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Subject: Any variant that makes the game longer? rss

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Paweł Małecki
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When we play, we find our games end too quickly. To clarify the matter: no, we don't need to score better, score isn't really important, we just don't like the fact that we end the game just after our farms really got working. What we are looking for is a variant that extends the scoring table (to 6-8 points in each category) and makes the game few rounds longer, with additional tricky cards at the end of the game. If there were enough additional rounds then we may even consider making our farmyards bigger, with more fences, stables and family members avaible. We all like managing the well-developed farm in search for points rather than thinking how to make it work at all.

I'd suggest extending the game to 20 rounds. Only the last harvest would appear one round after the previous one, so Phase VI would be Rounds 14 and 15, Phase VII - Rounds 16 and 17, then 18 and 19 in Phase VIII and Round 20 would be the final Phase IX.

For such game, the scoring table would need to be extended, I'd also see extended farmyard and more game pieces present (eg. additional 2 rows of the farmyard, 25 fences, 7 stables, 7 family members). Cards for new round would need to be both tricky and powerful (eg. after 'Minor/Major Imporvement' possible 'Take 2 boar or 1 sheep and 1 cattle'; 'Sow Fields' and/or 'Perform Breeding Phase'; after 'Play Occ for 3 food' possible 'Take the Guest marker and send to work immediately', 'Take 3 resources of your choice' and/or 'Bake Bread').

I know many people will say the idea is bad and I'm crazy, but I think at least our family would enjoy these additions. Any comments?
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Mark O'Reilly
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If you want a very long game of Agricola....play with my father in law


Or simply use this board...



(Courtesy of bgg member woodnoggin).
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Derry Salewski
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You're making a new game.

Feel free to make it but it will require a lot of testing!
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Phillip Wood
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From my limited experience playing the game adding 6 extra rounds (and up to 30 actions per player excluding card effects) would just mean that everyone's farm would start to look very similar as people have more time to fill in the blanks in their score sheet. Especially since the player boards would be the same size.

I can understand the allure for a longer version but I don't think it would work that well even if you extend the scoring charts.
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John Bradshaw
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Pawelec123456 wrote:
When we play, we find our games end too quickly. To clarify the matter: no, we don't need to score better, score isn't really important, we just don't like the fact that we end the game just after our farms really got working.


I tend to find that's a feature of many Euro games - (almost one of the defining features of the Eurogame) -you just get your "engine" going and the game is over - and I sometimes feel a slight frustration with that myself - but never so much that I wanted to find a variant to extend a game. So - sorry I don't have any recommendations to make - but good luck in finding one for this game.
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Benjamin Kerenza
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You could take a leaf out of AABAS (not sure that's the right acronym) and have farm extensions as one of the round cards allowing you to increase the space to use.

The problem with spaces that let you do things already offered is that it will decrease how tight the game is although with an extra couple of family members maybe that might be okay.

The downside being that Agricola is fairly well balanced to fourteen rounds and 'chucking in' an extra couple of workers for each player could potentially feed any run away leaders. Those set up to grow twice before round 10 could easily dominate the board if they have the option of then growing above 5.
 
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Richard Clyne
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Farmers of the Moor adds extra cards that function like an action space but don't require a worker to visit them. That makes the rounds longer, and for that reason we tend not to use it. As you are looking for a longer variant, it may be worth a look.
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Richard Ham
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smok wrote:
Farmers of the Moor adds extra cards that function like an action space but don't require a worker to visit them. That makes the rounds longer, and for that reason we tend not to use it. As you are looking for a longer variant, it may be worth a look.


Yes, I was going to suggest this to the OP. One additional action per player, per round. Accomplishes exactly what you're looking for. Now, the problem is that you have addition needs to fill (house heating) which tends to balance out the extra actions you get. But I suppose if you ignored the heating requirement, you'd effectively be getting a few more rounds worth of actions so you can push your farms farther
 
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Mattias Elfström
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Farmers of the Moor is the greatest addition to the game. We never play without it (unless we play iOS, since it is not yet available there).
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Manary Corte
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I second the Farmers of the Moor suggestion.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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The heart of Agricola is not being able to do everything you want to do. So if you add length to the game, and allow everyone to make a great farm, you're going to destroy the game. If you let the game go on long enough, everyone could get a perfect score. It's the time/action constraint that makes it a game.

That being said, Farmers of the Moor adds more actions, let's you do more and generally makes a longer game... of course it also adds more things you need to do as a balance, so you still won't get your ideal farm, but it may sate some of your craving.

Caverna, the new game from Uwe Rosenberg which has been called Agricola 2, streamlines a lot of stuff from Agricola, has action spaces that let you do more things at a time, and adds a lot more to the game. I've heard that it feels like you're accomplishing a lot more. You might want to check that out.
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Richard Ham
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Thunkd wrote:
If you let the game go on long enough, everyone could get a perfect score.


I think that's why the OP said up front "score isn't really important". I think it's perfectly reasonable that they're less interested in Agricola as a game to be perfected, and more as an activity to be shared. They're enjoying building and expanding a farm, why not keep playing longer if you enjoy that, score be damned
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Bryan Thunkd
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rahdo wrote:
Thunkd wrote:
If you let the game go on long enough, everyone could get a perfect score.


