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Subject: First play : Use family game rules or play a full game (With E cards) ? rss

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Bob Snake
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Just sorted the stuff but did not read the rules yet. I know there is a family game and a full game. Which do you guys recommend for the first time.
 
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A. B. West
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I've never played the family game - went straight into the full game with cards. Seemed to work fine. But it is alot to take in and you can easily get lost with all the options in the game. If your group is pretty experienced in Euro-style games, you should be fine going right to the card play. The E-Deck is pretty easy.
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Joe S
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In a game with my daughter, who, incidentally, is not a gamer, I tried to play all the cards. She pretty much gave up about round IV. She said there's was really too much going on and she was lost.

A caveat tho, I'd never played or even seen the game played either, except for a solo game or two to figure out the rules.
 
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Trent Hamm
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I never bothered with the family game. Try the full game - if it really feels like you've jumped into the deep end of the pool, give the family game a shot. If you enjoy the full game, forget the family game ever existed.
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Will
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Bobthesnake wrote:
Just sorted the stuff but did not read the rules yet. I know there is a family game and a full game. Which do you guys recommend for the first time.


Family game definately. But it depends on the group you play with. Its very hard to tell what kinda cards would help with your particular strategy when you've never played before.

There's also an official solo version I belive, so perhaps try that out to see what its like. That would also get you familiar with the rules, and its always a lot of help when trying a new game to have at least 1 person who has played it before.
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Eric Taylor
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If you're playing with a lot of new people and they're not hardcore gamers at heart, play the family game the first time through. It can be difficult to tell how occupations and minor improvements can benefit you and when to play them if you're unfamiliar with the basics of resource management. I would immediately switch to regular Agricola after the intro game though, but you shouldn't consider it "not really playing Agricola."
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We started with the cards right away, but we're both experienced gamers. When I've taught other gamers, I've always used cards, and never had a problem, but if you're teaching someone who's a little more hesitant around games, the family game is slightly less intimidating/overwhelming/distracting.
 
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Chris Dunbar
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Unless the group you're playing with are all seasoned gamers, I'd definitely stick with the family game for your first go. The family game plays quick, lets everyone learn the game and how it flows, while still giving them the opportunity to implement a bit of strategy as they go.

Sure you lose a big hunk of the game without the cards, but it's just one game. Once everyone knows how the game goes, throw in the cards and they won't miss a beat. If you jam everything down their throats at one time, they will be far too overwhelmed, unless, like I said, they're seasoned gamers. You'd rather have them love the game after the first play by keeping it simple, than hate it by trying to play it the "right" way from the get go.
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Ryan Hulse
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God I'm sure I'm too late, but if you are playing with an actual family, I really REALLY recommend the family mode. The cards add too much complexity to the first game. Even without the cards players will have lots of choices for their strategy.

We played our first two games in family mode, and our first game with cards tonight. Even then there was a slow down as everyone figured out how best to integrate all these new strategies into the game.
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Lewis Wagner
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Any player's first game of Agricola should be the Family game, even if, especially if, the new players are seasoned gamers.

The Family game is a good and serious game in its own right. It's unrealistic to expect a new player to properly value the Occupations and Minor Improvements of the full game without having played Agricola once.

Yes, many times just starting with the full game works. However, I've seen too many newbie games crater, taking far too long and turning a new player against the game. In those cases, it would have been faster for the same set of players to play the family game and then a second full game than for them to play one full game to start.

The family game will go quickly and, worst case, it will feel a little dry without the cards.
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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Once you are comfortable with that then go sick with the cards cool
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lewis wrote:
Any player's first game of Agricola should be the Family game, even if, especially if, the new players are seasoned gamers.

The Family game is a good and serious game in its own right. It's unrealistic to expect a new player to properly value the Occupations and Minor Improvements of the full game without having played Agricola once.

Yes, many times just starting with the full game works. However, I've seen too many newbie games crater, taking far too long and turning a new player against the game. In those cases, it would have been faster for the same set of players to play the family game and then a second full game than for them to play one full game to start.

