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Subject: Agricola - Is it worth a place on your shelf? rss

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Brett Bond
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In this series of short 'reviews' we're focusing not on explaining the game and how it plays but simply considering whether its worth a place on your shelf - offering both value for money and filling a particular niche.

Value for Money

I paid $77 for my copy of Agricola and in terms of components, that price is fair, in my opinion. The wooden bits it offers are nice and plentiful enough in quantity to justify the cost. The art on both the box and the cardboard components is quite nice as well. All in all a pretty decent deal in terms of components

The real value for money with Agricola though comes in its huge re-playability, offering both a family game and a standard game. The family game is straight worker placement with all players choosing from the same actions. The standard game involves specialised randomly dealt or drafted cards that can be played using actions to offer unique advantages and bonuses to each player. And the game comes with a lot of cards for standard version - 3 chunky decks. The family game by itself is also quite replayable but becomes a more predictable and less varied strategy game, which some may prefer.

Agricola is also a surprisingly accessible game. With the family variant and consistent and sensible theme, people will grasp the game-play fairly easily. The addition of resourceeples and vegiemeeples available either from Mayday or in the Goodies expansion will for many groups help people grasp what they are doing thematically, which often makes learning easier and game-play more enjoyable.

A place in your collection?

Agricola is a very popular game, partly because it caters to a number of different groups. It can be a medium weight euro strategy game with little luck in the family version if you want it to be. Or it can be a more complex experience, of finding clever card combinations and where every game is different with the standard game. It can be played as a thematic experience, or as a pure strategy game, and holds appeal in both directions.

It is a little heavier than other worker placement options out there so be aware of that. It is though very well designed, has a fairly friendly and interesting theme, nice presentation and plays well from 1-5 players. If your group is looking for a lighter worker placement game, this is probably not the one. But if you've enjoyed worker placement games in the past and want to add a slightly more strategic and complex one to your collection, Agricola is well worth considering.
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Mark O'Reilly
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If there wasn't room on my shelf for Agricola...
I would buy another shelf
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Viktor Karlsson Mantel
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The best worker placement game out there.
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David Janik-Jones
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Nope, not on my shelf. Even if the rest of my games vanished overnight and it was the only game in the world. I'd probably take up knitting at that point. I'm one of "those heretics" that don't like absolute choice denial as a mechanic. Three and a half games was enough for this lifetime for me. One man's fish is another man's poisson, after all.

But, that said, I absolutely do understand why people love this game, though.
 
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Allen OConnor
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I love the game. My only criticism is that it is very hard to play with a group of people with a mixed experience level; as so much of the strategy is not obvious until you have a few games under your belt.
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Stephen Sanders
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Nope, not on my shelf. Even if the rest of my games vanished overnight and it was the only game in the world. I'd probably take up knitting at that point. I'm one of "those heretics" that don't like absolute choice denial as a mechanic. Three and a half games was enough for this lifetime for me. One man's fish is another man's poisson, after all.

But, that said, I absolutely do understand why people love this game, though.

Not being adversarial, but what do you mean by "absolute choice denial?" I'm interested in your response!
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Richard Galbraith
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How well would you say this plays solo? I need a solo game that upscales to 2-player well and I'm wondering if this is enjoyable enough for one to play on a consistent basis by their self?
 
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Mark Judd
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UnknownAmnesiac wrote:
How well would you say this plays solo? I need a solo game that upscales to 2-player well and I'm wondering if this is enjoyable enough for one to play on a consistent basis by their self?
I love playing Agricola solo. It has a completely different feel than multi-player. It's kind of like trying to solve a puzzle. You will usually wait for resources to accumulate instead of trying to pounce on them before your opponent. Many times, I have found myself with a pencil and paper trying to plan out the first few rounds as well as the last few rounds to maximize my score. Also, the option of a series of solo games, with an increasing target score after each round of the series, providing excess food for the following round based on how well you beat the target score, and being allowed to carry over played occupations after each round can be quite fun.
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Richard Galbraith
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Beaveman wrote:
UnknownAmnesiac wrote:
How well would you say this plays solo? I need a solo game that upscales to 2-player well and I'm wondering if this is enjoyable enough for one to play on a consistent basis by their self?
I love playing Agricola solo. It has a completely different feel than multi-player. It's kind of like trying to solve a puzzle. You will usually wait for resources to accumulate instead of trying to pounce on them before your opponent. Many times, I have found myself with a pencil and paper trying to plan out the first few rounds as well as the last few rounds to maximize my score. Also, the option of a series of solo games, with an increasing target score after each round of the series, providing excess food for the following round based on how well you beat the target score, and being allowed to carry over played occupations after each round can be quite fun.

