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Posted by admin On June - 12 - 2012

Uwe Rosenberg’s ubiquitous influence in the board gaming world seems to become more and more valid with each game that has his name printed on the box cover. I think BOP can safely say he’s one of the few true superstars when it comes to designers and undoubtably one of our favorites here on BOP.

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small is his latest hotness to be released sometime this month (6/2012) and is currently available for pre-order. I personally am especially excited about this game for two major reasons. First, it’s a 2-player game, and I am a big fan of two player games, since much of my gaming time is spent with my husband. And although many games are designed for 2+ players, lots of times those games that accommodate more than two people are best with three or more players. Additionally, many of these games include variants to make them “fit” for two players but aren’t solely designed for two players. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small is exactly a two player game. When you buy this game you know it was designed for you and your gaming plus one. Second, it’s based off the blue-ribbon game Agricola. Need I say more?

Despite the fact that Agricola is now sort of a “classic” with a whole whopping 5 years under it’s belt, we haven’t reviewed it here on BOP, and with our overwhelming enthusiasm about Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small soon to be released, its high time we added Agricola to the BOP gaming library of reviews.

New to gaming and haven’t played Agricola yet?

In Agricola, you take on the role of farmer living with your spouse in a two room wooden hut. You take turns placing your farmers pawn and spouse pawn taking actions such as gathering resources, plowing fields, extending your hut, upgrading your hut, and even making babies (you can choose to have up to three little rascals to put to work on your ever growing farm). It is very rewarding to see your bland little wooden hut on a barren farm grow into (hopefully) something quite impressive in the end. The game occurs over 14 rounds broken into 6 stressful stages. Stressful? yes, flippin’ stressful. The stages get shorter and shorter with less and less rounds in each one. At the end of each stage you have to feed your family which can be quite tense to balance out growing your farm and still managing to eat. There are multiple paths for strategy and the game supports endless replayability and complexity levels.

One of the major exciting elements of the game are the ‘Occupation’ and ‘Minor Improvements’ cards. These are optional in the beginner family version of the game, but I feel really make the game worth playing. They are optional to play but can really add formulating a great strategy. There is an Easy basic deck, Interactive deck that allows for fun…ehem… interactions with your opponents, and a more complex deck for mind blowing fun.

Agricola is really a phenomenal worker placement/resource management game and is a perfect 10 on BOP’s rating scale.

Oh but there is more…

It’s going to take you a long while to get bored of this board game, in fact I don’t think i’ll ever get bored of playing the base game. However, Uwe Rosenberg isn’t gonna let that even become an option with Agricola. There are constant expansions and new deck releases for further enjoyment such as the first big expansion, Famers of the Moor. Which adds to the heat such as keeping your family from getting sick (I guess keeping their bellies full isn’t enough!)

The ‘Gamers Deck’ expansion is unique in that it was created by gamers like you and me,  and ‘World Champions Deck’ was created for the first Agricola World Championship in 2011 held in Vienna. Which we unfortunately missed, but happily act like World Champions with the deck expansion in our living room :o)

Also… Agricola is coming to iOS this summer….

And onto the Agricola goodies!

Like you couldn’t make this game anymore fun already? How about adding some animeeples? Cute little wooden tokens than can be purchased to turn this…

into this….

My husband opening his Easter eggs full of animeeples on Easter 3 years ago.

There is a certain level excitement that adding animeeples to your Agricola collection can bring. To the right is proof of this.”OOOOooooo!!! were his exact words, or sounds I should say of my husband opening his animeeples on Easter day. Now there are some people in this world who are extremely talented and have taken animeeples to a whole other level. The photos below were taken from BGG showcasing some pretty awesome original custom sculpted claymeeples. Although, I think slaughtering these little guys at harvest time would turn even the most carnivorous  of us into vegetarians.

from BGG

On a budget or don’t have the time for all these goodies above, but now feeling the wooden tokens included in the box are a bit lackluster after reading this? well there are great printouts Scott Everts created that you can printout on sticker sheets or transparent sticker sheets to spice up your wooden tokens.

Transparent Stickers PDF

Full Color Sticker sheet PDF

Be sure to come check back for the Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small which is sure to post soon after the release!

Final-Final Thoughts

Overall: 10

heavy learning curve and makes you think