worker placement game

Breaking Games has brought a new worker placement fantasy game, Dwellings of Eldervale, designed by Luke Laurie to Kickstarter! This 1-5 player game will have you each controlling a unique faction including Air, Earth, Water, Fire, Light, Darkness, Order, and Chaos. The game combines worker placement with tableau/engine building mechanisms as each player summons special units, dwell in Eldervale to gain points as well as combat advantages, battle other players or even monsters with dice driven combat that can be mitigated, play magic cards, and advance your elemental power.

The standard box includes 8 sets of player wooden components, 8 player boards but 11 factions, 8 monster cards, 49 magic cards, 8 jumbo starter cards, 72 adventure cards, 24 elemental hexes with unique artwork on every tile as well as 7 ruin hexes, 100 treasure tokens, 54 dice, 9 glass orbs, cardboard resources, and a board of elements. The game also comes with storage trays.

To find out more, visit their Kickstarter campaign here.


In 2017, when Plan B Games released Century: Spice Road, it was presented as the first game in a planned series.  In 2018 the second game of the series, Century: Eastern Wonders, was released.  Now, Plan B Games and designer Emerson Matsuuchi have announced the third and final game in the series, Century: A New World.

“Players serve as merchants seeking fortune in the bountiful American continent. Only the most shrewd merchants will strike out to explore the foreign land, trade with local inhabitants, journal their findings, and hunt and gather to survive.”

Each game in the series has been set in a different time period and region of the world, and has featured the core mechanic of resource management and trading.  Spice Road was based around card selection and hand management.  Eastern Wonders introduced a modular board and pick-up and deliver to the series.  Now, A New World will use worker placement and is set in 16th century North America.  A New World can be played by itself, or mixed and matched with the other two games in the series.

Century: A New World is designed for 2 to 4 players and is planned to debut at Origins Game Fair later this year.

Not one to slow down on release announcements as of late, Lookout Spiele has another announcement for Agricola fans even after the reprint of Farmers of the Moor. Joining the long line of expansion decks and following on last year’s Artifex deck, the Bubulcus deck is set to arrive in October. It brings more cards, more farming, and more fun, and completes your updated collection to boot! As described in the (translated) announcement:

     “120 new cards, of which 60 training and 60 small purchases, give the game even more variability and variety. Of course these cards are also balanced according to the “power values” of [Agricola] and adapted to the graphic update of the new edition of the basic game of 2016.”

Of course more cards are always welcome, and those who have been interested in the past deck expansions have more reason to be excited for this one as it matches the updated art of the new version while also complimenting the previous addition. For those who are just recently getting into Agricola, both decks mentioned in this article are good easy upgrades to what you already have if you’re not already looking at Farmers of the Moor. So whether you’re new to the whole Uwe Rosenberg farming extravaganza or if you’re looking to complete your collection, be sure to check out the Bubulcus deck at your favorite retailer come October.

Some readers may know of Kingdom of Solomon, a worker placement game designed by Philip duBarry and published by Minion Games back in 2012. It’s a well-regarded and unique game that just didn’t have enough going for it at the time. With a distinctive theme of building-up ancient Israel, Kingdom allowed players to not only diversify their resources and how they got them, but also had a “cash in your chips” mechanic where you could give up all of your workers for a massive bonus if you felt it was worth the risk. I’m glad to write today that this cool design will not fade into obscurity as it’s new and improved spiritual successor, Wisdom of Solomon, is now on Kickstarter.

“Wisdom of Solomon is a worker placement game with a splash of network building. A typical game takes about 15 minutes per player, with games being a little bit longer the first time playing.  Wisdom of Solomon is a light to medium weight game, meaning that there is plenty of strategy for experienced gamers to enjoy but the game is intuitive and simple enough for new gamers to be able to jump right in.”

Now the game is back, with updated gameplay, art, and components, and ready to show everything that made Kingdom of Solomon so special all over again with it’s best foot forward. I particularly enjoy seeing a thoughtfully designed game like this being brought back in earnest, as it showcases a period of history that is worth learning about. The new publisher, Funhill Games, is also using some of the funds from this campaign to reprint Kings of Israel, a cooperative game as equally well-regarded and welcome again. If you are interested in learning more about Wisdom of Solomon, or Kings of Israel, check out the Kickstarter campaign page for the rules, gameplay videos, reviews, community feedback, and updates.

Something of a new theme that seems to be popping up in games is taking on the roles of people tangential to the adventuring hero in a fantasy world.  The most common being the shop keeper selling the fancy weapons and armors the hero needs in order to fight evil, but in Heroes Welcome, that theme takes a bit of a turn.  Heroes Welcome is a two to five player worker placement game that take about 90 minutes, and involves you taking on the role of goblin merchants.  And as goblin merchants, you want the most profits possible, so you will be buying up the loot obtained by the heroes, breaking it down into raw materials, and then forging better gear from those materials to sell.  But here is the twist, this new gear isn’t for the heroes, this gear is for the monsters in the dungeon to make them stronger, thus making the heroes work harder to be stronger and pushing them to obtain more valuable loot.

