Aug. 16, 2008 - Game Depot
The Game Depot (can't find a URL for their store) was holding their monthly Saturday night gaming, and I needed a break from the stress of moving and unpacking. I headed out to meet up with Mike Gingold and/or Bobby Warren and play some games. When I arrived, Matt Cullinan was punching out the copy of Agricola he'd just purchased. Mike really wanted to play (to see if the game was worth the hype), so the two of us sat down with Matt to play. As we were explaining the rules, Dion Garner walked in and asked to join. Mike was the only new player (though the rest of us have only played once or a handful of times), and we butchered our way through an explanation. Mike, being a smart guy (and Agricola not really being that hard to grok after a turn or two), picked it up quickly. After the food-less fiasco of my first playing, I went to town on getting occupations into play quickly. My first let me grab a minimum 4 food anytime I took the Traveling Pants(?) action. The next occupation I got down let me grab a veggie anytime I did the day laborer action. My first minor improvement let me exchange one reed for 3 food during the harvest. These three cards pretty much set me up for the game for food. It also meant that I could spend the rest of the game concentrating on other things. I eventually played a card (riding plow), that let me plow 3 fields instead of 1 twice in the game. I used this to slap down 6 fields (and I sowed veggies twice). Since I wasn't in dire need of food, I was able to eventually build up a store of wood for fences and slapped out three pens (one for each animal). I also put down a guy that reduced my stone costs by one - basically making my upgrade from clay to stone house cost 1 reed (though in retrospect, I wonder now if I played that right - probably not, though I don't think it would have changed the outcome). In the end, my initial beating helped me to play better (it also helped that my cards didn't suck ass) and I won. Charles: 39, Mike G: 19, Matt: 24, Dion: 33. Mike not only had the new player disadvantage, he apparently also had sucky cards - he only had a few that he ever played.
There was only about 90 minutes left, so we ended up going with Mike's suggestion to try out Metropolys. This one is about building cities and has a bit of a Ra like mechanic where each player has buildings 1-13 and the person that plays the highest each round wins a spot on the board. Its a bit hard to describe without just flat out explaining the rules, but suffice to say I liked it and its a lighter game. Mike explained it (he had played once before) and away we went. Dion jumped out to an early lead, and I felt like I was falling rapidly behind. However, I was able to roar back with a load of spaces that met my personal game objectives and Mike and I tied with 34 points (I won the tie breaker since I played more pieces than he did). Dion finished 3rd with 25 and Matt had 22 points. This is one of those games I liked a lot, is probably a good closer (since it'll play 4 players in an hour) and yet I'm not sure I'd get it played a ton if I put it in my collection. It'll probably get to my collection eventually, but we'll see. This is a 7 or an 8. I do have to say the same thing everyone said - man is the board ugly. However, by the end of the game, it isn't that bad and its pretty simple to figure out. I do however love the box art, and its inspiring me for a piece I want to do for my game room.