Work Days: Review

Fairway recently started a new job. So what better way to celebrate that by taking a look at a game about shirking work!  Today, Fairway picks up Work Days by Graviti Entertainment and available from The Game Crafter.

Work Days is a quick, two- to four-player card game with a fair share of take that. In the game, players are competing to get the least amount of work done possible while trying to increase the work loads of the other players.

Initial Impressions ^

  1. We had to admit, the humor of the situations struck a chord. There’s something certainly amusing about the all-to-believable “excuses” for avoiding work and the “reasons” for having to work too much.
  2. The game play itself was simple enough to learn: draw one, play one, resolve effects. We were able to get started pretty quickly.
  3. On The art and graphic design were on the weak side.

Game play ^

Work Days is a card game that is played over eight rounds. Players are trying to play cards to make sure that they’ve worked the fewest numbers of hours by the end of the work day (after the eighth round).

At the start of the game, each player is dealt a starting hand of five cards.  The game consists of a single deck of cards. There are four different types of cards: admin, slacker, excuse and task cards. In addition to a type, each card has a title and an effect. In general, the admin and task cards typically add to the number of hours that the receiving player has to work whereas the slacker and excuse cards reduce the number of hours worked.

During each round, each player will draw one card and play one card in player order.  When a card is played, the “effect” is resolved and the play passes to the next player.  Most cards cause a player’s total hours to fluctuate.

On the green ^

Work Days is definitely a simple game.  It has a few high points.

Office humor.  It’s clear the designer has worked in an office before and most definitely in an Information Technology office. Many of the cards could be fodder for an Office Space-like sitcom. Everything from “cleaning the keyboard” to “customer escalations” play nicely into this theme.  Nicely done.

Eight rounds and “working time.”  We really enjoyed the fact that the game played over “eight” rounds as a perfect connection to the eight-hour work day. The idea that you and your colleagues are doing things to either reduce your work or increase other people’s work is quite funny.

Play and learning time.  This game plays very quickly. Players picked it up right away and were able to get a few plays in in a short time.

Where it comes up short ^

The game did leave a lot to be desired though.

Luck of the draw.  Among other things, there wasn’t a lot of room for strategy. It’s not like someone could adopt an expert slacker or workaholic strategy to win. The game was mostly luck of the draw. In fact, the game had some wild swings in work that made the winner nothing more than who got the best cards at the right time.

Art and theme.  This game was so close to getting this right. More than one person commented how the art and graphic design might have been a perfect fit for terrible clipart or terrible PowerPoint like layouts. Instead it was only okay art without enough “cheese” to really bring the theme home.

Graphic design.  Ironically, in a game where they could have gotten away with terrible graphic design, it suffers from just bad design. For instance, how hard would it have been to just include the hours (worked or gained) some place making it easy to sum? Instead they’re just typed in text in the middle.  Likewise, all of the effect text is written in all caps using Times New Roman centered.  It’s frustrating.

In the hole ^

Work Days is a very light filler, mostly-gag or joke-gift game. I could also see playing it if you’re a cubicle jockey looking to make light of a tough work environment. I think that the game is a little rough around the edges and there’s certainly room for improvement. But the humor might be just enough for some to forgive those other issues.

Work Days is in the hole for one over par. ^

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