Worker Placement Games

“Assemble a crew and outfit a longboat to raid settlements for gold and fame!”

Raiders of the North Sea, by Garphill Games and designer Shem Phillips, is a unique worker placement game wherein players collect resources to raid and pillage as Vikings. The game was deservedly nominated for the Spiel des Jahres Kennerspiel award in 2017, and has accrued two excellent expansions over the years. In Raiders players use a twist on standard worker placement: a single worker is held in hand, which is placed on the board to select a first action. A second action is selected by picking a new worker up off of a previously used space. Workers come in three colors, restricting which actions can be done by which workers.

And now, Dire Wolf Digital has taken this modern classic and created an excellent digital version for Steam, mobile devices and the Nintendo Switch. Raiders of the North Sea is part of an ongoing partnership between Renegade Games and Dire Wolf to produce digital versions of their board games, including Lanterns: the Harvest Festival, Lotus, and the Renegade Companion App. The game truly shines in the digital forum, retaining the excellent artwork created by Mihajlo Dimitrievski (The Mico). Additionally, all versions of Raiders of the North Sea include cross-platform play, so you can compete against friends regardless of which system they use. For more information, check out the press release from Dire Wolf Digital here.

Board and Dice has announced Sierra West by designer Jonny Pac Cantin, a unique game combining deck building, tableau management, worker placement, multi-use cards; in short this game is a tapestry of many interwoven moving parts. In Sierra West, 1-4 players move pioneer workers through paths in the mountains, claiming cards and actions, collecting resources in their pursuit of the american west. Prominent in setup is a large mountain made of a pyramid of overlapping facedown cards, with the top cards visible. 3 cards from the player’s hand are placed in a notched board, revealing 2 rows of icons from the bottom of the cards, representing two different paths the pioneers can traverse. Each space on the path can generate resources, allow actions or present danger. Boot actions on the path allow the movement of the caravan along the road, or the frontiersmen up the card mountain. Frontiersmen allow players to claim new cards from the top of the mountain, while the caravan gives access to special cards below the wagon trail. Additionally, players can build cabins with resources, and place their pioneers on the cabins when they are not on a trail, generally helping the rest of the workers. The game ends when the 6th special card is added to the caravan trail.

All of this sounds like a great game, but Sierra West is a flexible kit, designed to make more interesting, more variable games with the included modules. Each module changes the starting cards, rules for play, type of cabins, and action spaces. The game comes with 4 modules: Apple Hill, Boats and Banjos, Gold Rush, and Outlaws and Outposts, with more expected to release in 2020. Sierra West is expected to be released at GenCon, in August 2019.

Anachrony (2017) is an immensely popular (BGG #52), unique heavy worker placement game taking place in the short days before the inevitable end of the world. An asteroid impact is going to destroy the Earth, and players must collect resources preparing to evacuate. Worker placement is done with multiple types of workers with different abilities, plus workers can (and must) wear powered Exosuits to explore certain regions of the board. The most powerful tool at a players disposal, though, is… time travel. Players can give themselves resources from the future, but beware, not following through with the actual loan can cause temporal anomalies, and invoke stiff penalties.

Now the much anticipated expansion to Anachrony, Fractures of Time, is on Kickstarter from Mindclash Games and designers Richard AmannViktor Peter, and Dávid Turczi. Fractures adds a new area for worker placement, the Amythenia Valley, an area where humanity has learned to survive and collect the powerful Flux resource. Flux can be used to allow Exosuited workers to “blink” – essentially existing in two worker spaces at once. However the Fracture Devices used to create Flux are far from perfect, and must be maintained by the new Operator worker type, or else temporal glitches ensue. Fractures of Time also adds a 5th faction to the game, the Path of Unity, consisting of dissidents from the other 4 factions, residing in a capitol city sent back from the future. Also in the expansion are a new Exosuit type – the Paladin, and a new Solo mode, as well as a giant Infinity Box to hold everything together. The Kickstarter for Anachrony: Fractures of Time continues through May 7, and the expansion is due to ship in March 2020.

