Jayson Myers
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Please check out my other reviews at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145695/the-purge-revie...



Conclusion:

Currently, this is the number three rated game here on BGG. It has been number 1 before. Agricola has garnered a reputation as being the top worker placement game, a top Euro game, and one of the best board games ever created. In my humble opinion, it lives up to this reputation.

Around this part of town (I really mean just my family), Agricola is in our top 5 favorite games, if not our favorite game.

Agricola is a worker placement game, which people argue over the definition. In my world, this means you place workers on the board and they perform "actions" in an effort to accomplish things. This might not be the definitive definition, but its works for our purposes.

Agricola is a very tight game where you just don't have enough actions to do everything you want. This stresses some people out, others accept it as part of the game. The components are top notch, but are mostly cubes and cards (although many people upgrade to components that look like animals and vegetables).

This is game is pretty deep, not a gateway game (although I have used it as such before), and allows for some randomness via the cards. There are plenty of expansions for the game to keep things fresh.

Overall, in my eyes, this game has a deserved reputation of being a great game. This is a game that will be around for many, many years.



Components:

The game comes with a few communal boards and boards for each of the players and they are top notch with great artwork. You get 3 different decks of cards which play differently. You get classic wooden cubes and wooden fences to use in game play.

All the components in the game are top notch. It is nice the game comes with 3 different decks (more can be bought separately) that play differently. This really adds to the re-playability of the game.

Many people have decked out their game to upgrade the components; the most popular is upgrading the cubes to wooden animal shaped...wood.



Rule Book:

The rule book allows for many ways to play (well, you can play with a number of people including solo). The rules are long and the font gets really small by the end of the book. The rules do a fine job of explaining how to play the game. While this is not an overly complicated game, if you have never played a workers placement game there is a learning curve. The real learning curve is learning how everything works together and understanding how to score points is very important.



Flow of the Game:

This section is not a rules overview. Rather, it is to illustrate the flow of the game.

The basic flow of the game is you have a number of people that live on your farm (this number can increase) and you use these people to take actions. Possible actions might be to cut wood, build a fence, buy animals for your farm, gain stone, or any other number of things.

During these actions, you need to be sure you gain enough food. The reason is you have to feed your family at certain intervals. There are great consequences for not feeding your family. As time moves on in the game, the time interval to feed your family becomes shorter and shorter. This increases the pressure and anxiety to garner the food. There are ways to build a "feeding machine" and this is very important to do as soon as possible (by feeding machine I just mean an economic system that generates food).

At the time you harvest (i.e. feed your family), your animals will also reproduce if you have more than two of the same type (ex: sheep, cow, etc).

Also, you get minor improvements and/or occupations that you can play (by placing your worker on the spot on the board that allows it to be played). These cards allow you to play differently and give you different "powers" or "abilities". So, each player will have a different strategy to score points based on these cards. These cards are assigned at the start of the game either at random or by drafting. For the most part, you will not have time or opportunity to play all of your cards, instead you will play a small number that best fits your strategy.

This is a short overview of how the game works and the flow of the game. On a given turn, you just place your workers on spots on the board that allows you to garner resources. You then spend these resources to gather VP generating things (like animals, or taking up space on your board).



Should I buy this Game?:

If you like Euro games at all, this is a must by for your collection. This is one of the top games in the world and a true classic. If people grew up with this game instead of playing Monopoly wrong, board games would be more popular in the mainstream.

This game survives the purge and is a game that will stay in my collection forever. Even if you do not normally play Euro style games, this is a game most people can at least enjoy. It is a heavy game. It does include math. It does include juggling quite a few things at one time.




* This is an edit from a question from below. It is part of the review now to clarify a few things (for those that don't read all the comments).


Should I buy this? (more):

Yes. This is one of the top games on the market. While no game is for everyone, this is a game for most.

Some notes about the game that may dictate whether it works for you:

1. The game has theme, but it is a Euro. You do feel like your farming, but why can't we both cut wood or have a baby? Yeah, it doesn't make sense with the theme. It is a Euro, you have to deal with this.

2. There is a lot going on and a lot of ways to score points (and lose points). You get a lot of decisions and it can be overwhelming at first. Luckily, most things make sense (due to the theme), so you know you need wood to build a fence to house animals (so they don't run away). It works b/c it makes sense. Still, there is a lot going on.

