Agricola (board game)

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Agricola
Agricola game.jpg
The box cover of Agricola
Designer(s) Uwe Rosenberg
Publisher(s) Lookout Games (Germany)
Z-Man Games (U.S.)
999 Games (Netherlands)
Homolúdicus (Spain)
Players 1 to 5
Age range 12 and up
Setup time 5–10 minutes
Playing time 30–60 minutes per player
Random chance Low
Skill(s) required Economic management, Resource management, Strategic thought

Agricola is a German-style board game created by Uwe Rosenberg, and published by Lookout Games in Europe and Z-Man Games in the US. The goal of the game is to build the most well-balanced farm at the end of 14 rounds, consisting of plowed fields for crops and fenced pastures for livestock. The farm should have little fallow land and a large farmhouse built of high quality material. The player should also expand the family tending the farm from its initial two members to a maximum of five.

The game was released at Spiel 2007, where it was voted second-best game shown at the convention, according to the Fairplay in-show voting.[1] The game was released in English by Z-Man Games in July 2008.[2] Playdek released an iOS conversion of the game in June 2013.[3]

Agricola won the Spiel des Jahres special award for "Best complex game 2008" and the 2008 Deutscher Spiele Preis.[4][5]

It was also the game which ended Puerto Rico's run of more than five years as the highest-rated game on the board game website BoardGameGeek, itself staying at the top of the rankings between September 2008 and March 2010.[6]

Gameplay[edit]

A game of Agricola being set up.
Agricola Gameplay.

Each player starts the game with a board representing a farm on which are fifteen spaces, two of which are marked as rooms of a wooden farmhouse, and two person tokens, one occupying each of the rooms. The person tokens represent the player's family. A player uses each person token once every round, which is referred to as an 'action'. Actions include acquiring resources, plowing or sowing fields, fencing pastures, building stables, acquiring animals, extending or upgrading the farmhouse, growing the family, and acquiring food. The available actions vary according to the number of players and the rule set used.

The main board of the game is reversible, one side of which is used for the standard rule set and one for the family rule set (identified by an icon of two adults and a child). The board has a set of fixed actions, space for additional action cards based on the number of players, and space for fourteen round cards, each of which has an associated action. The round cards are revealed one at a time, at the beginning of each round, so the actions associated with those cards are available starting from the round in which they are revealed. All other actions are available every round. There is also a board on which ten major improvement cards are revealed.

In a game using the standard rule set, each player is dealt seven occupation cards and seven minor improvement cards at the start of the game. The base game has 169 occupation cards, such as 'woodcutter' or 'bread seller', and 139 minor improvement cards, such as 'fishing pole' or 'bean field'. A player may play a card using one of the actions available on the main board. For the family rule set variant, occupation and minor improvement cards are not used.[7] A player's strategy for the game is influenced by the set of cards dealt to that player.

Resources are used to pay the cost of extending the farmhouse, renovating it to clay or stone, fencing pastures, and playing major and minor improvements. Fields may be plowed and sown, which produce food each harvest. A harvest occurs at the end of rounds four, seven, nine, eleven, thirteen, and fourteen. During each harvest, fields are reaped, each person in the family must be fed, and animals breed. For each unit of food by which a player falls short of the feeding requirement, a he or she acquires a 'begging card'.

A player's final score is calculated after the end of harvest in round fourteen. It is based on the size and type (wood, clay, stone) of the farmhouse, the number of plowed fields, the number of pastures, the number of fenced stables, the number of each type of animal (sheep, boar, cattle), the number of grain and vegetables, and the size of the family. A player is penalised for having unused spaces on the board, and for each of the point-scoring criteria for which the player did not acquire or build at least one of that type of item; for example, a player scores '-1' for having no sheep at the end of the game. A player may also score bonus points based on the cards played during the game, and loses three points for each begging card acquired.

