Thursday session: Agricola, Kuhhandel

After a quick round of Geschenkt, it was time for a double dose of agriculture.

Agricola box

Agricola! After figuring out the puzzle of how to fit the game on the table, I went through the rules. Let me say Agricola isn’t a game I like to explain… Just too many things to do, yet most of them unavailable at the beginning of the game. The newbies must absorb quite a large amount of knowledge right away. No way I’m introducing the cards to a group that includes even one newbie! Well, I’ll just have to bring Agricola every week until everybody knows how to play…

Eventually we got going, and finished 90 minutes later. Not bad for three newbies and me. It was fun, again. Now I had some ideas of what to do, yet… well, things just didn’t work out that well. Let’s just say I got a begging card in the first feeding phase. Embarrassing… In the end I was able to get my family to four members (and five on the last round), feeding everybody each harvest so not that bad, really.

Olli won, but he did play a good game: nice family, good house, negative points only for boars and empty space. I shouldn’t have begged and getting that stone house (I ended up with a four-room clay hut) would’ve helped me, too, but Olli would’ve won anyhow. I had to eat too much of my grain and I didn’t get enough veggies. I can come up with plenty of these would’ve’, should’ve, could’ve things you know, but I suppose that’s the nature of the game.

Next week: more Agricola!

Kuhhandel box

I recently bought a used copy of Kuhhandel: I missed the latest Finnish edition when it was in stores and when I wanted it, it was already gone. I got a cheap copy off the Finnish Board Game Society forums: it’s the oldest one, the original German version (but with 2nd edition rules, apparently).

The rules of the game were crappy and vague, but I think we got it together pretty well. I’d still prefer that the rules would describe, say, the central auction mechanism in explicit detail. Now you have to make some choices, as some things aren’t explicitly mentioned. Solid rules rock.

Anyway, we played and it was fun. It’s a game of auctioning animals, then trying to horse trade them to get complete sets. In the end, your score is the value of your sets times the number of them. Jouni won, with his sets of horses and golden donkeys. One more set for me or Mari and we would’ve won — we had three sets in the end and about the same amount of points. Olli was dead last.

I enjoyed the game a lot. The challenge of managing your money: there’s a fixed supply — a rather small one, too — floating around in the game and if you bid too much, you’re just begging for trouble, like, say, sudden horse trade for your favourite set. This is certainly one of my favourite auction games.

The game was perhaps a tad long — 50 minutes, with some rushing as closing time was getting near — but there are some good variants to make it shorter (either distribute some cards to begin with or auction two cards at the time), I’ll probably try one of those next time. Then again, while the game looks like a filler, it isn’t: it’s a pretty serious and at times rather nasty game. Not for kids, despite the childish looks (I’m actually a bit tempted to make my own set — I’d prefer slightly larger cards).

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