The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Agricola Expansion and Loyang

Good gaming session today, the new titles hit the table, classics were played, the Band was Rocked.

Farmers in the Moors — I knew nothing about this apart from “Expansion” and “You clear your land and need to provide heat.” While those are both true, FitM nicely twists the action mechanic. You can, instead of placing a worker, take one of the action cards. These usually give a reasonable (not great benefit), but they don’t use up an action. As the rules were explained, you also can’t do this if you have no workers left. Each card can be used twice (by different people), but the second person must pay two food (in addition to any costs on the card). These actions are used to clear forest/moors from your land, which free up space. These felt like a  good addition

  • You can sometimes get an extra action, which is necessary to balance the extra requirements (for heating and space clearing).
  • Taking those actions means skipping a great action, or risking it not being there. In the ‘basic’ Agricola I felt that most of my worker placements were pretty obvious (even in the first few games). Now there’s a “chicken” element involved. Take a great action, or take a card (free action), and hope a good action is still left next turn. The number of tough decisions seemed much higher.
  • Clearing land frees up space, but you can also try to work around a few uncleared spaces, since they prevent the “unused land” VP. Also, each player gets a different starting arrangement. A nice touch.

Assuming I don’t find out I’ve got a rule wrong, I could see playing 15+ games of the expansion, and picking up a copy.

I’m not sure how I feel about Loyang. Conflicted at best. I want to play a few more times, but I don’t necessarily want to play them soon. Too much AP. The options are easy, but you can spend 5 minutes performing calculations in your head (“If I trade this, buy that, deliver that, I make $17. If I trade, swap, buy, deliver, I make $18. I need $19. Do I spend $2 to draw two cards, and hope that they can get me a $3? Uh, OK. I got X and Y. Do I play X first? No, Y? Yes, that gets it.” Goodbye five minutes. Now, two players can do this at once, in the four player game, but man. Also, for a heavy calculation game, the helper cards let you really stick it to your opponents. I did very well, but early on I kept getting dealt one great card before the draft, and since you can only keep one card out of your hand, I’d just dump my chaff until another good card was out there, then take it.

Loyang felt like a solvable, tedious, short term optimization. For that, I can play Dungeon Lords and get a few chuckles, and then have the worker placement round for blind-bidding hosage. Or play Moors, and groan when the action/card you wanted gets snatched right before your turn. Loyang, like a job, feels like a chore. It can be satisfying to do it well, but that’s not a reason to spend free time on it. I’ll give it another go, if the game speeds up by 45 minutes or so that would brighten my feelings on it.

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Written by taogaming

December 13, 2009 at 1:11 am

2 Responses

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  1. Hi,

    Just a side note: could you please update your link to my game blog to point to the new URL, which is http:/www.mikkosgameblog.com/.

    Thanks,

    Mikko

    Mikko

    December 13, 2009 at 2:24 am


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