Agricola

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Agricola, by Lookout Spiele, is one of Uwe Rosenberg’s most popular titles. Not only has it stood the test of time, but Agricola has gone on to define Rosenberg as one of the biggest names in modern strategy board games. In Agricola, 2-4 players compete to build and run the best farm. (It also provides a solo mode.) It’s a medium-weight Euro-style game, with the aim being to sco…
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Category Tags , , , , , , SKU ZBG-MFG3515 Availability 5+ in stock
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Agricola, by Lookout Spiele, is one of Uwe Rosenberg’s most popular titles. Not only has it stood the test of time, but Agricola has gone on to define Rosenberg as one of the biggest names in modern strategy board games. In Agricola, 2-4 players compete to build and run the best farm. (It also provides a solo mode.) It’s a medium-weight Euro-style game, with the aim being to score the most victory points over 14 rounds. First-come, first-served worker placement lies at the heart of Agricola. You start with two farmer workers who can visit various locations. At the start of each round, some of these spots gain extra resources, making them more appealing. If no one visits them, these piles of wood, crops, or animals accumulate. They soon become all the more appealing! You might start the round with a certain plan… but how can you turn down that many free sheep? Each player has their own farm player mat. It’s a grid of squares, and you need to try and fill it. Will you plough fields to grow veggies? Will you extend your farmhouse – and with it, your family of farmers? Will you build fences to keep livestock? There’s a million-and-one different strategies in Agricola! There’s quite a few plates to spin, as it were. Your options grow as the game progresses. At the start of each new round, a new worker placement card gets revealed. At regular intervals, you need to provide food to feed your workers. Your animals also breed – but only if you have space to accommodate them. Many categories get scored at the end, and if you ignore them you can score dreaded minus points… You also start the game with a hand of Occupation and Minor Improvement cards. If you can afford them, these assist you in an engine-building fashion, offering an infinite modular experience. Agricola is the kind of fascinating game that never plays the same way twice! Player Count: 1-4 players Time: 30-150 minutes Age: 12+

Awards

golden-geek

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Simple mechanics leading to a deeply strategic game.
  • Wonderful components.
  • Offers varying complexity.
  • Pacing of rounds increase towards the end of the game.
  • You won't know who wins until the game is actually over.

Might Not Like

  • Low player verses player interaction.
  • Low
  • High potential for analysis paralysis.
  • Time-consuming to set-up.
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Description

Agricola, by Lookout Spiele, is one of Uwe Rosenberg’s most popular titles. Not only has it stood the test of time, but Agricola has gone on to define Rosenberg as one of the biggest names in modern strategy board games. In Agricola, 2-4 players compete to build and run the best farm. (It also provides a solo mode.) It’s a medium-weight Euro-style game, with the aim being to score the most victory points over 14 rounds.

First-come, first-served worker placement lies at the heart of Agricola. You start with two farmer workers who can visit various locations. At the start of each round, some of these spots gain extra resources, making them more appealing. If no one visits them, these piles of wood, crops, or animals accumulate. They soon become all the more appealing! You might start the round with a certain plan… but how can you turn down that many free sheep?Each player has their own farm player mat. It’s a grid of squares, and you need to try and fill it. Will you plough fields to grow veggies? Will you extend your farmhouse – and with it, your family of farmers? Will you build fences to keep livestock? There’s a million-and-one different strategies in Agricola!

There’s quite a few plates to spin, as it were. Your options grow as the game progresses. At the start of each new round, a new worker placement card gets revealed. At regular intervals, you need to provide food to feed your workers. Your animals also breed – but only if you have space to accommodate them. Many categories get scored at the end, and if you ignore them you can score dreaded minus points… You also start the game with a hand of Occupation and Minor Improvement cards. If you can afford them, these assist you in an engine-building fashion, offering an infinite modular experience.

Agricola is the kind of fascinating game that never plays the same way twice!

Player Count: 1-4 players

Time: 30-150 minutes

Age: 12+

If I were to tell you that Agricola is about indirect competitive farming you might not think it sounds particularly good, and with that description of this detailed, strategic, and thoroughly engaging game; who could blame you.

But, the theme is integral to the mechanics of this Euro game, and in the currently available edition, the wooden animeeples never lets you forget that this a game about toiling the land to enrich, improve and most importantly feed your family of farmers – which is what Agricola means, it is Latin for farmer.

See, games are fun and educational no one learns Latin these days!!

Playing Agricola

You’ll start this game with a plot of land, empty except for your small, two-room farmhouse, which can only mange to fit two people; husband and wife (denoted by very gender neutral wooden discs). Between all the players then lies the game boards which, over the course of the next six stages (broken into 14 rounds), will reveal the various actions your household will be able to undertake to provide resources of some kind or another, or complete tasks; like building some fences so you can then keep some sheep.

Now, with only two people in your house, you’ll only be able to take two actions. To take any more you need another farmer on the farm, but to fit another farmer you need a bigger house. And, of course, if you have enough space for three, four or even five farmers on your little plot you’ll have to feed them all, so you’ll have to keep livestock and grow wheat or vegetables but again, all of these are actions, and all of these actions are choices.

It's in this simple economy that Agricola shines: to do more, you first need more people, which will cost you more, but in turn earns you more. This can lead to some pretty serious analysis paralysis (where a player labours over their decision making), now add to this process that each player can only take actions from the shared board, means that any plan can fall-over as soon as an opponent takes that one essential action you wanted; and in Agricola every action is essential.

Playing Agricola Board Game (Credit: Muse23PT BGG)

Agricola presents you with restrictions and limitations with every turn, whilst simultaneously presenting you with more. As Orson Wells once said: “The enemy of art is the absence of limitations,” and that is how to win at Agricola. There are many, many paths to victory but is in the art of mathematics; everything you have or don’t have on you plot, each room, stable, animal, grain of wheat, etc. is worth something, and its absence is worth a point penalty.

This may all may sound pretty heavy, and truth be told this isn’t the easiest, most accessible game ever made, but all the information is available to all players, allowing more experienced players to really coach their opponents through their choices (on your first few play-throughs try the “Family mode; which is an ‘easier’ or ‘lighter’ version of the game). In a subsequent game all the same choices will be available, just in a slightly different order; which, believe it or not drastically changes everything, so by game two you’ll have some serious competition.

Player interaction in this game is very light; there is little you are able to actively do to affect your opponents, except “rob” them of the resources or choices, that may not sound like much but trust me – it feels pretty good foiling someone else’s plan, and it is extremely frustrating when it happens to you.

Final Thoughts on Agricola

At the end of a game you’ll look down at your previously empty plot of land and it will be teeming with life and colour; your two-room, wooden farmhouse, along with your family will have grown, the wheat will be swaying gently in your fields and there will be the soft baa of the sheep in the pastures.

You will have that sense of accomplishment that can only come from building a pretend farm from little pieces of wood.... And you’ll definitely want to do it again!

  • Zatu Review Summary
  • Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Simple mechanics leading to a deeply strategic game.
    • Wonderful components.
    • Offers varying complexity.
    • Pacing of rounds increase towards the end of the game.
    • You won't know who wins until the game is actually over.

    Might not like

    • Low player verses player interaction.
    • Low
    • High potential for analysis paralysis.
    • Time-consuming to set-up.