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Agricola
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Agricola Box cover

Designer

Uwe Rosenburg

Publisher

Lookout Games Z-Man Games 999 Games

Players

1-5

Suggested age range

12+

Setup time

5-10 min.

Playing time

1-2 hours

Random Chance

Low

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 turns, consisting of ploughed fields, pastures, grain and vegetables crops, and livestock. The farm should have as little fallow land as possible, and a farmhouse with many rooms built of higher quality material. The player should also have expanded 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]

Agricola won the Spiel des Jahres special award for "Best complex game 2008"[3] and the 2008 Deutscher Spiele Preis.[4] 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.[5]

Each player begins with a small two-room farmhouse and a family of two. This entitles them to two actions per round, such as gathering building materials, ploughing or sowing fields, extending their house, or making building improvements. The initial number of different actions available varies according to how many are playing. An action can only be played once in each round.

Gameplay Edit

Each player is also dealt two sets of seven cards: one for occupations, such as woodcutter, bread seller, rat catcher, etc.; and one for minor improvements, such as a fishing pole, an improved plough, a bean fieldand so on, which grant them small advantages over the other players. Alternatively, the variant known as the "family game" can be played without the use of Minor Improvement cards and Occupation cards to keep game play simpler.

A game of Agricola being set up. There are 169 different occupations, and 139 different minor improvements, so the game will play differently every time.

As the game progresses, and players increase their house size, they can then create new family members, which then allows more actions during each round. Also, as the game progresses, more actions spaces become available to take, including the ability to acquire vegetables and animals (sheep, wild boar, and cattle) for planting, breeding and cooking.

Every few rounds there is a harvest turn, where crops are reaped, animals bred and, most importantly, where each family member must be fed. This represents the most challenging aspect of the game, as failure to feed a family member has disastrous consequences on a player's game-end score.

ExpansionsEdit

Major expansionsEdit

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.

Minor expansionsEdit

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.
L-Deck
14-card promotional deck available electronically; nine were commercially printed and given away individually at Essen 2008.
Ö-Deck
12 Occupation and 12 Minor Improvement cards distributed with Österreicher (Austrian) printings of the game.
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.
Through the Seasons
Small 4-space board printed on a postcard and given away at Essen 2008.

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