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Subject: The farm is lit, fam! rss

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Jason Lees
United States
New Hampshire
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One Sentence Review: Fields of Green gets drafting right.

What's it about? Fields of Green has players competing to build the best farm. They will select from groups of cards that will build it their farms, and then draft the cards, adding them to their farms in positions to optimize the farms.

How does it work? The setup of the game is what sets it apart from other drafting games, in my opinion. There are piles of cards for each type of addition to your farm: Fields, Livestock, Constructions, and Buildings. So, rather than getting a set have of cards, or a completely random set of cards to draft from, (which, as far as I know, is are the ways all other drafting games work) you get some control over which types of cards you're going to see in a round - a sort of draft before the draft. The drafting itself is standard - pick and pass, but you acquire the cards with three distinct currencies - money, water, and food. Money is self-explanatory, but the other two add tension. Water is spatially restricted, because it can only travel a set number of spaces away from the water towers. Plus, it's used not only to acquire certain cards, it also powers some harvest (end-of-round) abilities. Food is less restricted, but takes more steps to acquire. Generally, the cards you're acquiring do the following - fields use water to produce food, animals use food to produce money, constructions provide a variety of benefits, (such as getting equipment tiles, or refilling water towers, etc.) and buildings give end game points. I'll briefly highlight equipment tiles: they upgrade certain types of locations in ways that make sense.

What's good?
I dig the thematic integration. I mean, the drafting? Not so much. There's not much to be done there, but the locations you're putting out do what they ought to. There's a handful of oddities that are obviously there for game balance, such as some fields only producing food once, whereas others will keep producing, but it still feels fine. The artwork is great. It felt to me like I was looking down on my sprawling farm as the game progressed. Everything has a soothing pastoral vibe, as a farming game should. Each card fit the mid-1900s setting. And, despite the chill theme, the game made me think more than I anticipated. I was familiar with its predecessor, Among the Stars, but adding in the additional currency really amped up the cognitive demand.

What's not so good? Fitting all relevant text on small, square cards is difficult, especially when leaving room for the tasty art. However, some of the card text felt too vague. There was one that we questioned and had to settle it by searching online. Rules editing is important, but underutilized. (I'm stretching for criticisms, and this was only an issue for one or two cards.) The only other concern worth mentioning is the fact that the game is a bit of a table hog. It's due to the way you arrange your farm spatially, which is something I love about the game, but it's something people should be aware of before they jump in.

What the what? Love it. Fun, thinky, and thematic. Go build a farm, fam!
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