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Agricola» Forums » Variants

Subject: Team games? As in, 2 people play on 1 farm. rss

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Felix Trapper
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My friends and I have really started to enjoy euro-games recently, we've spent the last month or so playing countless hours of Catan, Carcassone, 7 wonders, and more.

Agricola is arriving today from Amazon. Unfortunately, we have 3 couples that are dying to play it, and it only allows for 5 players.

I am wondering if it would work to have each couple share a farm, so essentially we are playing a 3 player game. The couples work together to make decisions and act for one of the family members. My hope is that this will

1. Allow 6 people to play so no one is left out
2. Make the game go quicker (only 3 farms for 6 players)
3. Make it easier to learn with everyone working together
4. Provide some memorable experiences

None of us have played Agricola before, I've been reading tons of tutorials and guides so I feel like I can hit the ground running.

 
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Noble Knave
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Go for it! There's plenty to think about, and two heads are better than one!

Sounds like it should be lots of fun, good luck to you all.
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Jamie Bird
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Ah, Agricola, a great game; you are in for a treat!

There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't play it the way you suggest, although team discussions could give strategies away if spoken about too loudly.

If you bought the Mayday Agricola meeple families, you'd even have husband and wife player pieces for each, er, husband and wife!
 
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eL Boato
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"2 people play on 1 farm" --- Yeah it also works, but beware of conflicts and time-consuming discussions!

In the [geekurl=http://shop.lookout-spiele.de/]Lookout Shop[/geekurl] you can order additional player boards and other colors for fences, stables and farmers. They offer additional animeeples and resource meeples as well, but I think with enough multipliers you don't really need them. Maybe you can also use some material from other board games instead also....

Using these and some printouts from the file section here (you will probably need additional actions and major occupations for 6+ players) we have quite often played with 6 players - even 7 or sometimes 8.

However, players should have some experience and not think too long, otherwise the game with 8 players may take up to 4 hours or more....

I never dared to try playing with 8 players AND the farmers of the moor expansion though....


 
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Geoff Burkman
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I see nothing wrong with team play, although as some have pointed out, the communication between teammates might reveal strategies they would prefer to keep quietly to themselves.

Another possibility with six involved would be to have one person sit things out while taking care of restocking the board and recording the entire proceedings.

Then you can delight us with a highly unique session report. whistle
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Matt Shields
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I know this isn't what you are asking, but I've played Agricola several times with 6 players on the 5 player set up, and while there are some problems it works ok, especially if your play group is not super experienced.

Obviously you need another set of pieces, but if you don't mind the aesthetic difference you can use something else. We used settlers of catan pieces for 6th player.

Everything is very scarce. Scores will be lower. But you can definitely do it. It's not ideal, but if you have 6 people who really want to play Agricola it's an option.

If you're worried about trying to balance it for more players a couple suggestions that help:

1 - Take some or all of the Simple Fireplace, Cooking Hearth minor, and Wood Fired Oven and make them Major improvements.

2 - Do some kind of a draft, or just deal out more cards to the players and let them discard down to 7. If everyone generally has better cards, it'll make the game a bit "richer" which will increase scores and make it seem less "crowded" by the sixth player.
 
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Tibs
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Something I've pondered was the solo game played by two people. Like a co-operative version.

One idea I've had:

Players would go back-and-forth placing available family members, but were not allowed to communicate their strategies: just to hope that the other player makes the moves they were thinking. To compensate for this added difficulty, it would again cost only 2 food to feed family members at harvest, and/or the "3 Wood" space would actually accumulate 3 Wood instead of 2.

I dunno. It would be an interesting exercise in interpreting your partner's plans, but the inability to communicate is kind of odd for a co-op game.
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Felix Trapper
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Game report
Well, here is the report!

First, let me assure you that fun was had by all and it was a blast. Secondly, remember that all 6 of us had never played Agricola in our lives, and I was the only one who even knew the rules (vaguely) from reading online.

6:00 PM, Agricola arrives from Amazon
G:00-8:00 PM Unpack the box and literally spend 2 hours preparing the table and trying to digest the game in person
8:00-8:30 Friends arrive, and I spend 30 minutes doing a brief overview of core mechanics and answering questions
8:30-12:30 We play our first game

Yup, it took exactly 4 hours! It was hilarious because I prefaced the game night by saying a '3 player' game (only 3 farms, although 6 people played) should last about 1.5 hours, maybe faster since we are playing the family rules.

