Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Forum for general chit-chat and discussion.
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Rug
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Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by Rug »

I love board games.

I love how the economic and social puzzles challenge you, the social element of gaming, its tactile nature and the wonderful artwork and graphic design. From the moment I first open the box and smell the cardboard, pop the tokens from their frames to the end of game 4 or 5 it is a learning experience and at times can really create wonderful narratives.

Ultimately they are games. Their purpose is fun and with the internet, kickstarter and some dedicated hobbyists the board game world has never been a more exciting place to be.

My intent for this thread is to review a board game a week. I will try to make it in-depth and give you some insight into both the game and what I feel about it.
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Rug
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by Rug »

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Game: Agricola
Designer: Uwe Rosenberg
Price: £40-45
Publisher: Mayfair Games (most recent version)


First thoughts:

Many people consider Agricola to be the Grandparent of all Euro Gaming and with good reason. The least of which is it's incredibly well-crafted worker placement system combined with various card-drafting mechanics. For this reason, I have chosen it for my first reviewed game. My own copy of the game is the most recent version by Mayfair Games. This version has added in a few extra boards to help out new players and removed some broken combinations from the game. It also has some revised designs for the meeples (including some adorable sheep, pig, and cow tokens)

Gameplay:

Agricola literally translates to farmer. That is where you start out. As a young couple with a small wooden hut, you have the mammoth task of growing your farm and providing for future generations. There are many ways to do this and Agricola rewards diversity as well as efficiency.

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(This is your player board at game start. Your farm!)

At its core, it is a worker placement game. The board comes with several action spaces available from the start and each round a new action becomes available. To start the players have two actions each, one for each farmer available. When a player takes an action space they take any resources on that space and any actions available to them. They also block that space from any other player. This is the absolute standard for worker placement but one thing that sets Agricola apart is that spaces un-taken accumulate resources making them more and more tempting to other players.

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(Here is an example of a basic two-player setup)

This is the beauty of the puzzle. Do you risk making a space too tempting to an opponent for the sake of efficiently scooping up a metaphorical shed tonne of resources or do you sacrifice the efficiency for the guarantee of the resources currently available?

The actions range from plowing fields, planting and growing crops and vegetables, building fencing to contain sheep, pigs, and cows, starting a new occupation, building a minor/major improvement, increasing the size of your house and... "wishing for a child"...

Once all players have taken their available actions the farmers are returned to their farm and the round is over and every few rounds the players are required to feed their farmers any farmers unfed have to go begging and trust me...nobody wants to be a beggar.

By the end of the game you get minuses for any empty spaces on your farm, for any food or animals you don't own and any "beggar" tokens....seriously...nobody wants to be a beggar.

You get bonuses for larger quantities of crop or animal, for fenced stables and for clay and stone house upgrades.

There is a lot going on but, to say the least Agricola has a lot going on. I haven't even gotten into occupations and improvement cards as there are so many different cards it would be impossible to explain them all but these along with the randomisation of the action spaces create a unique experience every new game.

My conclusion:

Oh boy! What a game! Honestly, this version has been worked on for a long time by a LOT of avid players and the Uwe himself. It is bright, fun and at a base level family-friendly. For me the artwork is okay, I am not a fan of the box art but there is a litany of people who love it and a lot of board games model their art on its success.

The graphic design, however, is fantastic and the boards and meeples are wonderful! It has a wonderful table presence. The Game mechanics are incredibly tight, almost flawless. I have compared Agricola to a hearty roast dinner in that it is a complete and tested experience. It is the meat and potatoes of the board game world and highly re-playable.

Once you have had the opportunity to play some entry-level games or perhaps a few heavier games with friends perhaps I highly recommend taking the plunge with this game. I couldn't stress it enough...great game. You won't have issues getting this to the table with a dedicated group.

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(The conclusion of a three-player game, one eight years old involved)
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Spork.
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by Spork. »

This is a cool idea, Joe! Never much got in to many boardgames myself but I'm sure there are some people that love them.
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Rug
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by Rug »

Why thank you. It is mostly another way for me to talk nonsense into the void but I have noticed there are a lot of board game players on the site and in chat so figured hey, I will put it here.
~ Apple ~
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by ~ Apple ~ »

Love the idea of this thread. Will give me some new ideas of what to get :)
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Rug
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by Rug »

Absolutely happy if it has that effect! Have you ever played Agricola? Has anyone here?
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happywondering
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by happywondering »

That game sounds awesome :D

More of this thread please
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Rug
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by Rug »

Awesome Sar, I will be adding another game on Wednesday. What I might do is do a game a week and then perhaps a random board game mechanic or designer and a summary of their stuff. Though I think the games are probably more interesting.
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Rug
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by Rug »

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Game: Anachrony
Designer: Dávid Turczi with Viktor Peter and Richard Amann
Price: £45-55 for the game + £30-35 for exo-suit models (not required/superficial)
Publisher: Mindclash Games

First Thoughts:


Have you ever thought "if I could just nip to the future and have the thing I need now then things would be so much easier"? Well, now you can. Anachrony is a game of time travel set in a dystopian future. Sure you can borrow Steve the scientist from the future but when the future comes you better be able to spare Steve the scientist to send back to your past self or suffer a paradox. Whatever you do don't think about the fact that Steve will forever be stuck in a temporal loop for the rest of eternity. Just get in your exo-suit and whistle away the existential crisis because nobody wants a paradox...or do you?