3. There is some randomness to the cards and some are stronger than others. This can be mitigated by dealing with it, taking cards out YOU think are too strong, and/or drafting the cards (instead of random). Remember, actions are very important in this game so if they use an action to play a card, you can choose something better on the board.

4. I wouldn't call this a brain burner, but you never have enough time to get everything you can to do done. This is a joy to me in the game b/c if you could finish everything, you would not have the choice of what to do (and thus what to score). This can also be stressful to some people (it is not to me)

5. It is enjoyable to me, and I would guess most people, because you are trying to maximize your use of very limited resources. You can't do everything, but you want to acommplish as much as possible. It is thrilling and frustrating at the same time. The theme works (for a Euro) and it helps the game along a lot. You are always inching for me. Also, because you are building a farm, there is a real sense of accomplishment when you are finished; you can see your farm.

6. This game is fiddly without feeling like it. There are a lot of moving parts, but pretty systematic in how it plays. I would say Loyang is less, but Agricola is the better game.

Unless you are very limited on the amount of games you can buy, I'd suggest Agricola is an instant buy. It is so popular and so good, I feel that is fair to say.
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Jeff Shoot
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Thanks for this review! As someone on a VERY limited budget, and not belonging to a game group or anything like that,I can't just go around "trying out" a game that usually starts at $45 or more not counting shipping! Is it because this game is so well known that people don't review it? Or is it because there are a lot of video reviews? (I prefer to read...) Well, anyway, glad to see this one come out for sure!

I like your "flow of the game" part which really gives a picture of what playing it will be like. And there are really a lot of helpful observations for someone like me who has never played it nor am I familiar with the game.

Could you add a bit more to the "Should I buy this game?" answer?
You basically say buy it if you love Euros, and that it's "one of the top games in the world and a true classic."

Those might be reasons for someone with a lot of games, someone who knows they love Euros, etc. and who has extra money to buy classics.

But what can you advise a person who doesn't have a lot of games and it for whom the jury is still out regarding "Euros"? You do a fine job of showing the replayability of this game above... is that enough reason? Also, what if player interaction is important?

But please don't take this as a complaint, just as a request for "more, please!" Why exactly is it so enjoyable?

Oh, and I read your review of "At the Gates of Loyang" and thanks so much for that as well. I came away feeling if I wanted a great 2 player game, I should go for "Loyang" (and it's more affordable) but Agricola scales better with a group.

I'm realizing that I'm not too excited by games that have so many "parts" that they start to feel "fiddly" (I think that's how folks here on BGG describe it.) Are both games "fiddly"? Which is less so? That might make the difference for me.

Thanks a million!
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Jayson Myers
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Sure. Thanks for reading the review.

Should I buy this? (more):

Yes. This is one of the top games on the market. While no game is for everyone, this is a game for most.

Some notes about the game that may dictate whether it works for you:

1. The game has theme, but it is a Euro. You do feel like your farming, but why can't we both cut wood or have a baby? Yeah, it doesn't make sense with the theme. It is a Euro, you have to deal with this.

2. There is a lot going on and a lot of ways to score points (and lose points). You get a lot of decisions and it can be overwhelming at first. Luckily, most things make sense (due to the theme), so you know you need wood to build a fence to house animals (so they don't run away). It works b/c it makes sense. Still, there is a lot going on.

3. There is some randomness to the cards and some are stronger than others. This can be mitigated by dealing with it, taking cards out YOU think are too strong, and/or drafting the cards (instead of random). Remember, actions are very important in this game so if they use an action to play a card, you can choose something better on the board.

4. I wouldn't call this a brain burner, but you never have enough time to get everything you can to do done. This is a joy to me in the game b/c if you could finish everything, you would not have the choice of what to do (and thus what to score). This can also be stressful to some people (it is not to me)

5. It is enjoyable to me, and I would guess most people, because you are trying to maximize your use of very limited resources. You can't do everything, but you want to acommplish as much as possible. It is thrilling and frustrating at the same time. The theme works (for a Euro) and it helps the game along a lot. You are always inching for me. Also, because you are building a farm, there is a real sense of accomplishment when you are finished; you can see your farm.

6. This game is fiddly without feeling like it. There are a lot of moving parts, but pretty systematic in how it plays. I would say Loyang is less, but Agricola is the better game.