How the game is played is similar to most worker placement games in that on your turn you will pick a space to go and perform the action there.  You can go to the shops and work a shift there, attracting the heroes to sell their loot to you along with a bonus of some kind.  You also can go to various guild buildings and perform special actions there like building new buildings, upgrading your crafting skill, or obtaining scam cards to gain the upper hand.  Another option is the workshop, which this is where you will use the materials you have collected to forge new weapons and armors for the eager customers.  As the round goes on and people are placing out workers places will close, and at any point a player can call for the round to end, and as long as everyone agrees, the round will end and the heroes go back out adventuring again.  Once they return they will be stronger and have more loot for you to buy and convert.  All of this is done in order to obtain the most vorpal pieces, which are highly valued in goblin society.  Be the one with the most at the end of the game to be the winner.

Art for the game is excellent, and you can check out the Kickstarter page for more information on the game and to seem reviews and gameplay videos.  A single pledge will run you $45 plus shipping and also comes with the Kickbacks expansion for free.  This expansion expands the customers portion of the game, giving extra incentives to fulfilling certain orders in order to get more money or favors that can be used later in the game.  Check it out today.

Things are returning to normal in the land of crowd funding, so here are some more campaigns for you to check out.  First one the list is the latest expansion set for the Red Dragon Inn, and that’s the Red Dragon Inn 7.  This new set finally brings the tavern workers into the mix, so now you will be able to see if the servers can keep up with their patrons.  Red Dragon Inn is a game all about drinking, brawling, and gambling, with the person who is the last one standing, while stilling having some gold, will be the winner.  Each round you will be playing cards to get people to drink, gamble their hard earned money, or just try to beat the tar out of each other.  But be careful, if your fortitude ever meets your drunkenness, you pass out and are out of the game, or if you run out of gold then the bartender tosses you out.  The expansion will come with everything you need in order to play the game, plus promos or metal coins depending on the pledge level you go for.  A copy will run you $40, but if you have Red Dragon Inn 5, you can opt for an ECO option and they will send just the contents to you without the box for $5 cheaper.  You can check out the Kickstarter campaign now to pledge for your copy.

Next up is a new worker placement and deck building game all about launching your new cafe in the diverse city of Berlin, called Seize the Bean.  In this game you are trying to hit a certain level of good reviews, but to do that you need to be able to consistently serve your customers.  You will first have to build up your cafe through worker placement, getting ingredients, attracting customers, and upgrading you cafe to make your actions more powerful.  At the end of the round you will shuffle up your customers and draw some, then using your collected supplies you will try to satisfy their orders in order to get their good reviews.  Components for this game are excellent, art for the game is also good, and the written reviews on the tokens are funny as well.  So if you have a passion for coffee or the unique city that is Berlin, check out the Kickstarter campaign, a base pledge costs you only 39 euro.

Next is a simple and strategic card game called Home on Lagrange, where you are trying to build the best space station among the other players.  You will be doing this through multi-use cards, which can be played for effects, used as currency, or used as resources in the modules.  Modules are what you will be going after because once someone finishes an entire station with the four different modules, the game will end.  Each of these modules by themselves will score a certain amount, but if you can stack one, two, or three resources on them you can increase it’s score.  Plus the action cards give you special actions to help you get a leg up on the competition.  So be careful with your building, if you don’t pay attention to the scores you may end up triggering the end game without having the winning hand so to speak.  You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here, and a copy of the game will run you £25.

And finally, we have a family friendly deduction game called Noises at Night.  In this game each of the players will be a different character like the boogeyman, a rat, dad, mom, ghost, and so forth, trying to score the most points.  You will score points in three different ways, one is by having your icons scoring on the cards being played, second by playing cards to your secret location, and finally by guessing who everyone else is.  Play is simple in that on your turn you will play cards out onto the board, trying to maximize your points without giving away who and where you are.  After everyone has played out cards you will go into a guessing phase where you can guess who other people are.  Get it right and you get some bonus points, get it wrong and they get the points instead.  After ten rounds the player with the most points is the winner.  So if you are a fan of deduction games, and this family weight one seems your speed, then head on over to the campaign page to check it out.  A pledge of only $19 will get you the base game and any stretch goals they unlock.

Tis the season for giving with Hanukkah upon us and Christmas close behind, but not everyone is in the know on what board games are good for different people so CMON is stepping in by offering a gift giving guide.  While the list they offer is not exhaustive, it does touch on some key personality traits like people who are artsy, adventurous, a social butterfly, and even the know it all smarty pants.

