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Subject: Agricola?? rss

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Ryan Knuth
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So I am slowly getting my wife into board games. I just don't think she has found that one game she absolutely loves. She loves playing Oregon Settlers and she was real big into Farmville. I asked her and she said she like playing games where she can collect resources to build stuff and she also likes the "mission" aspect. Would Agricola be a game she would like??
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Jonathan Tullsen
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I bet so. That game is awesome!
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Shane Larsen
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Probably. Also look into Stone Age, as it appeals nicely to the resource collectors out there.

What exactly do you mean by "mission aspect"?
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The biggest thing about Agricola is that you feel constantly pressured for time and resources, and you have to make tough decisions about what to prioritize and when.

You really have to plan ahead for what you want to get done and be disciplined about grabbing the resources you need. There will be times you will be tempted with large piles of one resource, or an option that could distract you from a resource you need to accomplish larger goals.
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Ryan Knuth
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Someone will say for example "The cows broke out of their stable, build 6 fences to keep them in their pasture." or something to that effect.
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Sheldon
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Maybe.

You should probably read over the rules and make a judgement for yourself. It sounds like your wife hasn't played too many games yet so you probably don't have a really solid picture of what she likes yet.

I personally didn't really care for Agricola and the place where I go to open games night no one is particularly fond of it either. This is not saying it's a bad game at all, just that not everyone has the same tastes. Just because a game is in the top ten doesn't mean you are guaranteed to love it. A lesson I learned the hard way.

Maybe there is some place in your area, like a FLGS or a games club, where you can try out games before you decide to purchase. Even if just you go and try the games out it might give you a better idea of whether or not your wife will appreciate it.

All that said I give a +1 to Stone Age, it's a great game, not as brutal as Agricola can be and most people seem to really enjoy it. It was my old group's favorite game and we'd often play 2 games back to back.
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Shane Larsen
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Canoe wrote:
Someone will say for example "The cows broke out of their stable, build 6 fences to keep them in their pasture." or something to that effect.


Hmmm, sounds like a game with a random-events deck. There's nothing like this in Agricola. Just so you understand.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and recommend you look into some co-op games. Many co-ops use a resource-collection mechanic as well as throw challenging "missions" at you. Take a look at the following:

Pandemic
Forbidden Island
Castle Panic
Ghost Stories (very challenging, but by far the most rewarding, IMO).

If I was choosing off of my personal preferences from the games above, I'd go with Ghost Stories. It's unique and engaging, but the theme may not resonate with you or your wife. If I were choosing for you, the safe bet would be Pandemic, but I don't know how well it plays with two. Check on that first.

Hope this helps!
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Mathue Faulkner
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polkeroo wrote:
Maybe.

You should probably read over the rules and make a judgement for yourself. It sounds like your wife hasn't played too many games yet so you probably don't have a really solid picture of what she likes yet.

I personally didn't really care for Agricola and the place where I go to open games night no one is particularly fond of it either. This is not saying it's a bad game at all, just that not everyone has the same tastes. Just because a game is in the top ten doesn't mean you are guaranteed to love it. A lesson I learned the hard way.

Maybe there is some place in your area, like a FLGS or a games club, where you can try out games before you decide to purchase. Even if just you go and try the games out it might give you a better idea of whether or not your wife will appreciate it.

All that said I give a +1 to Stone Age, it's a great game, not as brutal as Agricola can be and most people seem to really enjoy it. It was my old group's favorite game and we'd often play 2 games back to back.

As Sheldon states here: Just because a game is (highly rated) doesn't mean that you are guaranteed to love it.

I love Agricola, but am not a fan of Stone Age. As a matter of fact, Stone Age is probably my least favorite of the plethora of worker placement games that I've played.

My fiancé, who isn't a 'gamer' but does humor me, absolutely loves Agricola....but I really think I just got lucky with that. Even with as much love as it gets in our group, I know that it isn't for everyone. It's an exhausting, high stress game where you can never get everything accomplished that you want to.

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Alex C
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Agricola is the one that hooked my wife, big yes imo.
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Luke McCarthy
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Try Lost Cities. It's a short and easy game to get into, and my mom really likes it, though she's not too into games. Plus it's super cheap, so you really can't go wrong!
 
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Nim Chimpsky
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If you think Agricola might be a bit too much, you can always look into another Uwe game, At the Gates of Loyang. Additionally, filling customer orders in Loyang may feel more like completing "missions" than anything you do in Agricola.
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Darren M
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Agricola could be a good game fitting your needs.

Also look into these:

The Pillars of the Earth
Thunderstone
Dominion
Race for the Galaxy
7 Wonders
Stone Age
Space Alert
Galaxy Trucker
Ticket to Ride
Pandemic

Any if those could also fit the bill. It all depends on what they like and dislike in their games and you really don't know what works the best until you try different types of games. Good luck and hopefully you can find some that work well that you both can enjoy together.
 
