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Subject: Agricola vs. Puerto Rico rss

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Daniel Kim
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Hello,

I am considering getting Agricola or Puerto Rico as my next board game. I've read some reviews and watched gameplay videos for both and I'm really not sure what I want. What is everyone's opinions?

Also, let me know if I'm wrong but Agricola doesn't seem as "competitive" in that it seems to be based more on what you do vs. what everyone else does. Maybe I am misunderstanding something.

Thanks!
 
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PJ Cunningham
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I think they're both about the same level of competitiveness (which is to say, not much), in competing with others for limited spots/resources.

One thing in Agricola's favor is the larger number of extra decks/expansions you can get.

Both are great games and it's hard to go wrong with either one.
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Ron Olivier, Sr.
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Between the two, looking at your collection, I think Puerto Rico might be a bit more palatable. Everything works together so well in this game. I love Agricola too, but I find it a bit more complex.
But the question I'd have to ask is "Why these two games?" Is it because of the mechanic of having your own player mat to build on?
 
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Gabriel Cohn
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IMHO these are the two best games. Period. Get both. That said...

Agricola is very playable with two people (1 hour once you really know the rules), and, while it's fun with five, it gets pretty slow (generally over 2 hours). One of it's best selling points is the huge number of cards, of which only a few are used each game, so there's HUGE REPLAYABILITY. I've played hundreds of games and I'm still not bored. (I also recommend getting the G and WM decks, but only once you've played many many dozens of games...)

Puerto Rico isn't designed for two (though there are decent rules you can find for playing with two). It is wonderful with four or five, and because there are fewer choices at any given time than in Agricola, it is a much faster game. Usually an hour or less, even with 5 players. It has a higher level of interactivity between the players than Agricola too. It's biggest drawback is the lack of variation from game to game. There is variation, but it's definitely more repetitive.

Basically, I'd say, get both. If you're looking for a shorter, more interactive game for 5, get Puerto Rico. If you plan to play this game OFTEN, and may want to play with 2, get Agricola. Either way, you can't go wrong.
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Daniel Kim
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rantinronrevue wrote:
Between the two, looking at your collection, I think Puerto Rico might be a bit more palatable. Everything works together so well in this game. I love Agricola too, but I find it a bit more complex.
But the question I'd have to ask is "Why these two games?" Is it because of the mechanic of having your own player mat to build on?


Don't really know I have a reason. Just getting into board games and want different types to eventually hold game nights. I guess I kinda lied that these are the next 2 I'm considering. I'm actually for sure getting Zombicide soon, so Agricola or Puerto Rico would be next after that. I took a look at about the top 100 board games and these 2 seemed to pop out. Guess the society building type games interest me.
 
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Daniel Kim
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Wonder if I can get 2 different people to get me these for Christmas.

But as I may be playing with 2 players more in the beginning, I'm slightly leaning towards Agricola.
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Aaron Edwards
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Both are excellent games. I don't think you can go wrong either way, but here are some considerations (which may repeat some previous comments).

-Agricola is generally a much longer game. I wouldn't say it's offputtingly long, and you can definitely knock it out in a reasonable amount of time if everyone knows the rules and moves quickly. But if you have any new players or analysis paralysis, the game can easily take several hours. Puerto Rico, in contrast, can easily be done in an hour or less. I played a four player game a couple days ago that was only about 45 minutes. Shorter is not always better, but it's a factor to take into account.

-To your "competitive" question...they both basically involve doing whatever you think will earn you the most points relative to the other players and there aren't really any ways to directly attack your opponents in either game. But your choices in PR do directly impact what happens to every other player. If you choose the "ship goods" action, for instance, everyone at the table must ship whether they want to or not. You can really screw people out of points and money if you go about it right. So you're constantly looking around the table trying to decide what move will benefit you and hurt everyone else. The interaction in Agricola has more to do with just getting in each other's way; you take actions that they wanted to take. And in Agricola the game is punishing such that you have to worry more about accomplishing your own requirements than what you're opponent is doing.

Final opinion: Agricola is the better game, but Puerto Rico is the safer bet. It's shorter and probably a little easier to teach, which usually means you can get more people to play it. Plus a lot of people really hate the "feed your people" mechanism in Agricola, which can admittedly be frustrating. But if you and your gaming companions want something pretty challenging, Agricola is the way to go.

 
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M M
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PR with 2 players really isn't playing the game.
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Daniel Kim
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I read there is a 2 player variant for Puerto Rico. Is that any good? Why is it not really playing the game?
 
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Matt Brown
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dkim06 wrote:
I read there is a 2 player variant for Puerto Rico. Is that any good? Why is it not really playing the game?


