Will Plante
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I will get right to the point; I am looking for a worker placement game to introduce to my wife and two oldest children, ages 10 and 7.

The criteria for the WP game I choose to buy is very simple:

1. It plays will with 2P - 4P.
2. I can play with my children.
3. A game I can enjoy with just my wife.
4. A game with some staying power, I do not have the budget for a large game collection.
This may be the only WP game we have for a while.


The 3 choices:

1. Lords of Waterdeep I would buy DnDeeples as well, my kids would love the theme/DnDeeples.
2. Stone Age (the gateway WP?)
3. Fresco (I am an artist/art teacher so I love the theme.)

As a small token of my appreciation I will give out for your thoughtful responses.

Thanks for your help and happy gaming!

Update:

These are some of the games I play with my older children without any assistance from me:

Marvel Legendary
D&D Legend of Drizzt
Pandemic
Carcassone
King of Tokyo
Summoner Wars - I help them both with tactics and card play sometimes.
Memoir 44 - Only played with my son.

Edited:
1. To note that I would be purchasing the DnDeeples.
2. To list games played with my family.

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Will Plante
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
My extra ramblings about the reasons for creating this post:

I have already posted a separate thread looking for game recommendations and I originally listed CoB as a game I would not consider, but it became the game I am going to get do to everyone's helpful advice.

So I am once again in a similar dilemma; I am going to be able to add a 2nd game to my order which will be our first WP game.

I originally eliminated Lords of Waterdeep from my list, but everyone on BGG is making me rethink my stance so I am once again asking for your help.
 
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James Derbyshire
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
There are no DNDeeples, they are cubes.

I fall into the gang of "LoW is massively overrated", so my vote is for Stone Age and then Fresco.

I prefer Fresco, but its just that touch more difficult to play well for beginners.

You can't go wrong with Stone Age as an introductory game. EDIT re staying power, depending on how much of a gamer you are, a lot of people, ourselves included, burned out of Stone Age after playing a LOT. That said, since the ipad app was released we've started playing again and are enjoying it all over.
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Jennifer Derrick
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Of the three you list, yes, LOWD is probably the best choice. Your kids would likely be bored by the themes of Fresco and Stone Age. Maybe not; you know your kids best, but of the kids I know, LOWD would be the winner, hands down.

Now, I will ask if you've considered Dungeon Petz? Most kids love the theme (the animals poop, what's not to love from a kid's perspective?)It plays very well with 2, as well as with more. We play it mostly 2p and find it very enjoyable. It is long lasting. We've had it for a year or so and it hasn't gotten old yet. It does take a couple of plays to figure it out, but I've found that the theme alone keeps people interested in learning it and sticking with it until it "comes together".
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
I've played both Lords of Waterdeep and Stone Age. In fact, I played Stone Age last night.

They're both worker placement games (you know this) and so while they differ in the nuances of their execution, their biggest difference are their themes.

Since you're going to choose between two excellent games, I think the more important question, which no one can answer for you, is "which theme do you like more?".

One thing that Stone Age has in it's favor is its expansion which adds a 5th player (though I have otherwise not played the expansion and don't know if it's any good). I'm not certain if LoW will have any expansions, let alone one that adds more players.

Have you played either of the games? Maybe there's someone around you who can play through each with you.
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Gregor Terrill
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
I hate Stone Age so I'm gonna skip over that one. Lords of Waterdeep is a great game but there are some kind of mean actions you can take that I've seen cause hurt feelings in games with adults. With kids I could see it getting nasty. Maybe play without Mandatory Quests if you go that route. Fresco is a much more family-oriented game. There isn't really much player interaction, but it's still a great and simple game. Probably easier to learn IMO than Waterdeep.
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
OxfordRow wrote:

Now, I will ask if you've considered Dungeon Petz? Most kids love the theme (the animals poop, what's not to love from a kid's perspective?)It plays very well with 2, as well as with more. We play it mostly 2p and find it very enjoyable. It is long lasting. We've had it for a year or so and it hasn't gotten old yet. It does take a couple of plays to figure it out, but I've found that the theme alone keeps people interested in learning it and sticking with it until it "comes together".


Whilst a favourite of ours, can 7 and 10yr olds play Dungeon Petz well?
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
I would recommend Kingsburg as the best introductory worker placement game.

