The definitive ranked list of the best worker placement games. Worker placement, also known as action drafting, is a mechanic where you have a set number of individuals and you are giving them jobs to do, one at a time, in limited spaces, while your opponents do the same. Worker placement can span all sorts of areas, from Viking combat to racecar building to everything in between. Great games have been coming out for years so we tried to put together the right mix that took all the factors into play. This is our list of the top 10 best worker placement games.
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#10 | Kingsburg
The bottom spot on the list of the best worker placement games comes first of many fantasy and medieval titles. In Kingsburg, players are Lords sent from the King to administer frontier territories. The game takes place over multiple years, broken up into seasons.
Every year, there are 3 production seasons for collecting resources, building structures, and training troops with every fourth turn is the winter. During this phase, players must fight an attacking army. Each player must face the invaders, so this is not a cooperative game. You are placing workers to help build up your army and resources. For 2 – 5 players, games run about 90 minutes each.
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#09 | Champions of Midgard
Champions of Midgard is a medium weight, Viking-themed, worker placement game with barbarian dice rolling in which players are leaders of Viking clans who have traveled to an embattled Viking harbor town to help defend it against the threat of trolls, draugr, and other mythological Norse beasts.
By defeating these epic creatures, players gain glory and the favor of the gods. The combat structure is very robust and epic and the worker spots you fight over to get their feel really balanced and cutthroat in a fun way. Even though this is title on the list of the best worker placement games is over five years old, it still hold and is played today. For 2 – 4 players, games last about 60 – 90 minutes.
FOR MORE: Champions of Midgard Page | How To Play Champions of Midgard | Champions of Midgard Review | Games Like Champions of Midgard | Buy Champions of Midgard on Amazon
#08 | Agricola
Another game on the list of the best worker placement games that is over ten years old and still holds up strong is Agricola. In Agricola, you’re a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else. On a turn, you get to take only two actions, one for you and one for the spouse, from all the possibilities you’ll find on a farm: collecting clay, wood, or stone; building fences; and so on.
The game differs from many of the other more “epic” games on this list because the amount of actions you need to take is light, but it is very much in that Carcassonne, Ticket To Ride, Splendor field where those decisions have huge implications. For 1 – 5 players, games last 30 – 150 minutes.
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#07 | Dominant Species
Dominant Species is a game that abstractly recreates a tiny portion of ancient history: the ponderous encroachment of an ice age and what that entails for the living creatures trying to adapt to the slowly-changing earth. Each player will assume the role of one of six major animal classes—mammal, reptile, bird, amphibian, arachnid, or insect.
Each begins the game more or less in a state of natural balance in relation to one another. But that won’t last: It is indeed “survival of the fittest”. The worker placement here is all about who can be the dominant species in different terrains as possible. For 2 – 6 players, games run a hefty 2 – 4 hours.
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#06 | Kanban: Driver’s Edition
Very different from the other games on the list of the best worker placement games is Kanban. The setting for the game is an assembly line. The players are ambitious managers who are trying to impress the board of directors in order to achieve as high a position as possible in the company and secure their careers.
With promotions come advantages at the factory, such as more space to store precious materials and greater prestige to accelerate your ascent. Through solid management, you must strive to shine next to your peers. The worker placement here is about building up your factory and production. For 2 – 4 players, games last about 90 – 120 minutes.
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#05 | Alien Frontiers
Do you have what it takes to be a deep space colonist? An alien frontier awaits the brave and daring! This new planet will be harsh, but if you have the skills to manage your resources, build a fleet, research alien life, and settle colonies, the world can be yours.
During the game you will utilize orbital facilities and alien technology to build colony domes in strategic locations to control the newly discovered world. The worker placement is done with dice. The dice you are given at the start of the game represent the space ships in your fleet. You will assign these ships to the orbital facilities in order to earn resources, expand your fleet, and colonize the planet. For 2 – 4 players, games run about 90 minutes each.
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#04 | Teotihuacan: City of Gods
The newest game on the list of the best worker placement games goes to the 2018 Teotihuacan: City of Gods. Travel back in time to the greatest city in Mesoamerica. Witness the glory and the twilight of the powerful pre-Columbian civilization. Strategize, accrue wealth, gain the favor of the gods. In Teotihuacan: City of Gods, each player commands a force of worker dice, which grow in strength with every move.
On your turn, you move a worker around a modular board, always choosing one of two areas of the location (either a worker upgrade or a big bonus). While managing their workforce and resources, players develop new technologies, climb the steps of the three great temples, build houses for the inhabitants of the city, and raise the legendary and breath-taking Pyramid of the Sun in the center of the city. For 1 – 4 players, games last about 90 – 120 minutes.
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#03 | Viticulture
In Viticulture, the players find themselves in the roles of people in rustic, pre-modern Tuscany who have inherited meager vineyards. They have a few plots of land, an old crushpad, a tiny cellar, and three workers. They each have a dream of being the first to call their winery a true success. The players are in the position of determining how they want to allocate their workers throughout the year.
Every season is different on a vineyard, so the workers have different tasks they can take care of in the summer and winter. There’s competition over those tasks, and often the first worker to get to the job has an advantage over subsequent workers. This is more of a light game in comparison to other games on the list of best worker placement games, but it is that robust simplicity that makes it special. For 1 – 6 players, games last about 90 minutes each.
FOR MORE: Viticulture Page | Games Like Viticulture | Buy Viticulture on Amazon
#02 | Lords of Waterdeep
The runner up spot on the list of the best worker placement games goes to a title from the Dungeons & Dragons universe. In Lords of Waterdeep, you take on the role of one of the masked Lords of Waterdeep, secret rulers of the city. Through your agents, you recruit adventurers to go on quests on your behalf, earning rewards and increasing your influence over the city. Expand the city by purchasing new buildings that open up new actions on the board, and hinder – or help – the other lords by playing Intrigue cards to enact your carefully laid plans.
During the course of play, you may gain points or resources through completing quests, constructing buildings, playing intrigue cards or having other players utilize the buildings you have constructed. If you are looking for a worker placement game that gives you that epic fantasy quest, Lords of Waterdeep is for you. For 2 – 5 players, games last about 60 – 120 minutes.
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#01 | A Feast For Odin
A Feast for Odin is quite the epic saga. You are reliving the cultural achievements, mercantile expeditions, and pillages of Vikings. In this game, you will raid and explore new territories. You will also experience their day-to-day activities: collecting goods to achieve a financially secure position in society.
In the end, the player whose possessions bear the greatest value will be declared the winner. This 2016 game has everything you could want out of a worker placement game for the intense and casual players alike. It is very fun to play and has amazing mechanics. A clear winner for best worker placement games. For 1 – 4 players, games go approximately 30 – 120 minutes.