For the artsy person in your life, CMON suggests either Reiner Knizia’s classic Modern Art, or their newly released game called Dream OnModern Art is an auction style game where each player will be putting a piece of art up for auction, hoping that other players will buy it from him.  If they buy it then he gets their money, but if no one buys it he can buy it from himself, but then he has to pay his money to the bank.  This continues until all paintings are sold, and in the end each painting is valued by how many of it sold and the richest player is the winner.  So while the game is a solid auction style game, the art of the cards is beautiful and feature a lot of classic and modern works, plus there is an included guide book in the instructions that talk about all the different works of art in the game.  Then there is the fact that since this is an art game, you can find different versions of the game form all over the world, featuring art from that region, making it something truly unique for a world art lover.  Dream On is a very different game but still taps into that creative side by being a group memory game with story telling and excellent art.  In the game you will play down a card, each of which have beautiful abstract art, while telling a story about it, then the next person will do the same, continuing until everyone has played down their cards.  Then it’s time to try and remember the dream by going around the table and saying what the next card that had been played is, so the more memorable a story you tell, the easier the memory part will be.  Based on how far you get will determine your score, so the game definitely caters to those more creative people.

For the adventuring type, CMON recommends two of their newer dungeon crawl style games with Massive Darkness and Gateway: Uprising.  Both games feature characters that you will be able to play through a campaign with, leveling up and gaining new abilities and gear as you go along.  You will be fighting all sorts of evil and monsters as you journey through the game to it’s conclusion.  The question is, what kind of adventure do you want to go on?  If you want to be lightbringers fighting against the oncoming darkness, pushing back against the great evil trying to overthrow the world, then pick up a copy of Massive Darkness.  Does fighting against an oppressive rule in your city that has outlawed magic in a bid to concentrate power into their own evil hands sound more like you?  Then Gateway: Uprising is the game you are looking for.

For the social butterfly we have some brand new party games you can get int he form of Sherlook and Raise Your GobletsSherlook is an interesting party game in that you are famous detectives trying to solve a case, but while you were away from the crime scene a rookie cop messed it all up.  Now it’s up to you and your fellow detectives to put things back where they were.  In the game there  will be two pictures, the original and what the room looks like now, and it’s a race to pick out all the differences between the two before everyone else.  Raise your Goblets is more of a social deduction, party game that resembles a popular scene from the movie Princess Bride.  In the game everyone is vying to become the next ruler, and is willing to eliminate all the competition to achieve their goal.  Each round someone will secretly give out drinks with some being poisoned, and others being just wine, and on your turn you either drink what is in front of you, or swap it with someone else.  Once everyone has either drunk or swapped, everyone drinks what is front of them and those who were poisoned are out.  Last one standing is the winner.

And finally, we come to the recommendations for the intellectual of your group, with a heavier game like Lorenzo Il Magnifico, or a tough cooperative game like The GrizzledLorenzo Il Magnifico is what come call a crunchy game, something will lots of choices but not enough actions to be able to do everything you want.  Plus there is a lot of things to juggle as you “gather resources, construct buildings, conquer territories, make powerful allies, and pay homage to the church” in a bid to become the most prestigious family.  The game is undoubtedly fun, but it’s going to give you a mental workout as you play this game.  The other game, The Grizzled, is difficult in a different way as playing the game is very simple, either play a card or withdraw from the round.  The thinking part of it comes with how far can you push your luck?  Who do I need to support to eliminate a troublesome negative effect?  How many cards do we need to play in order to reduce the deck while not failing the mission?  It’s all these questions and working with your friends to beat this game that makes it both tough and satisfying as you work towards victory.

You can read more about all of these games in CMON’s game guide article, and pick up any you might need at your friendly local game store.

It’s the week after Thanksgiving, that means it’s the first official week of Christmas shopping, so lets see what else there is to spend your money on.  First is a new story telling “game” with some fun and interesting art, simply called StoryWorld.  It’s a simple game which is all about creativity, adaptability, and good story telling.  Each player will have a hand of cards consisting of characters, objects, places, actions, and some wild cards.  At the start a theme card will be flipped over telling you the overall theme of the story, like fantasy, comedy, and so on.  Then starting with the first player, they will play down one of the cards in their hand and tell a part of the story based on that card.  The next player will then get to play a card but must continue the story from the previous card, building on what was played.  This keeps going around, building and continuing the story with each card until everyone has played their cards.  And that’s it, so while it’s not so much a game, it would be a fun activity with kids as the art is very fun and whimsical and helps get the creative juices going.  You can find out more about this game on the Kickstarter page.