The expansion Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm is also excellent for some variety in the future.
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Jennifer Derrick
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Norbert666 wrote:
OxfordRow wrote:

Now, I will ask if you've considered Dungeon Petz? Most kids love the theme (the animals poop, what's not to love from a kid's perspective?)It plays very well with 2, as well as with more. We play it mostly 2p and find it very enjoyable. It is long lasting. We've had it for a year or so and it hasn't gotten old yet. It does take a couple of plays to figure it out, but I've found that the theme alone keeps people interested in learning it and sticking with it until it "comes together".


Whilst a favourite of ours, can 7 and 10yr olds play Dungeon Petz well?



I think so. The youngest might require some assistance, but we've played this with our niece and nephew (10 and 6) and had no problems. The ten year old got it after a couple of plays and the six year old played well with a little assistance. Plus, he said it's something they want to keep for a while, so the kids will definitely have room to grow with it.
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Marty Devine
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
I'll respond specifically about Lords of Waterdeep, not having played the other two choices on your list.

1. It plays will with 2P - 4P. - Absolutely. The games end up being quite different, with the 2 player game usually scoring higher because more resources are available and you have more agents to work with. I will gladly play this one 2 player anytime.

2. I can play with my children. - My children, ages 10, 13, and 17 love this game. But be warned...if one child takes the space that another one needs a bit too often, it can lead to repeated punches in the arm by the little sister. At least in my household.

3. A game I can enjoy with just my wife. - After we were done with the above game, my wife's response was "That was fun! We'll have to play that one again." Note that my wife does NOT like board games, so for her to say that is very high praise indeed.

4. A game with some staying power, I do not have the budget for a large game collection. This may be the only WP game we have for a while. - I've had this one since it was released, and I will gladly play it anytime anyone wants to play. There's a lot happening in the game, and as such it seems like every game is a little different, depending on what quests come up in what combinations of buildings are available. Now that can also lead to frustrations, because if you are heavy on cleric quests and no buildings that generate clerics come up early in the game, it can lead to a long slog to get any VPs.

Hopefully someone else can add their thoughts around Stone Age and Fresco. Good luck!

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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Zolos wrote:
I would recommend Kingsburg as the best introductory worker placement game.

The expansion Kingsburg: To Forge a Realm is also excellent for some variety in the future.


+1
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David B
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
I like Fresco the best. Why? For starters, I enjoy the theme the best. Also, the actions are "threaded". In Stone Age, they are not threaded. Well, in Stone Age the PLACEMENT of workers is threaded, but the actions are not. What that means is player 1 resolves ALL his workers by rolling the dice for each area before he passes the dice to player 2, and so on. Hence, the player in the 4 spot has to do quite a bit of watching before he gets a turn. In Fresco, all players visit the market at one time. Player 1 buys his paint tiles, then player 2 buys, etc. Then all players visit the cathedral. Player 1 gets to restore a tile (or 2 if he has the cubes) then player 2 gets to restore, etc. Then all players visit the studio at the same time. So, even with 4 players, there is very little downtime in Fresco. I also like the way Fresco teaches you to budget your money. DO I spend big now, or do I save a bit and save up for an even bigger turn later? Is there a risk in waiting? Another thing Fresco has going for it is that it has a simple game and a more advanced set up in the base game. So you can start out super easy, and if you get the hang of it quickly, you can introduce the more advanced game later. I think there are 8 mini expansions for Fresco, but the first 3 are already included in the box. So my vote goes to Fresco.


All that said, though, Stone Age is actually the better game for 2 players. With 2 players, Fresco requires the use of a dummy player that the two players take turns controlling. It isn't that big of a deal, but it's enough to make me want to find a third player if I am playing fresco. I HAVE played Fresco a few times with just 2 and it WAS fun. I just like Stone Age better at the 2 player count.
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Paul DeStefano
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Norbert666 wrote:
There are no DNDeeples, they are cubes.


He's stating he would buy the ones that are available, replacing the cubes.
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
LoW is a fave at my house.

So is Stone Age.

Never liked Fresco.

Stone Age has more of a gambling element.

LoW has more backstabbing.

Stone Age is probably better if your kids are not already gamers.
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James Derbyshire
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Geosphere wrote:
Norbert666 wrote:
There are no DNDeeples, they are cubes.


He's stating he would buy the ones that are available, replacing the cubes.

Ah yes it's been edited to read that way now!
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
While worker placement games are already somewhat confrontational, Lords of Waterdeep is even more so thanks to the Mandatory Quest cards. If your children don't do well with getting randomly screwed over by cards, you may be better off with Stone Age. Both games have randomness, but in LoW you are targeted by opponents' cards, which can leave some hurt feelings with some adults I know, let alone children.

