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Subject: Are your games running 4-hours? rss

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Hendersonville
Tennessee
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Last night I played my 4th game of Agricola and each and every game has run between 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Is this common I wonder?

I mean we're having fun but there is a bit of opportunity cost here... no offence to Uwe.



Take last night. We had two newbies and went over the mechanics and then the cards in a matter of about 15 minutes. The newbies are moderate-gamers who were both familiar with Puerto Rico and Caylus (the other dominant role selection games) so the rules explanation definitely went a lot smoother than to my less gamed family.

Well with this crowd I imagined we could speed right along and it just didn't happen. Of course I am a thinker and perhaps that's the simple answer; I'm the constant that slows a lot of games down.



____________________________

The game play.

My friend Rob sat to my left and snatched up the Starter Player almost the entire game. He played a bunch of Minor Improvements that helped him plow 9 feilds and he ended up with only 4 family in a little clay hut.

Laura, a gamer, on her first game didn't take the negative for unplayed feilds to heart and ended up shooting herself in the foot with a wooping negative 7 points for these.

John was distracted and decided early on that he didn't like the game and proceeded to suck. His brother took over half way through to prop up his losing score to 20.

I came away with the win by only one point. My Yeoman Farmer helped me from getting any negative points while being the only person with 5 family members allowed me to collect a ton of wood toward the end of the game for a monster fence. I had another farming occupation that allowed me to mix my animals in the same pasture that really helped me breed all the cubes for food.

All in all a rewarding night but man I wish there were a shorter version of this game.

 


4 hours could fit just about two plays of a number of really good games. I don't know if Agricola has the staying power others suggest.

P.S. I haven't played the family version but I really enjoy the cards. Is the family version much quicker? Perhaps I'll give that a try next.

Final scores...

K-39, R-38, L-24, J/P-20
 
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Sean Dooley
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4 hours is a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time for 4 player game. Really long. We've got the two-player down to about 45 minutes, and the two 4 player games I've played (both with new players) only took 2ish hours a-piece. I really believe the 30 minutes per player estimate is accurate.
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Dylan Shakespeare
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45 minutes is about right. We're quick thinkers and non-competitive (But that doesn't mean we don't try to win!).
 
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Matt Vollick
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St. Thomas
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First game of Agricola with 4 players lasted 4 hours. Subsequent games have been coming in between 2 and 3 hours (usually closer to the 3 hour mark).
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Jacob Goddard
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My gaming group has 5 player games down to about 90 minutes beginning to end.
 
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Zack Boatman
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Our group will also get in a 5 player game in 90 minutes.
 
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Inno Van
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Games should be 30 minutes per player. But we've played 5 player games in 90 minutes once everyone is experienced.

Your group is really taking longer than average.
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Lindsay Scholle
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Four players has been coming in at well under 90 minutes. Three players is taking about an hour. All players have a few plays under their belts though. Try again and use a cattle prod if need be.
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brian laing
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my groups as well has had 3-4 player games finish in 90-120 minutes
 
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Slovakia Steph
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We played in a little over two hours with eight. Yup, that included three teams of two taking time to talk over things.
 
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Goran Topic
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kevintlee wrote:
4 hours could fit just about two plays of a number of really good games.

...like Agricola.

Seriously, man, really, 4 hours is 2 hours too much. I'd hate the game too if it dragging so much.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Maybe consider putting an sand timer on the table? I know some folks who do that with Alhambra and it works pretty well. The very first time I played the game was 4 people on a German board (but printed English cards). All but one were learning, and it still didn't take that long.
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Emivaldo Sousa
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Never took that long for our group - maybe 2.5 hours in a 5 player game, tops - even when we were learning.
 
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Doc Bullseye
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My 4-man group takes about 2 hours to play. One guy has major AP and the rest of us are more than deliberate. That also includes time to eat the pizza (away from the table, of course).

I'd suggest you guys try again now that you know the rules!
 
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Daniel Corban
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kevintlee wrote:
John was distracted and decided early on that he didn't like the game and proceeded to suck. His brother took over half way through to prop up his losing score to 20.

I'm sure this added quite a bit of time to your game.

Even the newest of newbies shouldn't be taking more than 2.5 hours to play this in a 4/5 player game.
 
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Marshall P.
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kevintlee wrote:
I'm the constant that slows a lot of games down.


There's your problem right there.
 
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Okay, okay. I got my concesus. I'll find an egg timer and through it in the box. I'll have to put Rob in charge of it though.

So you make a game plan and you know what you want to do (one of three moves) if they're available and go. I've played 5 times and I am speeding up but I'm probably at much to blame as anyone for the speed. (and I just lost all my new years invitations; good thing Agricola's got that solo version)
 
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Tim Seitz
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It's max 30 min per player. Even with people who are slow.

One area where people can speed up the game is to have someone prep the materials to restock the board just prior to the next round, so at least you aren't wasting time doing that.
 
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It wasn't a rock
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out4blood wrote:
It's max 30 min per player. Even with people who are slow.

Clearly not.

I do wish some of you speed demons would film a game or two and put them on youtube (or whatever) so we can all see it for ourselves.

The fastest I've ever seen a game of Agricola go was about 45 minutes play time per player.
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Drake Coker
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We just tried our first 5-player run. One newbie, two others had played Agricola once. My wife and I have several 2-player games under our belt. I think we came in around 45-mins / player. We tend to run a little long on games in general.

 
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Randall Bart
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RockLobster wrote:
I do wish some of you speed demons would film a game or two and put them on youtube (or whatever) so we can all see it for ourselves.

Go watch them play at BSW. It's 15 minutes per player.
 
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Kris J
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There must be some sort of bias where people who play fast are more likely to respond to "how fast does this play"-type posts. The respondents here, like in most other similar cases, are faster players.

I know of four gaming groups who play this game with 3-4 players. A game of about 2.5 hours is not rare. 2 is about right for folks really trying to do well, giving it good thought, and that aren't mass-repeat players.

KJ
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Simon Lundström
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kevintlee wrote:
Last night I played my 4th game of Agricola and each and every game has run between 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Is this common I wonder?


No. I played a 5-player game yesterday with me (35 yrs), a 16-yo and 3 kids about 10 yo. Took ut less than 2 hours. (1:50 I think)

However, I see the problem:

kevintlee wrote:
We had two newbies and went over the mechanics and then the cards in a matter of about 15 minutes.


kevintlee wrote:
He played a bunch of Minor Improvements


Newbies + not playing family version = a high risk of the game dragging.

The cards don't prolong the game much… UNLESS you play with the cards the first time.

If there is even ONE player who hasn't played Agricola before… play the family version. Not because it's quicker, but because the game's more open, the options are fewer and the mechanics much easier to understand. A person who don't take the minus points for unused fields into account is not ready for the cards.

Frankly, I enjoy the family version more. I've played with the cards a couple of times, and it's been enjoyable, but at one of these occasions we had a guy who had played the basic game only once… and he sure didn't enjoy that game.
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McDog
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As others have said, over 4 hours is way way too long. My games are 90-120 minutes. I like the sand timer idea the other guy had.
 
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Bill Gallagher
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I can easily see a five player game of Agricola lasting four hours if there are two or three players prone to analysis paralysis. They're the players who'll spend an inordinate amount of time on their turn in the late game counting the points everyone has, trying to figure out what everyone else is likely to do, and (with some variants) what cards each player may be holding.
 
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