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Subject: Tips for teaching this game? rss

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Denise Lavely
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I've played Agricola a couple times already, with a friend's German copy (thanks Dave D.!). But as soon as it hits the US shores, I'm wanting to teach it to my OTHER gaming group, the ones who won't touch foreign text so they haven't seen it yet. I have about a dozen people to teach this game to, and some of them are picky enough that if they don't 'get it' the first time they play, it won't hit the table again with them. Save me from the tragedy of spending $75 on a pre-order and then not being able to get half the people I know to play it more than once!!

Please, share any tips/hints/tricks/whatnot for teaching this game, especially to casual gamers. Thanks!!
 
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Mike Kollross
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I always start with the player boards and explain the components and what constitutes a field, pasture, stable ect. End the player boards talking about family members and segway to the main game board and discuss actions.
 
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Christopher Taylor-Davies
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Also remember to tell them what they lose points for! So that they don't get walloped at the end with massive deductions, and say, "I didn't know that!"
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Scott Alden
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If you have the time - play the family game. This doesn't really help with teaching, but it's a lot less overwhelming.
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Jesse Miller
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Tell them it's not as complicated as it looks.

I've taught Agricola to quite a few people now, all of whom are at least somewhat experienced gamers.

Without fail, when I'm first laying the stuff out and going over the basics, eyes glaze over and the guys get that cranky "wtf" look.

Once we start playing the different parts of the game fit together so well that they don't have any problems.
 
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It certainly depends on what they have played before.

With any game I teach I start with a frame work and then go into details. But I do skip some details if they are not important to opening strategy and once a turn or two goes by then explain the rest. This way its not overwhelming and once the group has the basics the rest of the details are a lot easier.

For agrilcola I'd start with
- Its a worker placement game, You will take turns placing your workers on the various action cards to get resources and to perform various actions. (if they know worker placement stop here )
- Then explain the goal is to build your own farm from the resources and actions you got during worker placement. For instance you place one worker to get wood and another to build fences with the wood.
- Then Explain how the turns work. Each turn a new card is drawn so there is one more space.
- Then you get to "the rub" of the game. That you have to feed your family while you are doing all this. and which turns you will need to do the harvest feeding.

Then I think its mostly a matter of details and at the point I don't think the order will matter much. Obviously you need to cover the actions, the scoring, animal breeding, sowing planting, major/minor improvements. I find expanding your house to be one of the most non intuitive.

things I think you acn leave out until you play a round or two

- For instance you can start by saying you score by having a diversified farm but leave the details till you get going.
- As I said expanding your house is a pain. But there is some opening moves to getting the clay so you might need to cover that early.
- You could leave allt ehmajor improvements for a turn or two.

Again it all depends on your group. I always assume I will lose the first game and just use it for learning. Others are compeative from the get go and might want it all upfront so they don't get a bad start. But I find the get going then explain the rest works best.
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Hanno Girke
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Start with the family game, and until the first harvest, play for all players, or at least give them a hint what to do. This goes really fast, and they should have the basics once you reach round 5.
Offer to set the game back, but you'll most likely see that your group just wants to continue with round 5.
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Denise Lavely
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Thanks for all the replies! (And keep 'em coming if you have more ideas! ) The people I'm playing with are decent gamers, most have played Puerto Rico at least a couple times, and various other Euros like Hansa and Traders of Genoa, but I think for most this will be their first worker placement game, so it helps to think of that.

And especially thanks, Hanno, as I presume you've probably taught this game to more people than just about anyone else on the planet so far!!
 
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IT helps if you print the text out in English. Give each person a scoring chart so they know what they're shooting for. A turn summary would be helpful if available. Then go through a demo turn.

If the "Family Game" is the one where you skip the occupation, minor improvement, and/or major improvement cards, then try opting for that first to keep the complexity of the game down
 
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Melissa
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Relate it back to the story and to 'types' of actions -

1. You can take stuff.
2. You can take the stuff you've taken and plant it in fields. But first, you have to plough them. Later, you can bake it into bread.
3. If you'd rather work on the animals, you can build stables and fences to hold them. And of course you can always keep one in your bedroom (cue smuttage)
4. Anyone done up their house lately? Let's buy some improvements! Major ones, that is (we're learning the family game here). We're going to need them to OMG Feed Our Family!
5. Or we could extend our house by adding more rooms. Later, we can renovate it too.
6. Once you've extended, the fun starts. It's baby time!


Add occupations at an appropriate moment (probably 7).

Build up a farmyard as you go, so people see how it is done.

But Hanno's way probably works better
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