Spotlight on Games > Ludographies > Essen 2010
Essen 2010 Game by Game

Worker Placement Games

Michael Kiesling & Wolfgang Kramer; Ravensburger; 2-4; 45-60
Players are architects in a fantasy setting trying to obtain the best construction materials to erect towers. They receive seven cards per round and then place them as workers. Cards have colors and the first color placed in an area dictates the only color that can be placed there, unless a player wants to use two cards face down, which can count as any color. [more]

Captain Cool
Zoltán Aczél & Péter Árvai; Gém Klub/Heidelberger Spieleverlag; 2-7; 45-90
Based on the Hungarian novel Piszkos Fred a kapitány by Jeno Rejto. Players represent dockside gangs attempting to impress Captain Cool and his companions who will decide which controls the local black market. To do so they try to win bar brawls, which also brings in new members. Family members are simultaneously placed in seven areas – four of them pubs, the other three the HQs of gangster bosses. Later they use cards to create chains of gangsters. Majority control and bluffing also play roles. [more]

De Vulgari Eloquentia
Mario Papini; Lookout Games/Z-Man Games; 2-5; 120
In Italy of the late Middle Ages merchants attempt to improve their social statuses and well as develop their understanding of the new form of Latin that is to become Italian, the Volgare. Merchants can opt out of that lifestyle and become men of the cloth, aspiring to become pope if they can (the current pope will die at some random point during play), or stay on the path and become important bankers. It's also possible to score a lot of points by collecting a lot of manuscripts. Besides the different worker placement areas, there is a map of Italy where pawns travel in order to gain more knowledge, and that is essential if one is going the manuscript collection route, otherwise how can one tell which manuscript is a good one. [more]

Era of Inventions
Anthony Daamen; Quined Games; 3-5; 90
Players represent late 19th century inventors who will invent the famous works of Bell, Benz, the Wright Brothers, Etc. Possible actions are building factories, producing goods, buying goods, making inventions, mass producing inventions. Resources are money, goods and development points. Includes 39 invention cards. [more]

Michael Schacht; Editions du Matagot; 2-4; 90
Trading, collecting and exploring in the continent of cats. Four ships are traveling to visit its five countries and players are traders on board seeking a specific combination of requested merchandise. Prices are set by market forces. There are bid tokens that are effectively worker placements, though not called that, which permit either earning income, buying at one of the markets or swapping at the guild. After a boat lands the merchants on board continue by land. Board is double-sided to support different numbers of players. Ships are 3D cardboard.

Stefano Groppi; Placentia Games; 2-5; 120
Players represent heads of powerful Renaissance families trying to become the foremost patrons of the arts. They commission works for their own holdings, public buildings or the cathedral. Money to do this is earned by sending out workers, even in opponent areas. Charity permits hiring extra workers. All of the characters are historical figures, all of the buildings actual workshops and artworks represent actual ones.

Peter Hansson; Gigantoskop; 2-6; 60
Players represent angels creating the features of the earth over a seven day period, hoping that it will be most pleasing in the sight of their god. Choices include gathering the essence of creation (chaos, matter and life), which also influences the order of play, working or following the god's path. There is also a dark angel working against all of the players which follows a predictable pattern of activities; if players allow this angel to do too well, it is possible that they all lose. [more]

Stefan Feld; Hall Games/Z-Man Games; 1-4; 25-100
Priestesses of the moon goddess compete to see which of them are most worthy. Placing "workers" on seven islands yields influence points. A wrinkle is those placed do not come off to be placed again, but remain where they are until moved. Activities include building shrines, working at the temple and participating in services. It's also possible to recruit more workers. The board is modular to make replays different each time. By the inventor of Notre Dame. [more]

Magnum Sal
Marcin Krupinski & Filip Milunski; Gry Leonardo; 2-4; 90
About mining in the Cracow salt mine, second oldest working mine in the world, in Poland. Each player manages a mining team extracting salt and trying to sell it for the best price on the market. There are three types of salt and workers can be placed in mines or as assistants at the salt market, at the inn where new miners are hired, at the water pumps, begging or at the royal court where salt contracts are fulfilled. The most different aspect of play is that there needs to be a continuous chain of meeple miners from each mine chamber to the surface in order to get out salt. If at any position on the path you do not have a miner, you have to pay to the player who does. In addition, opening a mine usually does not permit getting all the salt out; probably someone else will come in afterwards to claim the rest. The title is Latin for "Great Salt". [more]

The Mines of Zavandor
Alexander Pfister; Lookout Games/Z-Man Games; 2-4; 45-90
Dwarves and mining are the topic in Zavandor this time. Gems come in four different types and each type has its own distribution of cards. Gems are then bid in auctions to win new objects or enhance mines. Dwarves have levels and can be enhanced. The requirements for upgrading some kinds of cards change and only the auction winner knows the nature of this in advance.

Andreas Steding; White Goblin Games; 2-5; 90
The modern German city of Nuremberg was known as Norenberc during the middle ages. Here achc player represents a merchant trying to get influence on the city council by winning over the various local guilds. Selecting which guilds to send workers is done simultaneously. Actions include buying/selling, hiring extras, and using the special abilities conferred by the guilds and others. Winning over a guild for the turn yields a crest and the most important guild, as determined by the players' activities, confers an even more important crest. At the end, craftsmen, crests, money and townspeople are all toted up to find the winner. [more]

Andrea Chiarvesio & Luca Iennaco; Fantasy Flight; 3-5; 120
Players try to make their Greek city-state – Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Thebes, Argos and more – the most poweful. There is no randomness apart from what other players do. States are rated for population, culture, military and productivity of the three resources (grain, venison and fish). Players decide which of the gods their priests will honor (Zeus, Hera, Demetra, Artemis, Poseidon, Athena, Aphrodite, Ares, Hephaestus, Apollo), and others choose whether or not to also participate, which creates a variable phase order situation akin to Puerto Rico. Resources gained are used to construct buildings that come in 45 types, twelve of them being unique. It is possible to raid others if they were not careful (by leaving warehouses full and military weak) or unleash a plague. Achieving a certain level in an attribute grants a special award; the claiming of four of these ends play. [more]

Porto Carthago
Bernd Eisenstein; Irongames; 3-5; 90
In the early days before the Romans, Carthaginians send out servants to either earn income or get goods to ship out. The eventual goal is to buy influence at the palace. [more]

Sun, Sea & Sand
Corné van Moorsel; Cwali; 2-5; 50
Players are entrepreneurs on a scenic island. By establishing hotels and attractions and putting up signs they hope to make money on the tourists. Some arrive at the harbor; some are booked in advance. Backpackers find their own way; hence the signs. To do all of this you have five family members. [more]

Antoine Bauza; Editions du Matagot/Hazgaard; 2-5; 60
In a rather unusual theme, players are preparing a bamboo plantation intended for a panda. Activities are cultivating the land, irrigation growing bamboo shoots. The player who grows the most wins. [more]

< previousnext >

Society Games            Further Afield
Spotlight on Games > Ludographies > Essen 2010