In Agricola, you're a farmer in a wooden shack with your spouse and little else. On a turn, you get to take only two actions, one for you and one for the spouse, from all the possibilities you'll find on a farm: collecting clay, wood, or stone; building fences; and so on. You might think about having kids in order to get more work accomplished, but first you need to expand your house. And what are you going to feed all the little rugrats?
The game supports many levels of complexity, mainly through the use (or non-use) of two of its main types of cards, Minor Improvements and Occupations. In the beginner's version (called the Family Variant in the U.S. release), these cards are not used at all. For advanced play, the U.S. release includes three levels of both types of cards; Basic (E-deck), Interactive (I-deck), and Complex (K-deck), and the rulebook encourages players to experiment with the various decks and mixtures thereof. Aftermarket decks such as the Z-Deck and the L-Deck also exist.
Agricola is a turn-based game. There are 14 game rounds occurring in 6 stages, with a Harvest at the end of each stage (after Rounds 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, and 14).
Each player starts with two playing tokens (farmer and spouse) and thus can take two turns, or actions, per round. There are multiple options, and while the game progresses, you'll have more and more: first thing in a round, a new action card is flipped over.
Problem: Each action can be taken by only one player each round, so it's important to do some things with high preference.
Each player also starts with a hand of 7 Occupation cards (of more than 160 total) and 7 Minor Improvement cards (of more than 140 total) that he/she may use during the game if they fit in his/her strategy. Speaking of which, there are countless strategies, some depending on your card hand. Sometimes it's a good choice to stay on course, and sometimes it is better to react to your opponents' actions.
AWARDS & HONORS
2009 Nederlandse Spellenprijs Winner
2009 Nederlandse Spellenprijs Nominee
2009 Lys Passioné Winner
2009 Lys Passioné Finalist
2009 Ludoteca Ideale Official Selection Winner
2009 Lucca Games Best Game Mechanics Winner
2009 Juego del Año Tico Nominee
2009 Japan Boardgame Prize Voters' Selection Nominee
2009 Gra Roku Game of the Year Winner
2009 As d'Or - Jeu de l'Année Prix Spécial du Jury Winner
2009 As d'Or - Jeu de l'Année Nominee
2008 Tric Trac Nominee
2008 Tric Trac d'Or
2008 Spiel des Jahres "Complex Game" Winner
2008 Spiel der Spiele Hit für Experten Recommended
2008 JUG Game of the Year Winner
2008 Juego del Año Winner
2008 Juego del Año Finalist
2008 Jogo do Ano Winner
2008 Jogo do Ano Nominee
2008 Japan Boardgame Prize Voters' Selection Nominee
2008 International Gamers Awards - General Strategy; Multi-player
2008 Hra roku Winner
2008 Hra roku Nominee
2008 Golden Geek Board Game of the Year Winner
2008 Golden Geek Best Gamer's Board Game Winner
2008 Golden Geek Best Gamer's Board Game Nominee
2008 Golden Geek Best Family Board Game Nominee
2008 Golden Geek Best Board Game Artwork/Presentation Nominee
2008 Golden Geek Best 2-Player Board Game Nominee
2008 Deutscher Spiele Preis Best Family/Adult Game Winner
2007 Meeples' Choice Award