Plaid Hat Games has just announced a new gothic horror strategy board game, Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein by designer Dan Blanchett. In Abomination, 2-4 players take on the role of scientists in 1800s Paris competing to complete the work of the infamous Dr. Victor Frankenstein. Scientists need to deploy assistants to raise money, charge Leyden Jars, research new scientific findings, and most importantly collect raw materials.

Body parts need to be harvested, exhumed or bought, then used to build bodies before they go bad. Players only have 12 rounds to try to create a viable creature for their mysterious benefactor. For more information and game rules, check out the Plaid Hat web page here.

Last year Shem Phillips and co-designer Sam Macdonald released Architects of the West Kingdom, the first game in a new series.  Now the designers are back with the second installment in the series, Paladins of the West Kingdom.  Architects had players building a town and its cathedral, while Paladins has players spreading the faith and defending the town from outsiders.

In Paladins of the West Kingdom, each player has a set of 12 paladin cards which provide workers, temporary attribute bonuses and a special ability for the round.  The players draw three paladin cards at the start of each round, select one to use, return one to the top of the deck and the other to the bottom.  Each player also has a personal board which is used to gather resources, increase attributes and score points.  Players take turns using their workers to perform a variety of actions, like recruit townsfolk, fortify the town, commission new monks, and attack or convert outsiders.  Some features from Architects (e.g. debt cards) return in Paladins; however, several new features are introduced, like suspicion cards which could lead to penalties from the Inquisition.

Like Architects and Raiders of the North Sea, Paladins features artwork from The Mico. Paladins is for 1 to 4 players.  There are a couple of different pledge levels, as well as, some additional promo cards included for both Paladins and Architects.  You can find out more about the game on its Kickstarter page.

Roll Player (2016) by Thunderworks Games and designer Keith Matejka is a fantastic (BGG #234) dice placement game which themes around creating a classic d20 RPG character. Now the company has announced 2 new “Roll Player Tales” in the same universe, Lockup and Cartographers.

Lockup: A Roll Player Tale by designer Stan Kordonskiy (Dice Hospital) is a worker placement game taking place within a fantasy prison, originally funded on Kickstarter in 2018. In Lockup, 2-5 players need to assign members of their gang to sections of the prison and collect resources, all without attracting the ire of the guards, who are not beyond searching their quarters and confiscating their goods. Each round, the most powerful characters in a section get the prime resources, and can build the best items. After 6 rounds, the most powerful gang emerges victorious.

Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale by designer Jordy Adan is a roll and write game, where players need to fill in their map sheet according to the Queen’s edicts. Exploration cards tell the players what polyomino shapes and terrain types to draw each round. Scoring cards communicate the Queen’s will, and tell what will score. Cartographers encapsulates the joy of drawing old RPG maps on graph paper, filling in forest, mountain, water, and even monsters, trying to earn the most points in 4 seasons.

Both Lockup and Cartographers are expected to deliver to stores in July 2019. For more information, check out Thunderworks webpage on Cartographers, and the Kickstarter page from Lockup.

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (2013) was one of the early award winners to come from Stonemaier Games, and the studio has just announced the first expansion, Euphoria: Ignorance is Bliss. In the original Euphoria, players used dice as workers to manipulate the three factions in the Euphoria world: the Euphorians, the Subterrans and the Wastelanders. The numbers on the dice represent the intelligence of your workers: higher numbers allow them stronger actions, but in this world, you want dumb workers, because the smart ones run away. In Ignorance is Bliss, by designers Morten Monrad Pedersen and automata-masters Nick Shaw and David Studley, the once lofty Icarites, who lived among the clouds selling bliss, have now descended to the peons, imposing a new way of life. For more information, keep an eye on the Stonemaier website here, where they will continue to provide more information on this expansion all February long.

