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Subject: Sucrates' Review of: Agricola rss

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Roel van Tiel
Netherlands
Nijmegen
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Target audience of review

So you’re thinking of this game and want to read whether it is interesting enough to buy. This review is meant for you. Bear in mind, every review is an opinion, and this is mine. I’ll try to be objective but it’s bound to be skewed to what I like. You might like different things in a game!

This review is built in a certain structure which I hope to maintain for every review I write.
First, this is my main conclusion: Very good game, one of the best games to play with your wife.

Second, I’ll be going into five sections:
- Target Audience of the game - who will be attracted to this game? Who is it for?
- Components - quality, playability of components and art.
- The Game Itself - the basic idea, as short as possible. No rules.
- Other Traits - playing time, setup time, price/quality, etc.
- Conclusion - what’s to like? What’s to not like? Overall verdict.

Target Audience of the game

This is a game for the following people
- you like your own meeple empire
- you like having little cows, pigs and sheep on your farm! wow
- you like having choices in a game, but not too much
- you like having lots and lots of choices and can never have too much cool
- you like playing ‘smarter’ than your opponent without directly attacking them laugh
- you like to play with your partner without it resulting in a fight at the end kiss
- you like having your own family to care for

Components

Quality of this game is ok. Cards are nice but could’ve been better. Artwork on them is nice but could’ve been better. Counters for your house are functional but a bit boring. Playing board itself is helpful and well thought of. Dedicated player boards are very nice, some example boards are included and you can choose what type of board suits you best. This is a pro!

Best of all though, are the meeples. Not the ones for resources or family members (which are basically like this colonist: round, single colored, wooden and above all functional) nor the fences, but the livestock on your farm. Little sheep,little pigs,little cows... show this to your wife and she’ll be hooked. Only downside might be she requests these meeples show up in any meeple game! (“hey, let’s use the Agricola sheep for shipping assets in Puerto Rico!” ).

Above all, all the components are very functional. And that is good.

The Game Itself

Basic idea can be summed up as getting your little farm running smoothly, producing enough food for everyone to keep them well-fed and getting the best farm at the end. Or as my wife once said: “I don’t care if I win, I just like to have a little farm.” laugh

Sounds bland? It is not. There is pretty tough decision making involved to make sure you can feed everyone without spending all actions on that prerequisite alone or decimating your live-stock. Add to that a competitive player that is actively watching what actions you need only to ‘steal’ them in front of you and you can be sure there is enough challenge involved. And yes, having your live-stock grow and farm and family expand is a nice experience.

Best thing of all are the special cards however. These cards all give you a special advantage if you fulfill the prerequisites and spend an action to put a card in play. It can become very tempting to wanting to play them all, but then you’ll notice your main play suffers. Finding the right balance can be tough, especially as your opponent will not sit still while you play out your grand plan.

Above I mentioned this is a good game for players that don’t want too much options.This is because the actions you can take in the game gradually become available to you, not all at once.
On the other hand, this game is perfect for players wanting a lot of options, as included in the base game come three sets of cards, out of which you can select 14 to start with. This adds tremendously to replay value, but also adds a hefty amount of complexity. Therefore, it’s perfect for people that like a lot of options.

One drawback: the game is not suited for a mixed group of the players just mentioned. You cannot opt to play with cards and the other without. Actually... I have never played it that way, might be worth a try next time when playing against my wife!

On the plus side, you can play this game solo and it’s even good when you do! It then becomes some of a pathfinding game in which you have to find the optimal path to victory (only randomness is in what actions you get dealt and what actions are revealed in the same ‘batch’ of turns between harvests). Thus plays well from 1-5, a rare thing.
Other Traits

Playing time is about 1,5 hour, scaling up with more than 2 players. You can also play it solo, in which case it usually takes 30-40 min to complete.

Setup time is mainly sorting time. If you’re willing to skip the sorting you can start play in less than five minutes which is perfectly fine for a euro game.

Price/quality is pretty good! Women attraction, near endless replay options, functional and sturdy components and clear rules for about E35 makes for a very good investment.

This game is best with 3 players as this focuses everyone more on their own empire instead of just trying to outsmart your opponent. Unless, in fact, that is what draws you to this game in which case 2 is the best. If you really like optimization puzzles, than even the single player game might be already challenging to you. Wouldn’t recommend 5 though, too much downtime and not enough control over what you do.

Conclusion

What’s to like
+ Pigs, cow and sheep meeples!
+ Constructive atmosphere of the game
+ Having interesting choices for you all the time
+ Bang for your buck (decks included which could’ve been sold separately)
+ Solo-player option
+ Replay value
+ Not directly competitive (can be a winner in 2pl games)

What’s not to like
- Basic game can become tedious after a while
- Extra options mean a lot of extra options... not everyone likes that
- Downtime and loss of control with 5 players
- Artwork of building tiles is a bit bland

Overall verdict: I give this game a 9/10. It’s replay value (which I rate high) is nearly limitless, the board is functional, it plays well with 1-4 players and it features interesting choices. Best of all though, it’s a game you can play with your (non-competitive) partner. The meeples won her, the gameplay is wat keeps her, and the fact we both enjoy playing it is what will keep it on the table.
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Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
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Re: Review of Agricola
Quote:
One drawback: the game is not suited for a mixed group of the players just mentioned. You cannot opt to play with cards and the other without. Actually... I have never played it that way, might be worth a try next time when playing against my wife!


Just a quick note: no one is ever forced to play their cards. It's entirely possible to play the game all the way through without a single card. Odds are pretty good that you'll lose against an opponent who is playing their cards, but otherwise, you're certainly free to go card-less.

Nice review!
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David Debien
United States
Round Rock
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Re: Review of Agricola
The animeeples in my game are just cubes. Are you referring to some other copy of the game where the animeeples are shapped differently?
 
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Daniel Arabella
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Minneapolis
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Re: Review of Agricola
I dont know which is worse, that there is yet another review of this game or that I keep reading them.
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Roel van Tiel
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Re: Review of Agricola
Quote:
The animeeples in my game are just cubes. Are you referring to some other copy of the game where the animeeples are shapped differently?


In my (dutch) version the animals are really shaped like miniature animals... making cubes of them would take away most of the theme imho.
What version do you have?
 
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Roel van Tiel
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Nijmegen
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Re: Review of Agricola
Quote:
I dont know which is worse, that there is yet another review of this game or that I keep reading them.


Well, you can always read one of my other reviews, not all of them are on Agricola cool
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David Debien
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Re: Review of Agricola
sucrates wrote:
Quote:
The animeeples in my game are just cubes. Are you referring to some other copy of the game where the animeeples are shapped differently?


In my (dutch) version the animals are really shaped like miniature animals... making cubes of them would take away most of the theme imho.
What version do you have?


The US Z-Man edition that is sold in stores today only has cubes for the animals.
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Roel van Tiel
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Re: Review of Agricola
Aw, that sucks. Get a secondhand copy if you need to. Plays so much nicer and has so much more appeal because of said meeples. Someone should send a big bag of those to Z-man so they can pack it with this game
 
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Geoff Burkman
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Re: Review of Agricola
So long as the Goodies box is available, that ain't gonna happen.
 
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David Larkin
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Brighton
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Re: Review of Agricola
casualgod wrote:
The animeeples in my game are just cubes. Are you referring to some other copy of the game where the animeeples are shapped differently?


Although you have to do the eyes yourself!
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