I think: Agr. is heavier than settlers of cat. and 7 wonders, it also takes longer. Each rule of Agr. is not that difficult , if seen as a single one, but there are kinda many rules and things not to forget while playing, so the game becomes more complex. Do you see what I mean? Agricola hits you quite hard (minus points!) , if you failed in one particular aspect of the game, of which there are not few... The material of agricola is VERY nice (wooden animals,...), the box is pretty heavy, so if you like to move on to more complex games (than 7wonders/settlers) with good material and don´t have to be frightened of becoming poor, buy it. Agr. is "developed until the end", only the "priority deal marker"-rules seem a little bit ...well, not perfect... to us.
Hope that helps! (I´ve already played each of the games mentioned above!) (Sorry for any English mistakes!)
The learning isn't to bad with Agricola, playing a couple of family games should make it easier. It is the depth of the strategy that makes this game difficult. There are easier worker placement games such as Stone Age, ect.. But Agricola is still one of my favourite games to play. Tons of options come packed in the box. I would give it a try.
1) It takes a while to set up but this problem can be addressed if you keep it well organized. But even then, it will still take longer than other games you have played.
2) The game is fiddly. There are several resource spots on the board that must be restocked after every round, even if those spots were not used the previous round because resources in Agricola accumulate. But, for roughly the first half of the game, players only have 2 workers (actions) each. So gameplay is constantly being interrupted to restock the board. This can feel frustrating because the game just never seems to get going.
3) For some people, the constant struggle to feed your family can be frustrating. If you play well, there will be a point in the game where the acquisition of food becomes easier. But this point can also come late in the game. So, often players are left with a strong feeling that they never really got a chance to accomplish anything.
4) The game does require players get a little of everything to avoid penalties. Hence, players are all building roughly the same thing. True, one player may have more cows and another player may have more vegatables, but there is not much variety in what players actually build/make throughout the game. The cards, if you play with the cards, will affect how you achieve those goals. But I personally do not think the cards provide the variety that some people claim.
As you can see from the above, I am not a fan of Agricola. I would highly recommend trying it first even if that means downloading the iOs app and trying it there. A blind purchase could end up being an expensive mistake. I will also warn you that I bought the iOs app first and enjoyed it quite a bit. I then purchased the actual board game. I still did not like the board game because when you play on the computer, all the restocking is done automatically. I did not realize what a chore it is to play until I got the physical copy.
We play settlers of catan and 7 wonders. Agricola seems to be interesting but i have a couple of reservations.
a) is it really heavy rules wise? b) difficult to pickup?
Agricola is a great game and comes with family rules to ease you through the learning process. You can play a few games with the family rules, and then add other rules on later.
With the family rules, it's possibly slightly harder than Settlers, but not much. They're similar in difficulty to Stone Age, but Agricola is a better game. Agricola has a close link between the mechanics and the theme, which makes it easy to pick up. For example, you can eat corn, but it's worth more food if you cook it first in a hearth. If you have two animals of the same type then they breed and produce a new animal each round, etc. It's all pretty intuitive.
The only concern I'd mention is that feeding your family can be stressful. The game mimics running a 17th century subsistence farm a bit too well... It's pretty unforgiving about needing to feed people. There's a lot of 'oh my goodness, I'm going to starve to death or have to beg my neighbours'. Some people love that tension, but it's worth bearing in mind.
If you're not sure about the tension over feeding, allow me to recommend Le Havre as an alternative. Although it's regarded as a 'heavy' game, it also has a tight integration between theme and mechanics. For example, if you buy a fish smoking plant, you can smoke fish. Smoked fish is more valuable than fresh fish. That makes sense - you don't need to read the rules to guess that!
Le Havre is also easy to learn because you can only take one action each turn, and your actions are limited to buying cards, using buildings, and taking resources.
You can try out both games on iOS, if you've got access to an iOS device.
Last edited Tue Jul 16, 2013 6:07 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)