If you enjoy playing board games with meeples (little wooden playing pieces) where you have to put them to work in order to gather resources and perform game changing actions, then you will definitely want to learn more about some of the best worker placement board games.
We’ll go over exactly what worker placement board games are and the best worker placement board games to bring to your table for game night.
Here is our list of the best worker placement board games (don’t worry, we will go into more details about each one):
- Viticulture: A strategic and thought provoking game for wine lovers
- Everdell: A charming game with lively characters and critters
- Agricola: Take on the role of a medieval farmer in the Middle Ages
- Stone Age: Be the last survivor by hunting food and building shelters
- Dune: Imperium: Control a dynasty of noble houses in the galaxy of Dune
- Anachrony: Time travel through history and use your imagination to complete challenges
- Lost Ruins of Arnak: Enter a world of magical ruins and dangerous creatures
- Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island: Become a colonist or pirate fighting for control of the cursed island
- Lords of Waterdeep: Become a lord and work to gain power and expand your territory
- Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar: Build monuments and make offerings in order to earn the favor of the Gods
- Dinogenics: Take on the role of scientists trying to create the best possible species of dinosaurs
- Champions of Midgard: Use strategy and luck to dive deep into the Norse methodology themed game
- Underwater Cities: Take on the role of a city-dweller in a flooded world, trying to survive and prosper
- Dominant Species: Become a predator trying to survive and thrive in a world of other predators
- Raiders of the North Sea: Take on the role of a pirate captain in the 16th century trying to plunder the riches of the North Sea
- Targi: Compete for placements with an ever changing board made from cards
- Tokaido: A strategic game of trade and travel, set in the Edo period of Japan
As we play more worker placement board games, we will be sure to add on to this list. We will go over the best worker placement board games. Some of these games are even featured in our list of the best game night games.
What are Worker Placement Board Games?
Worker placement board games are basically what the title suggests. Players place “workers” on the game board to perform specific actions on their turn. These workers are usually specific playing pieces called meeples.
Usually when placing your worker, you are only allowed to perform one action on your turn that reflects where that worker was placed. Players must assign their workers strategically and make the most of their turn, as resources are slim and other players are trying to advance their game by performing certain actions as well.
It’s important to note that all actions on the game board are available to all players. However, there may be limited spaces available to perform that action. If an opponent takes up a space during their turn, then you may miss out on that action and will have to wait until that space becomes available again. After an action is taken, it either becomes unavailable or more expensive for other players.
Worker placement board games use similar mechanics to other different types of board games such as drafting, hand management, tile placing, and more.
Usually there is a shared pool of resources on the game board where players will have to use the drafting mechanic to pull a certain amount of resources using their worker. Worker placement board games also allow for players to gain end game bonuses and points based on actions they performed throughout the game.
If you play your meeples right, you will likely gain lots of resources, points, and end game bonuses which will leave you victorious at the end of gameplay.
Best Worker Placement Board Games
Now that you have learned all about worker placement board games, let’s get into the actual board games themselves. Worker placement board games are one of our favorite types of board games. Check out some of out favorites below!
First up on our list of the best worker placement board games is a game called Viticulture. Viticulture is a great game for wine lovers, or just anyone looking to play a strategic and thought provoking game.
In Viticulture, players will test their winemaking skills and will need to think strategically in order to create the greatest winery in Italy. With their own game board in front of them, players with have to use workers in order to go to the open game board in the middle of the table in order to perform actions that will benefit their own winery.
Players will plant vines, harvest grapes, age wines, and fill merchant orders. You will expand your vineyard by building structures and planting vines. You have a limited number of workers that can perform actions, therefore, you must think strategically and plan out the best course of action in order to expand your vineyard and gain victory points.
Everdell is a mixture of an engine building board game and worker placement board game. It is a game that can be played with 1-4 players and can take about 40-80 minutes to complete.
In Everdell, each player will be the leader of a group of critters, also called “workers” or meeples, that they will instruct to perform different tasks. These tasks include constructing buildings, meeting different lively characters, hosting different events, gathering resources and so on. There’s so much to do!
On their turn, a player can take one of three actions. The first action includes placing a worker on one of the board locations, events, or destination cards. Workers will perform actions that will further the development of a player’s city, or collection of cards laid in front of them. The second action includes playing a card that will either generate resources, grant abilities, and ultimately score points. The final action is preparing for the next season as workers are returned to the player’s supply and new workers are added.
The player with the city with the most points at the end of the winter season will win the game!
