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Subject: AT player tries to be a farmer rss

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Wouter Dhondt
Belgium
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A while ago some friends asked me to join a game of Agricola. I'm always interested in trying a new game, even if I suspect it to be something I won't like. But this is number one on boardgamegeek, so there should be something great right? I opened my mind and was ready to enjoy playing.

When they where explaining the rules I kind of cringed at the "worker placement stuff". And as expected I hated this during play.

What do you mean I can't bake bread? All other farms can't bake bread cause you did this this turn? What do you mean I can't have sex and create new workers? Just cause you did it means I can't do it anymore? It just doesn't make any sense.

I was always sitting last cause the first player kept taking first player. Never able to create a workforce cause someone always took it before me. I was still with 2 workers at the end of the game, never had a chance to create a third one. I'm not sure what I could have done to win - not lose as badly. Having only 2 workers instead of 4 / 5 makes a huge difference. So the last few rounds I was sitting there, playing random stuff cause it didn't matter anyway. I'd already lost.

The worker placement wouldn't be that bad if the first player automatically moved to the next player. But players can just screw others out of the game if they want, and I feel that's what happened here.

I might try again if there is nothing else played, but I'd rather play a different game next time.
 
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Eric Jome
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Let's be honest here... you've pre-judged this game by theme alone and were determined to hate it before you even sat down, right?

I've spent some time going over your profile and game ratings. Theme is really important to you. Your top rated games are all very thematic - Arkham Horror, Twilight Imperium... that sort of thing.

Your post above tries to make it look like this is about mechanics, but it isn't. Your subject gives it away really. My guess is, if the actions were planets and the people were starships of your galactic mining corporation, you'd sing a significantly different tune about this game.

And you know what? That's ok. Theme is important. Theme is cool. But trashing the mechanics of this game when they aren't meaningfully different from the games you like doesn't really ring true to me.
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I like board games more than most people.
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Kwakkie wrote:
I was always sitting last cause the first player kept taking first player. Never able to create a workforce cause someone always took it before me. I was still with 2 workers at the end of the game, never had a chance to create a third one. I'm not sure what I could have done to win - not lose as badly. Having only 2 workers instead of 4 / 5 makes a huge difference. So the last few rounds I was sitting there, playing random stuff cause it didn't matter anyway. I'd already lost.


How was the first player able to build rooms in order to expand his family? The only way that the first player would be able to deny you the opportunity to take the First Player action would be to do this on the first action (whew!).

At that point, you probably should have been taking wood every round (and reed the second round) to deny 1P from getting any and then building first. How was 1P able to build a room and get extra players?

Obviously there is more to your particular experience that what you posted (# of players in the game, the cards each held, etc.) but it appears that, due to your newness to the game, you could have made better choices (which I'm sure EVERYONE playing for the first time did).

If you are really bothered by the fact that it doesn't make sense for one person to be able to perform an action and lock others out from doing it, then this game is not for you. However, it sounds like you understand the game but just need to develop a strategy.

Good luck.

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Wouter Dhondt
Belgium
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Quote:
Let's be honest here... you've pre-judged this game by theme alone and were determined to hate it before you even sat down, right?


That's not what I said is it? I said I opened my mind and would try to enjoy playing it. I didn't hate it up front or anything, there would be no reason to play it if I did. I know I usually don't like this kind of games but I decided to give it a fair go anyway. Other options was settlers or Starcraft but I chose to try something else.

Yes, theme is very important to me. That doesn't mean I like all games that have a great theme. Trust me: if I was creating spaceships instead of houses the game would still not work for me. That has everything to do with the mechanics e.g. worker placement. That mechanic is just so illogical and can lock people out of the game. Even with that mechanic I just have the feeling that it would work better if first player wasn't a choice among it.

Quote:
How was the first player able to build rooms in order to expand his family? The only way that the first player would be able to deny you the opportunity to take the First Player action would be to do this on the first action (whew!).

He didn't expand his family, he always took first player. If I wasn't able to expand my family than he sure wasn't His score was a little better than mine but it's obvious that player 2 and 3 got the best scores (actually getting pick 1 and 2).