Expansions[edit]

Major expansions[edit]

Farmers of the Moor
Released at Essen 2009, Farmers of the Moor introduces new major and minor improvements. Horses can now be collected and bred like normal animals, and are worth one point each at the end of the game. Houses now must also be heated by using fuel, which can be harvested from peat bogs now located around the farmyard.
Gamers' Deck
Released at Essen 2010, the Gamers' Deck is a medium-sized expansion that includes 119 new minor improvement and occupation cards. The deck is playable alone but it can be mixed with the cards from the original game.
World Championship Deck
The World Championship Deck for Agricola is a new set of 115-cards. The 60 Minor Improvements and 55 Occupations are divided into five Mini-Decks and were created for the first Agricola World Championship 2011 in Vienna.
The NL Deck
The NL-Deck is a new set of 120 cards for Agricola. The 60 Minor Improvements and 60 Occupations can be played as a stand-alone deck or shuffled into other decks. Play Agricola with a new thematic setting! Discover the Netherlands - a small country with more than just the stereotypical windmills, cheese and tulips.
The Goodies
Released 2010 The Goodies contains many small expansions for Agricola that were previously released, mostly in German language. Lookout Games, the publisher, also introduced deluxe wooden pieces to complement the game. The Goodies Expansion contains:
  • Agricola X-Deck, Agricola Ö-Deck, Agricola CZ-Deck, Agricola L-Deck
  • 5 double-sided theme boards—Western, Spring, Autumn, Winter, and Mars.
  • Sticker Sheet (70 stickers) -- 35 adults, 33 children, 1 alien, and 1 werewolf.
  • Wooden Meeples -- Veggiemeeples, Animeeples, and Resourceeples.


Expansions Decks[edit]

Belgium Deck
Bielefeld Deck
CZ-Deck
12 Occupation and 12 Minor Improvement cards as part of a Czech Republic-themed expansion deck. Currently available only in German and Czech outside of The Goodies.
L-Deck
14-card promotional deck available electronically; nine were commercially printed and given away individually at Essen 2008.
The Legen*dairy Deck
Ö-Deck
12 Occupation and 12 Minor Improvement cards distributed with Österreicher (Austrian) printings of the game and The Goodies expansion.
Pi-Deck
X-Deck
Four cards of five different types (Alien Actions, Merchants from Outer Space, Alien Artifacts, Alien Events, and Alien Occupations), released with Spielbox Magazine: 2008 issue 5.
Z-Deck
12 Occupation and 12 Minor Improvement cards distributed with early printings by Z-Man Games, and as a promotional item.

Minor expansions[edit]

Through the Seasons
Small 4-space board printed on a postcard and given away at Essen 2008.
Ereigniskarten
De Lage Landen

Awards[edit]

2009

  • BoardGamer.ru Game of the Year
  • Lucca Games Best of Show (Italy) Side Award Best Game Mechanic
  • Nederlandse Spellenprijs Winner
  • Ludoteca Ideale 2009, Game of the Year
  • Jogo do Ano 2008 Spiel Portugal (Portugal) Winner
  • Gra Roku Game of the Year (Poland) Winner
  • Gra Roku - Gamers' Choice (Poland) Winner
  • Gra Graczy - Gamesfanatic.net (Poland) Winner
  • Golden Ace (France) Special Jury
  • Les 3 Lys (Canada) Hobbyist Game Winner

2008

  • Golden Geek Award Best Gamer's Board Game Winner
  • Golden Geek Award Board Game of the Year Winner
  • Spiel des Jahres "Complex Game" Winner
  • J.U.G. (Portugal) Game of the Year Winner
  • Deutscher Spiele Preis (Germany) Game of the Year Winner
  • International Gamers Award General Strategy/Multi-player Game
  • Hra roku (Czech Republic) Winner
  • Spiel der Spiele (Austria) Spiele Hit für Experten (Hit Games for Professionals)
  • Tric Trac d'or (France) Game of the Year Winner
  • Jda "Juego del Año en España" (Spain) Winner
  • 81st game to be added to the Austrian Hall of Games

2008 Nominations

2007

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Boardgame News Convention Report". Boardgamenews.com. Archived from the original on December 16, 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  2. ^ "Board Game Geek comments". Boardgamegeek.com. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  3. ^ "Playdek’s highly-anticipated agricola challenges players to build the most productive farm; plough, sow and reap victory". Gamasutra. June 13, 2013. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ Stefan Ducksch (2008-05-25). "Spiel des Jahres 2008: Best complex game 2008 (German)". Spiel des Jahres. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  5. ^ "Deutscher Spiele Preis 2008 (German)". Deutscher Spiele Preis. Retrieved 2009-08-06. 
  6. ^ "BGG Top 50 Statistics". Board Game Geek. Retrieved 28 July 2014. 
  7. ^ http://www.zmangames.com/boardgames/files/agricola/Agricola_Rules.pdf

External links[edit]