Everdell is a very charming worker placement game that can be played over and over again. There are even some expansions that you can add to the base game in order to spice up the gameplay.
Agricola is a popular worker placement board game that simulates life in the Middle Ages. Players take on the role of medieval farmers, trying to manage their resources and grow their farms while competing against others to become the most successful farmer. Agricola is a challenging game that is perfect for families, gamers of all levels, and history buffs.
To play Agricola, players will use their workers to gather resources such as wood, food, and stone. Once resources are collected, they can then use them to build farms, barns, and other structures.
Players must manage their resources to produce goods that they can sell to other players, while also defending their farms from barbarian invasions. Agricola is a challenging game that can take many hours to play, and is perfect for family game nights.
4. Stone Age
Stone Age is a board game that simulates the life of a hunter-gatherer. Players are required to gather food and build shelters in order to survive. The game is played on a hexagonal board, with each player taking turns moving their character around the board.
The goal of the game is to survive as long as possible, with the first player to be eliminated winning. Stone Age is a fun and challenging game that is perfect for family fun.
5. Dune: Imperium
Dune Imperium is a board game for 2-4 players that consists of controlling a dynasty of noble houses in the galaxy of Dune. Players must collect resources, build armies, and battle rivals to become the most powerful house in the galaxy.
The game is based on the novel and movie of the same name, and includes many of the same characters and locations. This worker placement game is a strategic affair, with players aiming to build the most powerful empires and alliances. The game is able to be played in a variety of ways, with players able to focus on conquest, politics, or trade.
Overall, Dune Imperium is a well-made board game that is based on a popular novel and movie. It is a fun and strategic game that is perfect for fans of the franchise.
Anachrony is a board game where players explore a time-traveling world filled with historical characters, artifacts, and events. The game is set in different historical periods, and each player takes on the role of a different character who must work together to prevent the world from ending.
Anachrony is a challenging game that requires players to use their imagination to figure out how to complete the challenges posed by the game. The game is not easy, and it can be difficult to figure out how to win. However, the rewards for completing the challenges are worth it, and players can learn a lot about history while playing.
Anachrony is a great game for anyone who loves history, puzzles, and adventure. It is a game that can be played by families, and it is perfect for anyone who loves a good challenge.
7. Lost Ruins of Arnak
Lost Ruins of Arnak is a cooperative game for 2-4 players, set in a world of magical ruins and dangerous creatures. Players must work together to navigate the ruins, find treasures, and survive the dangers that lurk around every corner.
The game is played over a series of rounds, and during each round players will choose one of four possible actions: explore a new area, search for treasure, build a structure, or help a teammate. Players will then take turns performing these actions, and during each turn they will choose one of the three cards in their hand that best matches the action they are taking.
The game is full of danger, and players must be careful not to get lost or stranded in the ruins. The creatures that live in the ruins are wild and unpredictable, and they will stop at nothing to kill players or capture their treasure.
Lost Ruins of Arnak is a fun and exciting game that will challenge players to strategize and cooperate.
8. Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is a game based on the novel Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. The game was designed by Greg Stafford and released in 2009 by Atlas Games.
This game is a worker placement game with a variable game board. The game board is composed of variable hexes, each of which represents a different part of the island. The objective of the game is to score points by building structures and recruiting pirates, while defending your settlement from attacks by rival players.
Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is set on an island and players attempt to survive by gathering food, building shelter, and defending themselves from pirates. The game is played on a hexagonal board with a central island, and each player starts the game with a ship and a number of colonists.
During several rounds, each player will take turns playing either the colonists or the pirates. The colonists attempt to build buildings on the island and gather food, while the pirates attempt to capture the colonists and steal their food. The game is won when one player has no more colonists left on the island.
9. Lords of Waterdeep
Lords of Waterdeep is set in the world of Waterdeep, where the player is a lord trying to gain power and expand their territory. The game is played on a board with tiles that represent different parts of Waterdeep, and the player can move their pieces around the board to gain control over different areas.
The game is played in rounds, with each round consisting of three phases. In the setup phase, players choose which pieces they will use in the upcoming round. They also select which cards they will play, which will give them special abilities.
In the main phase, players take turns playing cards and moving their pieces around the board. The goal of the game is to gain control over different areas of the board, and to score points by capturing pieces of the other players.
10. Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar
Tzolk’in: The Mayan Calendar board game is a game for two to four players that takes about two hours to play. The game is based on the Mayan calendar and features a board with twenty-four spaces, each of which has a different symbol associated with it.