Also, while the D&D theme may appeal to kids, I think Stone Age is probably more appealing for wives and other adults who may be talked into gaming. Whether it's fair or not, playing something with a D&D theme does come with a certain stigma attached, one that some people may not get past enough to actually give the game a chance.

Hope this was helpful.
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Erratik wrote:
While worker placement games are already somewhat confrontational, Lords of Waterdeep is even more so thanks to the Mandatory Quest cards. If your children don't do well with getting randomly screwed over by cards, you may be better off with Stone Age. Both games have randomness, but in LoW you are targeted by opponents' cards, which can leave some hurt feelings with some adults I know, let alone children.

Also, while the D&D theme may appeal to kids, I think Stone Age is probably more appealing for wives and other adults who may be talked into gaming. Whether it's fair or not, playing something with a D&D theme does come with a certain stigma attached, one that some people may not get past enough to actually give the game a chance.

Hope this was helpful.


I agree here. As much as I enjoy Lords of Waterdeep, I strongly feel that Stone Age is a better family game and has a theme that pretty much anybody can accept. Backstabbing games like Lords of Waterdeep usually don't go over well with families.

I'd also like to +1 the Kingsburg suggestion. Definitely look into that.
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Have you looked at Finca? I haven't played it with a 7-year old, but I've taught it to a 10-year old who caught on immediately. It's sorta-kinda worker placement, but not the same way as Fresco or Stone Age. But it's got great looking wooden pieces and a pretty board. It plays well with 2.
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Personally i prefer stoneage over lords of waterdeep, but both are good
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
I prefer LoW to SA by a large extent.

SA is a good game nevertheless, but I would choose LoW any time of the day. There is almost no difference between the first round of SA and the last round. There is no sense of progress. The theme is drier.

LoW has more player interaction, and with more buildings and more abilities from completed quests, late games usually escalate in a good way.

About the DnDeeples, I played with them once only and sold them away. Personally they do not add anything at all to the game and I can use the money to get another game. The game is a cube pusher. It doesn't matter what shape the cubes are in. But still, it is a fun cube pusher.
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
LoW is my vote.

It plays very different at 4 as opposed to 2 players, so it is sort of like getting 2 different games to help alleviate that "samey" problem. it is a tense game at 4-6 players, but very open at 2. So the game plays very different, and lots of fun.

The theme is high fantasy and reading the quest cards is lots of fun if you envision the quest it took to complete that important attack vs. a Beholder.

It is super easy to learn, so perfect for kids, but still difficult to play with its Zero sum economy, so fun for adults.

If somebody keeps stealing your best options, there is always another option that leads/helps with your current quest.

Also, the Intrigue card mechanism always helps when you are in a bad situation, and they also are free to use because when you use them you get to take another turn... but not until the end of your turn.

Finally, there is an expansion for LoW coming out very soon which will expand the game to 6 players if needed, and add all sorts of new material to the game.

I vote LoW all the way.
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
I would recommend Stone Age as well. Granted as stated previously I do not know your family so I can't say much about their tastes. However if your looking for a solid introduction to WP games, Stone Age takes the cake for me. The elements of Stone Age are simplistic enough for the younger audience to grasp but also have a strategic (although not the deepest) element as well. The game is easy to teach and lots of fun to play. I have taught my younger brother (he is 12) both of these games and he leans more towards Stone Age. He enjoys the mulptiplication aspect of the boats and the dice element. Good Luck on your decision.

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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
Evenhope wrote:
Erratik wrote:
While worker placement games are already somewhat confrontational, Lords of Waterdeep is even more so thanks to the Mandatory Quest cards. If your children don't do well with getting randomly screwed over by cards, you may be better off with Stone Age. Both games have randomness, but in LoW you are targeted by opponents' cards, which can leave some hurt feelings with some adults I know, let alone children.

Also, while the D&D theme may appeal to kids, I think Stone Age is probably more appealing for wives and other adults who may be talked into gaming. Whether it's fair or not, playing something with a D&D theme does come with a certain stigma attached, one that some people may not get past enough to actually give the game a chance.

Hope this was helpful.


I agree here. As much as I enjoy Lords of Waterdeep, I strongly feel that Stone Age is a better family game and has a theme that pretty much anybody can accept. Backstabbing games like Lords of Waterdeep usually don't go over well with families.

I'd also like to +1 the Kingsburg suggestion. Definitely look into that.