This game is a beast. It will take up your whole evening but you really won't regret it. Towards the end of the game the moves slow to a crunchy crawl where your brain will be chewing rocks. Again, you won't care. This is a great game. Thematically beautiful. The worker placement is glorious and if you buy the exo-suits...really something extra special.

Gameplay:

Anachrony is a game about four factions trying to improve their territory and increase their following as much as possible before a world-shattering cataclysm that was foretold by a time-traveler.

Describing this game makes it sound a lot more complicated than it is so I have decided to start with a very concise summary and expand it out from there. I implore you to stay with me. It really is easier than it sounds.

-Anachrony is a Two-tiered worker placement game.
-Workers Need exo-suits to take actions on the mainboard.
-You expand your tableau using resources collected from the mainboard to build buildings there.
-Buildings in your mainboard can be bonuses or even new action slots that don't require an exo-suit to activate.
-You may also manage your resources, workers and even exo-suits through time itself by taking from the future and returning the resource when you get there.

So that is the basics. Let's get into it!

Before you do anything players take a pile of resource tokens and pick zero, one or two tokens with a depicted resource/worker/exo-suit on them and gain that resource by placing the token on the timeline in the current era.

As with most worker placements play is split between the mainboard, a perilous destroyed city, with a number of action spaces to take and your own play area. You will develop your own tableau as the game progresses. At the start of each round, you will choose how many exo-suits you wish to power and pay the cost to do so. This determines how many actions on the mainboard you will be able to take as, quite unique to this game, your workers require powered exo-suits to venture out to the city where all the lucrative opportunity awaits!

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Set-up for a four player game minus the exo-suit models

You will spend these visits gathering followers and resources to return to your play area using these to construct buildings that allow you to take further actions in your tableau meaning you don't need the exo-suits to take those actions.

Buildings consist of five catagories:
Power plants - generally deal with time-travel (awww yiss),
Factories - Deal with metals and alloys
Habitats - Pretty much deal with water (I will explain water soon)
Labs - Typically augment other actions or deal with anomolies/paradox
and finally
Super-Projects - The hadron-colliders of this era. Unique and powerful buildings.

This all happens over a possible course of seven rounds. Each round has a unique super project you can build and once you pass over it you will need to travel back in time to secure the rights to build it in your tableau (time-traveling research grants???)

after the fourth round the fabled cataclysm hits - a massive neutronium-rich asteroid falls on the glorious Utopian city setting it ablaze and making the city inhospitable over the course of the next two turns.

After this action spaces on the main board gain additional bonuses but become one use. Making the pressure to take spaces immeasurably more tempting. HOWEVER, once all of the actions have been taken once...the game ends regardless of the timeline.

The winner is the person who has the most VP's at the end of the game.

Victory points earned from buildings, actions taken and worker happiness combined with how much time travel you have achieved.

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The unpainted exo-suits (see how the workers slot into the top melts)

Things I forgot to mention:

Water
Once you have used a worker they get tired and move to an asleep state where they are not usable. You can wake them up with water (that is right people water is more valuable than money HNNNG!)
or
...or
Hear me out, you can wake them up without water...but they hate you for it...

So do you take the easy way and basically force them to work through tiredness or keep them happy taking extra actions out of your game to collect the water.

Paradox
Since it is a time travel game I will tell you the first thing you do in a turn practically last.
Check each previous era. If you have the most tokens in that era roll for anomaly's and add them to your tableau.
If you would gain three anomalies create a paradox that occupies a space where you could build AND takes points away from you at the end of the game. You can rid yourselves of these but...remember Steve the scientist?!

My conclusion:

There is so much to love here, the game mechanics are SOLID and really wrap themselves in the theme. You will notice a lot of things that are both clever but also fun. Who doesn't love a dystopian time travel story?! The game creates such a narrative by switching up the nature of the board and also by the decisions you make regarding your people, the time travel and even the type of buildings you go for.

I would caution anyone who is impatient and say this: the game is very A.P. inducing. A.P. being Analysis Paralysis. There will be a few moves where you and your opponents will agonise over the decisions and it can slow the game down a bit so either you play with this in mind or avoid the game until your ready for it.

However, if you are on the fence don't let the complexity scare you. Those crunchy decisions are the perfect distraction from a crumby day and trust me there is something wonderful about playing through an existential crisis in order to distract yourself from a real existential crisis!!!

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The game in all it's glory.
ultimation
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Re: Rug's Board Game Reviews!

Post by ultimation »

I've had anachrony a while now and have played it a good number of times. It's good fun but very detailed and technical, not for the new board game player.

Also I need those glasses. We just covered the table in them all and that looks so much more sane.

Also you have the two item type in the glasses, was this just for show? We always just played with the glass ones
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