A new/different way to think about worker placement games

  • A new/different way to think about worker placement games

     Evan Odson updated 1 year, 9 months ago 2 Members · 4 Posts
  • Evan Odson

    June 29, 2021 at 5:44 am

    The top designers of worker placement games, and any definition you find, will describe this mechanic as moving a token into a space to collect resources there, or claim territory there, or perform an action there, or to participate in some gameplay element at that location. The act of placing your token in that location is also prohibiting another player from doing so, or will diminish the effects of that space for other players, if they should choose to place there token in the same location after you.
    Yes? This is the basic idea.
    My thought is, must this mechanic behave this way? Or is there room for change?
    On the Facebook group, I was talking to a fellow designer, forgive me for forgetting their name, but they talked about making a Casino-style game. Which got me thinking about this –
    A casino heist game, where players are leading separate robbery operations, hoping to end the night having stolen the most loot. However, you’ve got to start by placing your scouts and recon members, and get the lay of the land without drawing too much attention to themselves. So, one of the mechanics would be worker placement, and it would behave differently than normal…
    Say you needed to place a “scout” at the blackjack table. They would begin to play the game, facing certain odds for success. But if another player wanted to place a “worker” at the same blackjack table, it wouldn’t make sense to enforce diminished returns on the second player. They would face the same odds of success at that table, as would any number of players who want to have a worker there.
    In traditional worker placement games, The Great Equalizer is being the first to act, right? To be the first to place a token at a space. It’s a strategic move, an intentional move that you made, and others didn’t. Or it’s going first, a privilege you earned by choices made in a previous turn.
    In this game idea, The Great Equalizer is chance, odds of success. There’s an equal chance for any player to win any game, and also an equal chance to lose. So interesting choices can be made from here (doubling down, pushing your luck, bluffing, etc.), without excluding other players from any particular spot on the board.
    An interesting additional cost for multiple players placing scouts at the same location would be an increasing amount of “heat” at that table. The casino will begin to watch that table closely with more scouts at that location. Again, a penalty that applies to all players, not just the ones that followed the first player at that location.
    What say you, BGDL+?

  • Mark Brandow

    June 29, 2021 at 6:49 pm

    I like your thoughts on this. One of the things I would say is if you can put unlimited workers on a space and the odds of getting card caught go up, eventually it won’t be worth the risk to put a worker there. What happens to them if they get caught?
    You could 1st turn be an option on a location where they can be placed like Lords of Waterdeep. Maybe security control room?

    • Evan Odson

      June 30, 2021 at 7:08 pm

      Good question – I would ideally want to avoid player elimination (if all your robbery workers are caught=you’re out of the heist), so I’m thinking they’d be placed in a holding cell, maybe in the casino’s security wing? I dunno. Lol
      Could you explain what you mean by the second part, with the Lords of Waterdeep mechanic?

      • Evan Odson

        June 30, 2021 at 7:09 pm

        And then you can spend an action breaking your workers out of the cell? Maybe.

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