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English language edition, no Z-deck
List Price: $70.00
Your Price: $55.99
(Worth 5,599 Funagain Points!)
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from 6 customer reviews
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Note: This edition does NOT include the 24-card Z-deck expansion.
Note: This edition includes animeeples.
In Agricola (Latin for "farmer"), you're a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else. On a turn, you get to take only two actions, one for you and one for the spouse, from all the possibilities you'll find on a farm: collecting clay, wood or stone; building fences; and so on. You might think about having kids in order to get more work accomplished, but first you need to expand your house. And what are you going to feed all the little rugrats?
Agricola is a turn-based game. There are 14 game turns plus 6 harvest phases (after turn 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 14). Each player starts with two playing tokens (farmer and wife) and thus can take two actions per turn. There are multiple options, and while the game progresses, you'll have more and more: first thing in a turn, a new action card is flipped over.
Problem: Each action can be taken just once per turn, so it's important to do some things with high preference. Each player also starts with a hand of 7 Occupation cards (of more than 160 total) and 7 Minor Improvement cards (of more than 140 total) that he may use during the game if they fit in his/her strategy. This amounts to countless strategies, some depending on your card hand. Sometimes it's a good choice to stay on course, sometimes you better react on what your opponents do.
Agricola can also be played without cards (family game) and can even be played solo.
Best Advanced Strategy Runner-Up, 2010
Special Award, 2008
Winner: Multi-Player Games, 2008
Best Game of the Year Nominee, 2008
Game of the Year, 2008
Best Gamer's Game, 2008
1st place, 2008
Players: 1 - 5
Time: 120 - 180 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
Weight: 2,109 grams
All-Time Sales Rank: #170
Language Requirements: This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. Game components are printed in English.
- 9 Double-sided game boards
- 138 Goods tokens
- 36 Food tokens
- 54 Animeeples
- 25 Person tokens
- 75 Fences
- 20 Stables
- 24 Hut Tiles
- 33 Stone house/Field tiles
- 3 Guest/Claim markers
- 9 Multiplication tokens
- 1 Scoring pad
- 1 Game rules
- 1 Starting player marker
- 360 cards:
- 2 Deck cards
- 169 Occupation cards
- 149 Improvement cards
- 14 Round cards
- 16 Action cards
- 5 Begging cards
- 5 Summary cards
Average Rating: 4 in 6 reviews
Great! Fun! Complex! Engrossing! Why someone would give a game that clearly has hundreds of action cards a 1/2 star review because it's hard to play without English literacy skills is quite baffling.
This is a great game. There's a reason it scored so high in the ratings at boardgamegeek for so long. You're always struggling to decide whether to collect a resource or build something with the resources you have or deny someone else the resource or...you're always making a decision to give one thing up, which you want, in favor of something else. The pressure of keeping everyone fed, balanced with the need to build, keeping track of what resources are going to be available in later rounds but not knowing for sure if you'll be able to get to them...it's just awesome. Always keeps you thinking, deciding.
Add to that the fact that you get a different hand of occupations and minor improvements each time, and there are a whole slew of those cards (and we haven't even started playing with the huge Interactive deck or the Complex deck that came with ours), and you have a fresh aspect to the game each time.
Also, as of this writing, there's one review that gave it a one star because...it requires reading, in English. That's not a reason to give a game one star, and that review should be removed. But it's true that you need to be able to read the cards to use the cards. You could probably get away with almost no reading if you used the "Familly Game" rules where you don't use the Occupation or Minor Improvement cards, though. So, really, it's a strength of this game that it can also be played with very little reading if you want to do the less complex version.
My wife and I have been playing this game several times per week for more than 2 months. Rather than play games in rotation, we tend to play something to death until the next game comes along so I tend to rate games on how long they hold our interest. Agricola is at the top of the list along with Caylus. Like Caylus, Agricola tends not to have a lot of player conflict so you're comparing yourself to past scores more often than worrying about who wins a particular game. The board and pieces are colorful, there's a lot of planning to do and it's always a struggle to make each move count. Be forewarned, it took me several hours to figure out the rules and new players really have to play at least 1/2 a game to figure out the big picture. The effort pays off, however.
This is one of those games where I was a little thrown off by the title. Not knowing the game was Latin for "farmer", the title didn't do much for me. And if the game had been named Farmer, it still wouldn't have done much for me. Having said that, I'm glad my gaming circle insisted we learn the game. It is now the hot game in our circle.
The game has two versions. The family game is essentialy the same as the full game, the notable exception being there are no minor improvement and occupation cards dealt to each player. This is a big difference on a couple of levels. For starters, Agricola is a busy game. There are a lot of different actions players choose from, and it can be a bit daunting the first game. I highly recommend teaching players using the family game variant (as do the authors) unless they are serious gamers who like to dive right in to something new. Not having to monitor the 14 cards dealt to you is a blessing for players learning the mechanics of expanding their home and feeding their family. It also makes for a much faster game. Occupation and minor improvement cards add inevitable "analysis paralysis" to the pace of play, whereas the famliy game moves along at a much faster clip. So the family game has much going for it. On the flip side, the game is much more rigid using the family rules, which can lead to some fatigue after a while. There just isn't that much different players do the first seven turns of the 14 turn game, especially when the first four turns consist of exactly eight actions. Acquire resources, farm, build improvements, etc. There are different options to be certain, but it won't take too long for advanced players to recognize the patterns (as in the equally well designed yet somewhat formulaic Saint Petersburg).
The game gets much more interesting when playing with the occupation and minor improvement cards. These comprise a combined 300 cards, and each player is dealt exactly seven of each. It will take players many plays to see all of these utilized in the game, and the different combinations of cards (similar to the many combinations of powers in Vinci) adds a very large degree of variability to what is otherwise a fairly static game.