I dunno about backstabbing--I have 11 yr. old twins and they fight half the time any way While my son prefers deck building games, my daughter and I LOVE LoW--even WITH the Mandatory Quest cards. I can vouch for it being a really fun game, and we played 3 games of it in a row last night--so I can say it has "staying" power. Good luck!
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
ghbell wrote:
LoW is my vote.

It plays very different at 4 as opposed to 2 players, so it is sort of like getting 2 different games to help alleviate that "samey" problem. it is a tense game at 4-6 players, but very open at 2. So the game plays very different, and lots of fun.

The theme is high fantasy and reading the quest cards is lots of fun if you envision the quest it took to complete that important attack vs. a Beholder.

It is super easy to learn, so perfect for kids, but still difficult to play with its Zero sum economy, so fun for adults.

If somebody keeps stealing your best options, there is always another option that leads/helps with your current quest.

Also, the Intrigue card mechanism always helps when you are in a bad situation, and they also are free to use because when you use them you get to take another turn... but not until the end of your turn.

Finally, there is an expansion for LoW coming out very soon which will expand the game to 6 players if needed, and add all sorts of new material to the game.

I vote LoW all the way.


+1
 
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Re: Is Lords of Waterdeep the best introductory worker placement for my family?
I have played and taught all these games to various groups of people. I can give you a rundown on each game with the criteria you've laid out. My vote goes for Stone Age. All of them are good though, and hopefully you'll buy the others along the way.

1. Lords of Waterdeep
1. It plays will with 2P - 4P.
Not so great with 2p (those mandatory quests really hurt in a 2p game). Plays well at other numbers.
2. I can play with my children.
Easy enough for kids to keep track of - although the cards may be a bit heavy for the youngest. As mentioned, it has a strong 'take that' element and forces you to choose people to help and people to hurt. Can upset people.
3. A game I can enjoy with just my wife.
Not so great at 2p, because the intrigue cards do not provide the interesting choices they do at larger numbers.
4. A game with some staying power
Definitely has staying power. Games can vary quite a bit because of the variation of quest card, building cards and intrigue cards.

2. Stone Age
1. It plays will with 2P - 4P.
It plays well at this player range, although it is better with more than 2.
2. I can play with my children.
The art and theme is kid-friendly. There is no complicated text, but some complicated icons. However - everything is open knowledge, so you can explain things as they come up. There is some degree of math and probability involved - which is great for teaching kids their times tables (and I'd suggest having one around for this game). It's not overwhelming though and is manageable. The luck factor of dice rolling also helps weaker players still have a chance.
3. A game I can enjoy with just my wife.
Definitely wife-friendly too. It plays fine at 2-player level.
4. A game with some staying power
A lot of staying power in Stone Age as the buildings and scoring cards vary from game to game.

3. Fresco
Before continuing the analysis - I want to mention that Fresco is not strictly a worker-placement game. It certainly has elements of WP though, but the lack of blocking people off from locations removes it from the WP category to a large extent. So if you're strictly looking for a WP game, that might factor in.
1. It plays will with 2P - 4P.
It uses a dummy player for 2P games. Great at 3/4.
2. I can play with my children.
It teaches color combinations, which is great. You don't have to worry about confusing text or icons. And there isn't complicated math involved. Because action selection is done secretly and resources are also kept secretly, outside help is tricky to give. They have to understand all the different areas (6 of them) to really play effectively - but the very basic rules (no expansions) can make this easy to grasp and help with the learning curve.
3. A game I can enjoy with just my wife.
You'll have to play with a dummy player, but the strategy and level of play is still good. It's just a little more fiddly (with more room for AP).
4. A game with some staying power
Again, lots of random setup adds variety. With 3 expansions in the box, you can gradually increase the complexity and strategy of the game and it improves replayability.

On a side note, some people have suggested Kingsburg in this thread. I would advise against that. I honestly don't see why people like it so much. (1) You'll need to buy the expansion for any real kind of replayability, otherwise it will get stale very quickly. (2) Even with the expansion, I don't find it really contains much meaningful decisions past the initial setup and, again, gets stale for an experienced player. Some may disagree with me on this point. I've been dragged into a couple of games more to 'prove' that the game has 'more to offer.' I won them significantly. I played my turns exceptionally quickly and often had to wait on other AP players for ages when I felt their choices were obvious. I'm not a super-brain - I lose at a great many, many other games. It's a case of knowing what the best overall strategies are, and sticking with them.

It is, however, a great game to play for those first few times and to teach people a WP dice game.

Hope this helps.
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