Quote:
If you are really bothered by the fact that it doesn't make sense for one person to be able to perform an action and lock others out from doing it, then this game is not for you. However, it sounds like you understand the game but just need to develop a strategy.


Could be. We where playing with 4. I was taking wood when it was interesting enough (3 wood or more). I had the option to make bread fast so I could feed my family (not sure how everything is called, we played the dutch version). And I had acres with stuff on it. Only dawned on me (too late) that growing stuff on acres isn't very productive, but maybe this is a misjudgment. So I tried to build up a livestock.

It is very likely that there where better options to choose from. In fact, I can guarantee you that I probably made some stupid plays. But it was my first play so this didn't bother me that much.
 
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Jeff Bridgham
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It sounds like you should give it another try! Your first game wasn't ruined by the mechanics of the game but by one player that played so bad he lost the game to two people! Try one without this player in it or, if there is no way to leave him out, then you know which side of this player to sit on!

Actually, someone should take that player aside and gently explain just how bad they played, it could help!
 
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Doc Bullseye
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Kwakkie wrote:
The worker placement wouldn't be that bad if the first player automatically moved to the next player. But players can just screw others out of the game if they want, and I feel that's what happened here.


You really ought to try it again. You simply can't win the game by taking First Player over and over...usually it's a waste of an action that would be better spent somewhere else.

Then again, a good metagame strategy would be to sit to the left of this guy. He is probably making suboptimal choices and for all intents and purposes you'd be getting the benefit of being the first player.
 
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Eric Jome
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Kwakkie wrote:
[Worker placement] is just so illogical...


Worker placement is the MOST logical of all game mechanics. I order my workers to do something.

See, it is unreasonable determinations like this that make it hard for me to believe that the game's mechanics are really to blame. Especially when you really like Arkham Horror, where your "worker" (character) is placed by moving him to various locations and taking actions.

Worker placement is not your problem. Maybe you have a totally legit beef with this game, but worker placement is not it.
 
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Wouter Dhondt
Belgium
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cosine wrote:
Worker placement is the MOST logical of all game mechanics. I order my workers to do something.

See, it is unreasonable determinations like this that make it hard for me to believe that the game's mechanics are really to blame. Especially when you really like Arkham Horror, where your "worker" (character) is placed by moving him to various locations and taking actions.


Comparing to Arkham Horror: my "worker" does never prevent another "worker" from doing something they want. The worker placement not only enables you to do something. More importantly it blocks other workers from doing something. Agricola worker placement is nothing like Arkham characters moving around and I find it laughable you compare them.

You find it an unreasonable determination that I hate being locked out of a part of the game due to the game mechanics? I don't get why you want to make me believe that "you don't hate the mechanics, you hate the theme" when clearly it's the mechanics I hate. I know, cause it's MY feeling. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the mechanics. I'm saying that I (personally) don't like the mechanics. I simply don't like the fact that the other players where always able to pick the best actions before me. It just seemed an unfair advantage.

Maybe someone who played the game a few times would win when always getting to pick the last action, but it was just frustrating as a new player.
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You might enjoy Puerto Rico better... its another great economic engine game that is themed well... just think of rico as a less 'diverse'/replayable version of agricola w/o the worker placement... in its place, like TI3, you draw roles (or more of TI3 is like rico).

The worker placement in the game is the 'screw-you'/conflict aspect for the game, where you compete for resources and actions.

don't forget that a player can't take an action if he can't actually do it (i.e. he can't take the renovate action if he doesn't renovate!).


 
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I.M. Jeremic
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The more you play this game the better you get at it. There is no 1 strategy just general principles such as grow your family, feed them, improve your house. A lot depends on what cards you get and then what other players leave for you. The thing is you can try many different approaches and it's never the same. There's 1 card where you can add family members without having room and that can help. All I can say is the more you play the more you're aware of possibilities.
 
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Geoff Burkman
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I'm guessing that the OP doesn't much care for Caylus either.devil
 
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