Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Agricola: Family Edition (Mayfair Games)

Agricola is a board game that has been around for over a decade and still stands the test of time. If you visit the Boardgamegeek website, you will see that it still ranks #11 out of tens of thousands of games. That says something to its longevity that despite all the hot new games released every year, it still stands the test of time. I looked into playing it one time, but when I saw the amount of expansions and decks of cards that you could add to it to make the game new/different/better, I shrunk away and said, maybe this game is not for me. Luckily for me and other newer gamers out there, Mayfair Games has released a Family Edition of this classic that streamlines the game, making setup, game play, and scoring easier! Agricola: Family Edition is a game for 1-4 players, ages 8+. It takes approximately 45 minutes to play and retails for $45.
Setup
1. Place the game board in the middle of the table with the round marker on space one.
2. Attach the appropriate game board extension depending on the number of players.
3. Place all the animals, resources, grain, stables, and food markers next to the board.
4. Also place the rooms (wood side up), pastures, begging, and substitute markers next to the board.
5. Place the windmill, basketmaker's workshop, pottery, joinery, and depot into their respective spaces on the board. All other improvements are placed above the game board.
6. Give each player a starting house (wood side up) and two meeples of their color.
7. Determine a starting player randomly. They receive the rooster and two food. All other players receive three food.
Game Play - The game is played over 14 rounds with each round having three phases:
1. Preparation - Place new goods on the game board wherever a colored arrow is pictured. (Note: The number of goods is dictated by the number to the left of the goods.)
2. Work - Players place one of their meeples on an action space on the game board, carrying out the action immediately. Proceed clockwise until all players have placed their meeples.
3. Returning Home - Take your meeples off the action spaces and place them back on your house. Then, move the round marker forward one space, which will unlock a new action space.
*4. Harvest - At the end of rounds 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 14 a harvest occurs. During the harvest, you must feed your people. Your animals also breed and produce a baby if you have space on your farm to put it.

Scoring
Each person is worth three points. Each begging marker loses three points. Each tile (not wood rooms), stable, grain in your field, and animal on your farm are all worth one point.

Review
Agricola: Family Edition is a welcome and approachable edition to a classic. The board is modular, so that you can add a piece to it for each game size. The components are amazing quality, in that all the pieces are thick cardboard or wood, and it is a lot of wood! Wooden sheep, wooden cows, wood hay, wooden people,  wooden wood! These pieces feel great in your hand and make the game more appealing to a younger audience, because it makes the game more tangible. I also like that the rules, game play, and scoring are streamlined. This makes the game quick to learn, easy to teach, and an all around pleasant experience. The only negative with the game is replay value. There is not much variability with the game, because the same buildings/improvements come out at the same time every game. That's a negative for experience gamers, but a positive for kids, families, casual gamers, or people who don't want to play the game more than once a month. If you are a more serious gamer, plan on playing Agricola more often, get the recently released Revised Edition. If not, then stick with the Family Edition and you won't be disappointed.

This game was provided to me for free by Mayfair Games in exchange for an honest review.