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Subject: To Draft or Not to Draft rss

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Andrew Young
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Hi Geeks,

Who drafts starting cards in Agricola and why?

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Ben Bateson
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I will happily draft or not draft. People who claim drafting is an essential element of the game are desperately trying to add balance to a phase of the game where none can possibly exist. It’s usually a by-product of being beaten by some freak combo or one of the power cards. They tend to be the same people who believe Agricola is ‘all about the cards’ without recognising some of the important WP interactions, particularly at lower player counts.

Most drafts, in any case, are just a matter of grabbing the strongest cards in order to deprive your neighbours if you’re not benefitting your own hand. Reference Terraforming Mars for the reductio ad absurdum of homemade drafting variants.

I find drafting a lot more interesting when playing with decks I’m less familiar with, but on the whole I think I’d rather play 10-discard-3
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Justin
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I do, because it offers more interesting and interactive choices, and interesting and interactive choices are the reason I play games.
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Matt Gustafson
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I don't draft, because I enjoy trying to make the best out of the cards that I am dealt.
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Andrew Young
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Interesting. I don't think Agricola is about the card interactions. In fact, if it was I would think Uwe would have put in a mechanic (possibly a draft) to insure that this was the case. Instead, he didn't. That is a LOT of information for you as to his thoughts on the importance of cards, etc. If he thought they were the key to the game I would think there may be more worker placement opportunities to get and play occupations, minors, etc.

I think with more expansion decks some players started thinking that they wanted to see more cards. How do I get more cards (into play) from these expansions? How do I get more 'interesting' card combos (into play)? A draft. Makes sense.

But, I've played this game against Dr. Whos and not dealt much at all with getting cards in play and have won. This, again, to me is on purpose by the designer. If cards were the game like in Terraforming Mars, I don't think you'd be able to win without them.

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Oliver Paul
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I don't draft, as it adds quite a bit of time to the game, since you're drafting 14 cards. Also, I just don't like drafting
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Rich P
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We don't draft: it's not necessary. I'll play draw 10, keep 7 if others want to but I'm perfectly happy to see what I can do with any random 7 cards.
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Mal Content
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I play Agricola about 30 times a year, and have been doing so since it was published. My group does not draft. I do believe that the cards can create an imbalance that cannot be overcome, even by the most skilled player (at least when the player with the good cards is equally skilled), but I would miss the subterfuge and planning that comes with hidden cards. There's nothing like manipulating an opponent to take a space (because they think you really need it) and then springing a card that accomplishes the same result as the space would have.

But then, I am a curmudgeon, and schadenfreude is my middle name.
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David Larkin
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Happily play with what we are dealt rather than add time to the game. Drafting is definitely not good for new players
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Ben Bateson
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Interesting responses so far - I thought the consensus would swing the other way.
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Andy Leighton
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woodnoggin wrote:
We don't draft: it's not necessary. I'll play draw 10, keep 7 if others want to but I'm perfectly happy to see what I can do with any random 7 cards.


Yep that is what I have done as well.
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Patrick G.
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astroglide wrote:
I do, because it offers more interesting and interactive choices, and interesting and interactive choices are the reason I play games.

1000x this.
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corkysru wrote:
astroglide wrote:
I do, because it offers more interesting and interactive choices, and interesting and interactive choices are the reason I play games.

1000x this.


Perhaps, but there comes a point where the added time isn't worth it. Technically, you could draft the entire deck, as that gives you even more than 1000x the choices! But that would also take a long time.

For me, the draft itself is enough added time to diminish my enjoyment of the game, so it's too much. For others, it's worth it. It's good that we can play the way each person wants to
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We also never draft, but generally play deal 10 - keep 7 (if players have some experience). Sometimes I even deal 11 or 12, it still goes faster than drafting and gives, at our level, enough choices.

I like the fact that, for intermediate players, having to select the cards you keep forces you to think about the potential combos andwhich cards you would like to play
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Geoff Burkman
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I, too, prefer either no draft or a deal-X, drop X-7 cards. Saves time, especially in online games.
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David Larkin
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The cards whisper “play me, play me” as they entice you into sub optimal actions.

I generally play 4 to 6 cards from my hand, there are usually more unplayed than played so I don’t feel the need to draft
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Justin
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medievalbanquet wrote:
Interesting. I don't think Agricola is about the card interactions. In fact, if it was I would think Uwe would have put in a mechanic (possibly a draft) to insure that this was the case. Instead, he didn't. That is a LOT of information for you as to his thoughts on the importance of cards, etc.

I don't think any form of creation is about deference to designer intent. When one makes something, they get to make it, but once it's out in the world, they don't get to determine what the response to it is or "should" be, nor do I think people should look back to them to do that.

If counter-examples are your thing, basically all forms of "competitive" Agricola, including the officially-sanctioned world championships, feature drafting. And we've had a bajillion card/deck expansions, compared to a single major game expansion (Farmers of the Moor).
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If cards were the game like in Terraforming Mars, I don't think you'd be able to win without them.

If your opponents are playing remotely well, you aren't going to win a game of Agricola without card support.

