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Subject: Tabletop vs IOS rss

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Charlotte Malone
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I bought Agricola with Christmas money this past December. And I have been wanting to write a review ever since. But I didn’t feel like I had anything fresh to add to the conversation. What can be said about this brilliant game that hasn’t been said before? In the past three months, the Hubz and I have played this game a lot. A LOT. We added the Farmers of the Moor expansion, and, perhaps more importantly, purchased the IOS version. And as a huge fan of board games and not a huge fan of electronic games, it got me thinking: what are the pros and cons of the traditional tabletop Agricola versus the IOS version? A review is born.

Note: in the interest of full disclosure, I also really want an Agricola microbadge and am hoping this review will earn me some GG towards that goal. Please don’t judge me. I could have just gone begging.

Tabletop play experience:

I’ve been playing the tabletop version for three full months now. The Hubz and I play two-player almost exclusively. I don’t log plays, but I would imagine we’ve played close to twenty times? We did play a four-player with friends back in January, and we have played one three-player with each of our teenage sons (who have both politely declined rematches ever since). We added Farmers of the Moor to the mix about a month ago, and (sadly) have only gotten it to the table three times.

IOS play experience:

About the same time we bought FotM, we both bought the IOS game with the I and K expansion decks. We play a lot. I play solo and play two-player with the Hubz exclusively, while he has ventured out into the webs and played multi-player quite a bit. The game tells me I’ve played thirty online two-player games, and I have no idea how many offline solo games I’ve played.

Tabletop pros:

Well, it’s a board game. There are boards and bits. I love the tactile part of board gaming, and this game has it all. I have this neat little player mat on which I build my farm. I have animeeples and fences and different kinds of rooms and grain and pumpkins (or carrots….imagination is your friend).

And just across the way there I see another farm. And look….there’s my husband manning that farm. We’re looking at each other and we’re laughing and talking and sometimes using profanity in the other’s general direction. But we’re spending time together. Not staring at screens.

And with the FotM, we added new layers of strategy…..new things to do, different needs to consider. The expansion takes an already wonderful game and makes it wonderfuller. More wonderful.

Tabletop cons:

“Hey honey, you want to play Agricola?” “Sure, you clear off the entire kitchen table and call me in an hour or so when you get the game set up.” So, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. After a few plays, set up has become really smooth. Take down takes longer, mostly because I insist on getting both the base game and the FotM expansion in the same box, but the issue is this: it’s a week night, we’ve worked all day, and we really want to wind down with a game. But the idea of taking all that stuff out and putting it all back again is rather daunting. And I got all the stuff back in the box so well last time……I hate to undo that. It’s like getting a really good parking spot. You never want to leave.

IOS pros:

“Hey honey, you want to play Agricola?” “Sure.” And we’re playing.
I’m not a fan of electronic gaming. I’m really not. But I have to admit, the ease of getting a game going on the IOS version is a huge plus. Another fun fact about me…….I love a good long bath at night. I frequently get hunkered down in the tub, and text my husband in the other room and ask if he wants to play Agricola and BAM….bath time meets game time. Can’t really do that with a handful of player boards and fourteen cards.

The IOS version also visually reminds you of your stuff. Like when you have the basketmaker’s workshop and you have some reed, the card lights up during the harvest reminding you that you can do this thing now if you want to. (Unlike the tabletop game where two rounds and a begging card later you realize “OMG…..I had reed! I could have fed everybody!”) Or things that let you get extra things, those happen automatically. If you have a card that gives you plus one of a resource at a certain time, you don’t have to remember to take the extra thing……the game just awards it to you.

And aesthetically, the IOS game is lovely. It really is. The action board becomes a quaint little village road that you walk along and make your choices. Your farm goes through the seasons as the harvest progresses. (The snowman outside your house during winter is a particularly nice touch, IMO.) Sounds accompany actions…..cows moo, new babies gurgle, saws and hammers build fences. They really did a great job bringing the game to life on a one-dimensional screen.