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John Shepherd
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Count_Bezukhov wrote:
Agricola is the one that hooked my wife, big yes imo.


+1
 
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Aaron Malek
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I've logged 131 plays (so far), and I think at least 110 or so of those are two-player games with my wife. I highly recommend it.
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Yes to Agricola. You might also look at Walnut Grove and Candamir: The First Settlers.
 
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Jeff Forbes

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Maybe.

Agricola is a tense game with limited resources at stake. If you do poorly, your farm is terrible and suffers for it. Farmville is not so much a game as an activity by comparison, where goals are acheived through the mere act of being present in front of the computer screen, and you might have choices, but the game's goal is really just to get you to sit there and blankly click at the screen. I wouldn't say that fencing in six cattle in Agricola is a huge acheivement, however, it takes a lot of resources to manage to do that. :P

In other words, you might want to do something easier than Agricola. I say might, because I'm making the assumption of Farmville = doesn't want to deal with difficult decisions.

If that is the case, Stone Age might be more appropriate, but it's also a far inferior *game* to Agricola.

Go ahead and give it a whirl. If she's good for trying a game that is on the meaner side of the scale, there's a good chance she will like it.

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chuck dunn
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get the game The Princes of Florence though Agricola is one that both my wife and niece love to play.. any kind of combative game seems lost to both of my lady players.. both those games mentioned above have there own boundary zone that limits interaction to the center board ...which they seem to like ... you build your own zone and compete to build it the best that your able .
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Darren M
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chuckdunn wrote:
get the game The Princes of Florence though Agricola is one that both my wife and niece love to play.. any kind of combative game seems lost to both of my lady players.. both those games mentioned above have there own boundary zone that limits interaction to the center board ...which they seem to like ... you build your own zone and compete to build it the best that your able .


Good suggestions and comments.

Another game that comes to mind to consider is Vegas Showdown. It has somewhat of a similar feel to The Princes of Florence.

Building things up in your little area... I think that type of game may be appealing plus the theme of Vegas is something most newbies can relate to.
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Marc Lanctot
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+1 for Stone Age. It's becoming the 4th gateway game (after T2R, Carcassonne, and Settlers) because it's light and captures all the elements of worker placement without the added complexity of Caylus + Agricola.

The 'mission' could be about collecting the right civilization cards, e.g. the proper combination of end-of-game modifiers.


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M B
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Count_Bezukhov wrote:
Agricola is the one that hooked my wife, big yes imo.


Ditto
 
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Jason Hinchliffe
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madboyo wrote:
Count_Bezukhov wrote:
Agricola is the one that hooked my wife, big yes imo.


Ditto


The Princes of Florence, Stone Age and Agricolaare all good options, except in PoF you aren't collecting resources but rather just money. Stone Age you don't really feel like you are building anything (even thought thematically you are) and Agricola can hurt people.

Frankly, if you want something where she collects resources to build stuff, and she's a newer gamer get THE SETTLERS OF CATAN!!!

Most of the guys on here are too cool to admit how awesome Settlers is, but frankly if she doesn't love it, I'll eat my own scrotum (while still attached).
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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clockwerk76 wrote:

Frankly, if you want something where she collects resources to build stuff, and she's a newer gamer get THE SETTLERS OF CATAN!!!

Most of the guys on here are too cool to admit how awesome Settlers is, but frankly if she doesn't love it, I'll eat my own scrotum (while still attached).

From the OP, I was under the impression that he already owns Settlers (which she enjoys), and that's part of the reason she knows that she likes resource collection where she gets to build stuff.

I think the OP is just missing a comma, and it should read:
Quote:
She loves playing Oregon, Settlers and she was real big into Farmville.


But I could be wrong...
 
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Wil
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My wife is not a gamer so I took my time to build up to Agricola for her and we ended up both having a great experience. Here's my 5 step process to our success:


1. Stone Age Barometer - You'll often hear people recommend Stone Age as training grounds for Agricola. Others will snap at that and say they don't get the comparison as Agricola is akin to the second coming and Stone Age is lame. Opinions are opinions and since I'm writing, I'll share mine and it's quite simply that Stone Age is an absolute must.

Why? It's probably the best entry point to worker placement style games for non gamers that there is. It covers using your workers and competing with their placement, expanding your workers, and feeding for your workers. All of the nuts and bolts. On top of that it adds dice which is essentially a way to add a bit of random to if your workers will be as successful as you hoped or not.

