Dec 17, 2014

Weekend Gaming - New and Familiar Worker Placement Games

Weekends tend to be a time when I get to play a few more games, and new games tend to be tried on the weekends due to this. This weekend I played a new (to us) game, Stone Age, with my wife a couple of times, and also had a chance to play this and Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small with a friend, who was new to both games.  Both are worker placement games.

Stone Age is a game that I have had my eye on for a while.  I had come across it on Board Game Geek while browsing for games, and having played and enjoyed Agricola I was checking it out.  Somehow this was suggested as a similar, but easier introduction, to worker placement games.  My wife and I had the opportunity a couple of months ago to play it at a board game cafĂ© on a date night, and I really enjoyed it.  This led to a purchase a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn't until this weekend that we had a chance to play it.

Stone Age is a worker placement game where you represent your tribe, and try to score the most points.  Your workers are used to improve your tools and agricultural abilities, grow your tribe, gather resources, collect Civilization cards (end-game scoring mechanics with some immediate benefits) and build buildings (in-game scoring).  At the end of each round you need to make sure that you have enough food to feed your tribe, from agriculture or hunting.  The resource gathering is based on dice rolling, where you roll a die for each tribe member you placed at that location and divide by a factor (two through six) depending on the value of the resource.  The buildings and civilization cards are based on using certain numbers of any resources, or in some cases specific resources.

Board roughly mid-game

 My wife and I played a couple of games over the weekend, and I also played a game with my friend.  So far my experience has been good; there are enough options available to require some choice, without being too complicated.  In the two-player version there are some limitations placed on specific locations being used, and for each resource only one player may gain it each turn.  This led to times where my plan got "blocked" and even a few times where I took a resource just so my opponent couldn't.  I am looking forward to trying a game with 3 or 4 players where the locations are less limited.

My "artistic" attempt, same time during the game
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small got some play time as my friend wasn't familiar with worker placement games, so we played the only other one I have.  This is a game that got a lot more play time before I started blogging, and not nearly as much since.  I really enjoy it, but my wife not as much.  The one thing I love is that there is no randomness in the game at all; no card shuffling, no dice rolling, etc.  The entire game is based on what you do and what your opponent does.  Even with that though, there are enough actions and due to your limited actions each turn (3) I still find that each game is different enough to stop it from becoming repetitive (at least to this point).  And when that happens it will be time to pick up an expansion!  I also appreciate that the game is relatively quick when you have two people who have played before, so you can get a couple of rounds in easily.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small
"Worker placement" is probably not my favourite type of games, but still one I enjoy.  Agricola is the only other one on my wishlist currently, we will have to see if I find any more in the next little while.

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