I have my preferences, and I play by them, but I'm cool with whatever. That has nothing to do what Uwe thinks, despite my immense debt of gratitude to him for the game.
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Depends on what I want at the time. Want as easier game? Draft. Want a tougher game? Don't draft.

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Colin Nordstrom
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If you don't draft, you're not a true Agricola player. I want everyone to have an equal chance of winning. I don't want to get a crap hand of cards and lose only because someone got a much better hand dealt to them. Similarly, I get no satisfaction when I win because I had the mack daddy occupations.

I don't mind it in Race for the Galaxy, but Race is a 20min game with 2 people. But when I'm playing a 90min game, I don't want to be screwed by luck. Agricola is not a luck-based game. The better players generally win.

The 10-7 variant is a fine alternative if time is limited.

Edit: the draft also allows card combo creation, which is one of the most satisfying aspects of a tableau building game. Agricola is mean enough, why slog through the mud even deeper with a crap hand? I want to have fun in games. Agricola is anti-fun with a bad set of cards.

2nd edit: why is Blood Rage my favorite game of all time? because of the beautiful draft. Take my opinion with a grain of salt. I'm a sucker for deck building and drafting. However, drafting takes Agricola from 10 to 11.
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Oliver Paul
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evidence wrote:
If you don't draft, you're not a true Agricola player.


Wow. Just, wow.
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Andrew Young
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curmudgeon wrote:
I play Agricola about 30 times a year, and have been doing so since it was published. My group does not draft. I do believe that the cards can create an imbalance that cannot be overcome, even by the most skilled player (at least when the player with the good cards is equally skilled), but I would miss the subterfuge and planning that comes with hidden cards. There's nothing like manipulating an opponent to take a space (because they think you really need it) and then springing a card that accomplishes the same result as the space would have.

But then, I am a curmudgeon, and schadenfreude is my middle name.


Interesting. I do think drafting makes the game easier as you have a sidecar of benefits and resources to bolster your decisions in the game, making them easier. If you have a ton of food (ton is a relative term, of course) from drafted cards to feed your family you’ve simply taken a huge concern out of the game that should be dealt with with carefully planned decisions.

I agree.
 
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Andrew Young
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ousgg wrote:
Interesting responses so far - I thought the consensus would swing the other way.


Me too. I’m really heartened by this!

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murksofus wrote:
evidence wrote:
If you don't draft, you're not a true Agricola player.


Wow. Just, wow.


If you're a competitive player, you would always draft. That's what I mean by a "true Agricola player." Play Agricola without a draft, knock yourself out. There are 200 other games on my shelf that I would rather play than draft-less Agricola.

Agricola is a brutal game with good players. Watching a player wipe the floor with your crap hand isn't fun. Games are supposed to be fun. Agricola, in my opinion, is not fun when you can't build, can't grow or raise anything, and can't upgrade anything when you're struggling to feed your meeples. Then you look over and the player across the table has constructed the Biltmore Estate and is slobbering over his endless supply of turkey legs.
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Justin
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ousgg wrote:
Interesting responses so far - I thought the consensus would swing the other way.

When it comes to "lifestyle" games (MTG, Netrunner, minis, etc.), BGG selects for a relative casual player audience. I know we are talking about a site for niche gaming enthusiasts, but it's more of a broad/shallow thing than a narrow/deep thing, even though the hobby itself seems narrow to the rest of the world. If places like Play-Agricola were being polled, you'd get an overwhelmingly pro-draft perspective.
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Andrew Young
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astroglide wrote:
medievalbanquet wrote:
Interesting. I don't think Agricola is about the card interactions. In fact, if it was I would think Uwe would have put in a mechanic (possibly a draft) to insure that this was the case. Instead, he didn't. That is a LOT of information for you as to his thoughts on the importance of cards, etc.

I don't think any form of creation is about deference to designer intent. When one makes something, they get to make it, but once it's out in the world, they don't get to determine what the response to it is or "should" be, nor do I think people should look back to them to do that.

If counter-examples are your thing, basically all forms of "competitive" Agricola, including the officially-sanctioned world championships, feature drafting. And we've had a bajillion card/deck expansions, compared to a single major game expansion (Farmers of the Moor).
Quote:
If cards were the game like in Terraforming Mars, I don't think you'd be able to win without them.

If your opponents are playing remotely well, you aren't going to win a game of Agricola without card support.

I have my preferences, and I play by them, but I'm cool with whatever. That has nothing to do what Uwe thinks, despite my immense debt of gratitude to him for the game.


Sure but that is not what I am saying. Artist, designer, author, etc. all do things with determination. They do things with purpose but then the public may take it elsewhere.

You agree that designs and mechanics are developed to provide for a very rewarding, balancing experience, correct? That’s the intent. They may have missed something (A Few Acres of Snow- Halifax Hammer) that the General public found. No kidding.

But, I don’t think Uwe chose to offer 7 random occupations/minors to players in an award winning game about tough choices and thin margins so as to make the point that card interactions and variances are the supreme purpose of the game. I imagine card drafting was talked about and suggested or even play tested during the game’s development.

And the answer we got was the rules as written.

 
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