Hey, thanks. Sounds really interesting. Definitely wouldn't mind solving some lengthy puzzles in my downtime.
 
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Brett Bond
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Another good option for solo and 2 players is At the Gates of Loyang, it doesn't get quite the praise of Agricola, but its a brilliant game nonetheless. Loyang also shines with 2 players imo
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Mark O'Reilly
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Bondy034 wrote:
Another good option for solo and 2 players is At the Gates of Loyang, it doesn't get quite the praise of Agricola, but its a brilliant game nonetheless. Loyang also shines with 2 players imo

100% agreement,
Loyang is an extremely good, very satisfying game to play,
It looks amazing on the table, so colourful with amazing vegi-meeples.
Scores are always close, a lot less stress level than can happen in Agricola.
You always feel extremely satisfied after playing At the gates of Loyang- it's that damn good
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Richard Galbraith
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Alright, sounds good. I'll be sure to check that out.
 
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Brett Bond
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My $77 copy did come with animeeples. The new English printing from Z-man comes with animeeples standard (it's advertised on the front of the box) - you'll still need to pick up the resourceeples and veggiemeeples separate though - Mayday do a set which i've ordered for about 25 bucks - its possibly cheaper in the US.

I'm really curious about Caverna (I assume that's the one you meant?). I've read through the rules and it seems to do a number of things rather differently than Agricola - there isn't a standard/card driven variant out of the box, scoring is more open - just a flat bonus for every animal, rather than the enforced diversity of Agricola. I'm a little concerned whether it will be quite as replayable, cause the cards add a lot in that regard in Agricola. But if I do get a copy at some point, I will be sure to post a review!
 
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Steve Duff
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Ganybyte wrote:
thoughts on Cavedonia?
The new game by Uwe Boydell? It should be great.



Couldn't resist.
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Lawrence Low
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DaveyJJ wrote:
Nope, not on my shelf. Even if the rest of my games vanished overnight and it was the only game in the world. I'd probably take up knitting at that point. I'm one of "those heretics" that don't like absolute choice denial as a mechanic. Three and a half games was enough for this lifetime for me. One man's fish is another man's poisson, after all.

But, that said, I absolutely do understand why people love this game, though.

3.5 games??? I was forced to play 2 games & THAT was enough for ME!
What's so interesting about milking imaginary cows & planting imaginary crops?
 
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Fernando Robert Yu
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biffta wrote:
If there wasn't room on my shelf for Agricola...
I would buy another shelf

This.

Agricola is an absolutely fantastic gem of a game.
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R Wallace
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IMHO, I think the game solos pretty well. With the first 5 actions somewhat randomized, you have a little bit of variety with what you can accomplish early on... although I have found that, like chess, the beginning moves will usually (for me) be the same every time. This was the game that actually got me started looking for more resource management solitaire-able games. I would definitely recommend it.
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Brian Geringer
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Agricola is the game most worthy of space on my shelf...

... now if some one near me just liked to play it... crycry
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Tuan Minh
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I play this game all the time on my iPad. Now after finish several games with AI, I start to play online to face tougher and more bizzarre opponents.

A lot of online players don't move on time, so I have the added experience to play 4 or 5-player game while 2-3 players defaulted. That is another kind of game that Online Agricola can offer.
 
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While it sits on my shelf...

It doesn't really reach the table cause I don't typically want to put it there.

But....it's not a bad game...just not as great as so many claim it to be. IMO!!!

 
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