The 2-player variant is suppose to be rather good. I found a 4-player game of Agricola competitive from the standpoint of seeing how the need for turn order was important compared to let's say Lords of Waterdeep. Both are worth getting, but I think Agricola is going to play better with two.
 
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Krawhitham B
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rantinronrevue wrote:
Between the two, looking at your collection, I think Puerto Rico might be a bit more palatable. Everything works together so well in this game. I love Agricola too, but I find it a bit more complex.


Don't forget that Agricola has the Family variant included. Agricola might be complex to play well, but the mechanics and theme blend together well so that the rules and gameplay make sense.

I agree with those that say Agricola will be better as a 2p game compared to Puerto Rico.

I'd also agree with those that say you can own both, because they are very different games.
 
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H C
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Eh, I like Agricola more marginally, but its not by much. I'd pick based on whether you want:

-shorter
-role selection
-shipping and building theme
Get PR

If you want:
-longer
-Worker Placement
-farming theme
Get Agricola

Agricola has more variability with the cards, PR is simpler. If you're totally uncertain which one, watch a review or flip a coin.
 
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Steve
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dkim06 wrote:
I read there is a 2 player variant for Puerto Rico. Is that any good? Why is it not really playing the game?

It's okay, but there are much better 2-player games out there. PR is best with 4. The internet agrees with me as you can see if you at the suggested # of players poll on PR's BGG entry.
 
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Chris
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PR is a dull boring old game that offers nothing interesting to boardgameland compared to a gazillion more interesting titles that have come out since. I bought it thinking it was a "must have" classic. Holy crap, it's bland. If it was new last year it wouldn't have gotten anywhere.

How do you win?

1) Sit to the left of the n00b
2) Laugh at his dumb move
3) Refer to section 23.b paragraphs 4-7 in the strategy guide
4) Do your officially proven correct move
5) Profit

Don't do it!

If you want something properly classic with card tokens and a few cubes to build an empire and sell goods and shizzle, then go buy Brass: Lancashire. It's 2p variant works excellently, and it remains the same game, unlike the PR one.

As for Agricola - sure, very decent game.
 
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David B
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Mat628 wrote:
PR with 2 players really isn't playing the game.


Baloney. Yes it is a different game with 2, but it is still a good game. 2 player Puerto Rico is a very competitive game that can get very mean at times.

BTW, if you gave me choice between playing a game of Agricola and getting a prostate exam, I would have tough time deciding between the two.
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Ivan Kidd
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I love both Agricola and Puerto Rico. Between the two though, I'd recommend Agricola. However, I'm going to go a little outside of the question for a moment and give some alternate recommendations.

Lords of Waterdeep is a better entry level worker placement game, in my opinion. It's not nearly as punishing or difficult to figure out as Agricola is, and is one of my go to gateway games for new players. It also has some direct player interaction with the Intrigue Cards. I would highly recommend it as your first worker placement to see if you like the mechanic.

Caverna is basically an updated version of Agricola. It doesn't have quite as much variability (yet) but offers more choices and strategy while simultaneously being less punishing and more streamlined.

I don't really have an alternate version of Puerto Rico to suggest. There are other games that do similar things, including card games like Race for the Galaxy and San Juan, which might appeal to some people more, but in my opinion Puerto Rico still does what it does better than any other.

In the end though, I'd recommend Lords of Waterdeep first for your collection, and then later get Puerto Rico. If you like Lords of Waterdeep, then you might graduate to a more in depth Worker Placement game like Caverna, or Dungeon Petz, or Tzoklkin. Worker Placement is a favorite genera of mine, if you couldn't tell, lol.
-----------------------------------------------
If you're wanting to add games to a budding new collection just to try out a variety of mechanics and styles, I would recommend the following list as well:
Sushi Go is a great introduction to card drafting. You can then later upgrade to things like 7 Wonders and Among the Stars.

Carcassonne is a classic for tile laying. Tile laying can be found in a variety of games, including lots of city building games which sounds like a theme you'd be into.

Ticket to Ride is pretty much a classic as well at this point. Involves both set collection and route completion, and can be very competitive in addition to being easy to learn. This doesn't necessarily lead to anything directly, but is a great thing for any collection and might inspire you to try other train games.

Pandemic is a great entry to coop games. Coops are an amazing and very diverse category of games which you should definitely try out. Other favorites of mine include Sentinels of the Multiverse and Forbidden Desert.

Mystery of the Abbey is a good deduction game, and shouldn't be too big a step above Clue if people are familiar with that. This isn't really a favority genre of mine, but more advanced titles might include things like Letters to White Chapel.

