Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Agricola - 2nd Game

Ed had also been reading up on Agricola on Boardgamegeek.com and jumped at the chance to play it at game night. Dustin and Kwan, both experienced players, and Josh joined us.

Since playing for the first time last week, I had done a little research myself and convinced the other players that we should draft cards instead of passing them out randomly. I always loved drafting in Magic tournaments and figured that the mechanic would be fun here too. I was right. Something about it adds an extra element for me. I highly recommend it.

The first rule of drafting in Agricola, obviously, is to grab any Z cards that come your way. I ended up with Game Designer, allowing me to covert one each of a clay, wood, stone, and reed into two food and a bonus point at any time. Some important non-Z cards that I snagged were Slaughterhouse (one food every time an opponent slaughters animals), Woodcutter (gives me one extra wood anytime one of my farmers gets wood), and the Clay Deposit (action square that gives 5 clay. If other players use it, they have to give me a food. If I use it, I can choose to take 2 bonus points instead).

I really meandered through the first part of the game, and, just past the halfway point, thought that I didn't have a chance to win. Then things started to come together. I was the first to get my 3rd farmer and the first to get my fourth. Finally having figured out the farming mechanic, I sowed three fields, which gave me grain and vegetables for the end turns. I also was able to fence in a large chunk of my area and get some livestock.

In the end, I think that the Game Designer is what won it for me. I used it's ability 6 times, giving me 12 food and 6 VPs. I got an additional 4 points from the Clay Deposit. Overall, more than 25% of my total was bonus points, and I won with 39. The nearest competitor was Dustin with 30.

Once again, it seems like getting a powerful card and using it well is the key to winning the game. Of course, it also seems like getting extra people as soon as possible is a major factor as well.

So, after two times playing and winning both, I'm pretty ambivalent towards the game. If a group is getting together and needs a fourth or fifth player, I'll join in (especially if they've already set up the board), but I don't think that I'll ever crave me some Agricola action.

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