As many of you correctly predicted, playing in teams was both fun and a nightmare. All 3 couples experienced just about every human emotion throughout those 4 hours. Everyone had their highs and lows, from singing "Movin' on up~" and gleefully expanding your house and having a baby to literally not talking to eachother after a dispute over how to spend time and resources. We found that this board game is about 100 times more accurate a representation of life than the game "Life" is. Having to OK your decision and allow for 2 trains of thought was a blessing and a curse. It made turns take longer, for sure.

Then there was the problem with having to broadcast your intentions to the table. We tried our best to whisper our SUPER secret plans, but people could still get the gist of your hand motions and body language and pick up on key words, so many key things were revealed. My wife made the unfortunate error in the VERY last turn that actually ended up costing us the game. It was the LAST turn , and only two workers left. Ours, and one friends. Our friends were overheard talking about how they wanted to get the last sheep (as they had 0) and were planning on doing that. I noticed that there was still the family growth (without space needed) action available.. which is an easy 3 victory points. They hadn't noticed it, I was whispering my intention to my wife and she loudly repeated it back to me and even motioned her hand over to the space and pointed at it. During all this, our friends were literally placing their worker on the sheep spot. Our friends heard and saw this, and said :Wow can't believe we missed that, alright lets go there" and got the 3 points. They grabbed it, and we spent our last worker getting something which netted us 1 VP.

They ended up winning 27 to 25. If we had taken that instead, they would be 27 (-3) (+1 for sheep point) = 25 points and we would have been 25 (-1 for out last action) (+3 for baby) = 27

So it came down to that last play. It was very frustrating, but we had fun regardless.

The major timesinks were
*No one had played before so a lot of time was spent going over rules, before and mid-game.
*No one was familiar with what cards did, so each time someone needed to shop for a Major Improvement, they could spend 5ish minutes browsing the items and seeing their cost
*Trying to agree on a decision between 2 people and spending extra time trying to whisper about it and talk in private
*replentishing resources! Holy.... we really need to invest in an ice-cube tray or something. What do people use? We had each resource in a separate baggy that came with the box, but seriously replentishing resources took forever, and DAMN whoever decided to make clay and wood nearly identical in color.

error we made that we since learned about:
we were paying 1 reed per room per renovation. for example, when I upgraded my 4 wood rooms to clay, I spent 4 clay and 4 reed doing so.

All in all, it made for a hilarious, memorable night, but now that we know how to play we anticipate it going MUCH faster, and we arent going to play as teams again unless we have to. We will likely save the game for when we have 5 or less people.
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Trevor Schadt
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FelixTrapper wrote:
*replentishing resources! Holy.... we really need to invest in an ice-cube tray or something. What do people use? We had each resource in a separate baggy that came with the box, but seriously replentishing resources took forever, and DAMN whoever decided to make clay and wood nearly identical in color.
Go to the fishing section of your local sporting goods store and check out the Plano fishing tackle boxes. Those are phenomenal for any game that has lots of little bits of lots of different types. Try to get one of the ones with the movable dividers (so you can make some sections larger to accommodate more stuff). They're usually about $5 and one of the best additions you can make to any game that comes with A Lot Of Stuff(TM).
 
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Ali Cali
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Great report.

FelixTrapper wrote:
*replentishing resources! Holy...

When replenishing, we first put the resources on the part of the box/card with descriptions. This way, multiple people can replenish the board. Next we scan to see that every spot got new resources, and then we push them into the area pointed by the arrow. This speeds up that process.
 
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Katherine Boag
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Imo you should get Caverna. Plays with up to 7, and very similar to Agricola.
 
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Jack of Clubs
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The 6+ player variants proposed on this site may or may not be good. I haven't tried them. Theoretically, the game could be expanded to more than 5 players, but it's tricky. It's not just a matter of more actions and more resources, there's also the issue of access to specific kinds of actions. Particularly: Fencing, Baking, Sowing, Occupation, Improvement, Renovation, and probably Build Rooms and Family Growth also. And simply adding extra ones of these actions makes the round cards with those actions somewhat useless, or at least redundant.
 