I think that's why the OP said up front "score isn't really important". I think it's perfectly reasonable that they're less interested in Agricola as a game to be perfected, and more as an activity to be shared. They're enjoying building and expanding a farm, why not keep playing longer if you enjoy that, score be damned


I don't understand. Then how does one crush his opponents?


If that's truly your goal... you could just remove the restriction that action spaces are limited to a single player, and put a rule in that empty resource spots repopulate if you take that action after someone else. If it's not about the competition, then why have competitive mechanics? I don't think there would be much point to playing the game at that point though.
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Paweł Małecki
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We really have to try FotM. Unfortunately, we don't have very many occasions to play last weeks, but I hope it will change soon.

About scores: extending the scoring table is essential if we want a longer game. Inspired by A:AAB&S, I thought of making some buildings avaible to buy in the game and place over your farmyard. I've also considered adding advanced crop - grapes, and chickens, herded in coops.

What my sister suggested was a crazy idea which seems to have potential: after you manage to make your farm working, you can start sending your family members to the city to sell and buy things (crops, animals, resources) for money. The next step to make the Agricola monster even more complex would be to send your family members to apprentice certain trades (this would make that family member employed for the rest of the game, giving you some money each round and a small bonus ability) and once you have at least one of them working in the city, you need to pay taxes.

But let us try FotM before we start to work on our enormously complex expansion...

Yes, we are all crazy in our family, I know that. That's why I love my family members, both real and in-game ones
 
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LudoH LudoH
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I understand the point of longer games, the other day I was wondering how it would play if we started with 3 members in the family (perhaps adding a few possible actions; eg some or all actions for the 4 player game if you are 3 players).

Again, the objective is not to keep the tension and the challenge of the original game, but still to have a nice experience, and play more

I understand that the balance and the scoring might have to be revisited, but if you care more about spending a nice moment than having a precise and meaningfull score, that could do the trick too

I think that agricola is a game that can also be played in a less challenging, less competitive and more "just play for pleasure" way, and in that way I understand the original question ... that is also why I like the game (even unchanged )
 
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LudoH LudoH
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Yes and I confirm that FotM might help you have more choices, actions, etc... in the game
 
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Wild Bore
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Another variant that reduces the tension and makes the game slightly longer is to have a "round 0" before round 1 (and before you turn over the first round card). This is good for new players so they don't struggle so much to get going.

The downside is you are more likely to fill up your farm and run out of things to do at the end.
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LudoH LudoH
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This round 0 seems quite a good idea.

Generally to remove some tension I allow players to start with one occupation (as mentioned in other threads here ...) but it cannot be done for real beginners.

 
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Paweł Małecki
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Wait, there's some misunderstanding: we don't want to remove the tension. When the engines start working, the game usually ends. Not what we like.

We'd like to have some tension playing expanded farms later in the game, so people have more choices - eg. more ways to make food. But no, we don't want to make this game easier in any way.
 
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Greg Pratt
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One idea that comes to mind is making the game a race to reach a particular score, repeating round 14 as many times as necessary, until someone reaches the winning score.
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LudoH LudoH
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this last variant sounds fun, however computing the score is not easy, and if you have to do it every round it could be boring ... you could also play round 14 until nobody has a -1 anywhere in the score sheet which is easier to evaluate
 
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Paweł Małecki
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No, it won't work at all. I can easily imagine players cumulating begging cards and/or eating what they would get points for due to the harvest each round. This would rather lead to decrease in scores.
 
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Jeff C
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This issue is a major debate with us as well. I suggest adding a second action for each family member in Stage 1 only. Do not replenish between the first and second actions within each round. That will allow more actions to get your farm going, without affecting the resource levels within the game.
 
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doug barnes
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My girlfriend and I usually play stage one twice, but I like the idea of playing to a certain point level. I think the scoring app can be used to keep a running total. I think we will try that tonight.
 
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Bakari Kafele
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I registered for an account here just to participate in this thread, because my friends and wife love Agricola, and I do too except for this one detail!

I don't feel like it needs to be a LOT longer, long enough that food ceases to be a concern at all and everyone has 5 stone rooms and a fully filled in field. But I do want to actually build a nice farm, and not just get slightly more points than anyone else. If the goal is purely to crush opponents and be competitive, why have a theme at all? You could just have cards with numbers and equations on them. I like to have fields and sheep and still be able to build some extra's on the side, you know? Its bad enough that the competitive nature of resource gathering requires you to be SO INEFFICIENT, the gosh darned tragedy of the commons... (sometimes we play that you can't take a resource if its at it's minimum level, i.e. 3 wood or 1 reed alone, etc)

But, for me, the worst part of all is that it just doesn't make any sense, thematically. In the real world, years don't get shorter and shorter over time!
What would make sense (thematically), would be 3 rounds per stage, all the way through: spring, summer, and fall, then harvest and have enough food to last the winter.

That would make the first stage shorter (and even more stressful, in deciding to invest in the future vs get food fast), the 2nd the same, the next 3 slightly longer, and the last one 3 times as long, for a total of 18 instead of 14. Alternatively, you could cut out one stage, and this variant would only make the game one single round longer - but would eliminate most moments of "oh crap, its harvest time already?" since it would be consistent and predictable even when thinking of 6 other things.

I haven't had a chance to play test my idea yet, since we've mostly played on the electronic devices so far, but I think its time to change that...
 
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