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on 30 January 2010
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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on 9 January 2017
Delighted with the game. Bought as a game for Christmas for whole family and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. We are used to the games Carcasonne, Puerto Rico, Catan and the like and we were unsure about buying this as we thought it would potentially be too similar. Not a bit of it - yes there are some similarities - but I would suggest that this is a better game than all of these with many more twists and turns throughout. Having played the iPad version before getting this, it took a little while to get used to the 'real' game but it does bring an extra dimension to have all the physical pieces there. Does take a while to set up though. Be careful to buy the 'Z-Man' version if playing with 5 players is important.
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on 4 February 2014
The game is expensive but the quality of the components is uniformly excellent (the animeeples being especially fun) and there are a great many of them, which can make the first sight on opening the box both a wonder and somewhat daunting at the same time! It works well as a family game though we've yet to get beyond the basic game and try the more complex, advanced version

Others have commented on the detail of the game play (and boardgamegeek.com has as many reviews as you could wish for!) so I won't go over it save to say that it is an excellent game and I highly recommend it.
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on 29 December 2013
This was a gift but recipient was very pleased. Looks like it will keep very intelligent minds challenged for sometime!
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on 14 June 2016
Fantastic hard game, which gives a lot of satisfaction. Played in solo at the moment and still very good. There is also a family version, very useful if your child wants to join you. I learned the rules and played it faster than I thought. I read that this game is not for a neophyte. I am not an experienced gamer (I was used to play only Monopoly, Cluedo and Trivial Pursuit), but for me this is one of the best games I have ever played.
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on 9 October 2016
If you like board games with details then you will love Agricola. It does need some time to get to know the very wide range of cards that are available in order to develop your own strategies so I would recommend getting a few games in in the same week. The gameplay is easy to learn though- the rules are sometimes complex and need thought to fully understand.
However there is a family mode for easier playing!
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on 3 March 2016
Thank you ever so much for this game. I am so pleased with the purchase. The game is really good fun for all generations and there are so many things in the box! nice details, good quality and you can even play it alone. Ordered the game with standard delivery (expected in 3-5 days) but it came the next day! Perfect and thank you! perfect gift and good for couples or families. Really worth the money.
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on 21 August 2013
Great! Thanks so much! The version I get even includes the new animepples! I am very happy with it and would definitely buy from this seller again.

Agricola is a great game. It's not too complicated, but it's satisfying for an experienced gamer. It has a family version so you ca play it with noobs or kids and everyone will have a great time.
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on 8 April 2014
Simple worker-placement mechanisms hide a deep and profoundly satisfying game, satisfaction that partly comes from the totally integrated theme that really makes you feel like you are building and growing a life on a 17th century subsistence farm.

Excellent, fine quality presentation, a perfect balance of the abstract and the more concrete.
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on 24 June 2012
I bought this game for my board-game-aholic son and once we opened it I quite understood why this is not a cheap board game! It is full of surdy boards, cards, pieces and an impressive set of rules. It took us (me, my son and my daughter-in-law) sometime to get through and understand the basics of play and then we played a game without really aiming to win, but to understand. And we definitely needed to play this type of game first, where we shared the information on our various cards with a view to understanding how the game worked. It is a bit dizzying at first because there is an awful lot to understand, but once we got the basics we all decided it was a terrific game with endless possibilities for progressing and, hopefully, winning. I think it will take a lot more games to fully understand how effective different tactics are, but it is highly unlikely that you will ever be able to play the game exactly the same way twice as there are so many variables in the cards you can be dealt at the start of the game.

To put it simply you have to build up a basic farmstead from its two room, two people origins in 14 rounds and end up with more points than your opponents at the end. If you like using your brain then this is a game that makes you do just that and then some. It is mostly a tactical game and it has a well defined structure of play. There are three elements of 'luck' in the game, things over which each individual player has little or no control - the cards people receive at the beginning of the game, who gets to start in the first round (arguably limited control here, but the group as a whole has to decide how to choose who goes first) and the knock on effect of the previous players' moves. The latter can completely scupper your plans if you have to go late in a round and unless you can get to go first this may hamper you for more than one round.

The order the game is played in, once the start player for the first round has been chosen, is strictly defined and then you have a myriad of decisions to make - ploughing fields, sowing crops, fencing fields, acquiring animal stock, extending the farmhouse, various improvements, expanding and feeding the family, acquiring any essential resources that may be required to make any of these things possible and so on. In each round you can only take as many actions as you have people in your family, so the more people you have the more actions you can take. However, more people require more food ... and if you don't have enough food at harvest time to feed your family you can find yourself in more than a bit of a pickle! To begin with each player has two people so can take two actions. These actions may sometimes involve playing one of the cards in your hand and these cards can have a massive impact on how successful you are so you need to read them all very carefully to try and understand which ones are useful to you and when it might be best to play them. Once taken by a player an action is no longer available to anyone until the next round. As the rounds and stages progress more actions become available, enabling you to build up your farm in more productive ways, but adding considerably to the thinking and decision making you have to do! There are some penalties at the of the game for not ever taking certain actions and that also adds considerably to the decision making and the pressure. So, for example, it's nice having masses of sheep fields, but you will be penalised if you have only sheep and no cattle or boars - and penalised for all three if you have no animals at all.

I think this is a terrific game and if you like a thoughtful, tactical, challenging game then you will probably like this. I really like the fact that it is limited in play so you won't sit there for hours and hours trying to gain the upper hand. The limit actually adds to the challenge and the pressure to make the best decisions possible gives a nice edge to the game. For the fun and the challenge this is definitely a 5/5 game and whilst I think this also has an educational value I think for those who dislike or would not benefit from complexity and/or tactical gameplay this game would have limited appeal, hence the 4/5 star rating. This is much more a brain game than a practical game and so would not be of educational value to everyone, but I love it.
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