The sixth game in my brief reviews of TableTop boardgames. Who would have thought you could have a board game based on farming? Not only that, but an enjoyable game with lots of re-playability? I for one was uncertain, so it came as a surprise when I played Agricola for the first time. I went to friends house and he played this with his wife and thought I would enjoy it was well. Turned out the 3 player game played differently to the two player (and I later found out a five player plays differently as well).
What's it all about?
This is another Worker Placement type game, but different to that of Stone Age. There are some similarities - you have a number of workers that you need to place to perform an action and you still need to feed them at certain times. There are a number of static actions that can be performed, and new actions are revealed after every turn. You want to have some sheep - well, you will have to wait until that card is displayed on the board. This element provides a little randomness to the game, and brings the re-playability.
The aim of the game is to build up your farm to be the best in the area. You can do this by building up your house, increase your family size, plough and harvest crops, raise and breed livestock and provide a place for professions. This is the type of game where getting a balance is good, as you will lose points if you do not have something. For example, if you have no Cows, you will lose a point. Having 1 cow will grant you 1 point, so its always a good idea to have at least 1 of everything - but not essential.
The professions provide LOTS of re-playability due to the number of cards available. I have played this a number of times now, and rarely have I had a card I have had in the past. These cards provide you with extra abilities (such as the Fence Builder - which allows you to add 3 fences for free, as long as you spend at least 1 resource). With such a large amount of cards and abilities, you can gain a small advantage over your opponents.
This is a great game, which is not surprising as it is in my top gateway games list. It is a little pricey as is the expansion, but its a game I feel you will play a number of times to get your moneys worth from it. Sometimes the game finishes JUST as you feel as if you are getting a grip with the game. That's the challenge of the game - you NEED to complete your tasks within 13 turns. So, if you get the opportunity to play this - then please do so.