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92 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, frustrating, brilliant
In this game, each player starts off with a board on which there is a two room wooden hut (represented by flat squares of card) and lots of empty spaces. They also start with two family members (counters) each of which gets to take one action per round. The aim of the game, over 14 rounds, is to develop the board and earn points by doing various things:

-...
Published on 26 Jan 2009 by Mrs Norris

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Way too complicated
Great quality pieces but took us several evenings to work out how to play it and we found it overly complicated and long winded. In the end we gave up and sold it on Ebay. We were surprised given the rave reviews but you have to be a serious gamer to like this.
Published 7 months ago by meganfunk


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92 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex, frustrating, brilliant, 26 Jan 2009
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
In this game, each player starts off with a board on which there is a two room wooden hut (represented by flat squares of card) and lots of empty spaces. They also start with two family members (counters) each of which gets to take one action per round. The aim of the game, over 14 rounds, is to develop the board and earn points by doing various things:

- gaining additional family members (which increases the number of turns you get in each round)
- covering as much of the board as possible with fields, pastures and additional rooms
- growing grain and vegetables, and breeding various types of animals.

There is a harvest after every few rounds (and these become more frequent as the game proceeds) and one of the main catches is that you have to feed all of your family members every harvest, and there are limited ways in which you can generate food (and heavy penalties if you don't have enough). The other catch is that the various actions that are available can only be taken by one player (i.e. by one of their family members) in each round - e.g. if someone else has used the "plow a field" action already, that action is unavailable until the next round.

The end result is a fantastic game in which you have a limited number of moves, and have to balance all sorts of requirements. Having worked in a pressurised business environment, I think this game requires the same sort of multi-tasking and prioritisation that you do in the workplace (please ignore this sentence if it puts you off!!) It promotes mental agility and requires a high degree of concentration. It will get your brain whirring and make you dream about it after you have played it!

There is a family version which is relatively straightforward - the more complex version (introducing various cards that enable you to make better use of resources, take additional actions etc.) introduces infinite variability and ensures that every game will be unique.

I loved Ticket to Ride and Puerto Rico, and also enjoyed Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan - Agricola is more demanding, and there is less of an element of luck, which makes it more rewarding in the end. An excellent, dangerously addictive board game!

8/4/11 Edited to add: I see it says 2-3 hours to play. Once you're completely familiar with it, a game with 2 or 3 players takes about 45 minutes.

17/3/2013 Edited again: I reckon we've played this game over 500 times now, which makes it FANTASTIC value for money. I still think it's absolutely superb. The infinite variability still holds - we played three games today and they were all quite different. We have identified a couple of killer combinations of occupations/minor improvements (e.g. seasonal worker and market woman), but we certainly don't feel we have plumbed the depths of the game, and there don't seem to be any particular strategies that tend to bring better results. I simply cannot recommend this game highly enough.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Value for money?, 25 Sep 2012
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
I won't describe the gameplay as that's been covered really well by other reviewers, I just thought I'd make a mention of value for money.

After all, 50 quid is a lot to pay for any box game, let alone one about 17th century subsistence farming. So I was rather nervous when I bought a copy - I thought I might struggle to get any fun out of such a dry subject, and I'd then hardly convince the family to give it a try. Would I regret buying it?

No. Everyone loves it, and in seven days we must already have played it more than 7 times: that's my wife and I, 23 year old son and 17 year old daughter. Sometimes we're joined by a fifth player. It's all good, from 2 player to 5 player.

It's so popular that as soon as one 2-3 hour game is finished there's a demand to immediately start another.

So, an excellent game then. But is it worth 50?

I have to say it is. It's packed with substantial and well made components, and has an air of quality and durability. You're getting a lot of material: hundreds of wooden counters and high quality cardboard tiles, hundreds of playing cards (worth getting card protectors for the principal cards to keep them pristine), lots of colourful game boards, a good colourful manual, excellent artwork everywhere, and all wrapped up in a solid box. It all weighs a ton. When you add in the number of hours of enjoyment we've already had with the game, I think it's 50 well spent.

Final thought: you've probably experienced opening a 30 box game and thinking "This is all I get? 30? Seriously?". With Agricola you won't feel you've been mugged.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 24 Oct 2009
By 
M. Poxon (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
Agricola is a game about farming. Indeed, it's a game about subsistence farming in the 1700's, so one may be sceptical as to how much fun it could be.

As soon as you begin playing the family version of the game (for beginners), you realise just how much fun (and how competitive) this game can be.

The trick is to create a balanced, full farm, producing enough to feed one's family while also expanding your stock of animals and crops, while extending/renovating your house and increasing your family. Simple (in theory), but with only a limited number of actions, and a limited number of people to do them with, you quickly have to assess which resources/actions you need to take and which you can leave until later.

Once you've mastered the 'family' game, you can begin to add occupations and minor improvements, increasing the scope, complexity and enjoyment of the game.

Well worth a look for anyone who likes to use their brain and have fun!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing game, 30 Dec 2009
By 
Gisli Jokull Gislason "Jokull" (Iceland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
Farming in the wake of the great plague. Starting with two persons and great ambition.