One last note, there are a lot of quality components included with this game. Mananging them is much simpler if you purchase an organizational container similar to what you will find in a craft store for beads or buttons. A simple container with a snap lid and 20 compartments made this game a lot simpler to use and enjoy.
After playing three games of Agricola (two two-player and one five-player), I think it is time to comment on the playability and sheer enjoyment of the game. Naturally, it is important to remember that the game requires the printing of 45 pages of card expansion translations. These card translations can be obtained from the Lookout Games Web site, and they are essential. Agricola is intended to test whether you can build the best farm and achieve other victory conditions with fields and pastures.
When you open the Agricola box, you will see components of all kinds. You will see large round disks for each family member. You will see smaller disks for clay, stone, wood, and reeds. You will see small cubes for sheep, cattle, and wild boar. You will also need to set up your farm for each player. Your farm has two squares already reserved for the two rooms of the wooden hut. That is where you place your family members. All other squares are reserved for additional rooms, fields, or pastures. You do receive a -1 at the end of the game for each square that is not developed.,
Now, you set up three major boards in the middle of the table. The left-hand board presents you with a series of action spaces and stage phases. The middle board continues your action spaces (rectangles) and the rounds of the game (1-14). The final right-hand board contains the remainder of your round reserved spaces. You also have a family game in the box that allows you to get used to the game mechanics.
Now, you are ready to play the game. You have a number of steps you go through in each round:
- You draw the phase and the stage cards from separate decks. Those phase and stage cards are good for the entire game as action choices.
- You replenish the action spaces from the previous turn that need fields, food, or products as well as resources (grain and wood, for examples).
- You place (starting with the first player) your first large wooden disk or family member on an action rectangle. All other players moving clockwise place their first family member on an action space not covered by another player.
- You place your second family member wooden disk by moving again in the same clockwise order.
- You remove each family member wooden disk and carry out the actions you have selected.
On the action spaces appear all kinds of fascinating choices, which include these selections:
- You can become the start player on the next turn (Startspieler).
- You can obtain one grain for your field(s) (Getreide nehmen). That grain will be placed in the Supply near your wooden hut of two rooms.
- You can obtain two food immediately (Tagelohmer). You need the food to feed your family when the harvest times come.
- You can gain one field (needed to grow grain or vegetables) (Acker Pflugen).
- You can go fishing for one food (Fischtang).
- You can gain three wood, needed later to build fences, stable, or to purchase certain major improvement cards (Holz).
- You can obtain a reed (Schlif), used to build the roof of wooden, clay, or stone huts.
Additionally, the phase cards and stage cards allow other possibilities when you are placing your family members each turn. For instance, one card allows you to plant and sow with the same action. You may want the Start Player action space, because you are tired of going last, or your plan requires you to obtain some of the action spaces before the other players. Let's say you want to develop a field before the Harvest Times come in Rounds 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 14. You need a grain, a field, and an action to sow and plant. Therefore, crucial planning becomes important. You can't do one without the other. If you obtain the grain, then that grain will languish in Supply until you can get the field and the planting abilities to complete your mission.
When Harvest Time comes, you are confronted with these phases to complete the Harvest:
- You take two more grain (for a total of three) in your field. You take one more vegetable (for a total of two) from that field. That is your production.
- You take one grain or one vegetable from your field and place in your Supply.
- You pay two food for each family member. Your grain and vegetables (not in the field) can be converted to food. You will probably pay four food for your two family members for most of the game.
- You can add an additional family member--if you can afford--that costs you one food for the first round. After that, you must pay two food for any new family members.
- You must take a Begging Card for each food token you cannot supply for a family member (-3) for each card off victory conditions at the end of the game).
- You may take one new animal for each two animals (cattle, sheep, wild boar) you already possess. You need pasture for these animals (obtained with fences). One animal at the beginning can be kept in one of the two rooms of the wooden hut as a pet. Fences cost one wood per fence as you are building.
It is important to remember that not feeding your family members during Harvest is quite costly. You must plan ahead to always be able to feed your family.
On the action spaces during the game one space is devoted to occupation cards, and a later stage card allows you to use a minor or major improvement card. At the beginning of the game, you are dealt seven occupation cards and seven minor improvement cards. These cards allow you to take certain actions that may favor you with additional victory points at the end of the game. However, many of the cards are quite expensive, especially the major improvement cards. In contrast, you are allowed one free occupation card, but each additional card costs one food.
The minor improvement costs vary with their costs; some are free. You want to use any of your cards wisely, because they can help you achieve certain objectives or victory points. Let's say you want to obtain a certain major improvement of the 12 possible on the board. You notice the costs is three stone and two reeds. You need to accumulate those resources before you can even consider purchasing a certain major improvement card. Many of your major improvement cards are ovens for baking or other kinds of processes.
Because Agricola is classified as a complex game, you need to master the mechanics. After the 14th round the winners are declared by victory points allocated to pastures, fields, vegetables, grain, family members, stone huts, and cards. In our game the games achieved these scores: 22, 8, 6, 1, and -12.
Agricola does merit the buzz from Essen and other conventions. However, it should remembered Agricola is not for the fainthearted. No doubt Z-man Games, upon publishing its English edition, will iron out some of the German word concerns. I was still left with these unanswered questions:
- Are the animals (sheep, cattle, wild boar) limited to the counter mix?
- Is there any way to make the icons a little clearer on the purchase prices on the major improvement cards?
- How can one effectively manage the resources and still develop fields and pastures?
All in all, Agricola merits its strong recommendations from many sources.
If you want to play with people that don't speak english. I wasn't able to play since nearly everything was English. Don't be fooled by the board and think you can play it with everyone.