Board GamesFeature

Best Worker Placement Games For 2 Players

Take command of a group of workers and send them to do your will, whether that be farming resources, generating wealth, or somehow amassing victory points.

The problem is, if a worker is working on one job, they can’t work on another, and you only have a limited number of workers. Quite often, they don’t like repeating the same task either. It’s unfulfilling, so if they do, complacency kicks in and they return less with each repetition. And, if some other foreman has sent one of their minions to perform a task, that prevents your workers from moving in.

Some worker placement games are fairly simple. The D&D fantasy theme won’t be to everybody’s taste, but Lords of Waterdeep is considered one of the most accessible games in the genre because the rules are easy to pick up, which also makes it one of the best worker placement games for 2 players. But for every easy-to-learn action drafting game, there’s a rule-heavy head-scratcher. Anachrony and Barrage can take some mastering, although that is down to the combination of worker placement with other game mechanics.

10 Of The Best Worker Placement Games For 2 Players

While I think the worker placement mechanic tends to work better with three or four players, there are plenty of good options for 2 players. And below you can find reviews of 10 of the best including some that make a great introduction to the genre.

1. Fields of Arle

Fields of Arle Box

Fields of Arle is made by designer Uwe Rosenberg, who also designed the likes of Agricola and Le Havre. The game is set in Arle, a village in Germany, and is a farming and development game in the same vein as a lot of Rosenberg games. And worker placements in general, for that matter.

Where it differs from a lot is in the fact that it was designed specifically for two players. There is a solo mode, but that’s it, so if you’re looking for a two-player game that can be played with larger groups, look elsewhere.

Players have to expand their villages by constructing dikes and expanding fields while planting crops and introducing livestock. A game plays over nine half years, and at the beginning of each summer/winter period, each player must choose how they are going to turn a fortune in the coming period. And there are a lot of ways to do that, from flax farming to livestock management.

This is a two-player game, and while a player can prevent the other from taking certain actions, there are always alternatives, so it isn’t aggressive. If you want to fall out with your gaming partner, Fields of Arle probably isn’t right for you, but if you want a relaxing game to play it is one of the best worker placement games for 2 players thanks to its good range of point-scoring opportunities and its intentional two-player design.

2. Underwater Cities

Underwater Cities

Underwater Cities combines engine building and worker placement mechanics. Over ten rounds, players place a total of 30 cards depicting different rooms in their underwater cities. They also get to place 30 workers. Or, doors, anyway. But the doors function like workers. Placing a door opens the room behind to potentially generate resources. And doing so, means that other players can’t place their doors in the same spot. It’s classic worker placement, it’s just that it thematically uses doors rather than workers.

When you place doors in Underwater Cities, you have to play a card, too. If the card is the right color, you get to take a second action, according to the card played. And this leads to some great engine-building links.

The combination of worker placement and engine building means Underwater Cities is a little more complex than Fields of Arle, making it a good choice if you’re looking for something with a little more meat. But it might be too much for some gamers, especially those that are newer to the hobby.

3. A Feast For Odin

A Feast for Odin

On the surface, A Feast For Odin looks complicated. There are 60 moves players can make on each turn and while it is a worker placement at its core, it also involves elements of resource management, grid coverage, and tile placement. Despite this, the Uwe Rosenberg-designed title is surprisingly easy to learn.

I love a game with table presence, and even with two players (the game is playable by 1 to 4 players), it does take up a lot of space with various boards, tiles, workers, and other components.

What makes the game great for some is that with so many choices, there are multiple paths to gaining victory points and winning. That also means replayability is very high because you and other players can play the game very differently every time.

However, that does mean that you can play a game, especially with just two players, and never really interact with the other player. One of the key aspects of worker placement games, for me at least, is the feeling that you’re screwing over somebody else around the table while also making gains yourself. And that’s lacking in A Feast For Odin.

It is a great game, and one that Rosenberg fans will love, but it isn’t as competitive as some of us would like, but that also makes it perfect for the pacifist players among us.

4. Anachrony

Anachrony Board Game

Anachrony ticks a lot of boxes for me. It’s got a time-traveling 26th-century apocalyptic sci-fi storyline, and the four paths make it feel dystopian. It has a two-tier worker placement system which means some placements are open to certain workers by default, while others require that workers don somewhat rare exo-suits to be able to use the space.

The ultimate aim is to survive an impending asteroid collision and be the chosen path that establishes New Earth’s new regime. It’s a weighty game that has good-looking miniatures and a good table presence, and the exo-suits add something a little different to the worker placement mechanic.

