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Good for 2 Worker Placement


#1

I asked a facebook group their suggestions for a light to medium weight worker placement game that works really well with two. (I have already/only played Argicola All Creatures Great and Small, Ex Libris, and Kingsburg). The suggestions I got back were… exhaustive. I am hoping the fine folks here can help me sort through things a bit.

A few other points I’ll throw in for you: I love games where you create something (like the library in Ex Libris or the map in Carcassonne); where scoring is not held until the end of the game and where points (and win conditions) are not hidden; lasting in the 30 - 60 minute window; and that have unique themes. However, the two player mode and the light to medium weight are really the highest interest.

The suggestions I received are as follows:
Stone Age
Fresco
Dinosaur Island
Lords of Waterdeep
Raiders of the North Sea
Viticulture
Champions of Midgard
Russian Railroads
Argent: The Consortium
Coldwater Crwon
Tzolk’n
Snowdonia
Alien Fronteirs
Scoville
Pursuit of Happiness
The Godfather
Last Will
Dominant Species
Caylus
Onward to Venus
Archon
Manhattan Project
Island of El Darado
Rajas of the Granges
Spyrium
Brew Crafters
Harvest
Santa’s Workshop
Fool’s Gold
What’s He Building in There?
Anachrony


#2

I’m not familair with a lot of these games so I’ll be of limited help. However I can see 2 to knock of the list straight away. Argent and Dominant species both fail on your light to medium and 30-60 minutes criteria. Argent’s maybe medium, but it plays long. Dominant species is a behemoth that plays long and has a constantly evolving game state that requires a fair amount of strategic heapspace to play well.


#3

That help is EXACTLY what I need. If I can weed the list down to even… half (either games people really like or games they feel are outside of my wants), then I feel like I can dig in and see what might be of real interest. As of right now, the who category feels too massive to tackle.

Thank you!


#4

I have played these games. The ones I have played the most with 2 players are Viticulture, Fresco and Lords of Waterdeep. Some of them would take longer than 60 minutes at more than 2 players but I think they fit your goals.


#5

You should like Fresco because it’s light just enough but not too easy-you have a lot of options but you don’t spend too much time to think through every move. Theme is amazing-you’re restoring beautiful fresco in a cathedral, so you make money to buy paints, send your apprentices to the market early in the morning to buy the colours you need or to the theatre to boost their morale after making them wake up so early. Sometimes you have to mix colours in your workshop,bribe the bishop ocasionally and hopefully, recover beautiful fresco from under the tiles.
It’s 45-60minute game, good for 2 people, because of dummy player called Leonardo. Each of you controls Leo every other turn.

I love Tzolk’in as well. One of my favs. It’s heavier than Fresco, but not longer. The juicest part of the game is the time. You have only 18 moves and thousands of possibilities of actions. Trust me, it’s not your typical worker placement game, the time changes everything. Again, in 2-player game you have to use dummies, but they are set randomly at the beginning of the game.

Edit:
Sorry, it’s 26 moves in Tzolk’in, I’ve just checked. Still, it’s not enough!
:wink:


#6

Agricola: all creatures great and small sounds like a good match for you.

You build a farm and fill it with animals. The scoring is open and same for both. Nicely there’s a minimum requirement everyone should go for so you can easily get a real time sense as to how and what the other is doing.
You make three worker placements per turn and about 9 turns.
The base game is pretty light. The the main complexity is in the buildings but the base games buildings are of an acceptable weight.
It’s exclusively 2 player so it’s balanced for that number of players.

If you like two player games I’d point you towards the uwe Rosenberg “mini 2 player” games as something to research (although, As a tip, stay far from the Viking ships one)


#7

Thank you for the suggestion! I have played it and I really really liked it, but it was too dry for my partner, I think. For her it felt like all math and very little “fun”… and the endgame scoring just made the process a bit too long. Ex Libris and Kingsburg were a better fit for her, but I find Ex Libris to be a bit too random with the shuffling locations and Kingsburg to be very linear.

I will look into the other Uwe Rosenberg games… One of my all time favorites is Patchwork so that’s a really great idea.


#8

Russian Railroads
Tzolk’n

These two are heavy rather than medium, so you can discount them.