The family game will go quickly and, worst case, it will feel a little dry without the cards.

This echos my experiences as well. My play group didn't have much trouble with the full game out of the gate, but then others I taught later did. Much later we got around to trying the family game and it is a very good game as well. I'm now very happy to play either at the drop of a hat.
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Jan B.
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I would recommend playing the family game first as well. It's important to understand the mechanics first and later on use the cards to improve certain aspects of the mechanics.

I started playing the game with cards in a two player game with a good friend. We've been both experienced gamers and we were prepared for a heavyweight learning experience. So that wasn't a big problem for us. BUT in most cases you'd like to start with the family game. It will speed up the learning experience, the playing time, the setup time and will be more fun because of that.
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Bob Snake
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Thanks for the suggestion. I will play a solo game then I will play a family game since I will play with my gf and she's a light gamer.
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Jason Gische
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I'll echo the sentiments that the family game first is the way to go. It's a solid game in its own right, and you'll all have the mechanics down before you get the AP experience of reading through 14 cards.
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Lord Chambers
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Don't bother with the family game.

I would just recommend teachers of the game watch Board Games with Scott's Agricola overview, and possibly steal his organization. He explains the game in an organized way that doesn't leave many questions. After spending 10 minutes explaining every rule in the game, from orthoganal fence placement to unintuitive breeding, I give the following suggestions.

1. You're going to be overhwelmed by the number of things to do and have no idea what to do your first time. In the early game your main goal is to get the first house expansion and third peep. Afterward you just need to get one of everything.

2. Don't focus on the cards in your hand. Typically players will play 2-3 occupations and improvements.

3. When it doubt, go for big piles of resources, because even if you don't know how you'll use them, you'll find a way to.

4. Once again, grain can be used as 1 food at any time. But to use an oven or cooking implement to turn it into 2, 3, 4, or 5 food you need to BAKE BREAD. That is located here *point* and when you build ovens.

But of course, I assume new players don't stand a chance of winning their first game anyway, so I don't have a problem playing a game they won't "understand" for their first playthrough. As long as the new player is making actions and asking questions, and the teacher is offering guidence when the new player is stunned, why not play with the cards? Who "understands" the game anyway? All players have varible ability to utilized their cards effectively, and determine which actions have the highest opportunity cost. For instance, I play with one guy who can barely feed his family self-destructs every game. He doesn't understand the game and that doesn't mean we should play the family game. Nor should we with a new player. The new player will learn how the game works more and more each time they play. Withholding the cards isn't neccesary if you explain the game.
 
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Lord Chambers wrote:
Don't bother with the family game.
But why? The family game is an excellent game in and of itself.
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Jason Gische
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Lord Chambers wrote:
Don't bother with the family game.

I would just recommend teachers of the game watch Board Games with Scott's Agricola overview, and possibly steal his organization. He explains the game in an organized way that doesn't leave many questions. After spending 10 minutes explaining every rule in the game, from orthoganal fence placement to unintuitive breeding, I give the following suggestions.

1. You're going to be overhwelmed by the number of things to do and have no idea what to do your first time. In the early game your main goal is to get the first house expansion and third peep. Afterward you just need to get one of everything.

2. Don't focus on the cards in your hand. Typically players will play 2-3 occupations and improvements.

3. When it doubt, go for big piles of resources, because even if you don't know how you'll use them, you'll find a way to.

4. Once again, grain can be used as 1 food at any time. But to use an oven or cooking implement to turn it into 2, 3, 4, or 5 food you need to BAKE BREAD. That is located here *point* and when you build ovens.


All good advice, except for your plan to not just play without the cards that you tell them to ignore anyway.

