Game Agricola 20091228

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Played 20091228 1600-2038PST 4hr38min Michael (48) Steve (28) Josh (36) Kevin (23) Me (0). Michael first. Michael won.

[20091229 3:45 AM]
I was being a poor sport, the cards I drew weren't particularly useful, and I didn't want to spend turns just trying to get food while it seemed everybody else had already established means of gaining resources. Hence about halfway into the game, I decided, I'll just try to get a lot of negative points, primarily through beggar cards. This game, like Settlers, isn't really my cup of tea. I like Caylus better than both of them. I like Puerto Rico better than Caylus. However, after the game, we were discussing adding time limits. But I will modify our conclusion here. Basically, if you want to play a two hour game for five people then each person gets 24 minutes. On average, you get 3 actions a round, and there's 14 rounds, for 42 actions. Even with 48 actions, the guideline on how long you should take per turn is 30 seconds. However, there could be a five minute strategy creation period at the beginning of the game. My one complaint which is for future beginners, I wish we played the family version as our first go, this way, the game could have been shorter, we would have understood the mechanics. I might have been pumped to play the actual game. We probably would have spent the same amount of time in the end. Rather than, halfway through, I lost interest, took longer turns because nothing was a reasonable choice for me... By the way, we started playing at around 4 pm, and we ended at 8:38 pm. The rules were explained in about an hour, but I learn a bit more by reading, so I simultaneously had to read some. There was no clarification on the capacity powers of a stable, but it wasn't a big deal... [20110115: This is clarified in the post Agricola 20100105. There can be multiple stables in a pasture, and the multipliers stack. Thus a pasture with three spaces can hold 24 animals. Though it isn't reasonable to need more than a capacity of 8 which can easily be achieved by a pasture with two spaces and one stable.] My score, though uninteresting: 17 Beggar Cards = -51, Minor Improvment Points = 5, Tutor = 5, Wooden Hut Builder = 2, Fields = 1, Pasture = 1, Grain = -1, Vegetables = -1, Sheep (19) = 4, Wild Boar = -1, Cattle = -1, Unused Space = -2, Fenced Stable = 1, Family Members (3) = 9.

Summary: If I were to introduce the game to anybody, I'd play the family rules first. Then in the next game I'd go to regular rules. I'd also make turn order by the number of times someone has played, starting with least to most.

Note: Unfortunately, we played starting with most to least, and at the start, I thought this was good, because I'd see what was happening, since I still didn't understand the rules. We also dived right into regular version.

Remark: As I mentioned to Michael, I would have played with the preset start worlds in Race for the Galaxy which would make the game easier to start with, had we first played with five or less players. However, there were no preset game rules when the sixth player was added in the second expansion.

Remark 2: I know I said above that this game isn't really my cup of tea. However, the theme is great and all the mechanics are great. You start with a family, you have farm land, you want to have kids, they help you, you get crops or livestock, you turn them into food to survive, and you make improvements to your home. I'd probably enjoy it more if the game was shorter. Or if I didn't feel so limited.

Remark 3: Josh mentioned afterward how the first few rounds, going first is critical, and it didn't particularly help that I went last. I agree, and by the time I picked up certain things, it was too late. I recall how Josh jokingly said at some point, "Let's start another game right now." (Maybe not precisely those words) Steve replied, "Yeah Josh... let me just get my other copy of Agricola out." (Again not precisely those words)

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