Next up we have a very pretty looking deduction game called Prismal, the first game in a newly created universe called the Kingdoms of Isempar.  In this game you are trying to figure out what the value of the face down cards are in the middle, given that every card is dealt out and that only one of each number exists in each suit.  From your information and the information given by other players via their played cards, you have to play down a number of cards in front of each hidden card equal to that hidden card’s value.  Play is extremely simple with only two options, play a card out in front of the face down cards, or discard a card face down.  You will always know how many cards of each suit are in play as they are clearly shown on the back, but it’s the value of these cards that you will have to figure out or make educated guesses on.  At the end you will flip over all the cards and figure out how many you succeeded on and how many you failed.  If your successes out weight your failures, you win.  To find out more information you can check out the campaign page here.

After that we have a new dice worker placement type game called Living Planet, designed by Christophe Boelinger.  In this game you are exploiting resources from a new planet and using those resources to build and trade your way to greatness.  They call it a dice worker placement style game, but you don’t roll and place the die, instead you will be playing cards which show different values of the dice.  On a turn you will play one of these cards and place your die in one of three zones, actions, production, or cataclysm.  On the production space you will produce resources on all the factories and resource spaces you have that match that die value.  On the cataclysm space if you match the color and value of a die on any hexes on the board, you trigger a disaster for that hex, which one is shown on each hex.  On the actions space you will get to perform two actions, with each action being modified or defined by the value of die you put on that space.  With the actions you will be able to explore more of the planet, build buildings, move units, get money, and so on.  Turns will keep happening like this until everyone has had 12 turns, then you will count up victory points and see who the winner is.  To read more about the game and to back for a copy, head on over to the Kickstarter page.

And finally, we have the random entry of the list, and that is the Animator vs Animation card game.  The game’s art and concept come from the stick figure battle animations you can see online, and with the same goal, to win the battle.  The game consists of picking a character, and then doing battle with the other characters as the animator.  Each round you will play different action cards on the characters, moving them, turning them, and clicking on them to do damage.  You will also be able to equip them with different items or use special abilities to modify the outcome of battle.  As you damage your opponents you will start collecting their cubes, and each cube will be worth one point.  When someone gets to 16 points they are immediately declared the winner.  So if this kind of silly take that style card game is your thing, check out the Kickstarter page.

2017 has been a fantastic year for Renegade Games who have published many exciting new titles this year, such as Ex Libris, Flip Ships, and Sentient. On top of that, though, they have also published the excellent worker placement game, Raiders of the North Sea, bringing it to larger distribution from independent publisher and developer Garphill Games. Bringing one of the more unique and high-quality Kickstarter successes to their repertoire is certainly a boon for new players and fans, but Renegade Games is not done surprising us yet. They have just announced that the two expansions for Raiders, Hall of Heroes and Fields of Fame, will be released later this year as well. As described in their press release:

 “Renegade Game Studios is pleased to announce two expansions for the acclaimed Raiders of the North Sea from Garphill Games. These two expansions add new options and challenges for players as they test their raiding skills in the Kennerspiel des Jahres nominated Raiders of the Noth Sea. Both expansions require Raiders of the North Sea to play and are expected to release Q4 2017.”

While both expansions will be following on the heels of their Kickstarter counterparts, the fact that they will be just as available as the base game is welcome news for such an excellent worker-placement experience. Hall of Heroes adds more ways to get resources as well as quests which can be completed to facilitate other point-scoring goals. Fields of Fame adds a fame track to the game which rewards players for particularly strong crews as well as enemy Jarls mixed in to the foreign settlements which when raided forces players to choose to defeat them for points or flee in shame. If you’re interested in these expansions, please check out the following links including the Garphill Games site, the Kickstarter pages, and the Renegade Games website for more information.

The first dessert themed game Renegade Games has announced is Sundae Split, being designed Nate Bivins and in partnership with Foxtrot Games.  The game will feature excellent art by Rehana Khan and use the underutilized ‘I split, you choose’ mechanic.  In the game you want to create the best sundae, but before you can add toppings you have to give your opponents toppings to add to their sundaes.  So on your turn you create piles of toppings comprised of things like sprinkles, whipped cream, and cherries, but also with less desirable things like vegetables.  At the end of the game you will score based on your mix of toppings and the highest score will be the winner.  You can look for this tasty looking game on shelves in November, and head on over to the Renegade Games website to read more about it.

But maybe you aren’t in the mood for ice cream, maybe you want some pie?  Well Renegade Games still has you covered with their other November release,  Pie Town: Spies, Lies, and Apple Pies.  This is a dice worker placement games by new designer Daniel Fremgen, and will feature a bit of deduction as well.  In the game dice are used as workers that begin on level 1 and are slowly upgraded throughout the game.  But the recipe you use is a closely guarded secret, and if anyone else knew it you would be ruined!  So in the game you are tyring to fool your opponents on what your secret recipe is, while trying to figure out theirs.  Become the best pie shop in town to be the winner!  You can find out more information on Renegade Games’ website.