Review: Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia | An enjoyable, original, and, well, euphoric worker placement game
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at 4:18PM
Jason Grantz in Board Games (Genre), Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia (Board Game), Hand Management (Concept), Reviews, Stonemaier Games (Board Game Publisher), Tabletop, Worker Placement (Concept)

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia, a game that asks players to build a better dystopia, offers an uncommon thematic experience. As a mid-level boss in a dystopian society, you must try to keep your workers dumb and happy, while also embedding your authority around the city; this is a task to which there is no small measure of luck involved. The goal is to be the first player to successfully place all ten of your authority tokens on the board.

You’ll achieve said goal by building markets, gathering commodities, infiltrating rival territories, collecting artifacts, and completing secret agendas, all with the use of dice that represent your workers. To accomplish these tasks, each turn, you’ll either place a worker (multiple workers if the die values are the same), retrieve any/all workers and immediately re-roll them, or, if you want, you can reveal your ethical dilemma card, which given out at the beginning of the game. In contrast to most worker placement games where you place workers to block others from taking actions and gaining perks, in Euphoria, anyone can gain the full benefits afforded to certain locations on the board by bumping the current player’s worker back to their owner; most locations allow for any number of workers, while only a few locations follow the traditional rule of one worker per spot.

When a worker is bumped back to its owner, or removed from the board for any reason, that worker is instantly re-rolled to check its knowledge. If the total of the re-rolled die, plus any other available worker dice, is too high, one of your workers will flee. If the knowledge check is passed, you then get a free turn on the rebound; it’s certainly better to have another player bump workers back to you, then to use your turn to retrieve them. While most worker placement games encourage you to obtain new workers, Euphoria creates a situation where gaining too many workers will eventually cause you to lose some. This willingness to break from the mold of other worker placement games keeps the gameplay fun and interesting.

If I have any major complaints, it’s with the recruit cards; these cards are obtained at the beginning of the game and through a choice on ethical dilemma cards. Some recruits--which generally give you a bonus or allow you to improve an action by paying a certain commodity--aren't as balanced as others. The main offender is Josiah the Hacker, who is able to give other workers in a commodity location more knowledge when he visits and at the same time, gain morale for himself. Luckily, some of these recruit cards have been retooled and will be available to purchase through the BGG store later this year.

Euphoria truly attempts to break new ground in the worker placement genre and succeeds at doing so while also providing an enjoyable and original experience.

Euphoria: Build a Better Dystopia  (Stonemaier Games)


Article originally appeared on Pixelated Sausage (
See website for complete article licensing information.