuteness of the theme and bits. A lot more stuff going on, more to keep in mind for future rounds, and more icons to get used to. The rulebook is quite humourous. Longer gameplay than Alien Frontiers.

Between the two, both are good choices, but think about how heavy and long a game you're looking for. Also, if you want to be able to play the game you pick with kids at all, keep in mind Dungeon Petz stands a chance of being very appealing (the bits are incredibly appealing) but possibly too difficult unless they have a fair bit of experience gaming.

I haven't played Lords of Waterdeep, but I do have friends who have played it. They enjoy it, but it sounds like beyond the placing of workers blocking other players from what they want to do, there is also some deliberate "take that" going on, some sort of forcing other players to have to complete certain tasks or something like that. Some people like games with that kind of interaction; others loathe them.
 
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Kim Williams
United Kingdom
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We have Dungeon Petz and Lords of Waterdeep, and it's mostly just myself and my husband playing.

Both play well with two. Dungeon Petz is definitely the longer game, and also has a lot more set up and pack away time, so this may influence your decision - Waterdeep takes about 45 min. for 2, whereas I think Petz may be about double that.

Waterdeep is the simpler to learn - it's the simplest worker placement we own - whereas Petz is a bit more challenging (it was a mistake to try and teach it to my in-laws, and a bit draining helping our children to meet their pet's needs) but not too bad.

I actually prefer Petz, as there is that bit more to think about.

In terms of screwage if the mandatory quests in Waterdeep put you off due to their screwage potential it doesn't break the game to leave them out - we started doing this when playing with our children, and others have posted that they do the same.

Good luck with your decision!
 
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Kevin B. Smith
United States
Mercer Island
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I have played Lords of Waterdeep several times, and the other two one time each.

Alien Frontiers is by far the most confrontational, with its heavy area control aspect. I happen to dislike area control. It also suffered from a bit of AP, because there are so many different ways you can modify and/or use your dice each turn. With 2p, it seems like it would become a tug-of-war match near the end, but that's just a guess.

Dungeon Petz was really frustrating for me. You have to "bid" your workers before you have enough knowledge to be able to do so. It felt quite complex, but also chaotic at the same time. It ran very, very long, but supposedly would get faster. I can't say how it would be with 2p.

So by default, I would go with Waterdeep, which I enjoy. It didn't live up to the hype for me, but it's a solid game. Some don't like it with 2p, but others of us do. The "attack" cards are far milder than Alien Frontiers, and I suspect you could screw each other in Petz almost as much.
 
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Laura Creighton
Sweden
Göteborg
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Many people hate LoW as a 2 person game. I am one of them.
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/825134/lords-of-watered-down...

I've never played Dungeon Petz with 2, but it is not a simple game. It's not one I would use to learn WP. I also don't like the art.

Alien Frontiers is one of the games I use to teach WP to people who have never played a WP game before. It plays fine with 2.

Both LoW and AF have much more direct conflict than is typical for WP games, so if you were trying to find a game with no direct conflict, neither of them are it.
 
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HenningK
Germany
Berlin
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Of those, I only played Lords of Waterdeep, and I'm one of those who like it with just 2 players. I think 3 is the sweet spot, but I prefer the 2-player-game to 4 or 5 players.
 
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