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Worker placement on individual player boards

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Rick L
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I'm a bit new to the mechanic of worker placement, but generally one important aspect of this mechanic is that player's basically interfere with one another because they all share the same worker placement part of a board. This means that if I select an action this round, it's not available to other players - they have to choose a different action.

There are varieties of this such as where a limited amount of workers can be placed in each area, so 2 players can choose a particular action, but there wouldn't be room for anyone else this round. Or players can place multiple workers wherever they want, but once an area is filled, no more workers can use that place.

The game Scythe is different in that players have their own boards where they place workers to decide what action they want this round. Players can't interfere with each other this way, as far as restricting each other's worker placement options. There are other ways of interfering in the game, just not through this action selection mechanic.

I'm considering having to do something similar for my game in order to simplify some things, since I have individual player boards with resource facilities for each player. But I'm wondering if this is a fairly new or uncommon way to implement worker placement, and if so, are there tricks or pitfalls to be aware of? Or are there other popular games that do this?

Currently, my game allows you to add workers permanently to facilities until they're full, and you get resources by rolling a die to determine which facility produces this turn, and you gain the amount equal to the # of workers. Players can attack to try to eliminate or capture workers. But I think I need to simplify battles and use them for a different part of the game, and not have them affect workers, and with worker placement, I would need fewer cubes or meeples - 5 or 6 per player, instead of 20!

larienna
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I hate worker placement games

I hate worker placement games and one of the reason is scalability with the amount of players and the fact that it's most likely thematically illogical.

But when all players have their own board, the scalability aspect drop off and now it makes more sense.

The only worker placement game I have is "Leonardo Da Vinci" which is an hybrid in both concepts. You can place worker on a common board or at home on your board.

Still, the important distinction with the common board is that it is relative to other pieces placed. So for example, there is not a limited set of places. You just compare the amount of people you placed compared with what other people placed.

I made a variant that makes the theme even more logical where you can only place up to 1 worker, which are placed in line, so that the first to arrive has priority. This ways, it simulate a waiting line like in real life.

In that game you also have a special Master pawn that I gave the ability to pass in front of the line because you are the master so you get a certain privilige.

So I think remaining coherent with the theme and preventing scalability issue with different nb of players is what's important for me. So far, I have seen very few games like that, this is why I try to stay away from worker placement games.

ElKobold
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I use sort of worker(dice)

I use sort of worker(dice) placement on personal boards in Warpgate.

Here's an overview by Jon from JGG.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzDxc3G61U4&feature=youtu.be&t=5m33s)

Granted, It's an area control game, so there's no lack of player interaction. It might become problematic in a more euro-ish design.

The Odd Fox
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Manhattan Project

I've not played it but I believe the Manhattan Project is a worker placement game where each player has their own player board. It's unique in that you can send spies (or something like that) to other player boards, therefor limiting/inhibiting other players in a more logical way than the usual worker placement style games. That may be one to check out.

Rick L
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ElKobold wrote:I use sort of

ElKobold wrote:
I use sort of worker(dice) placement on personal boards in Warpgate.

Here's an overview by Jon from JGG.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzDxc3G61U4&feature=youtu.be&t=5m33s)

Granted, It's an area control game, so there's no lack of player interaction. It might become problematic in a more euro-ish design.

That's pretty cool Elkobold! Actually, I've been thinking over something similar - my game is an Alchemy theme, and I have Alchemy dice with a few symbols for the experiments, but I have been working on giving numerical values to the symbols so they can also be used more or less like your dice mechanic - place the dice on the facilities you want to produce this turn & collect # of resources based on the value of each symbol.

Part of the issue is thematic - the symbols represent reactions from Alchemy experiments, but what does that have to do with resource production? This is probably a different topic, but all I can come up with is this: your workers are "golems", "which you awaken" with Alchemy, so the dice represent how many workers you were able to awaken this turn.

Rick L
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Iariena and Odd Fox - since

Iariena and Odd Fox - since each player has their own set of resource facilities, it keeps the logic - yours are for your own use only. In Manhattan Project, you have some buildings that are yours alone, but many actions are on a main shared board for all players. Also, you can use espionage to use buildings on other player boards.

I'm going for something where each player's resource facilities & other actions are isolated from other players. I'm streamlining my battle mechanic to simplify how players interfere with each other through sabotage.

The Odd Fox
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Understanding

Mokheshur wrote:
Katrina and Odd Fox - since each player has their own set of resource facilities, it keeps the logic - yours are for your own use only. In Manhattan Project, you have some buildings that are yours alone, but many actions are on a main shared board for all players. Also, you can use espionage to use buildings on other player boards.

I'm going for something where each player's resource facilities & other actions are isolated from other players. I'm streamlining my battle mechanic to simplify how players interfere with each other through sabotage.

Ah! I see. That makes more sense. I'll see if I can come up with another game that might be more useful to take a look at.

larienna
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I played another game which I

I played another game which I think is called Nefarious (A mad scientist game). I played a long time ago, not sure exactly how it worked.

I remember you had a small board and you could place workers. But I think the place you put your workers impacted somehow the other players.

BHFuturist
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Interesting discussion

I have been toying around with just such an idea recently. but one aspect of the player board "worker" placement might be in the form of a Rondel. The player might for that section have a single worker that can move only one space. The player would gain the action the worker was on and one action from a space that touches that space. But in the worker placement sense that worker is trapped on the rondel or player board.

The main idea being that the player could not take just any action. based on where the marker was only a few actions would be available to them that turn. A player could spend some type of move points or another resource to move on the rondel to get a new position on the rondel and thereby gain new action choices.

