GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!
8,950 Supporters
$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
18 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
5 
 Thumb up
 Hide
12 Posts

Agricola» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Such a terrible theme... But an overall good game! (TWO PLAYERS) rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Bruno Gaia
France
Asnières
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Being a Geek is a sure sign of a sound mind, cause it means you think that life as it is is dull and should be more interesting. Which it is.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
DISCLAIMER: I tend NOT TO give a detailed description of rules and components, please go to other, older reviews or download the PDF rules :)

My girlfriend (and main, if not only gaming partner) and I play a lot of different games (Neuroshima, Thunderstones, Runewars, Ghost Stories, and many more) but it has to be said that colourful themes and... let's put it bluntly, the possibility of bashing, goring, shredding and generally massacring enemy units is important when we choose to buy a game.
Therefore, Agricola had no chance of joining our already meaty collection.
But there was such a buzz and so many people saying that it was great...
Eventually we bought it, laughing as we did, thinking: "how come we're buying a game about peasants in the 16th century!"
Anyway: we surely enjoyed Agricola much more than we expected, which gives credit to listening to the buzz and other people's advice sometimes.
Still, as I write this review we've played 20 to 25 games of Agricola, all of them two players games (not that we have no friends, but our friends would hate to have to learn "complicated" games after a big meal... Shame on them...) and it's easier for me to summarize what I see as the plusses and minusses of Agricola.
It also has to be said that after a first "Agricola spree" during the first weeks after our purchase, we tended not to want to open the box that often. Of course one could say it's the same for all the games you buy BUT, we have quite a LOT of games that we kept on playing long after the first excitement (examples: Neuroshima Hex, Ghost Stories, RFTG, Thunderstone)

Plusses:
1) In spite of the instinctive disgust the theme inspired us, Agricola is a quite immersive game, seeing you really trying to make this farm of yours a proper mansion and transform your two shabby sheep into a proper cattle.
Plus the theme in itself is VERY original. Of course it's not as funny as hacking goblins in a medieval dungeon but it's original.

2) The mechanics are nice and the game is extremely tense. That’s what you realize after two or three games. until you've really become experienced in Agricola, you always end up the game thinking "oh, I've not been able to do what I planned to do..."

3) A real multiple path to victory game, especially since the cards oblige players to constantly adapt, game after game, and prevents one from trying to apply the strategy again and again. Therefore comes with high replayability . Which makes a good transition to the three minuses:

Minuses
1) Due to the theme and general atmosphere, you’ll never her yourself shout “AH AH I’ve destroyed that Dragon of yours!!” or “ Eh Eh! Have you seen how I’ve escaped that salvo of yours?!”
Sad but true we are a warring specie at heart…

2) Some cards, or some hands can really mess up a game. Lately we’ve had a lot of complaining the like of “Yeah, ok I lost but now look at THESE cards I had! Whereas with YOUR cards I would have made a much prettier farm, let me tell you!” It has been , for us, one the main reasons why we stopped playing it as often as we used to do.

3) (see plus number 2) it really takes a while to adapt to the fast pace of the game. And even when you’re experienced, you often feel frustrated, obliged to do your best but never THE best you would have done if the game had allowed you to play two or three more turns.

Anyway, it’s a good game that plays well for two players and surely deserves to be checked out even if the perspective of being a peasant in the 16th century makes you want to run fast in the opposite direction!
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Branko K.
msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The reason that finally pushed me into buying Agricola is EXACTLY its theme.

I'm sick of saving worlds, conquering worlds, delving into dungeons, being the ONLY ONE who can save humanity, running huge corporations/cities, building empires, destroying fellow wizards with my insurmountable magic skills... taking care of my family and building up my humble farm is a much needed breath of fresh air.
18 
 Thumb up
0.32
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting review.

I tend to care less about the theme (although, admittedly, I'm less inclined to like games with fantasy, science fiction, or horror themes) than I do about whether a game is thematic. In other words, when the game tells me that my goal is to build a peasant farm, can I still win if I forget that I'm playing a game and just focus on building a farm? This is Agricola's strongest feature in my opinion.

