As much as I love the idea of role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, I don’t have the imagination to conjure up the actual stories. Games like Destinies and Folklore: The Affliction take away that stress by offering a form of entertainment that’s table ready. You sit down and utilize the book (and sometimes an app) to create foundation of the experience. My Father’s Work by Renegade Game Studios is another adaptation of this concept: a worker placement game with a narrative.
At its heart, My Father’s Work is a worker placement game. But the inclusion of the storybook gives it a very different feel from games like Lorenzo il Magnifico. Each player has their personal Estate Board where they’ll conduct experiments, build plots and recording knowledge. Plus, there’s a board for tracking scores, insanity and creepiness. What’s unique is that, like a role-playing game, there’s a journal book that is used atop the board and causes the options to constantly be in flux.
The journal contains an assortment of different maps that showcase the current status of the village. Unlike most worker placement games, the costs associated with the various buildings may (likely WILL) change multiple times during each scenario.
Speaking of scenarios, My Father’s Work includes multiple stories that take place over three generations. The general setup and game play are the same from one to the next, but the options and incidents vary. Thanks to the app, players can enjoy a spoiler-free experience with penalties, rewards and setup changing mid-game. It provides the narrative for the game, details on what to do when certain things happen, integration for players to provide input on the game’s direction, reminders for end of round cleanup and walk-through of end-of-game scoring.
The idea behind My Father’s Work is that you’re taking on the role of a family that spans three generations, each containing three rounds representing the early, middle and late years of that generation’s lives. Each family has a primary “self” and spouse, servants and caretakers. Each player’s estate will be customized to track the plots they’ve built or knowledge they’ve gained. These offer everyone different opportunities to score additional points, play their characters in areas otherwise forbidden or even carry over extra components between generations.
Players take turns either 1) sending their people to town to do things like gather supplies, earn money and hire help or 2) conducting activity on their estate board. You’ll earn points by completing experiments which is accomplished from supplies and knowledge acquired throughout the game.
What struck us the most about this game was the attention to detail. While the app itself makes the game flow easily, that wasn’t the most impressive thing. The components were what we found most fascinating. Instead of generic tokens that all look alike, there were a multitude of different ones. As an example, animals are one of the resources you’re able to collect. There wasn’t just a tray of some random animal. There were small wooden animals, no two which appeared to be the same. Even the miniatures were whitewashed.
There are many worker placement games on the market as well as a multitude of story-driven games, but few that combine the two. My Father’s Work scratches the itch for both these game genres. It was labeled as “horror” on BoardGameGeek, but even with the dark theme, it wasn’t scary at all. If a child is astute enough to play a comprehensive worker placement game, then by all means let them have a shot at My Father’s Work. As of this writing, My Father’s Work isn’t available on Amazon. However, we encourage you to check with your local game store or order direct from Renegade Game Studios. Of course, we encourage you to join The Renegade Society group on Facebook if you’re a fan of their products and keep up with their latest news on their regular social channels like Facebook and Twitter where you’ll learn about exciting announcements like their new rewards program.
What are your thoughts on narrative and worker placement games?