When thinking about what game to retire about for Labor Day, I thought about Agricola since it’s all about doing manual labor!
Agricola came out fourteen years ago… OH MY SWEET CATAN, I’M OLD! And that’s when Uwe Rosenberg stopped being the Bohnanza guy (a game I still totally love) and being a designer of games that cover medium-sized tables.
It’s been a while since I’ve played Agricola but that’s entirely due to time and opportunity and table space. I’d happily play it again. And from what I can tell, it may have had some revisions but it’s never gone out of print. But what is it that makes Agricola so nifty?
It uses a solid worker placement system. The different decks of cards give it vast variety and replay value. Later editions had adorable animal meeples. The game is a delightful work of game mechanics.
But I think an additional element helped Agricola go off like a bomb and has helped its long term success. It’s really easy to understand. Which is a more fun way of saying it’s accessible. Everything you do in the game makes sense. You are doing basic agricultural chores.
When I was more of a gamer snob, I used to have a meh opinion of theme and fluff. I thought it was just a way for Fantasy Flight to justify charging a lot for a bunch of plastic. But I now realize that these things can help you wrap your brain around a game and allow it to be more intricate. Agricola could theoretically be rendered as a total abstract but it would be not only less fun but also harder to understand.
Agricola. Maybe not my favorite Uwe Rosenberg game. Maybe not yours. But it is a good one.
And happy Labor Day!