Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Farming family style

Now that the weather is nicer, Kathy and I like to game out in the backyard.  Of course, deck furniture doesn't make for a lot of table space, so our options are limited.  One discovery we made last year is that we can play two-player Agricola family-style (meaning, without occupations or minor improvements) and just squeeze it onto the available surfaces.  And still have room for cocktails.

Family game board section
It's actually been a little while since we've played Agricola, and a long while since we've played it family-style.  I must say that this is a really elegant game when stripped down to its essentials.  There is very little left to chance, and you really have to know what you're doing against an experienced player.  (In the case of Kathy and me, we are nearly equally matched.)

In today's game, Kathy went long on major improvements.  She got a fireplace very early and fed her family a lot of sheep throughout the game.  She picked up the well about Round 8 or so, and very late picked up the stone oven just for the points.  She also renovated to a three-room stone house in the last round.  For my part, I got the grain farming going and picked up the clay oven early, so my family was eating a lot of baked bread for most of the game.  I got a jump on building rooms to the house and grew the family, and hoarded wood to build a lot of fences for animal breeding.  I never picked up a fireplace or cooking hearth, however, so I could never cook animals or vegetables.  I did pick up the basketmaker's workshop when I renovated to a four-room clay hut.

In the end I won by a single point, by virtue of having two leftover reed to gain a bonus point from the basketmaker's workshop.  It was anybody's game all the way through, and we were both happy with the way we played.  This is still one of my very favorite games of all.

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