Monday, October 20, 2008


Last Saturday night was my first chance to play Agricola, a resource gathering and utilization game that is often compared to Puerto Rico.

Since two of my opponents were Dee and Steve, both considered to be among the toughest competitors in the group, and it was my first time to play, I didn't think that I had much of a shot at winning. My main goal was to learn the mechanics and see how I liked it. Imagine my surprise when I ended up winning even though there were major rules, such as the fact that multiple players can use the actions on the overturned cards and how plowing/sowing worked, that I didn't understand until the very end.

On turn 2, I was able to play a card called Straw Hut (I believe that was the name, couldn't find it in the compendium) that allowed me to have an extra family member for the rest of the game. The advantage given to me by this inexpensive card considering that my opponents weren't able to add extra farmers for several more turns was tremendous. Using the scorecard as a checklist while possessing such a huge benefit, I was able to muddle along and win with 40 total points.

It's hard to offer strategy tips for the first time you play a game. The only thing I would offer up would be to make sure you get good cards. Seriously though, I think that, if I play it again, I'd like to try the drafting method of distributing the cards. Anything you can do to cut down on luck is good with me. Besides, I always loved drafting in Magic tournaments; the process would add an extra dimension to the game for me.

My overall impression of the game was neutral. I'd have to play it again a few times before I could give you a good assessment. It seemed complicated, but not overly so. Setup seemed a bit onerous as all four players had multiple tasks to accomplish just to get the board on the table.

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