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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > February 2018 (#15) > Have You Played?

Have You Played?

Harvest the rewards of Uwe Rosenberg’s magnificent farming Euro and let it worker-place its way into your heart

AGRICOLA

The 17th century: not an easy time for farming.” So proclaims the tagline for Agricola, and it’s a philosophy to which Uwe Rosenberg’s 2007 masterwork holds true. Players are dropped into the worn-out boots of European farmers scraping a living in the remnants of the bubonic plague, trying to expand their homestead as they plant and harvest vegetables, raise animals for food or sale, and widen their family with children. (How many other game manuals have a section literally entitled “Family Planning”?)

Still, this is Uwe Rosenberg we’re talking about, so the evocative theme ultimately takes a backseat to the finely crafted Euro gameplay. Agricola is Rosenberg working at what many consider to be the height of his design powers, offering up a complex worker-placement buffet for players to feast upon. (Rosenberg is very much the king of themes about reaping – and eating – what you sow, as later titles Caverna: The Cave Farmers, A Feast for Odin and more will prove.) Players start in a modest wooden shack and, action by action, slowly build up the resources needed to develop their estate, maintaining their crops and breeding animals to keep their family fed and save towards improvements to their house and land. Players’ farmers can also personally improve themselves, learning valuable occupation lessons in their pursuit of the most victory points by the time the game’s 14 rounds come to their conclusion.

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