I look forward to the UK Games Expo every year, it's one of the friendliest and most interesting conventions out there. I love the build up, making a list of the games I'm looking forward to playing and the designers I'm looking forward to speaking to at the Press Previews. Most of this comes from the emails I get sent in the weeks leading up to the Expo, and I try to get around everybody. But one game stood out for me this year, and it was my first port of call on the Friday morning. That game was Temp Worker Assassins. Designed by David Newton, with great artwork from Adam Bolton, Temp Worker Assassins is a wonderful hybrid deck building/worker placement game.
Set in Bureaucrat Castle, you have been hired to infiltrate and eliminate, over the course of a five day temporary contract, as many employees as possible. To do this you need to make creative use of office stationery, using it to lethal effect to take out a variety of foes; from the Typing Pool Zombie to the Regulatory Compliance Paladin. This is the deck building element of the game, using the Research and Development Department to add new cards to your deck; augmenting the sharp pencils that make up starting arsenal with viscious staplers or heavy calculators.
The office itself is made up of ten cards laid out to make up the game area. Five of these are fixed for every game (although there are "Hard" options for these to increase the game difficulty), the other five rooms are drawn at random from the deck. This random element to the board layout keeps the replay value extremely high, as different iterations of Bureaucrat Castle will require different tactical approaches. This is the worker placement element, as each room that you occupy with one of your meeples gives you bonuses for when you attempt an assassination. These bonuses range from a simple +1 to your attack, to deck cycling, card advantage rooms, and cumulative effects based on the number of pencils/rulers/etc.. that you might play.
Game play is quick and easy to pick up. I was joined by a Finnish gent who had come over to the UK for the Expo, and within ten minutes we were able to play the game without needing any help from the demo team. It lasts five rounds, a typical Mon - Fri working week, and you score points equal to the total value of all your kills.
I hung around this game a lot over the weekend. David and Adam are top guys, and were always happy to chat about the game. They've also, very generously, given NerdVsWorld two copies of the game to give away; so be sure to check our Twitter for details on how you could win a copy.
Temp Worker Assassins is an elegant and streamlined game, delightfully on theme throughout (The rulebook is an Employee Handbook) with a clear sense of humour and character. Bucketloads of replay value will make this game a regular at my gaming nights. Highly recommended 10/10