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Game Name
Year Published
Z-Man Games

A game about farming.

Editor reviews

4 reviews

(Updated: June 28, 2018)
Alright, I know I'm going to catch hell for this one.

After all the hoopla and counter-hoopla, I wanted to just play the game and make a decision on it for myself outside of all the idiotic fanboy-like behavior of its constituency and even away from our usual AGRICOLA-bashing here at F:AT. I really couldn't care less if it's an Ameritrash game or a Eurogame, I just wanted to see how it played on its own merits. And of course, it has a lot of the awful Eurogame shit that we routinely criticize here but it also diverts from that course an awful lot. The biggest surprise for me was that the game isn't anything approaching "heavy" at all and that it's about as strategically deep as CARCASSONNE. I was also surprised that it was actually fun and that even the lack of any player interaction was OK since I enjoyed the game enough without it.

Is it a great game? Hell no. It's a good Euro and a surprisingly daring one given the implementation of CCG-style card combinations, and it is probably the best game in its class. I think it's definitely better than PUERTO RICO, CAYLUS, PRINCES OF FLORENCE, GOA, and all those other games with less heart and soul than a graveyard full of mathemetician corpses.

It's really kind of a damn shame that a company like FFG didn't publish it- a full-on plastic production could have made this something really cool, but instead we get the usual "raiding the craft store" assortment of bits.

Alright, start crucifying can't be any worse than the time my punk rock friends found out that I had an INXS record.
Top 10 Reviewer 137 reviews
I've gotten so much enjoyment out of this game over the years that I'm inclined to overlook its issues. The cards add some much-needed dynamism to a pretty austere design, but they also are a bit janky. Letting different actions be possible with a single space feels artificial, and more than anything the game forces all of the players to build the same sort of farm, rather than allowing specialization. But what is there is still really good. This is a tense and subtle game, and one of the few instants where player-punishing mechanics feel spot on.
Top 50 Reviewer 55 reviews
There's a lot - a hell of a lot - of min/maxing in this game. No hidden information (other than the cards of the other players) means you're constantly trying to add up various potential combinations to spot the best. It's the same problem as power grid, only with less interaction and interest. The plays I racked up on this were mainly solo, and I did enjoy the puzzle element of "solving" it to make a full run of seven campaign games. But once solved it ceased to have much interest. So the rating is a balance of what I'd give solo (6) and what I'd give multi-player (4).
#1 Reviewer 286 reviews
Of the Rosenberg games, this one is not to my taste (and I quite like several of his games). It has several things I particularly dislike about worker placement. First, the all important family growth action is the alpha and omega of the game. I prefer my worker placement without the machinations required to get into place for what is clearly the best space and options. Second, Agricola is not about specialization but about balance in scoring. It is the classic Rosenberg game that demands you do what he wants you to do rather than what you want to do. Opinions differ, but this is not why I play these sorts of games. If I wanted to play a tight, competitive version of worker placement I'd go ahead and play the far superior Argent: the Consortium.

User reviews

6 reviews

3 stars
1 star
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"VVouldst thou like to live deliciously?"
tl;dr — It's time to get excited about farming! Farming. And when I finally got to plowin' with my doughty farm-wife the earth gave up its dead because they only moved the headstones. 50+ face-to-face plays.

I can totally see why people love this: It's charming and mildly haunting, and there are actually opportunities to dump a turd in the downstream player's punchbowl. "Yeah, I didn't need that food. I went fishing just to watch your kids starve."

Ultimately, though, this gets stuck in the dreaded 3.5 star ghetto—good enough, but missing that special something. And that something is a theme that isn't farming.

After 17 plays: I'm bumping this up to 4 stars. My wife loves it, and I find her enthusiasm for the game infectious. With two relatively experienced players—and wine—the game flies by; the struggle and decision-making is a pleasant diversion, and the tiny model farm you wind up with at the end is nifty.

FINAL ANALYSIS: All things being equal, the cards make or break the game. Either you get a fistful of synergy that showers you with freebies or you sit and watch someone else play that game. I suppose this could be mitigated with some kind of card draft or other time-consuming setup step, but really, the game isn't that deep or robust to support such shenanigans. This sensitivity to the vagaries of luck keeps the game firmly wedged in the "whipped dessert" category—very tasty, but ultimately nothing more than sugar and air.

After 27 plays: Revising down to 3.5 stars. Familiarity is bleeding this one out, especially after a brutal string of games with poor card draws. Also, the tension in the 5p game is unpleasant, or, more correctly, is out of whack with the payoff for suffering it. There are only so many times you can circle the drain of reductive choice where it's pastry, pie, cookie, crumb, bowl of poop before losing your mind and fantasizing about rolling some dice and kicking in the door of the guy who wasted the sow space for baking and using the axe you invented on his family.

"You got Ceramics? I got Clogs, bitches! CLOOOGS!!!"

So far the 2p game is my favorite—it's over quickly enough that a bad hand is tolerable. Two or 3p is definitely the sweet spot for this.

After 38 plays: Revising down to 3 stars. Not timeless, not a classic, and it's about farming. Farming!

After 50 plays: Bumping it back up to 3.5 stars. My wife really, really loves it, and that softens my hard heart. Besides, our last game was really weird—I didn't try my usual min-maxing by following the script that always nets 40+ points—I went after a wheat baron's seven-room stone mansion with constant barbeques. Meanwhile, my wife deviated from her script as well, with the game ending up 24-21 in my favor. I like weird.
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Best board game I've ever played
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.
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Pleasant Euro/Worker Placement Game
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.
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Joys of being a farmer
(Updated: July 28, 2008)
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