If you enjoy worker placement but aren’t a fan of the medieval farming setting that is rife in the genre, Anachrony is an enjoyable jaunt. There are some balancing issues which mean players will end up trying to rush one or two actions that are more powerful than the others, though.

5. Lost Ruins Of Arnak

Lost Ruins of Arnak

In Lost Ruins of Arnak, players take on the role of expedition leaders with teams of explorers. The explorers can explore the island, gather resources, and take a host of other actions, some of which only become unlocked as you build your deck.

The game comes with a two-sided board, featuring an easy and a difficult side, and although there are some quite deep and compelx mechanics, the game doesn’t run too long. And while there is only a relatively small deck available to players, the island setup changes each time you play, and there is a great variety of actions and sequences that can be played, which give the game good replay value.

You’re likely to enjoy this if you like trying out new strategies to get the win, and the offering of different levels also gives the game greater longevity. There can be some downtime between turns, which is especially true for beginner players, but if that isn’t a deal breaker, Lost Ruins of Arnak is definitely one for your worker placement collection.

6. Tiny Epic Galaxies

Tiny Epic Galaxies

The Tiny Epic games is an ever expanding series of games that offer a surprising amount of playability for such small containers. They’re heavily themed and employ some different game mechanics. It’s a 4x game, which means there is a lot going on, but the gist is that you control an empire that is looking to expand its influence. Gather resources and spend them to expand.

As well as looking great and being ideal as a two-player travel game, Tiny Epic Galaxies also has one of my favorite features, which is the “follow me” mechanic, enabling other players to repeat the move you make. It adds a whole new element to the game mechanics and it means that you have to watch your own moves in case others would benefit more from taking exactly the same move.

Although it does play better with three or four people, If space is limited, or you want an attractive little box that plays from solo up to 5 players, Tiny Epic Galaxies is a really good addition to your shelf.

7. Everdell

Everdell Board Game

Everdell combines open drafting, hand management, and worker placement elements in a beautiful game. And the basics are quite simple. Players can place a worker, play a card, or prepare for the next season.

As well as being able to place workers on the maind board in the centre, which includes the possibility of preventing the other player from doing the same, workers can also be placed the player’s own plateau cards.

Perhaps the biggest problem with Everdell is that while there are player interactions, it can feel a bit like you and your playing partner are effectively playing your own games. Even when one of you stops the other from using your desired worker space, there isn’t too much interaction. Some will like that, some won’t.

8. Viticulture

Viticulture

Viticulture is similar to a lot of worker placement games, although you do have a vineyard rather than a farm. The worker placement mechanic is quite traditional. You can place workers to improve the vineyard, grow grapes, and give visitors a tour of the vineyard.

Where Viticulture really comes into its own is in the management of those visitors. They will, for a very brief period of time and with worker supervision, lend a hand around the vineyard, enabling you to really expand while also bringing in a little coin. Another addition is that players take turns to decide whether they play first or not and because going first offers the best choice of worker placement places, players further down the order get alternative bonuses.

Viticulture does worker placement really well, and it adds player interaction elements that really ramp it up.

9. Snowdonia

Snowdonia Board Game

Snowdonia is a worker placement game where you take control of a gang of railroad workers. You are aiming to establish a railroad running up Snowdonia, in Wales, and you can use your workers to make the track you need as well as lay it. They can also create stations and take other actions, and you have to do this against the backdrop of bad Welsh weather.

One of the elements of the game that sets it apart is the inclusion of contracts. If you complete these work contracts you get a bonus.

It is a quick game to learn and it is a decent worker placement game, but there isn’t a lot of variation from one game to the next. And the randomness of the weather and event cards will appeal to some, but will introduce too much of a pure luck element for many.  

10. Lords Of Waterdeep

Lords of Waterdeep

For a lot of gamers, Lords of Waterdeep will feature higher up their list, and we’re certainly not going to argue. It is a classic and can be considered a gateway worker placement game. It is easy to teach and fun to play as you take on the role of one of the heads of powers that want to take over the titular town of Waterdeep.

The game is set in the DnD world, although you certainly don’t need any Dungeons and Dragons lore knowledge to be able to play it. Your workers, in this case, are a band of agents that are used to recruit adventurers. You can also build new buildings and take a host of other actions with the ultimate aim of taking over Waterdeep.

Despite being easy to learn, it is surprisingly tricky to win and there are plenty of different approaches you can take, as well as lots of player interaction.

But, despite being one of the best worker placement games for 2 players for new gamers, Lords of Waterdeep is a light game, and after a few tries, you will likely want something more from your placement titles.

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *