Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend boardgaming Aug 28 2011: Agricola!

Hey Geekshelfers!  This weekend, Joy and I dusted off Agricola, a boardgame about farming that we're both quite fond of.   

"Farming?" you ask.  "Are you serious?  That sounds absolutely boring!"

Far from it.  The game is competitive, tense, and can even be a bit of a brain burner.  Each player starts off with their own farm and over the course of 14 rounds, tries to cultivate fields, expand their homes and grow their families.  

The tricky part, however, is that you have limited rounds and limited workers to send out to gather those limited resources.  And your opponent is doing the same thing. You can't afford to waste early precious rounds dithering about because when harvest time comes about, you need to have food to feed your family or end up begging and losing points!

Furthermore, you've got a hand of cards that you can use to help you do things more efficiently such as an occupation for your farmers or minor improvements.  Here's how the game looks in the beginning...
Player board and main board at the beginning...
As you can see, there are only 14 rounds in the entire game so it's up to you to decide HOW to best cultivate your land.  You can plow fields, fence off pastures, extend your huts, and even breed animals!  

Here's a picture of my farm at the end of the game:
My farm at the end of the game!
I end up scoring 21 points for my farm.  I've got 6 grain (the yellow discs) 1 veggie (organe disc), 2 pastures (enclosed by the fences), 3 sheep (white cubes), 3 cattle (brown cubes), and 3 stone rooms!

And here are some of the cards I played during the game to help me out:
Cards that I played!

The Conservator was quite helpful in that he helped me convert my wood huts into stone right away without turning them into clay huts first.

And here's Joy's farm at the end of the game: .
Joy's farm!!
She ended up winning with 27 points vs my 21, mainly due to her having more family members and a few bonus points from her cards!


I really like Agricola.  It's surprising how fresh it feels each time I play it.  As cute and charming as the game pieces may look, it does hide a good amount of cutthroat elements and teeth-gnashing decision making.

I understand the theme of farming may not be everyone's cup of tea but you really owe it to yourself to at least give this game a try.  Be forewarned, Agricola is a TENSE game.  You WILL agonize over your decisions!  You will stare at the remaining rounds and bash your head against the table as you try to figure out how to get food for your 5 family members.  There is simply not enough time to do everything you want in the game and it's this fine balancing act that serves as the main draw of the game for me.

For more information on Agricola, please visit Boardgamegeek

Happy gaming, everyone!


  1. I LOOOOOOOOOOVE this game!! I am thinking about getting the new deck of cards that came out adding new minor improvements and occupations to make the game more interesting an exciting!! Now if only I could make my brother and sister in law enjoy it as much as I do lol

  2. Just can't wait for the iOS version. Apparently it will be released in a few months.

  3. Yeah, me and my wife aren't huge fans of this. It's definitely a well-made game, but much too tense for my liking.