This is a very balanced and competitive game without any random factors and suitible to all dedicated gamers. My wife dislikes any kind of wargame but this and Catan are the most addictive and played in my house. This is a game for serious gamers however, if you aren't a gaming enthusiast you should probably give it a miss.

In advanced play there is a random factor introduced and that is advancement cards, but the main play does not use any random element - which is important for German games.

The game is visual and appealing. As your farm grows so does your satisfaction, but always you must secure enough food for your family.

Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great family game, 2 Mar 2011
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
I bought Agricola without knowing much of it - and I don't regret a bit.

While it took some time to fully learn the rules, Agricola is basically a simple game with lots of depth. While all players aim to similar goal, there are multiple ways to achieve victory (aka many ways to gain points). Included is a ton of cards which expand the game's life duration by years.

Thumbs up
* Rules have depth but remain simple enough so that you can explain them to new players in few minutes
* Tons of cards which alter the game play
* Game play also varies much depending on number of players
* Two versions - the family version is a great way to learn Agricola and it's basic rules
* If every player knows the rules, this game can be played through very quickly (it took us one hour to complete with five players)
* Doesn't require as much space as many similar board games

Thumbs down
* Material of cards isn't exactly the best, they tend to be a bit slippery and bend easily
* Wooden tokens are quality material but a bit uninspiring. Especially younger players may not see them as interesting

Overall, a great game, I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in light strategy board games.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A staggeringly good board game, 30 Jan 2010
By 
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
Well, 5 stars from me and I am clearly a fan, but I shall try to add to what has already be written about Agricola and make it worth reading.

It's a worker placement game with a similar feel to Caylus, Pillars of the Earth and Cuba. The family game is essentially just that and is very comparable to the titles above. Layered on top in the 'full' game each player has a hand of improvement and personality cards that interact with each other and with places on the board. This is importantly distinct from other worker placement games as it gives more chance for player interaction beyond 'he stole my space': you have to think a little harder about whether to sow more fields if you know that another player is going to gain from you doing so.

Whilst this is certainly a fantastic game, it's not one to bring to the table lightly. There are a fearsome number of wooden blocks and cards for a person not used to board games like this to deal with, even the family game might scare some folks off as it looks very daunting. I would argue that it isn't, in fact it plays like clockwork and you soon get into it, but starting the explanation of a first play from:

"We're going to play a game about, um, peasant farming..."
"...it's really not as complicated as it looks, you know..."

might put you on the back foot. One really good way to mitigate this is to buy wooden pieces to replace the blocks, so sheep instead of white cubes, cows instead of brown cubes etc. I can't recommend investing in these sort of pieces strongly enough. In an ideal world they would have come with the game and they certainly make it easier to visualise when explaining it for the first time.

Wonderful game.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to a Farming Game?!, 22 Feb 2010
By 
RoJo "Gorculli" (Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
= Durability:4.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
If you enjoy destroying things, breaking the law and generally creating mayhem ... you can stop reading now...
But if you prefer games that involve strategy and cunning, and which present a different challenge every time you play them then Agricola will be a superb addition to your collection. It is a simple premise - create a successful farm and feed your family at each harvest time, racking up points for your buildings and family, fields, crops and livestock. But every time you play you will be dealt a fresh set of possible advantages to choose from. Which combination will work best? How many can you afford to use? Is there enough time to fulfill all your plans? (never, actually). And what cards are your opponents holding?
A game about farming?
It's amazingly addictive!
One day we might get our other games out again ...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Agricola - Sophisticated Board Game, 17 Mar 2010
By 
= Durability:3.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
I would not necessarily describe this as a toy - it is quite a complicated German-style board game mainly intended for adults, with a simplified version of play for the family (10+). It involves a lot of strategic thinking. A good aspect is that it is limited to 14 rounds, so to a limited time. I find it excellent - and our children (11 and 8) also enjoy playing it, although they do not necessarily get the strategic dimension. There is no way I regret this purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Vastly More Complicated Version of Settlers of Catan, 24 Mar 2013
By 
Nadia C. Ayoub "Rubicon" (England, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
If you like games with simple game play and not much to remember or think about, stick to snakes and ladders. This is NOT a simple game. There are a lot of pieces and a lot of victory conditions. You need to keep a lot of things in mind all the way through. It's a great game though. Competitive, challenging and compelling.

The instructions aren't aren't all that great. You may find you need to get online and check out what other people have said to make sense of one or two sections - we did, and we're biiiig game players. Don't expect to remember everything the first time you play. It takes at least two games to get a grip on all the rules and goals. It's really worth the effort though, hours and hours of fun.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love love love this game, 28 Nov 2011
By 
A. Grant - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Durability:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars  = Educational:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Agricola (Toy)
My friends and I love this game. The huge variety of cards means that the game never plays the same way twice. There's always a feeling that you're struggling to feed everyone in your family and the game is always tight but it generally doesn't take too long to work out what to do.

It's perfectly playable with 1,2,3,4 or 5 players which is quite an achievement of game balancing, and each version plays differently due to the differing levels of resources.

It's quite a complex game compared to say Puerto Rico so might not be suitable for children under 12 or people with short attention spans. Then again there's the family game which removes the cards which I haven't tried.

Buy It.
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Agricola
Agricola by Z-Man Games
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