Friday, October 5, 2012

Worker Placement, 2012 and Essen

The Hard games, the Soft game and the Vapor

If you're a worker placement fan like we are going to Essen this year might not drum up the excitement that it has in years past with one exception that we call the Vapor

Because the fact is there is not a lot going on at Essen 2012 as it relates to new worker placement games specifically. Of course, worker placement games are games where the primary mechanic is placing workers and it goes typically like this:

You would place a worker or workers (depending on the game), then your opponents do the same and finally everyone takes some prescribed actions

So the focus of this article is to provide some current and future insight on games that focus on this mechanic and we will also let you know who to watch in the months ahead.

The Hard games

There have already been a couple of darn good worker placement games already released in 2012 prior to Essen and you can buy these games in store right now.

We are listing the list price for your convenience as per Boards and Bits at time of this posting...

The Manhattan Project

  • Minion Games
  • 2-5 player
  • 120 mins average play time
  • Theme - building a nuclear arsenal
  • Average BGG rating 7.54 / 10
  • MSRP $ 32.49 USD

The Manhattan Project is a game that you are already familiar with if it read this blog. There are lots of choices to make, you can use your opponents buildings if you have the resources and the artwork is very fitting with the theme.

This is a good game for a couples gaming evening or a bunch of friends.

All rights reserved Daniel

The Lords of Waterdeep

  • Wizards of the Coast
  • 2-5 player
  • 60 mins average play time
  • Theme - Kingdom adventure and management
  • Average BGG rating 7.9 / 10
  • MSRP $ 34.99 USD

I have to admit this one was a bit of a surprise to many in the industry. But it turns out this is a great game with very high quality components to boot - it is a magnificent presentation. And being that it plays in about an hour this game is an easy pleaser.

This game has put Wizards of the Coast on the map for us - how shall we say this - gamers that are not too hard core. We look forward to more great game like this from them in the future!

The Soft game


  • Hall Games
  • 1-4 player
  • 90 mins average play time
  • Island temple building
  • Average BGG rating 7.49 / 10
  • Should be less than $50 USD

We are calling this game a "soft game" because you can play it right now on and that game is Luna. If you haven't played Luna yet and you are a fan Worker Placement - what are you waiting for?

After playing a game or 2 online you will easily get the hang of it, like I did.

Luna is a worker placement game with no luck involved and there is very little to no direct confrontation with your opponents. The game has a very peaceful and unique theme and it is te ONE game on our Christmas list.

This game also plays nicely as a single player solitaire like game!

Luna has been out of print for some time, but Hall games has decided to reprint it and Pegasus will be shipping it to the US. We are more than happy for this news so that this Stefan Feld classic will finally see the light of the game table for the 1st time for many of us.

The Vapor?

We don't know which game actually at Essen in Germany will pop out as the Worker Placement game creating buzz. There are a couple of possibilities that we are keeping our eyes on however.

One possibility is IL Vecchio. The game by RĂ¼diger Dorn and also from Hall games is described as Worker Placement and Area Control.  The components look nice, but the verdict is out on game play.


Another possibility is Tzolkin: The Mayan Calendar which bills itself as being the 1st to have dynamic Worker Placement.

To be honest two things come to our minds when we look at this game.  Yeah the new dynamic mechainsm might be cool but:

  1. It looks expensive with all those plastic moving parts
  2. It seems to us that the plastic will be beating the cardboard to death and make it so the game does not last very long. Does anyone remember the same issues with Mouse Trap? We do.

Too bad it is not 2013 or our bets might be on Stefan Feld's upcoming creation Bora Bora which is still in development at this time!

~ The Muse

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