IOS Cons:

I can’t gaze across the table at the Hubz. And more importantly, I can’t gaze at his farm. I can see his farm, but I have to make an effort to do so, and I usually don’t. So end game is usually “You have a six room stone house? When did that happen?”
An additional problem for me personally is that I don’t have an iPad. I play on my 5C, and sometimes, those cards are really hard to read. I often find myself wondering “Does that say 2 food or 3 food? I guess I’ll find out.” If I hadn’t played the game already and knew many of the cards, I would have a very hard time.

I mentioned that I haven’t ventured into online play with anyone but the Hubz, but he plays with other people regularly. And one of his cons is a lack of messaging within the game. He frequently signs on to see if it’s his turn as he has no interaction with the other players outside of gameplay. The option to say “I won’t be playing from 8-5 EDT as I am at work” might make group play a little smoother. And the ability to post “Stop taking all the freaking wood, Kip!” is always nice.

Finally, no FotM. Maybe one day, but not now.

Conclusion:

I’m not entirely sure I have one. I actually really enjoy both versions of the game. If I had to choose, I would have to go with the tabletop version. It is a board game after all, and this is the medium in which it was designed to be played. But the IOS version is a very sweet alternative and an easy way to get more plays if time or space is a factor. So buy the base game, play it, and if you like it, buy the IOS version for farming on the go. It’s a win-win.
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Benjamin Benson
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Thanks for posting. I have the board game but nobody to really play it with so I bought the iOS app. I am learning the game myself. Nice review, if I had gold I would give you a piece so you could buy your badge but I am just figuring out all the Geekgold stuff myself.

Good luck!
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Benjamin Benson
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Somebody was nice enough to give me a piece of Geekgold for one of my posts elsewhere, so... here you go, have a buck!
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Charlotte Malone
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Sonicwarhol wrote:
Somebody was nice enough to give me a piece of Geekgold for one of my posts elsewhere, so... here you go, have a buck!

thanks a bunch!!
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Chris
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Someone who wants an Agricola badge should be able to get one. Enjoyable review so here's some geek gold, enjoy
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Charlotte Malone
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alenen wrote:
Someone who wants an Agricola badge should be able to get one. Enjoyable review so here's some geek gold, enjoy

thank you! microbadge purchase in 3....2....

(Edit: Misspelled microbadge. Excited typing.)
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PJ Killian
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One interesting "downside" of iOS Agricola I experienced was that the game was so easy and compelling to pick up and play (and fit so beautifully over a lunch break at work, at least against the AI) that I ended up playing it a lot -- like 100 times over a two-three month period.

And somewhere in there I got a little burned out on Agricola.

At which point, I put it aside for quite some time.

A few months later, all of the experience I had that led me to be able to trounce the AIs with some regularity kind of faded away.

Oops.

But, fundamentally, I agree that both versions of the game are quite terrific.
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David Larkin
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I generally agree with what you say, I prefer face to face as I notice what others are doing more. One small gripe with the iOS version, it doesn't warn you when animals are going to run away! Never made that mistake with the board version. There have been a few other times when a card hasn't done what I expected and an undo would have been great
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Silas Holesovsky
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In my opinion nothing beats the table top version.
Playdek's IOS adaption of Agricola is almost as fun as playing the real thing.
When my game group can not get together we are usually playing the IOS game.
I hope Playdek will make a IOS adaption of Uwe Rosenberg's Caverna.
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Charlotte Malone
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Leodrakk wrote:
I hope Playdek will make a IOS adaption of Uwe Rosenberg's Caverna.

Me too, although I've yet to play Caverna and if Agricola taught me anything, I think I should play the tabletop version before tackling an online version. It looks awesome!
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Charlotte Malone
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Zark wrote:
There have been a few other times when a card hasn't done what I expected and an undo would have been great

I've also had plays where I thought a card wasn't working the way it was supposed to and I ended up getting screwed. But thinking about all those cards in three different decks, the game must have been a bear to code. I'll cut their devs some slack.
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Charlotte Malone
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Thanks all for the generous GG donations! I have fully funded my microbadge campaign and am well on my way to a stretch-goal Avatar! BGG peeps are the best!
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Sam Hillier
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creevedog wrote:
Thanks all for the generous GG donations! I have fully funded my microbadge campaign and am well on my way to a stretch-goal Avatar! BGG peeps are the best!

