Disclosure: I have a soft-spot for games with Economic mechanics
I was so worried this much-hyped game was going to disappoint but it did not. I totally love it and everyone I've played with so far feels the same. I used to be a pretty heavy CCG player and gave it up in 2005, so this game feels like runnin' home to Mama.
It's difficult to pin-point exactly what I like most about this game but there are just so many moments that are fun:
-Grabbing a truck-load of sheep and throwing them in the cooking hearth while keeping one as a pet is just hilarious.
-The rushed feeling of the next upcoming harvest is a very adrenaline-pushing moment. I have felt the panic of not having enough food several times (unfortunately, still winning the game while having 2 begging cards has made this less scary but it's still there).
-I love how this game gets faster and faster near the end. I LOVE THAT. Some games like Power Grid actually lose steam in the end game but this does not at all. It becomes frantic.
It's also the first game that I feel tempted to upgrade pieces into fancier-looking animals and stuff since I really get into the game when I play as do my friends and family. I'm introducing the game this weekend to my sister and brother-in-law and I can't wait.
I love this game because of it's simplicity. That may sound funny on Agricola, but I really meant it. It's one of the non-gateway game that I can teach in five to ten minutes. The game hides most of its action in the beginning, and later reveals it one by one. With new players, I just ask them: what do you want to do now?
I love the pacing, which picks up tremendously within a game. I think the most fun part is acquiring new abilities to be more efficient. And, building stuff is always fun to me.
The two downsides, being forced to generalize and doing the same thing over and over, do not bother me as much as other people. It's a really pleasant game once you understand that getting food for your family is non-negotiable for most of the time.