This is where the love/hate is. In my case, and more importantly, in my wife's case, it's flat out love as dice are simply fun and with dice you have small victories or losses all throughout the game making it more interesting and engaging then a single end game victory point win. As someone who plays with non gamers more than gamers, I can say that small victories throughout a game is the key to successfully introducing a game or not in my experience.

2. Agricola Animeeples - For the next step, purchase Agricola AND the Animeeples. In my opinion, this is essential as it adds an good amount of toy fun while simultaneously eliminating having to remember what each cube is. In fact, I wouldn't even consider playing Agricola with non-gamers without the animeeples. If you have the budget, spring for the Vegimeeples as well. Agricola is a fantastic game so in my opinion, this is a solid investment. In the unexpected case that you don't like Agricola, you'll have prime trading value.

3. Agricola Solo - Play the family version solo once to get the rules down. I'd also recommend watching Board Games with Scott's excellent learning video (before and after your first game). If you have time, I'd also suggest playing it solitaire a second time but as two players this time just to get a feel for the different interactions that can happen.

4. Agricola Family Version - Now you're ready to break out Agricola with the wife (or family), you know your wife likes worker placement as you used the Stone Age barometer, you have the great animeeples to enhances the game, and you have the rules down. Now it's time for a real game and yes, it MUST be the family version. The full version introduces way too many choices for non-gamers including decisions that even a seasoned gamer can't possibly make with any confidence on their first play until you've played the game through at least once.

5. Agricola Full Version - If your wife is comfortable with the rules at this point, then now it's time for the full version. If not, another Family version may be a better call. On this, I'd suggest showing her the cards and explaining how they work and having her make the decision. You can also deal out just a few cards like 2 occupations and 3 minor improvements to ease this in and limit choices. I've did something like this although I forget the hand count.

---

This 5 step process worked for me and we even played Agricola on our anniversary. To give you some perspective, we've never played a game on our anniversary in the past, so this was a big win.

It's hard to go slow, but as with all fine things in life, it's worth it.

Have fun.
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Mathue Faulkner
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Wil gives a very nice progression to introduce the game to her. Having said that, I don't think you have to use Stone Age as her warm up. Before I met her, my fiancé had pretty much only played Spades and Yahtzee. After dating for a few months, we started playing the occasional game and it was usually Kingsburg, Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, or Dominion.

At that point, I bought Agricola with all of the animeeples (among others). I watched the videos Wil recommended, but didn't give it a solo shot. We absolutely struggled, and finished with ridiculously low scores. It wasn't fun, and I was worried I had blown a significant amount of $$.

Then, in conversation, I found out that my brother had been playing Agricola with an old friend of ours, and he was loving it. So, on a trip back home, I had him re-teach it to me, and it was a blast! With him there to give a few strategic tips (i.e. Set up a food engine first!), it was a much more enjoyable experience.

Long, slightly off topic, story:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
After many other games of Agricola with my brother, my fiancé (or gf at that time) happened to be over as 3 of us were playing Agricola. She had opted out for some reason that I can't remember. Towards the end of the game, my brother and I got into a big fight over an action that I took. It was pretty epic actually (at the start of the last round, it was clear that my brother and sister-in-law needed to renovate while I had to build fences. It was also clear that my brother was going to win. My sister-in-law renovated, and guess which 'build fences' space I took....after the fight, my brother still won). Either way, on the 2-hour drive home, my fiancé said that she really had no interest in playing a game where everyone got upset like that. By that time, I knew that I loved the game and wanted her to give it a chance. So I convinced her to give it one more chance as long as it was just the two of us. We literally walked in the door and started playing a game of Agricola.

Better equipped the 2nd time, when we finally got the chance to play again, she loved it. It's now here favorite game!

My few points:
- You can really prepare her with any games. The worker placement aspects and feeding is pretty intuitive so I don't know that you need to necessarily play similar games to prep. Kingsburg was the most similar game she had played up to that point.

- It's very important that you know how to play the game decently before introducing it to her. Agricola is NOT fun when you don't have any idea what you're doing. The most important thing to know is how to set up a food engine. I like Wil's suggestion of playing it solo first (or at least with someone else who knows the game), maybe a few times.

- We actually skipped the Family version entirely, but I don't recommend it.

- thumbsup Animeeples

(On a side note, my fiancé doesn't really enjoy other worker placement games all that much. Fresco, Stone Age, and Egizia are all meh in her opinion. )
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Wil
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Excellent post Mathue! It's always great to read personal experiences like this especially ones that ends with a game of the caliber of Agricola becoming their significant other's favorite.

After reading your that your fiancé doesn't generally like worker placement, I'm curious if Kingsburg was a hit for you both as that's one I've been strongly considering to purchase and play with my wife (and daughters).

I was actually considering Fresco as well but coming from Stone Age being a hit at my house, Kingsburg seemed like an interesting next step to explore with them.

Thanks!
 
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