I also think 3-player Agricola is miles better than 2-player Agricola (I've not yet played with any other numbers). With just two, the game loses almost all of its tension. With three players, I'm usually red-faced and sweating as I'm playing out the last few rounds.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jamie Pollock
Scotland
Edinburgh
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Yep, whilst the theme isn't necessarily going to make people go wow, it is actually really well integrated into the game. One thing I just don't get is the whining about cards. If you're playing 2-player and one reckons the reason they lost was because of their cards, then all you do is swap hands and have a return leg. Money where the mouth is so to speak.

In multiplayer we haven't noticed the cards having a huge impact as the best player has continued to win the majority of the games.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Trevor Schadt
United States
Glenshaw
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
brunogaia wrote:
2) Some cards, or some hands can really mess up a game. Lately we’ve had a lot of complaining the like of "Yeah, ok I lost but now look at THESE cards I had! Whereas with YOUR cards I would have made a much prettier farm, let me tell you!" It has been , for us, one the main reasons why we stopped playing it as often as we used to do.


Next time you play, try doing a card draft. Each player starts with a hand of cards -- at least 7, preferably 10 -- takes one and passes it to the other player. (Granted, this works better in more-than-2-player games where you don't exactly know what your opponent picked when you get the hand back, but it still works in 2.) They take one and pass it back. Keep going until you have 7 cards in your hand. That way you get some choice over the cards, and it's a lot harder to complain about a bad hand of cards when you were responsible for putting the hand together.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike T
United States
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
chally wrote:

I also think 3-player Agricola is miles better than 2-player Agricola (I've not yet played with any other numbers). With just two, the game loses almost all of its tension. With three players, I'm usually red-faced and sweating as I'm playing out the last few rounds.


If the 2 player game is tension-free for you, your opponent is far too kind.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Calavera Despierta
United States
Tucson
Arizona
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
Come now, my good sir. Agricola involves frequent sex, beer and liquor brewing, and the slaughter of innocent animals for delicious meals. That's pretty thematic. If you get a hold of the X-deck expansion, it also involves alien invaders.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Philip Pack
Canada
Nanaimo
British Columbia
flag msg tools
mbmbmb
This is one of the few games my girlfriend is willing to play with me... and yes for a while she was one of those facebook farmville players (same with her sister, and my stepmom). But my GF says she doesn't want to play it again (or at least very often) with more than 2-3 players. We've played multiple 4-5 player games, and she hates getting cut off when playing the game. There's still some tension between 2-3 players... but she finds it's just too crazy when 4 or 5 are going for the same action.

I personally like the theme of the game... it a simple theme that most people can quickly understand and enjoy, currently seen with the 'farmville' craze going on. Only thing I don't like about the game is the huge learning curve, as there are lots of little things to think about and understand to be successful. It almost pushes some people away after their first try. Almost all first time players are at a noticeable disadvantage for their first 1-3 times through the game. But some will see and learn the nuances and strategies of the game once they've played through once, and they will come back to play and learn more about how enjoyable the game can really be.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the theme as well. I think it's integrated into the mechanics better than a lot of euros.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Blorb Plorbst
United States
Bloomington
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
I think we're all bozos on this bus.
Avatar
mbmbmb
I find the theme to be very appealing.

Even when I lose, I still have a nice farm that I can be proud of and the way you develop your farm tells a nice little story about the struggles of the agrarian life.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike T
United States
Maryland
flag msg tools
Avatar
Yeah, while the theme might not be as exciting (violent) as some ameritrash, compared to most euros it's really strong.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian Peters
United States
Iowa
flag msg tools
It's time to go Full Chort.
badge
‎"NO FATE BUT THE NARRATIVES WE IMPOSE ON LIFE'S RANDOM CHAOS TO DISTRACT OURSELVES FROM OUR EXISTENTIAL PLIGHT"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
chally wrote:
In other words, when the game tells me that my goal is to build a peasant farm, can I still win if I forget that I'm playing a game and just focus on building a farm? This is Agricola's strongest feature in my opinion.
That's interesting because, at least for me, the answer to that question has always been "No." Agricola forces you to try to do at least a little bit of everything. There have been many games when I've had a fairly sweet little food-engine going, but because, say, I didn't have (m)any animals, at the end of the game I was hosed for points. If you want to win, you can't just make a badass farm, you have to make a badass farm that is worth points. And that, at least for me, reinforces the "gameness" of it.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.