Stonemaier Games is in the business of creating fantastic titles that are not only beautiful to look at, but are extremely fun to play, with deep mechanics that will have you playing game after game. Although an older title in their catalogue, Euphoria is a deep worker placement game that doesn’t limit players actions like some worker placement games, and can be an enjoyable time for all. And yes, that includes folks that ‘hate’ worker placement games.
The primary reason why most folks hate worker placement games is because often times the locations on the board that they want to place their meeples – or in this case, dice – are too often occupied by others, cutting you off. Like in Charterstone, Euphoria uses a system that allows players to go anywhere, even on a space occupied by another player. But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First, we must determine how to play, and we once again bring in the expertise of fellow Canadian, Rodney Smith. Check it out:
How to Play
Got it? Alright, lets dive into why I’ve enjoyed my time with Euphoria so much. I’ve always been a sucker for games that require just a tad bit of luck, and that definitely exists here in Euphoria. See, as the overlord of your community, you want to exploit your workers at every corner to maximize your benefits and earn points, which is your path to victory. The best mechanic in the game is actually the luckiest mechanic – rolling dice to determine intelligence.
Like in worker placement games, there is often a play workers phase and a collect workers phase built into the gameplay loop. In Euphoria, if you have available workers, you can play them on various spaces around the board. If your worker pool is empty, you are left with no other option except to collect your workers from the board and end your turn. Euphoria takes this concept one step further, and adds a risk element into the gameplay loop. Have some of your workers wised up to your obvious use of them?
Management of the Morale and Knowledge tracks is so very important, and specific actions on the board will alter these tracks. While it’s good to have high morale, it’s not good to have knowledgeable workers. However, risky yet lucrative actions on the board may bump up your knowledge, increasing the risk that you will lose workers. See, each time you pull workers from the board, you’ll be required to roll those workers (dice) and add up the numbers shown. Once you’ve added up all the dice, you then add your current knowledge level and if that number is equal to, or greater than 16, you’ll lose one of your workers, and have one less to use next turn, and on subsequent turns until you’ve collected enough resources to hire a new worker.
If nothing else, this concept sets Euphoria apart from other worker placement titles. While most worker placement games have their own unique theme, they mostly playout in very similar ways. And that isn’t necessarily bad, because theming can add so much to an experience. Euphoria has a two edged sword in that regard – the theming is magnificent, and the unique knowledge mechanic sets it apart from others.
There are a variety of other mechanics in Euporia that we really enoyed as well – unlocking the tunnels between various factions on the board was an interesting touch, as well as how those tunnels interact with the Recruits you were dealt at the beginning of the game, based on what faction they come from. The number of recruits included in the game is huge, and the randomness of how you get them means a different strategy will be needed each time you play. Not only does this keep players somewhat on the same level game after game, but it also make each subsequent game feel relatively unique, as you focus on different outcomes.
As I’ve said on numerous occasions – and likely sound like a broken record at this point – Stonemaier Games produces quality products. While some may look at the prices and wonder if they are a tad high, I’m here to tell you that isn’t the case. Everything from the cards, to the wooden pieces, to the boards are of premium quality. No Kickstarter campaigns required here to get top notch products.
Solid components don’t make a game, but can definitely sway how much you like a game. One of the bigger issues I had with this release was the use of the multiplier cards that helped show other players (and yourself) if you had multiple of certain resources. This would allow the pool of resources to remain available for other players. It wasn’t a great system, and frankly caused issues when a table got pumped, or an arm swept over the multiplier card moving certain pieces. In theory, I know what they were hoping to achieve, but it fell flat when practically put to use.
Stonemaier got the feedback, and made necessary changes. In the first expansion pack for Euphoria, Stonemaier included larger resource titles that represented multiple of the smaller resource titles, making the resource multiplier boards obsolete and unnecessary. It was a fantastic upgrade to the base game, and one I’m happy to have.
If you scroll through our news and reviews feeds and look at the reviews we’ve done for Stonemaier games, I’d guess most have been scored a 9 or 10/10, or came with our highest recommendation. And nothing has change here. Euphoria, while not the newest game in the catalogue, is a must own for any board game enthusiasts. It may take a bit longer to teach than other board games, but once you’ve learned the mechanics, it’s easy to bring this one to the table week after week.