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Agricola : All Creatures Big & Small

Posted by admin On November - 21 - 2012

I’ve been putting off this little review for a bit now. The main reason is because after 20 or so plays I was for sure it was broken. Although after 20 or so plays I was still finding excitement in it which I’ll explain why in just a sec, plus my opinion of it has changed very recently which I will also elaborate on. First, it’s a two player version of Agricola. I like to think of it as an Agricola quick fix. As my comic noted, it doesn’t have all the complicated bits of the normal game, resulting in it being more of light filler.

When I first got the game, I was stoked, being that i’m in a family of two most of the time with just myself and my husband, I’m always wanting new two player games. Because it was Agricola based, I was even more excited since that is still one of my favorite games ever.

Basically, you have a small plot of land, and all you do is breed animals, upgrade their pastures to accommodate large quantities of them and build special buildings which give points and also hold animals. There are no occupations, no major or minor improvements, no eating animals just to have enough food to feed your family, and no sowing fields. The focus is just get lots and lots of animals! Pretty simple right? and surprisingly fun… at first. Scoring comes from the special buildings and the amount of animals you end up with. Sheep and Pigs are easy to obtain but being seemingly less valuable point wise, and cows and horses harder to breed large quantities of, but worth higher point values.

convenient base scoring right on the box

After about 6 or 7 plays of it, though I was enjoying them, I was sure it was broken (which I hate saying, but it’s true). Although, I had my husband convinced I was just really good at it, but after that wore off ::grin::, I told him why I felt he could never beat me.

***Spoiler Alert : If you don’t like reading strategy, skip to the “End Spoiler”***

Sheep. Just go sheep and you’ll always win. The problem is though sheep are low points, they are cheap. Easy to get and easy to breed. And in scoring, what the outside of the box doesn’t say is, you also get points based on QUANTITY of your animals. So if you get ALOT of sheep, you can rack in points. He didn’t agree, so the next game he tried to stump my sheep strategy, but got distracted by the large loots of other animals building up while I kept strong with my sheep gathing some pigs along the way, since they are pretty easy to build up too, and I won. Again, and again. So I asked him to try a experiment with me. I asked if he could try my sheep strategy and I would try really hard to beat it using various methods of animal combinations. Then he started winning and believing my theory. Though it was actually quite fun trying to test my winning strategy, I felt it was starting to loose it’s luster for me. But I was genuinely satisfied since we had now played it into the double digits.

***End Spoiler***

Then BGG CON came around… and what did they have in their library??  The new expansion! Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small – More Buildings Big and Small, Though it was in German, which proved a bit difficult in translating, I could not believe what I found after a few plays. It was fantastic. It comes with 27 special buildings, and you add 4 random ones in addition to the base set buildings at the start of each game.  It totally “unbreaks” it! It feels like a new game each time I play it much similar to the cards in the regular game. I’m now re-stoked and i’m sure I’ll enjoy playing it into the triple digits.

Though the expansion is on pre-order in most local game store, I was very happy to be able to pick up a copy of the English version and highly recommend it to Agricola lovers and two player game enthusiasts.

With the Expansion :

Overall: 10

medium-hard not too hard to learn, more difficult to master


Without the Expansion :

Overall: 5

medium-simple not too hard to learn, simple to play