I'm also going to recommend Star Realms as an entry to deckbuilding. I know a lot of people will disagree and say things like Marvel Legendary (which is also good) or Dominion (which I hate for it's total lack of theme) but Star Realms is extremely cheap and easy to learn (and do well at), doesn't need expansions to be amazing, and also has a strong theme and a lot of player interaction, so it gets my vote for the first deck builder to try.
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Chris
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Zub3ri wrote:
...Stuff...
To me, the bulk of your reply is kinda depressing. You have told someone excited about trying harder, in depth games to stop and go by the most obvious newbie friendly games. I may have panned PR, it's certainly got room to think a bunch about the consequences of your actions. I know these recommendations occur for a reason but the number of suggestions of LoW and Panbloodydemic that are churned out on a daily basis here...

Why does he need to be "introduced" with games that, if he's already interested in Agricola, will probably be cast aside when he find something that he actually wants?
 
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Kikki Hau
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Haven´t tried Agricola yet. But Puerto Rico is one of the most boring gaming experiences in my life. So my vote goes for Agricola.
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
To me, the bulk of your reply is kinda depressing. You have told someone excited about trying harder, in depth games to stop and go by the most obvious newbie friendly games.

TBH, I didn't find your post to be that less depressing (or whatever). I'm sure you mean well, but you slam one of the OP's choices with an unfair argument (experienced player taking advantage of newbie), name the other one "decent", and go and recommend something else just as well.
I don't think it's necessary to dismiss another person's post like that, we're all just trying to help the OP here.

TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
Why does he need to be "introduced" with games that, if he's already interested in Agricola...

Well, some people get interested in Agricola because of the good press it gets, how high it's rated here on BGG, that it gets referenced a lot, the fun idea of building a farm full of cute little animeeples... Doesn't mean they're actually "ready" for Agricola's gameplay, if you know what I mean.

There's no harm in suggesting something else as an inbetween-step before getting into what can be a pretty tough (and boring, and brutal, and off-putting) game for people not yet at that level of gaming.
In fact, I personally know a handful of folks who bought "that must-have no.1 game" and regretted it because it's not as easy or forgiving as say, Settlers of Catan.

TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
...will probably be cast aside when he find something that he actually wants?

You don't know that. Maybe those suggestions turn out to be way more fun for the OP then Agricola or PR?
I know I have gotten some great games recommended while looking for something else.


Back on topic, my 2 cents (apart from points already made):

Agricola is a game that requires more mental input, if you will. A few bad decisions at the beginning can leave you trailing for the rest of the game. There's more 'getting the goods before they do' than PR.
PR has more possibilities to change to plan B. It's a bit less interesting because of that, but it also means you'll feel less screwed when you lose.

As for the 2-player thing:
I found that PR is perfectly doable, though some buildings become really important where they're not with more than 2. It's more of a race than a competitive game that way.
Agricola with 2 really depends on the cards draw that you draw, IMHO. Also, until you get the proper hang of strategy, it can be very dull. PR plays better fresh out of the box (and you might say it actually gets more dull after you get the hang of strategy).
That said, both are really meant to be played with more people. Using only 2 will reduce the fun quite a bit.
 
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Easy - Puerto Rico.

Misery Farm (aka Agricola) is the least fun game I've ever played (tried twice, gave up). Let's see...limited choices, unbalanced starting positions (card driven), large penalties for underperformance, etc.

Puerto Rico is an absolute classic. The only downside is that players have to be roughly equally matched, as turn order is important, and an inexperienced player can easily throw the game in favor of the person to his left. A group of experienced players playing with a Newbie is going to frustrate everyone. Otherwise, great game for 3-5 players.

I will note that I do love Caverna, which is the updated version of Agricola. Uwe Rosenberg obviously agrees with all of the above criticism of Agricola, as none of the elements I criticized are present in Caverna. Nevertheless, I'd still recommend Puerto Rico before Caverna.

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Chris
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Teeka wrote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
To me, the bulk of your reply is kinda depressing. You have told someone excited about trying harder, in depth games to stop and go by the most obvious newbie friendly games.

TBH, I didn't find your post to be that less depressing (or whatever). I'm sure you mean well, but you slam one of the OP's choices with an unfair argument (experienced player taking advantage of newbie), name the other one "decent", and go and recommend something else just as well.
I don't think it's necessary to dismiss another person's post like that, we're all just trying to help the OP here.

My comments are clearly very much from my experience and full of hyperbole. The reply above this one is just as scathing about Agricola for balance. But both games are clearly very popular, so our views aren't likely to be "the norm". I'd say this is very different from guiding the daft n00b towards the kids section by default.

Quote:
TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
Why does he need to be "introduced" with games that, if he's already interested in Agricola...

