Dave sat at his desk in his little Cubicle checking the latest updates on Facescroll, He was checking out Irene from Accounts relationship status to see if the rumors were true, that she had split from Frank in HR. He found her; scrolling through it read “In a Relationship”
Maybe she’d not got round to changing it yet! He thought as he started for the 3rd time that day to flick through her pictures again.
“Eh, Dave is it?” Came a whispery voice behind him, making him jump and spin 180 on his mushroom chair. It was Brian the new temp that started the beginning of the week.
“That’s right…” Dave eyed him all over. Brian was standing tall and looked a bit edgy.
“Do you know if the new delivery of pencils arrived this morning?” asked Brian, looking all around the room but not once at Dave.
“Yes… they have been put in the stationery cupboard,” said Dave, waving his hand in front of Brian’s face to get his attention, “didn’t you get some yesterday? What have you done with them all?”
Brian snapped his head back to face Dave head on and stared at him, ” they are blunt!” and then walked off in the direction of the Stationary cupboard.
Dave slid his chair to the edge of his cubical and popped his head out to see where Brian went. He saw Brian walk into the cupboard and return to the doorway 2 minutes later with a handful of pencils. He watched as Brian seemed to check how pointy the pencils were by pressing his finger on the ends. Brian looked up and made eye contact with Dave unexpectedly. Dave jolted his head back into the cubical. His green pointy ears twitched as a sense of dread filled him.
Then came screams of horror.
Dave popped his head up over his cubical to see Brian being dragged away by security and Irene running over to Frank’s corner office screaming and crying like her heart had been ripped away.
Dave slumped down into his chair, ” well what do you know, they were still together!”
Temp Worker Assassins The review By Joel Wright
(Review copy is a print and play version, so I can’t I talk about the components)
Temp Worker Assassins is a worker placement, deck building game set in a fantasy setting. You are assassins, working as temps in an office that seem to have a lot of backstabbing employees that believe some of their colleagues need to meet their maker. Think of it as the #LEAVE campaign office (yeah I went there). But as security is very tight, you have to build your arsenal of weapons up by using what you find in the Forbidden Stationery Cupboard.
This is the worker placement part, you have 4 assassins (meeples) and you can place them in one of the 9 departments displayed on the table. Some of these can only be filled by one Assassin at a time, however others can hold multiple meeples. They will allow you to do different actions but most of the departments will let you pick up weapon cards: pencils, staplers, etc to add to your hand of cards. This is the deck building bit.
Building up your hand of these cards, which are named after stationary items, is good because it allows you to have enough attacking power to make these assassination attempts. They mainly have attack values on them, like “+1 attack” but some have other commands like “discard a card and then draw one”, or both. Some cards have a combo effect if played with other cards it highlights you can get a bonus attack or draw more cards. Why would you want these cards? Because this is how you assassinate your work colleagues.
When you feel you have enough attack value in your hand and deck you can try and make an assassination attempt. By picking one of the displayed targets and playing cards from your hand until you have matched or beaten their life point value. You then take that card to score at the end of the game, but also security will detain you and turn out your pockets – You will have to discard your whole hand and played cards to your discard pile and then draw a new hand of cards. You do this over 5 round/days and then everyone scores all their assassinations to see who is the winner.
This game has 3 mechanics that I really like: Worker placement, Deckbuilding and Push your luck! What? Where did that come from? Well, sometimes you will have enough cards in hand to take out enough health of your colleagues, but if you want the big points then you need to build your deck large enough to the point that when you go for the big kills, you have to rely on your deck to flow with the right sort of cards. Like I said before, some cards allow you to discard and draw new cards, and you are relying on the new cards drawn to provide more attack power and/or more draw cards from your deck. This can then can lead you up a tight path to not having quite enough attack power to finish the job. And then you have blown your cover and you are still sent to the security office for questioning.
So, I like worker placement and there is nothing different here, you place out a dude and do what it says. The deckbuilding is fine, a little different in the way that you don’t discard your cards at the end of your turn, but actually build up your hand of cards ready for that big attack, and something I”ve not seen in a game yet. Then the push your luck aspect, which I have already said will lend itself well to card sharks and they will do well from counting cards, but for normal players, you will reach the point that you can’t draw any more cards, this can really blow! One attack point away from making a kill is so frustrating and leaves you thinking it was a wasted turn.
The game is helped by excellent artwork, it is produced by Adam Bolton, along with tongue in cheek humour for the naming of the departments, stationary items and the assassination targets as well. The rules are simple and easy to play almost straight out of the box.
Now I don’t want to say anything bad about the game but there are a couple of issues I have with it:
I wish there was a bit more “Take That” aspect in the department’s orders and even the assassination targets. Marvel Legendary is one of my favourite deckbuilding games, with it, playing cards can have an effect on other players as well as with dealing with the threat on the board. Also, when fighting a villain you can gain a benefit or worse, you could get handed a penalty. I would have liked to see that a bit more in this, as it seems like it would fit well with the theming and mechanics or even a little of a clogging mechanic, like having to put Reasonably Blunt Pencils in hand or deck, (which are a +0 attack).
Sometimes when a player is attempting assassination, they can get a little bogged down with this hand and can lead to a bit of down time for the others. Someone could sit there, playing and drawing cards, playing cards and drawing more cards to play more, until finally they say “done, killed it” and play can continue, or “I didn’t do it, I’m one point short. Now, I just want to flip the table!.. Dave, your turn.”
Good or even lucky players can create an awesome slim down deck of cards, leading to a good opening hand and slamming home the kill every time. Leading to everyone else wanting the game to end sooner!
All in all, this is a good first game by the new designer, David Newton. it has an average playing time of between 30 – 60 minutes depending on the players, but there is nothing a Fairly Sharp Pencil in the ribs couldn’t help to hurry along the slow ones. This is already doing well on Kickstarter which ends in a few days. I look forward to seeing what else he has in the works.
You can check the interview we did with David on our podcast here.