Now on Kickstarter from Quick Simple Fun Games is an engine-building worker placement game in which 2-5 players compete to get the most ore and thereby the most money with Ore: The Mining Game.

Players explore the mines for materials, create contracts for cash and reinvest into business developments or building assets. The player with the most successful business at the end of the seventh round wins.

There are seven rounds with three phases: Tasking Phase, where players assign workers to mining, contract work or business development; Collection Phase, where workers collect resources and go deeper in mines; and Business Phase, where players fill contracts, call back workers, add new contracts and advance to the next round.

The base set will come with 30 miner meeples, 32 mine cards, 64 mini building cards, 120 money cards, 40 contract cards, 150 resource cubes and tokens.

You can find more about the Kickstarter here.

2016’s A Feast for Odin took the gaming world by storm, not only because it was the latest farm building, feed your people masterpiece from Uwe Rosenberg (Agricola, Caverna: The Cave Farmers), but also because of its unprecedented number of worker placement slots (60+), and brilliant integration of Uwe’s new tetromino placement mechanism (Patchwork, Cottage Garden). Z-Man Games has just announced the first full sized expansion for Feast for Odin, The Norwegians, and it adds more of what we loved in this worker placement magnum opus. First, Norwegians adds more worker placement slots – There are now more ways to breed animals, craft, trade and hunt, as well as a fifth column of actions. These new actions come on several new boards tailored to the player count. New actions come with new tiles, and Norwegians comes with 95 new goods tiles, from elk and pigs to horses and antlers, as well as 6 new special tiles. Additionally, Norwegians comes with personal artisan sheds, small boards which provide individual player powers, such as better whaling or wood storage, helping further to guide your strategy: something especially useful in a game with so many options. And of course, the expansion comes with new islands to explore, and updates of the old islands, incorporating the new rules and tiles. Read more on Z-Man’s website here, and expect A Feast for Odin: The Norwegians in stores at the end of 2018.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015, Trickerion: Legends of Illusion is back on Kickstarter to raise funding for its first major expansion – Trickerion: Dahlgaard’s Academy. In addition, a Kickstarter-only Collector’s Edition is available.

Trickerion: Legends of Illusion is a thematic, medium-heavy Euro-style game of rival stage illusionists. You play as a Victorian-era magician vying to gain the most fame. To accomplish this, you assign your team of apprentices and specialists to various tasks, using worker placement and simultaneous action selection.

Euro fans have generally had very positive reviews of the base game and anticipation is high for this expansion content.

Restore the academy, become the rector

In the expansion, four new magicians make their appearance, trying to crack the mysteries of Dahlgaard’s Manor. This dilapidated old manor is a key new location in the game and holds powerful secrets. Use your abilities and tenacity to renovate it to its former glory by adding classrooms and practice areas, improving your skills and teaching your students tricks. Perhaps you will find Dahlgaard’s hidden library, learning some well-kept secrets in the process.

As an extra bonus, you have added a new member to your crew – your Protégé – whom you can groom as you like using customizable abilities. Build your Protégé’s skills enough and s/he could become your most valuable crew member.

Blinged-out Collector’s Edition

Publisher Mindclash Games is offering a complete Collector’s Edition of Trickerion, which is only available during this Kickstarter campaign. For those who already own the base game, don’t feel left out! You can pledge for a Collector’s Edition Upgrade Pack.

The Collector’s Edition includes everything we’ve ever released for Trickerion: the base game with a revised rulebook, the Dahlgaard’s Gifts add-on pack, the Dahlgaard’s Academy expansion, two sets of metal coins, and more to come. The Collector’s Edition will come in a large, uniquely numbered box with alternative artwork – it will look amazing on your gaming shelf! The Collector’s Edition will not be available in retail.

Finally, for all of you soloists out there (like me), an out-of-the-box solo mode allows you to compete against Dahlgaard’s heir, a corrupted magician.

 

Interested? Head on over to the Kickstarter page to learn more.

Take a look at what the Dice Tower has to say about Trickerion: Legends of Illusion.