Well, some people get interested in Agricola because of the good press it gets, how high it's rated here on BGG, that it gets referenced a lot, the fun idea of building a farm full of cute little animeeples... Doesn't mean they're actually "ready" for Agricola's gameplay, if you know what I mean.
I do know, and also I've not actually played Agricola, but love Caverna. I just don't think it's *necessarily* the right thing to disuade people from playing it. The people that got me into gaming have a very small hobby collection - catan, carc, agricola, and it's not grown (afaik) for years. They don't judge Agricola as a super heavy game, just one of the three they love playing and have no idea about it's BGG rating or thoughts around it here.

TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
...will probably be cast aside when he find something that he actually wants?

You don't know that. Maybe those suggestions turn out to be way more fun for the OP then Agricola or PR?
I know I have gotten some great games recommended while looking for something else.[/q]No i've no idea. But if they've done some research I think it's more than fair to presume they'd seen that they're both more complex than the lighter "go to" titles.

I picked TTR, SmallWorld etc., and generally I'd never consider playing them these days. Not from being snobby but just from wanting more game. Even my non-gaming partner refuses to play those lighter games as she just finds them boring compared to heavier stuff.
 
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David B
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kjerulf wrote:
Haven´t tried Agricola yet. But Puerto Rico is one of the most boring gaming experiences in my life. So my vote goes for Agricola.



Well, judging from your 10's, you are a completely different type of gamer than the OP. So one has to wonder why you are even posting here.
 
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Most of what I was going to say was already mentioned, but I'll write it down anyway:

Puerto Rico is the shorter and less complex game. It is also dryer in terms of theme. It basically only becomes really good once you watch your opponents. The best move in PR is usually not the one that benefits you the most, but the one that benefits your opponents the least. It might take a few plays to get a good enough overview. The official 2 player variant works and is fun, but the game is better with more.

Agricola is longer and more complex, even in the "family version". Also, the rulebook is pretty horrible, unlike the excellent rulebook of Puerto Rico, so you might want to check out some rules summary or walkthrough video. The game has more variety than Puerto Rico, the individual games will feel more different. You have more options in Agricola and play more against the mechanics and struggles of the game than against the other players. Player interaction is less and more indirect. The game is also very punishing on new players who don't know what they are doing. (Caverna is sort of a variant of Agricola without being so harsh on the players; some like that, but I enjoy the feeling of fighting an uphill battle in Agricola.)

I consider both games to be excellent, Agricola a little more so. But what you want depends on your and your group's tastes:
- Puerto Rico is shorter, easier, more forgiving and has more interaction.
- Agricola offers more options, more variety and provides more of a challenge to overcome the obstacles the game throws at you.
 
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TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
My comments are clearly very much from my experience
So is the one by Ivan which you called 'depressing'. Nobody is right or wrong here, it's just opinions.

TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
The reply above this one is just as scathing about Agricola for balance. But both games are clearly very popular, so our views aren't likely to be "the norm".

I wouldn't say that. I like both games a lot, but I also totally understand particular reasons why people might dislike them.
They are both games that need to be your cup of tea. When they are, they are both really good, and that's why they get rated high. But that doesn't mean you are in a vast minority if you don't like it.

Though as I said, I didn't think your reasoning to pan PR was fair: any game with a small luck factor can make an experienced player win easily by taking advantage of a newbie's mistakes.
As for the other poster disliking Agricola: I personally don't think anyone can properly judge any (even slightly) complex game after only two plays. You need to get a grasp of all the options and available strategies first. I totally get why you would call Agricola "misery farm" if you don't yet know what you are doing (the importance of an early food engine, for instance).

The biggest "buyer beware" problem I guess with Agricola is, that for all its happy theme and art, it's a game that can be very harsh. People who know only lighter games like Catan (as the OP, judging by his collection) might think it's the same thing only slightly more complex, but it's way beyond that. Again, it might just be what you were looking for, but just as well not.

TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
I'd say this is very different from guiding the daft n00b towards the kids section by default.
To each their own opinion of what makes a good game of course, but I think it's very demeaning and unfair to call the games in Ivan's post "kids section". They are all good quality games, it's not like we're recommending Shoots and Ladders here. Let's just stick to the recommendations and let the OP judge for himself.

TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
I've not actually played Agricola, but love Caverna.
I don't understand. Why do you call the game 'very decent' if you haven't actually played it? Caverna is not Agricola.

TheRocketSurgeon wrote:
But if they've done some research I think it's more than fair to presume they'd seen that they're both more complex than the lighter "go to" titles.

I really think you're assuming too much. We don't know how much research the OP has done, what his criteria have been while doing so, or even how well he understood all the teminology and criticism in reviews here. As long as a person doesn't specify things, you gotta keep an open mind.
 
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Gabriel Cohn
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Oh yeah. One minor thing I should add...

If you do play Agricola, after your first few games (to figure it all out) you MUST move to card drafting at the beginning. It eliminates (or, at least reduces, unfair starting positions). Have fun!
 
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