Agricola is a farming board game set in the medieval times where you will starve if you don’t do your job. You are a farmer and your job is to improve and expand your farm by plowing and planting fields, establishing fenced pastures to hold a variety of animals, make constant upgrades to your house, feed your family, and make various other improvements, whether minor or major, for efficiency.
Start of Play
Players will start the game out by having a farming couple living in a 2 roomed hut. Over the course of 14 rounds that are divided by 6 harvests, you and up to 4 other players collect resources like wood, clay, stone and reed, gather food like grain and vegetables, plow fields, build fences, create new rooms to add to your 2 room hut, employ people with occupations aside from your own, have a family and much more.
At each harvest people are fed, food is grown, and animals multiply. Players lose Victory Points if they have trouble feeding their family, which makes food production a key component in the game. It only takes the simple action of placing your farmer or a family member token on an action space on the board. If this space has resources, then you will take them. If the space indicates another action, such as putting up another fence, then you will perform that action. If a space is already occupied by another player then you can’t place any of your tokens on that space.
At the end of the 14th Round the final harvest will arrive and all players will count their Victory Points. The main objective in Agricola is to have the most Victory Points out of all players. A player will be penalized for scattering his or her focus across more than one aspect of the game, and if a player focuses on one area too much but fails to score in that area, that player will also be penalized.
It is important to note that you need to feed your family first and foremost as each family member will require 2 foodstuffs, except for newborn babies which only require 1 foodstuff. With great frequency in Agricola do harvests occur, so it is recommended that you find a way to feed your family efficiently in the early goings of the game. For the people you employ to work on your farm, you can only have 1 worker perform a single action at a time, so make sure to delegate responsibilities between workers.
There are many different ways to play Agricola as one variant allows you to play by yourself in a Solitaire form. There are 3 thick decks of Optional Cards that will be put in play. Players will be a dealt a hand using these 3 thick decks as the cards will contain occupations and minor improvements. Additional resources and various bonuses will be given to players who play these Optional Cards. There are also expansion decks specifically designed to enhance the replay value of Agricola, so if you would like to extend the playing time of a game, you can shuffle these expansion decks in with the original decks to give yourself and your friends a fresh new experience.
Agricola Family Version
There is also a less complicated “Family Version” of Agricola where the original rules are simplified for more casual players to get more involved in what occurs on the medieval farm. In this variation cards that have occupations and minor improvements will not be used.
Agricola is the winner of countless board game awards as well as being ranked the 7th best board game of all-time on BoardGameGeeks.com. The awards that Agricola has won include the 2008 Board Game of the Year and Best Gamer’s Board Game Golden Geek Award, the 2008 Spiel des Jahres (Germany) “Complex Game” Award, the 2008 Deutscher Spiele Preis (Germany) Game of the Year, the 2008 International Gamers Award for the General Strategy/Multi-player Game category, the 2009 Golden Ace (France) Special Jury Award, and the 2009 BoardGamer.ru (Russia) Game of the Year.