When I was trying to expand my collection and on the lookout for unusual games Temp Worker Assassins caught my eye. I was attracted by the art work and the premise. You are a temp working at Bureaucrat Castle and you must use items from the stationery cupboard to bring about the demise of your permanent colleagues. Your weapons range from reasonably blunt pencils to a remarkably heavy calculator. I'm such an English teacher that they had me at these modifiers.
The game is played over a week. (In game time - not in real life. It's not an insane version of Risk!). Each day has a power up which you may choose to claim using one of your four assassins. You start out with a basic hand of stationery weapons which you must strengthen over the 5 rounds. Permanent staff carry varying scores and some stack up so for instance, a set of Zombies will earn extra points if you also kill the Water Cooler Elemental.
During the hot-desking phase of the game you must place your assassins. You can choose to attempt an assassination; strengthen your deck for this round or future rounds; move another assassin or temporarily power up your attack strength. However, there are a limited number of opportunities to claim these actions. For instance there is only one card which allows you to move someone else's assassin so once someone claims that, you may have to rethink your plans. In addition to this, you must balance out low value easy kills with building your deck to enable you to take on higher value targets. All before the office closes on Friday. Even before I was swept away on a wave of strategy I was already sold on the fact that they had called this the 'hot desking phase'. Every word, every turn of phrase is considered and deliberate. For the time I am playing I am immersed in a world of bulletins, audits, compliance and compact disc shurikens.
One of the things I enjoy about events is wandering round listening to conversations. Snatches of 'punch it in the face', 'Tokyo's infected - we need to deal with that next' or 'My rabbit didn't poo in the living room...' Temp Worker Assassins leads to some lovely conversations that must leave casual visitors to the pub wondering. 'I'm going to use the evil pencil sharpener to add plus one to these three fairly sharp pencils...'
This aspect of planning and decision making appeals to me. I like being able to vary my strategy and try different ideas in different games and I enjoy the challenge of adapting within a game; as the cards you turn over for your potential victims vary so too must your strategy. The five day (round) structure limits the time, so sometimes by Wednesday when your opponent has killed all the typing pool zombies you have to rethink your plans entirely. To think the survival of the Legal Aid Fairy is so fragile that her fate depends on a load of braindead zombies. Oh well, as in art so too in real life.
As well as the flavour text, it was the art that first drew me to the game and for me sets it apart. Each character is detailed and humorously presented; the stationery is horrifying. Even the lack of artwork is genius - the Internal Audit Ninja card features no picture, just the words 'No image on file. (Also, cameraman missing). The reverse of the cards has artwork which is similar but distinct enough to distinguish the varying card types.
Time 45-60 minutes
By David Newton
Art by Adam Bolton
To win: build your deck strength and kill the highest total value of workers.
Beautifully illustrated with killer stationery and dislikeable victims.
After a week immersed in your killer role as a temp at Bureaucrat Castle you will never look at a stationery cupboard the same again.