Well the time has come at last for me to post about: AGRICOLA
Agricola was one of the first board games I bought about 9 years ago when I was getting into the hobby, based on the glowing reviews it was getting on hardcore board game discussion sites.
I tried playing it once and completely gave up on the game in disgust and sold it. The complexity and sheer number of things to figure out, as well as the fiddly scoring left a bad taste in my mouth.
Skip ahead a few years, and with some more experience with heavier/euro board games, I felt an unexplained itch to try it again, and after a more determined effort to learn the rules I found that I became an Agricola fan
, and it's become one of my favorite modern board games.
What makes Agricola such a special game?
Agricola has been called a "farming simulator" and that's an apt description. More than any other game I have it feels like a true sandbox simulation, where components and actions interact and unfold over time creating dynamics that are sometimes hard to predict and control, but always with a satisfying level of stress and amusement. Even if you have no interest in farming, there is something utterly compelling about the theme and the setting. It's a hard scrabble existence as a farmer, and resources are always in short supply. Do you try to make it growing grains and vegetables? Or specialize in sheep, boar, cattle? Or focus on growing a big family and expanding your house into a mansion. Everything takes work and planning and you never quite have time to do everything you want. It's a worker placement game, which means that you'll have to constantly adapt your strategy to be different from your playmates.
I taught it to a group of people yesterday and they loved it. In fact I highly recommend you find someone who can teach it to you rather than try to learn it from the rulebook, which can be a very frustrating experience. I also highly recommend the "Farmers of the Moor" expansion, which adds horses and the need to heat your house, which helps balance things out.
This is definitely NOT a casual board game -- it can take quite a while to play and requires some serious rule learning -- but I do highly recommend it. It can also be played solo -- which is never hugely fun, but i'd say it was one of the very few board games that actually can be enjoyable to play solo.