Happy Labor Day!
Celebrate Labor Day with these Great Worker Placement Games
Happy Labor Day, gamers! As we all get ready for the upcoming long weekend in celebration of the heroic men and women of the American labor movement, we thought it’d be fun to showcase some thematically appropriate games: Worker Placement Games! Today’s feature looks over some of the classic Asmodee offerings of that hallowed board game mechanic and how they are just the right games to celebrate the American working spirit.
Lewis & Clark: The Expedition
First up is the great American adventure game of Lewis & Clark: The Expedition. As the leader of an expedition to discover the American frontier, Lewis & Clark imagines that President Thomas Jefferson had sent more than one expedition back in 1803. Nothing like inspiring some health competition within the workforce! This one to five player game of resource management and card play pits you and your friends against one another in a race to the coast. To do so successfully, you’ll have to carefully manage your available explorers to collect bounties of wood, fur, food, and equipment, then cleverly manage your actions to gain canoes and horses.
After all, though there will be many heroes who work hard to rise to the challenge on your great American journey, history will only remember the first to get to the end!
Next is M.U.L.E., a different sort of frontier exploration game. Based on the 1980s computer game, M.U.L.E. casts you and your friends as colonists sent by the Galactic Federation to settle the planet of Irata and harvest its rich resources. Employing your stable of loyal and hard-working M.U.L.E.s (Multiple Use Labor Element), you will harvest the food, energy, smithore, and crystite of the planet to not only strike it rich in Galactic Dollars, but to make your colony (and M.U.L.E.s) more efficient, capable, and profitable. A clever game of heartwarming capitalism, M.U.L.E. will have you working hard to explore, harvest, gamble, and hunt your way across the planet and to galactic success.
Too often mistaken for a “simpler” time, Bruxelles 1893 might be considered one of your more “traditional” worker placement games, but that’s far from accurate. Players become one of Europe’s most renowned architects and artists during the Art Nouveau movement, capitalizing on the rapidly evolving culture in an effort to be the most successful artist of the time!
Full of elegant mechanics, one of the most entertaining is flipping over a new stock market card at the beginning of every round. Random in nature, this simulates the ever-changing and erratic nature of the exploding economy, providing players with the set actions available to them that round. As gameplay begins, players will send their assistants around Brussels performing these actions to create and sell art, construct buildings, or attend the Royal Theater to secure the patronage of the city’s elite. Play continues over five rounds, with the player who has accrued the most victory points becoming the most successful artist of the Art Nouveau movement and winning the game!
As long as were going back in time, let’s take a look at the classic worker placement and exploration game, Archipelago. Each player commands a fleet of ships and crew of colonists to explore the resource-rich lands of a modular chain of islands somewhere in the Pacific. Players will go around taking actions to harvest resources, levy taxes, visit the markets, explore unknown lands, recruit workers, construct buildings, or move workers and ships.
One of the best parts of Archipelago is that the modular hexes on which you explore never come up the same way twice, making each and every game drastically different. Rivers may end in giant lakes, mountain chains may go ever unfinished, and the variety at which resources pop up will determine how valuable they are to harvest. Also, the private objectives make sure everyone’s goal is completely different, adding more variety to this expansive exploration game. And what’s particularly exciting, if you were dealt the Separatist objective at the beginning of the game, you will win if you inspire the laborers to rise up in rebellion!
Combining many different mechanics of gameplay, the recently released Histrio utilizes a clever worker placement mechanic. Every round, you will choose to send one of your airships to a different city to pick up a slew of actors looking to join your troupe in your quest to put on a show that will impress the king. The catch is that, once you send your airship to a city, you can’t send it back until you collect all your ships again! Usually, worker placement games employ an “action denial” mechanic that blocks your opponents from choosing the same action or space as you, but Histrio cleverly turns that aspect on its head and makes it so you can block yourself!
And if you're curious about Histrio's historical influences and the great many actors and playwrights that worked to bring about such a cultural renaissance, just check out this past article on what built a game we dearly love.
So live it up this extra long weekend that celebrates the impressive work force that made America what it is today with some entertaining, engaging, and completely stress-free worker placement games! And remember, check back to the Asmodee website frequently to see more ways to enjoy those precious days off!