Agricola is a very popular worker placement board game, where players play as farmers managing their farms to improve their family’s qualify of life. This is achieved by building up your home, improving fields and breeding animals. The gameplay can be complicated to start with but once you’ve learnt how to play it, it can be quite good fun when playing with friends. Each player starts off with a farmer and his wife and a wooden shack to manage your farm from. The gameplay consists of 6 stages divided into 14 rounds. Each round consists of 4 phases, where each player undertakes 2 actions, one for yourself and one for your wife:
- Draw New Round Card – the Round card is drawn by the starting player and placed on the applicable space on the board. The action shown on this card is available to all players and can either be used in this round or later rounds. Any actions that only occur at beginning rounds are undertaken now as well.
- Replenish – here you place goods and foods on Action spaces on the board
- Work Phase – time to put yourself and the family to work by placing family members on Action spaces to undertake the actions shown. Here you may generate building resources like Wood and Clay to help extend your home, farm your lands to generate crops, build new pastures to fence in animals and grow your own family. Bear in mind the more family members you have the more mouths you have to feed!
- Return Home – family members return home for the day
After a few rounds it’s Harvest Time, which occurs a few times during the gameplay. This is where you feed your family. If you have not produced enough food then you must take a Begging Card for each missing food, where you lost 3 points per card taken. The game ends at the end of the 14th round, where the last Harvest is taken. Players’ scores are calculated and the one with the most points wins!
Sounds simple enough, and in essence it is. However, once you’ve mastered the basics of growing animals/crops and feeding your family. You can then add minor improvements and occupations. These open up a whole world of new opportunities. There are 3 decks of cards, where you can start with the (E)asy deck, then add the (I)nteractive deck and finally the (K)omplex deck to gradually progress and add to the game. Minor improvements may just be another cooking implement such as a Simple Fireplace or a Wood Oven, or allow you to change Wood into Reed, or add a field for a food. While Occupations can allow you extra bonuses from extra fish or reed when you go fishing, through to free baking actions when you sow a grain, or even when someone else bakes. Suffice to say these cards add to the re-playability of the game meaning no two games are the same and allow you to try different strategies.
There are a variety of rules, including solo version, to help further develop the gameplay over time and increase the longevity of playing this game. Along with the many expansions and extras available for this game, which we’ll cover in the next blog. This game is for 1 to 5 players, ages 13 upwards and average gameplay time is 3hrs.
Fancy being a farmer and working your lands? Available here
Prefer using resource tokens for your board games – check out these token sets for Agricola and other Euro board games
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