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Subject: How does it compare with Agricola? rss

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Galen Ciscell
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This game sounds very similar to Argicola - for those who have played both, in what ways is it different? How is it better? Worse?

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Galen
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Curt Carpenter
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Very very little in common. While they both have resources, and they both involved placing workers places, the games feel NOTHING alike to me. For starters, Agricola has no dice. You simply do whatever it is where your guys went. Agricola is MUCH more complex. Many more interconnected systems. Really really not alike.
 
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Andrew Swan
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I've heard Stone Age is similar in many ways to The Pillars of the Earth, although I personally haven't played any of these three games.
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Warren Cheung
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I find there's quite a bit of overlap in the mechanisms of Agricola and Stone Age. Stone Age feels more streamlined - fewer mechanisms in play - and feels lighter due to more mechanical randomness due to the dice. Agricola has more mechanisms (for example, there are many different types of resources which are acquired in different ways) and feels heavier (and takes longer).

Still, more similarities than I expected, once I got around to thinking about it:

The basic worker placement mechanic is shared with Agricola, in that you have meeples, which are placed to take actions on spots, and block other meeples from taking the actions.

In both, there is an action to increase the number of meeples you have (and this is shared by all the players!).

In both, you have to feed your people and if you fail to there is a VP penalty. In Agricola, you have to feed your people every 2-3 turns, in Stone Age you have to feed every turn.

Lots of differences though, including:

In Agricola, you take the action when you place the meeple. Stone Age has all the meeples placed first, then each player resolves his meeples in the order that he prefers.

Far fewer types of actions in Stone Age than Agricola, and in Agricola, the number of actions you can take changes - a new action is added each round. There is one main method to gather resources in Stone Age, and the resources are pretty similar, whereas animals are quite different from plants in how they are gathered and used.

Agricola is a very low-scoring game - 30-40 points is pretty average. Games of Stone Age usual end with scores from 100-200 points.

The scoring in Agricola is mostly the same for all players, modified by some cards played during the game. Half the scoring in Stone Age is pseudo-secret, in cards that are face-up but are then taken into the player's hand.

Points are scored in Agricola for building "farming infrastructure" - just about everything scores points (and the scoring is pretty much the same for everyone), so everyone is trying to collect a bit of everything.

Since half the points you score in Stone Age come from cards you acquire, people can end up scoring points for very different aspects of the infrastructure.

Resources in stone age translate pretty directly to VPs via the huts, so there is a bit of the "gather resources and trade for VP" aspect at work. The food aspect is fairly abstract - important to a degree, but it is pretty straightforward to get food (gathering food is an unblockable action)

Feeding your people in Agricola can be very difficult - most of the ways to generate food are multi-step, and all actions can be blocked.

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Curt Carpenter
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Warren's comments are good. I guess just to clarify (my own previous comments at least), I would say that since both games have worker placement and resources and feeding people, you can draw these similarities, but they're pretty superficial in that what you're actually trying to do is extremely different, and the way the games FEEL is (to me at least) completely different. For example in Agricola the options you have available grow every turn. And you can buy stfuf that affects your own abilities. And least of which is each player has their own board which they build their agricultural empire on.
 
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Timotheus
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Very good comparisons Warren. I agree the games share a lot of similarities. Personally, I like Stone Age quite a bit better. Stone Age has much nicer artwork and game components, smooth gameplay, doesn't suffer from being overly complex, and is accessible to more people. Both games play in approximately the same amount of time.
 
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Jon Ben
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Some additional comparisons.

Stone Age has a viable starvation strategy, whereas Agricola has no such option. You can take a couple begging cards if you have someway to cancel them, but otherwise you'll likely lose.

While both games feature blocking opponents from actions, Stone Age has resource actions that can hold 7 meeples, this changes the analysis when deciding if an resource will have space left for you. If you want to add 4 meeples to wood you have to decide if there will be enough room for you on your next go, so you have to assess how many meeples others will place there, not simply will they place meeples there. On the flip side if you just want one meeple on gold, you are unlikely to get blocked and can safely wait to place that meeple.

In Stone Age you have some control over ending the game since it's triggered by building or cards being purchased. Agricola has no means of affecting when the end game happens.

Start player in Stone Age is passed to the left, in Agricola you can take it as an action.

Stone Age has a clean-ish way to evaluate the value, pips on dice are converted into points via resources, of course cards (which cost resources to buy) complicate this analysis, as well as other factors. Actions and resources in Agricola often have value which is much harder to evaluate, that is their VP value is harder to judge.

A baby in Stone Age eats as much as an adult the round they are born. In Agricola they eat 1/2 of the normal food if born in a harvest round.

---------------------------------

I also think the games are quite different, they don't feel the same at all aside from placing meeples to take actions. I prefer Stone Age, but not by a very wide margin. I really like the turn planning in Stone Age, trying to place meeples to mitigate the luck of the dice and still accomplish things leads to interesting decisions. They're both good games!
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