A rondel is a wheel-shaped game mechanism with a number of different options. A rondel game is one where a player's choice of actions is limited by their ability to move around the rondel and so are restricted from taking the same action repeatedly. A player is usually able to move farther around the rondel by paying a cost. Rondel on Wiki

In the graphic below the player would have a knight who would move on the larger board and take two actions and also a squire that would move on the smaller board and provide two bonuses to actions. The player might get a stronger version of the action for standing on the space and a weaker version for taking the action from the surrounding spaces. It is still a WIP.

My Rondel WIP

@BHFuturist

FrankM
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Mokheshur wrote: Actually,

Mokheshur wrote:

Actually, I've been thinking over something similar - my game is an Alchemy theme, and I have Alchemy dice with a few symbols for the experiments, but I have been working on giving numerical values to the symbols so they can also be used more or less like your dice mechanic - place the dice on the facilities you want to produce this turn & collect # of resources based on the value of each symbol.

Part of the issue is thematic - the symbols represent reactions from Alchemy experiments, but what does that have to do with resource production? This is probably a different topic, but all I can come up with is this: your workers are "golems", "which you awaken" with Alchemy, so the dice represent how many workers you were able to awaken this turn.

Not knowing all the details, I would use the symbols in a manner that doesn't require them to be looked up on a value table.

Each resource could have an associated symbol or two. Roll as many dice as you have workers on that resource, and the ones that come up with the matching symbol yield bonus units of the resource.

Rick L
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Simple value table

I looked up Nefarious - I'll have to think if there might be something from that that i could implement.

The Rondel idea is pretty cool - curious to see how that develops!

My Alchemy dice have 4 main symbols that would be used for resources (if I go with this idea), and a 5th symbol representing Flames of Chaos.

In Alchemy experiments, the flames destroy ingredients. In attempting to animate worker golems, the flames would not count - they would be used to add points to a Chaos gauge, used for battle. Anyway, here are the 4 reaction symbols:

this easily fits on the side of each player's board. Players would roll the dice, then decide which symbol (value) from their results to assign to your workers to determine how productive they are.

I'm getting a bunch of ideas going tonight as I consider this, and as I've checked out other games mentioned. Since 1 worker golem can be given a value from 1-4 for how many of a particular resource they generate, that could be too much of a swing from one player to the next - if one player gets 1 resource and the next guy rolls 4? Feels too random - but what if the game begins with a limit of 2 that you can keep, and that limit can be raised to 3 with upgrades? Then, any extra resources produced would be left out in the center of the table, where anyone can attempt to send a worker golem to collect them?

I don't have a map for my game, just the individual player "Domain" boards with a steampunk type control panel and your resource facilities along the top. But thinking about the cool way Scythe leaves resources out on the board came to mind. If I do something like this, it would keep the dice rolls from creating too much randomness, creating a pool of varying resources for everyone to compete over, all while giving players a choice in which die result to assign to each worker.

Who knows if this will work or if I'll scrap it before I ever even play test it, but since this thread is really getting my gears turning, I thought I'd see how it sounds to everyone!

Gabe
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La Granja is my favorite game

La Granja is my favorite game when it comes to individual player boards. It gives the players TONS of options and paths to victory.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpfUMchVO-s

Rick L
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watching lots of demos!

I posted about this on BGG too, so between there and here, I've had lots of great suggestions of game examples. I've been watching tons of demo videos!

Well, I've got things worked out enough for a trial of these alternate rules - I know it's not technically "worker placement", but more "action selection" in the sense of having your own board of resource facilities and a few other actions to choose from. I'm thinking each player will have 3 golem workers they can attempt to animate. If you don't roll enough symbols to animate all 3, you can still use the Flames of Chaos to add points to your Chaos Power gauge (for conflicts). So you'll always gain something, even if it's not quite everything you planned on.

The golem is on the left, and the apprentice is on the right. Apprentices help with Alchemy experiments for game points, but that's another topic.

Anyway, with 3 of each, that's 6 workers, plus I'd be using two standees for a locomotive and an airship - total of 8 pieces per player, instead of 20 cubes.

Well, gonna try this. Thematically, it seems great for my steampunk alchemy game! But it's a little more complex for resource gathering, as opposed to just rolling a die to see what's produced this turn. That old mechanic was working great - no advantages to anyone (first player didn't have any advantages over last player, for example) and it was a good pace for building, upgrading, and leading up to the Alchemy.

The advantages of using this action selection with workers every turn would be that you have a little more control over what you want to produce each turn, less pieces (last prototype cost $130 on TGC!), and it might speed up the game a bit (currently takes 2-3 hours). Also, it's more thematic, (I think).

Thanks so far for all the great examples and ideas!

-Rick

Rick L
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So far so good!

I did a couple short test runs of a few turns each, just to get a feel for this change. It seemed to work well, so we did a full game test with 3 worker golems each, and 3 apprentices, as described above. We loved it! Much more thematic, a little more complex, but not much. It took the same amount of time as the old mechanics, but that's partly because we had a new learning curve.

It remains to be seen in the next few tests if things do speed up much, but it might just bring it in under the 2 hour mark, which has been sort of a side-goal.

There are some newer parts of the game play that may need some refinement & adjusting, but it all worked really well as it was set up! One of those additions was the "wastelands" area in the center of the table, where excess resources would accumulate, and where players can have little battles to complete over them.

So overall, you can have "action selection" with multiple "workers" being "placed" to select those actions, all on your own isolated player board. So it's not worker placement in the sense of "action-drafting", but it works!

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