Lemme help you with that...
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Charlotte Malone
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Daybreak wrote:
creevedog wrote:
Thanks all for the generous GG donations! I have fully funded my microbadge campaign and am well on my way to a stretch-goal Avatar! BGG peeps are the best!

Lemme help you with that...

Thank you! Another achievement unlocked! Now I just need to decide what I want my avatar to be.......
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Michael Carter
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I don't like the Agricola iOS app. It's too hard for me to gain situational awareness.
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Arthur Cormode
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Thanks for the nice review.

I don't own an iPad but I'd consider getting one if they released the FotM expansion for iPad Agricola. I'll wait for now and save my money.

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Jacob Hall
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I know something that will drastically lower setup and takedown time for you and help you fit everything in your box.

http://go7gaming.com/product/agricola-002-insert-for-agricol...

This insert cut down setup time to 2 minutes and takedown time to 3. It's a great little insert although Some assembly is required.
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Charlotte Malone
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Kroz wrote:
I know something that will drastically lower setup and takedown time for you and help you fit everything in your box.

http://go7gaming.com/product/agricola-002-insert-for-agricol...

This insert cut down setup time to 2 minutes and takedown time to 3. It's a great little insert although Some assembly is required.

Thanks for the tip!
 
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Ryan M
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We have a hard time with Agricola on iOS because we play in a group asynch with a long timer. It works great for Ascension, Waterdeep, etc. But for Agricola we find that if you take more than a day or so to take your turn (which happens a lot as we are all busy), it can be VERY hard to jump back in and figure out what your plan is, etc. So a lot of the planning, strategic parts of the game really get lost.

Compared to Waterdeep, which is much easier to figure out, quickly, where you are and what you need to do even after a decent delay. I much prefer it on iOS to Agricola at this point.
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Charlotte Malone
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killjoy00 wrote:
We have a hard time with Agricola on iOS because we play in a group asynch with a long timer. It works great for Ascension, Waterdeep, etc. But for Agricola we find that if you take more than a day or so to take your turn (which happens a lot as we are all busy), it can be VERY hard to jump back in and figure out what your plan is, etc. So a lot of the planning, strategic parts of the game really get lost.

I also have that problem but with me, any interruption derails me. We played at lunch the other day, someone came up to us and started chatting, and five minutes later I had no idea what I had been trying to do. I also find that if I play back to back to back games, I get confused about what cards I have in play. I will think I have an occupation that I actually had in the last game. But I think that's more of a Me problem than a Game problem.

 
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Chris
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Congrats on the avatar but a bit tough to read - what's it say?
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Charlotte Malone
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alenen wrote:
Congrats on the avatar but a bit tough to read - what's it say?

Yeah, it's a pretty crappy picture. Short notice and all that.

It's Omar from The Wire. "All in the game, yo. All in the game."
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Moved to new account: fertorresmx
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creevedog wrote:

...
An additional problem for me personally is that I don’t have an iPad. I play on my 5C, and sometimes, those cards are really hard to read. I often find myself wondering “Does that say 2 food or 3 food? I guess I’ll find out.” If I hadn’t played the game already and knew many of the cards, I would have a very hard time.
...

Hi! I play with an iPhone too and I discovered that if you press and hold the cards in the screen, it will zoom-in. I hope this help you.

I prefered tabletop too, but its hard to find time and players to play with. I'm expecting that in the future exists a Caverna app too!

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mortego
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For me, if I can play the board game version of Agricola I would choose that over the iOS version any day. I do like the iOS version because when there's no one around to play the actually board game I can play on the iPad.
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Daniel Stengg
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Hi, as I couldn't find any other place where this belongs to ...

Did any of you notice problems with cards like Remodeling G101?

At the point where I need to put the stable back into my own supply, where exactly is my own supply. I'm shifting the stable on the app along the whole bar on the downside of the screen, but nothing happens.

Thank you,
regards Daniel
 
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