Players will represent different Mayan tribes that they will use to place their workers on giant connected gears that will rotate, taking workers to different action spots.
As players lead their people throughout the game, they will build monuments and make offerings in order to earn the favor of the Gods.
Dinogenics is a board game that has players take on the role of scientists trying to create the best possible species of dinosaurs. The game is designed by Stefan Feld and contains a mix of strategy, puzzle, and luck elements.
The game is played on a hexagonal board with each player taking turns placing pieces on the board. Players can choose to place pieces of their own species, or pieces of other species that they have collected. The goal is to create the best possible dinosaurs by breeding different types of dinosaurs together.
The game is designed to be challenging, but also rewarding. Players can earn bonuses for creating the best dinosaurs, but they also have to be careful not to over-breed their species and destroy their environment.
Dinogenics is a great board game for those who love strategy and puzzle games. It is also great for families who want to play a game together that is both challenging and fun.
12. Champions of Midgard
Champions of Midgard is a board game based on the Norse mythology, and it is set in the world of Midgard. The game is a mix of strategy and luck, and it is designed to be a fast-paced game that is easy to learn.
Players will need to choose their character and battle through the game to achieve victory. There are a total of 10 different characters to choose from, and each character has their own unique abilities.
The game is played on a board that is divided into 4 regions. Players will need to move their characters around the board in order to achieve victory.
13. Underwater Cities
Underwater Cities is a game for 2-5 players that takes about an hour to play. The players are all city-dwellers in a flooded world, trying to survive and prosper.
The game is played on a board with different areas of the city, each with different resources and hazards. The players take turns flipping over tiles, revealing new areas of the city. They can then move their characters around, buy and sell resources, and build new buildings. The game is won by the player who has the most money at the end.
14. Dominant Species
Dominant Species is a game that simulates the life of a predator in the wild. Players take on the role of a predator, trying to survive and thrive in a world where other predators are trying to do the same. The game is played on a board, with different areas representing different parts of the natural world. Players must use their cunning and strength to survive, while battling other predators for food, territory, and mates.
Dominant Species is a challenging game that requires players to think strategically. It is a great game for those who want to learn more about the natural world, and the dynamics of predator-prey relationships. It is also a great game for those who want to test their skills against other players. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned gamer, Dominant Species is a game you won’t want to miss.
15. Raiders of the North Sea
Raiders of the North Sea is a naval, economic, and combat strategy game for 2 to 4 players. The game was designed by Klaus Teuber and published by Stronghold Games in 2006.
Players take on the role of a pirate captain in the 16th century trying to plunder the riches of the North Sea. The game is played over several rounds, during which players move their ships around the map, trade goods, and engage in ship-to-ship combat. The game is won by the first player to complete four rounds of play, or by capturing all of the other players’ ships.
The game is played on a hexagonal map of the North Sea. The map is divided into six regions, each of which is divided into several zones. The gameboard is also hexagonal, and the player’s ship is placed at the bottom left corner of the board. The gameboard is also divided into six sectors, each of which is divided into several islands.
Targi is a unique worker placement and area control game for 2 players. It uses a grid mechanism to compete for placements with an ever changing board made from cards. In Targi, meeples are placed one at a time where players can execute the actions on the board and also take the cards from the center.
The game is predominantly scored and won by playing tribal cards to your display. These give advantages during the game and victory points at the end.
Targi is easy to learn, quick to set up, and contains barely any downtime.
Tokaido is a fast-paced, unique, and addictive board game for 2-4 players. It is a strategic game of trade and travel, set in the Edo period of Japan. Players must navigate their armies along the twisting, mountainous Tokaido trail, while managing their resources to win the game.
Tokaido is a game of strategic decision-making. Players must choose which routes to take, when to trade goods, and when to attack their opponents. The game can be challenging, but the rewards are great: a well-played game can lead to a lucrative victory.
Tokaido is perfect for players who love strategy and competition. The game is quick to learn, and can be played in short bursts. So whether you’re looking for a new board game to add to your collection, or you’re looking for a fun game to play with friends, Tokaido is a great option.
Conclusion on the Best Worker Placement Board Games
We hope you enjoyed our article on the best worker placement board games. If you love worker placement board games, then be sure to check out some other types of board games that may peak your interest.
Some honorable mentions that did not make the list are A Feast for Odin, Caverna: The Cave Farmers, Fresco, and The Pillars of the Earth.
Looking for more? Check out our article on the best games for game night!