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Geoff Burkman
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Sounds like you guys had a great time! Your audience here demands a rematch!
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Felix Trapper
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We had our second game. This time the wives weren't invited! (They had other things to do)

So we had a 3 player game. It took about 2.5 hours, which is a monumental improvement on our 4.5ish hours. We found ourselves barreling through the first 3 stages. Stage 4, things really started to slow down. Decisions were more important, and so we spent more time thinking about it.

My friend brought me a craft divider box that had like 20 sections. It actually fits every single resource perfectly, and still fits in the default agricola box. It is the perfect shape and size, I will have to upload a pic of it.

I am still without a victory. My friend won with 40 points. My other friend had 39, and I had 34. This was still a moral victory for all of us because we definitely improved on out scores in the low-mid 20's the first game. My biggest error was not being able to get a 3rd family member until after the other 2 players.

The friend who won the game did so with only ONE negative point. I feel like that is really hard to do in the family game? The only negative point he had was for one unused space. He literally had everything else--fields, pastures, wheat, vegetable, sheep, boar, cattle, etc.

I am still trying to get a good strategy... it seems that every thing I look up online is for the full game. It would be great if there was a specific strategy guide for the family game somewhere, as simply saying "follow the same strategy but ignore the minor/occ cards" isn't really viable. Those cards do affect strategy a lot.

All in all, I am very satisfied with the game purchase and we are already thinking about investing in some custom meeples. We've even toyed with the idea of having everyone over again on night and spend an evening making polymer clay miniatures to represent each couple and their kids as players.
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Noble Knave
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FelixTrapper wrote:
My friend brought me a craft divider box that had like 20 sections. It actually fits every single resource perfectly, and still fits in the default agricola box. It is the perfect shape and size, I will have to upload a pic of it.


Ooh, could you find a size or part number for that? I might have to get one


Quote:
I am still trying to get a good strategy... it seems that every thing I look up online is for the full game. It would be great if there was a specific strategy guide for the family game somewhere, as simply saying "follow the same strategy but ignore the minor/occ cards" isn't really viable. Those cards do affect strategy a lot.


The biggest one is "have a plan but be adaptable when great opportunities arise." Reed tends to be tight in a 3er, although I think it is less so in the Family Game IIRC. Being the last to grow isn't necessarily bad if you've built up your infrastructure better and/or manage to build 2 rooms at once. Try and cover one negative category (Animals/Plants/Fields/Pastures) per Round. Starting Player is rarely a bad last action, but have a plan for how you will use it.

Quote:
All in all, I am very satisfied with the game purchase and we are already thinking about investing in some custom meeples. We've even toyed with the idea of having everyone over again on night and spend an evening making polymer clay miniatures to represent each couple and their kids as players.


Sounds great! I may have to do the same, my wife loves FIMO.
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Jamie Bird
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FelixTrapper wrote:

We've even toyed with the idea of having everyone over again on night and spend an evening making polymer clay miniatures to represent each couple and their kids as players.


Ah, yes, aftermarket spends - been there, done that! Vegimeeples, resourcemeeples, family meeples and then before you know it, one of THESE...whistle
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Felix Trapper
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Here is the container I was talking about earlier.

Container
 
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David Larkin
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Ingulphus wrote:
FelixTrapper wrote:

We've even toyed with the idea of having everyone over again on night and spend an evening making polymer clay miniatures to represent each couple and their kids as players.


Ah, yes, aftermarket spends - been there, done that! Vegimeeples, resourcemeeples, family meeples and then before you know it, one of THESE...whistle


or even these


btw we allocate each resource to one person for replenishment, speed things up a bit!
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Chris Edwards
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FelixTrapper wrote:
Here is the container I was talking about earlier.

Container


I got a slightly smaller container that has 10 compartments. I have to double up the building and crop resources to fit them all in, but it leaves a lot more space for cards. The box lid can close all the way.
 
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Michael Thon
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weasel47 wrote:
FelixTrapper wrote:
Here is the container I was talking about earlier.

Container


I got a slightly smaller container that has 10 compartments. I have to double up the building and crop resources to fit them all in, but it leaves a lot more space for cards. The box lid can close all the way.


I was given an M&M selection box, apparently from an M&M museum in New York? Anyway, the contents perished quickly, but the box has lasted for years as a near perfect Agricola container. Twelve compartments, everything including WM deck fit into the Agricola box.



Such a storage box is really needed.
 
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