“It’s the taking part that counts.”
Now, I’m fairly sure that my Gran wasn’t taking about board games when she told me that, but I’ve always believed that the mark of a good board game was one that was as much fun for the people who lost as it was for those that win; playing the game is where the enjoyment should be derived and not the tyrannical devastation of all that appose you.
And if that was my sole criteria for rating games, Temp Worker Assassin is a very good game indeed. So far, I have played the game twenty times and I’ve come close to winning twice.
Or to put it another way; I have lost twenty games of Temp Worker Assassin in a row and have never once tasted the sweet nectar of victory.
But, and here’s the thing; I still very much enjoy playing Temp Worker Assassin and in the very event that I keep losing, I imagine the game will still continue to be a fun one.
Temp Worker Assassins is a deck building and worker placement game for two to four players. It’s quick and fast paced, taking about 40 minutes to play and is played over five rounds.
During play, each player takes control of a squad of four Assassins Meeples sent to infiltrate the dreaded Bureaucrat Castle, in order to “take out” as many other employees as possible. Targets range in both difficulty and reward, the winner of the game being the player with the highest bounty at the end of the five day temporary contract. As you might imagine, the game is somewhat whimsical (you might even say quirky), as you pit your assassins against opponents like Health and Safety Halflings and Typing Pool Zombies.
Temp Worker Assassins is self-published by David Newton and first found significant success with a Kickstarter campaign (getting nearly 400% of it’s kickstarter goal); but is now available as a retail release. The game comes with 190 cards in total, so you get plenty of game for your money, and the production values for the cards and the box are very good and the game is wonderfully illustrated by Adam Bolton (who also did the artwork for the brilliant “Where’s my Shoggoth?”).
Now for the bits I didn’t like so much. Firstly the assassinations themselves. When a player announces an assassination, they need to play the cards they have collected in order to beat the defence value of their target. This could lead to the other players twiddling their thumbs for a minute or two whilst the assassinating player plays and draws cards, totting up numbers as they go. It would be nice if the other players could interact with this part of the game, maybe throwing in obstacle cards and obstructions as the assassin player tries to defeat their enemy.
Also the format of the rule book could do with some work, as whilst all of the rules are certainly within the glossy 14 pages; some of them are fairly well hidden (probably by a ninja) making it awkward to find specific rulings. Formatting aside, the rules are written with humour and once you understand them, they are simple enough, so in the unlikely event that you do need to search for a rule; you wont find it too troublesome.
With those two relatively minor issues aside Temp Worker Assassins is an very good first game from David Newton and we look forward to seeing what he’s planning to do next.
7 out of 10 Meeples, each Meeple carrying a Fairly Sharp Pencil.