Unless you are very limited on the amount of games you can buy, I'd suggest Agricola is an instant buy. It is so popular and so good, I feel that is fair to say.



house14 wrote:
Thanks for this review! As someone on a VERY limited budget, and not belonging to a game group or anything like that,I can't just go around "trying out" a game that usually starts at $45 or more not counting shipping! Is it because this game is so well known that people don't review it? Or is it because there are a lot of video reviews? (I prefer to read...) Well, anyway, glad to see this one come out for sure!

I like your "flow of the game" part which really gives a picture of what playing it will be like. And there are really a lot of helpful observations for someone like me who has never played it nor am I familiar with the game.

Could you add a bit more to the "Should I buy this game?" answer?
You basically say buy it if you love Euros, and that it's "one of the top games in the world and a true classic."

Those might be reasons for someone with a lot of games, someone who knows they love Euros, etc. and who has extra money to buy classics.

But what can you advise a person who doesn't have a lot of games and it for whom the jury is still out regarding "Euros"? You do a fine job of showing the replayability of this game above... is that enough reason? Also, what if player interaction is important?

But please don't take this as a complaint, just as a request for "more, please!" Why exactly is it so enjoyable?

Oh, and I read your review of "At the Gates of Loyang" and thanks so much for that as well. I came away feeling if I wanted a great 2 player game, I should go for "Loyang" (and it's more affordable) but Agricola scales better with a group.

I'm realizing that I'm not too excited by games that have so many "parts" that they start to feel "fiddly" (I think that's how folks here on BGG describe it.) Are both games "fiddly"? Which is less so? That might make the difference for me.

Thanks a million!
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frank gallagher
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The reason why this is a good game even for people who don't like 'fiddly' games is that it's so intuitive. Yes, there are a lot of things to do. But you don't need to look up rules to remember that you plow first, then you sow, then you harvest. Or that you need wood to build a fence, and a fence before you can have livestock. I never had to look up a rule after the first play. My wife, who doesn't like complicated games, loves Agricola. We play with Farmers of the Moor expansion, and use minor improvements but not Occupations. Which is a good way to scale randomness and difficulty to taste. I think Agricola is the most elegant design I've seen in a serious board game, and that it does a great job of highlighting theme within a Euro structure (even if the theme isn't overwhelmingly exciting). Just my two cents.
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Jeff Shoot
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Thank you both for commenting on this... the "intuitive" part is really important, as when I do get to play a game like this, you lose people VERY quickly if you have to refer to the rules all the time! cool

I do have one more question...blush If you don't mind.

Many of the "game length" times are really off from what I experience.

I see it says "120 minutes".... but is that accurate?

Also, I imagine that the more people, the longer it takes? Many games are like that. Is 120 accurate for two players, or 3? Or 4?

Thanks again... if 120 is the longest, then I'll have to put it back on my "To Buy" list..
 
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Derakon Derakon
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The usual answer to "how long does it take" that I see here is 30 minutes per player in the game. But our group does 4-5P games in under an hour and a half, while other groups take even longer (than the 30-per-player estimate). It really depends on how AP-prone your players are and how well they know the game.
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Jeff Shoot
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Well, that's encouraging.... so the 120 minutes is based on a 4 player game, most likely. Hmmmm..... should this then be my next grail game?? Sounds like it..meeple
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Fernando Robert Yu
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house14 wrote:
Well, that's encouraging.... so the 120 minutes is based on a 4 player game, most likely. Hmmmm..... should this then be my next grail game?? Sounds like it..meeple


120 minutes is already quite long if it's just the base game. I just finished a 3P Agricola: Farmers of the Moor game (which is usually slightly longer than a regular Agricola game due to the extra actions) in less than 1 hr 30 minutes. 1 hr 30 minutes is about the time we take for a regular 4P game. More importantly, the game FEELS fast for us since the mechanics really drive you forward.
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Jayson Myers
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It honestly depends if you have a thinker in the group or if your group "keeps the game moving". We tend to keep it moving and not over think a game.


house14 wrote:
Thank you both for commenting on this... the "intuitive" part is really important, as when I do get to play a game like this, you lose people VERY quickly if you have to refer to the rules all the time! cool

I do have one more question...blush If you don't mind.

Many of the "game length" times are really off from what I experience.

I see it says "120 minutes".... but is that accurate?

Also, I imagine that the more people, the longer it takes? Many games are like that. Is 120 accurate for two players, or 3? Or 4?

Thanks again... if 120 is the longest, then I'll have to put it back on my "To Buy" list..
 
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