Quote:
But of course, I assume new players don't stand a chance of winning their first game anyway, so I don't have a problem playing a game they won't "understand" for their first playthrough. As long as the new player is making actions and asking questions, and the teacher is offering guidence when the new player is stunned, why not play with the cards? Who "understands" the game anyway? All players have varible ability to utilized their cards effectively, and determine which actions have the highest opportunity cost. For instance, I play with one guy who can barely feed his family self-destructs every game. He doesn't understand the game and that doesn't mean we should play the family game. Nor should we with a new player. The new player will learn how the game works more and more each time they play. Withholding the cards isn't neccesary if you explain the game.


It's not about whether the newbie is going to win or not. It's about whether or not the newbie finishes the game and has any idea what just happened, let alone has any interest in wanting to play again.

I wouldn't say that starting with the full game is a mistake, because some groups would be absolutely fine with it. I just don't see any real reason to push for it. The family game is a good game, AND it has the benefit of giving the players the opportunity to learn the way the complicated pieces work together before they have to add the additional layer of the cards.
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Barak Engel
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From an experienced gamer:

Don't dare play with the cards.

I was first taught Agricola with the cards. The game lasted for almost four hours, made no sense at all, and even though I ended with a high score (IIRC I ended second 2 points behind the winner or so) I had no clue as to how the game worked, and overall felt it was a terribly boring slog through something completely useless. I definitely did not have fun. I rated it a "2" and vowed never to play it again.

A few months later I was literally dragged into a game using the "family" version. I really didn't want to play, but I had just driven an hour for a game night and if I skipped this one I'd basically end up playing one other (probably shorter) game and driving an hour back, and that felt pretty bad, so I sighed and agreed to play Agricola.

To my utter surprise - nay, shock - I enjoyed this second game quite a bit. It flowed nicely, ended in 90 minutes or so, made sense, and wasn't boring. Not a great game by any means, but definitely enjoyable. The reason? those stupid cards. At this point I refuse to play Agricola with the cards, but I will happily play it without them.

Now, please don't misunderstand. I love Die Macher, I'll play Indonesia, Game of Thrones, Age of Steam, La Havre and many other considerably deep games any day, and Advanced Civ if I can swing a whole day. Length doesn't scare me. Depth doesn't scare me. "Weight" doesn't scare me. Agricola's cards scare me.

So for what it's worth, from one gamer's experience, burn the cards.
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Andy Holt
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There are gamers who always insist that the only "real" version of a game is the most complex ("advanced") one.
They miss out on the (IMHO) often superior base/family game.

Don't be too afraid of playing Agricola with the cards, but it is better to learn the game without. Once all the players in the group have experienced 2 or 3 games of the family version then it is worth trying the cards to see if they improve the game for you ... it is better to draft the cards (and for a first game you are going to have very little clue as to which cards work well together).

You /can/ drop a new player into a game with cards, but they are likely to have a more satisfying experience in the family game.

[now, who is going to quote that last line out of context?]
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Lord Chambers
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spearjr wrote:
Lord Chambers wrote:
Don't bother with the family game.
But why?

An excellent question.

1. I just copy and pasted a post I made in another thread about the same question. The difference there was that the OP was teaching the game to newbies, and asking if people thought the Family Game was "neccesary." About as many people advocated the Family Game as in this thread.

2. I've never played the Family Game. It might be really awesome, but when I learned Agricola it was with all the parts of the game and three other people who barely knew how to play. One of those original three is still complete trash at the game. Doesn't understand anything. The other ones have varying levels of success. Consequently, as we all became better at different rates, I don't look at learning Agricola as a matter of cards or no cards, it's a matter of individuals. So when someone asks "should we play the family game or a full game?" I read "is the game too complicated to play complete the first time?" The answer to that is certainly no, it wasn't for me, it wasn't for my friends, and it's not for the group of others I've taught the game too; mostly college girls far too hot to have ever played any games more complicated than Sorry!.

If they get it and like the game, with cards, their first times, then I think cards are okay. It's a safe choice. And it skips an uneccesary transition off a crutch to the complete game later.

And yes, the Family Game is a crutch, just as much switching from an automatic to a manual transmission is the first time. Back to square one.
 
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