#9

It’s not a worker placement per se but pyramids has a very similar feeling to Ex Libris. (The game is open drafting which in a way is functionally identical to worker placing)

It also had a fairly mathy ending but does have the really nice building a thing aspect of Ex Libris.


#10

Although it’s not on your list, my favourite 2 player worker placement is New Bedford. I don’t find the theme problematic due to it’s historical nature, but that’s not to say unequivocally it’s not. However from a game play point of view, it’s quick, not too difficult to understand but with variety and depth. Main issue is the expansion is almost mandatory. That aside, it’s a genuinely great game. Sorry to muddy the waters after cutting some options down previously.


#11

I would also think about removing Anachrony – i’d probably rate it middle-heavy on a five-step scale. Tzolkin would be a heavy on that scale.


#12

Worker Placement isn’t my usual jam, and I don’t see a lot on your list that I’d jump to play with 2 people, so I can’t really help weed that thing down. I can say that Lords of Waterdeep is not really worker placement/engine building, but might be a fun intro to the concepts for some people; and, Champions of Midgard is a kind of better imagining of LoW, but with more dice rolling. I think of neither as a 2p game, but they might be alright.

However! I can weigh you down with even more options!

Njusford is a Uwe game I’ve played a couple of times recently, and I did enjoy it both times. It’s definitely worker placement, you’re definitely building an engine in the Uwe style–but it felt a lot more thematic to me than other Uwe games have (I’ve not really connected with Agricola, and Caverna is a begrudging member of my collection). It’s also fairly quick. can’t vouch for it at 2p, but scaling otherwise appears to be adequate, can’t see why 2 would be any worse. Glass Road is often mentioned in the same breath, and might be a look–but my understanding is that it swaps in drafting for worker placement.

Sorta kinda worker placement games that have a healthy dose of luck:

Tiny Epic Galaxies is quick and fun and has a worker placement element (landing on planets for various actions). Again, dice-rolling is featured, but there’s still strategy and timing. Building is kinda limited to collecting planets, but mostly it’s all about collecting points. Loses some of it’s tension at 2 (since a lot of the game is about follow on actions), but still good.

Istanbul isn’t exactly WP, but block the selection of various actions on the board is certainly key to play. SUSD did a video review a while back.

If you’re looking for something flavorful that lets you build and is still fairly low-conflict without being WP–I might throw out Suburbia? It has an interesting point track, and is frequently amusing. Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a kind of tweaked successor which is better on paper–but I still like Suburbia more.

A couple other games that aren’t exactly WP, but are good at 2p, and let you construct various things:

7 Wonders Duel–not at all WP, but gives a sense of civ building, and built for 2
Photosynthesis–if your workers are trees, perhaps WP–but fun at two, and a will make you sweat with the advanced rules
Arboretum–see above, but point scorng. A bit dry on the theme.


#13

I was looking for some more ideas for games now that my gaming has shifted percentage-wise to more frequent 2 player experience with my wife and this looked like a promising thread. I actually own or have played many of the games already listed here, but in my hunt I found one that I thought I’d toss out here in case anyone else visits.

Targi is a specifically 2 player worker placement that got some strong reviews and seems medium weight. I’m trying it out on Monday, but the price right now is floating around $25 USD and for a medium weight 2 player worker placement that feels like the right price for me. Hope its good.


#14

I had a game of Agricola: All Creatures Big Box, which is a 2 player small game and I love it. Although this is me who enjoys Uwe Rosenberg games!


#15

I‘m going to add to your list, because, well you wanted theme and not too heavy.

I recommend:
Robin Hood and the merry men


#16

We’re well beyond the timeframe for this to be a useful response at this point, but let’s keep it going nonetheless - I’d suggest Mint Works as being right up there in terms of what was asked for.

Its tiny, cheap and lightweight - worker placement distilled right down to fit inside a mint tin. Plays great with two, games only take around 20 minutes, with scores and endgame clearly visible at all times. Was a kickstarter thing but fairly sure its now in Retail.


#17

Pshaw! I for one am always on the lookout for great 2p games for me and the wife. Late suggestions may not help the OP, but those of us skulking about and watching the forums for signs of life are always happy for this kind of recommendation!