Saturday, December 8, 2012

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small

Agricola Built for Two
by Carmen Norris (femelephant)

Plays in around 30 minutes for 2 Players over 13

This is Agricola with animals and nothing but animals. You acquire animals, make room for animals, and breed animals. The animeeples are great!

Like in the original game, fences cannot be moved, but animals can be moved at any time. Unlike the original, buildings can be used as borders.

In the original Agricola, the shape on the left is called a stable. In this version of Agricola the shape on the right is a stable, with the wooden shape being called a feeding trough. The feeding trough looks nothing like a feeding trough (which would be a trapezoid shape). Instead it is shaped exactly the same as a stable in the original Agricola game, which I will admit is a little confusing.


Like the original game’s stable, the feeding trough provides pasture for one animal without a fence and if inside a fence will double the capacity of the pasture. and continue to double capacity each time it is placed in another square. It can also double capacity by being placed in a house, stall, or stable. You do not score points for feeding troughs.

A feeding trough will also double the capacity of the stall, making it 6 instead of 3.

In this version of the game, you do not receive a negative score for unused farm space, but you do get a bonus for using all of the space available in an expansion. Don't miss your chance to get an expansion. They even come with fence pieces.

The scoring system for the animals is different in this game. It took me a while to realize that you have to have more than 3 of an animal or you get a negative score, and there are two ways to get a bonus on the number of animals you have. The scoring can get more complicated as you get bonuses for getting over a certain number of animals. There has been a scoring sheet provided for this. I would have preferred a score tracker, but at least they gave us something.

There is an urgency to getting what you need early on, and especially to buying the expansions and buildings that I don’t seem to have when playing the original Agricola. The resources do not stack up as much and it is possible for the other player to buy them all up before you get a chance. Being first player makes a big difference here.

If the other player buys up all of the extensions, though, you can have a great time maximizing the productivity of the space you do have

Oh yeah, those horses look comfortable.

I feel this has a different feel and less replayability than the original game, (let's face it the original has a variety of ways to earn points, and this one doesn't) but does what they set out to do which was to make Agricola more appropriate for two players. There is no need to feed anyone, so that simplifies things. And I feel that this seems quicker paced. When we get this out, we almost never play just one game. I really enjoy this game and highly recommend it. I feel that it does give me something different from the original, the components are great, the game play works, and it is fun. I have and will continue to play it again and again.

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