Tips & Strategies (50)
  • Buy the Well improvement to get the 4 points
  • Grab the “go first” spot when it has quite a bit of food on it.

Tips & Strategies (50)

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Critic - Level 1
Rated 25 Games
32 of 32 gamers found this helpful
“Common Occupation and Minor Improvement pool”

After quite a few games of Agricola, we discovered that a great card combo can give a player a very big advantage on the game. To even this odds out, we experimented using a common pool of Occupations and Minor Improvements that can be used by all players.

We simply took 10 occupations and 10 minor improvements and put them face up beside the game board. Each player may buy any of this cards using the appropriate action on the board. Each time someone buys a card, it is replaced by a new one from the deck. After each round of play a new card is added also.

I liked this system as it gives every player the same chance to get a big combo of occupations/improvements. Some other players liked more the normal rule… try it out and find out for yourself if you like it.

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Gamer - Level 3
Copper Supporter
38 of 39 gamers found this helpful
“Beginner Tip - Growing Your Family”

Agricola is a game of “too much to do, not enough time to do it in”. You are battling your opponents for resources and constantly jockeying for the right timing to take the right thing.

Whatever you decide to do with your beginning turns, always remember that it is *absolutely essential* to be ready to grow your family in Stage 2. The additional turns gained with family members are the key to victory against your opponents. Gaining a few more actions over them will give you the precious time you need to earn more points.

Don’t delay in taking wood, thinking you will eventually get 6 instead. Experienced players are not going to let the wood build up; it’s useful whether you want to build more rooms, fence to encompass spaces, or fund many cards and improvements.

The usefulness and availability of reed will vary depending on the number of players with 2 or 3, reed is very scarce as there are only 14 in the whole game. There is a little more with 4 and 5 players with the additional reed spaces. If you can get 2 reed early with one action, scoop that up!

If you can manage, gain a little extra wood and build a stable or two when you build your first room on the path to victory!

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Gamer - Level 3
Copper Supporter
52 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“Intermediate Strategy - Picking Your Food Source!”

Once early game has passed, it’s very important to decide on a methodology to feed your growing work force (that is, of course, if you paid attention to my first tip about growing your family!).

I will focus on the two main sources: Bread and Meat. Other food sources are viable through smart play of occupations and improvements, but you of course can’t rely on getting a certain combination of cards.

Bread is gained from obtaining grain, then using a baking improvement to prepare the grain into food. The main investment is time. Plowing fields, taking grain, planting, buying the improvements, and baking bread have to be interspersed with the other actions you need to take.
The attraction of grain comes with the idea that your production grows with your family. By end game, if you could achieve both ovens and have enough grain, you could bake 13 food. Thirteen food in a single action is ridiculous! The challenges come from carefully selecting your actions to have food at the right times.

– Remember that when you purchase an oven, you get a free bake action.
– Combine actions like sowing and baking to increase efficiency
– Think hard about solely using this strategy if you find yourself battling hard with an opponent to bake

Meat comes from animals. Mmmmm, they are delicious! Cooking your beasts, though comes with it’s own ups and downs. The major advantage of cooking animals is that it requires no time, your most precious resource, to produce the food. The downfall, however, is that the requirements to build fences, stables, and a cooking hearth will slow down your early game. There are also a limited number of animals in the game, and *everyone* wants some for their score.

– Do whatever you can to make sure you will be able to breed at harvest time. The extra animals are vital for your success!
– Remember that if all else fails, once you have a cooking hearth you can eat animals even if you don’t have room to store them.
– Balance your use of wood so you can still expand your home, and thus your family, with your animal husbandry!

I hope this helped you consider how you will feed your struggling family, and stop feeling so haphazard about your game!

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Amateur Reviewer
27 of 28 gamers found this helpful

Sometimes you will be tempted to try to do one thing really really well but I have found that it really pays to diversify farm. Remember every time you don’t have something that is a 2 point swing (from -1 to +1) which can hit you pretty hard. And if you are coming to the last couple turns try to make sure you have atleast the following :
A Pasture no matter how small
A plowed field
Grain and a Vegi
And finally One of each animal

These all only take one turn to get each and can be big point swings at the end of the game. Also try to make sure you have a full family if possible. It is hard to win if you do not.

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I play red
Gamer - Level 5
27 of 28 gamers found this helpful
“Play your cards”

Your hand of minor improvements and occupations is the biggest differentiator in Gric, so play your cards well.

Seldom will you want to play all of them, and sometimes you’ll only want or need to play a couple of them.

If your cards are begging you to play a “grain game”, oblige them. Don’t try to play an “animal game” instead.

Conversely (and this is a special situation), if you are in a 2-player game and your cards indicate a “stone game” is the way to go, ignore them because stone is much too difficult to get soon enough with only 2 players. In a game with 4 or 5, this would be a totally different situation and very doable.

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Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor Beta 1.0 Tester
46 of 49 gamers found this helpful
“Know the "ideal" farm build”

To help plan out where and how you should build your farm, it is helpful to know an “ideal” build for a farm. Obviously this can change from game to game based on what’s available to grab, but knowing how to get the most points from a possible farm build will help plan for this.

Essentially, you need to know where to put your rooms, stables, fences, and plows. The board you have is a 3×5 grid, and every space left empty loses points, so you want to fill them all.
You can have at most 5 rooms full of people, and this is a lot of points, so try to build all five rooms on the far left next to your current rooms. This is probably the most obvious part.
For the fencing, the maximum gain you can get from this is to build a 2×3 fenced in area, broken up into 2 1×2 and 2 1×1 fenced in areas. This gives you four fenced in regions, and you can place a stable in each one to double the animal capacity of each region.
This leaves four spaces for plowing. Make sure that you leave 4 contiguous spaces for plowing, since these spaces all need to be contiguous.

Playing the game solo will help you try out building this optimal farm and seeing how it plays out. I try to stock up on resources and build as big of a chunk of this optimal farm whenever I have the opportunity, and hope I can have most if not all of it at the end of the game.

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Gamer - Level 3
34 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Be reactive”

The best thing about Agricola is that players are able to play multiple different strategies, and gain equal points in doing so. For instance, One player may have a booming vegetable patch along with a couple animals, while another player may have 10 sheep, 6 boars, and a few cows, while only having a couple veggies in reserve. Both strategies can lead to victory, and the most important aspect is that your family is fed by whatever means.

This is really what a lot of games look like, at least for new players. It is very common for players to overlook other means to get food, and to forget to utilize all resources. For instance, there are buildings that give victory points at the end of the game for a variety of resources that you have in reserve, sich as the basketmaker’s workshop for reed. These buildings can also be used at times to convert their resource to food.

In my observation, clay is not taken much a the beginning, reaches a peak, and then tapers off again. It isn’t uncommon for me to see 9+ clay on the board toward the end, split between a couple of spaces. Whether players don’t pay enough attention or merely don’t know how to utilize clay, this is a mistake on their part.

To summarize, take advantage of what your opponenets are not doing, whether that be underutilizing resources, plowing fields (to reduce negative points), or scoring bunuses.

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Professional Reviewer Beta 1.0 Tester
Silver Supporter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
42 of 45 gamers found this helpful
“Assess your opponents farms near the end game for resource denial”

This only works well if your farm going steadily along with plenty of workers.

As the end game approaches, take a look at what your opponents need especially if you can estimate who is closest to you in points or ahead. Save one worker to place on a spot that hurts your opponent worse. You hamper them from completing their farm with the resources they need and possibly take some negative points depending on what is they lack (type of animal, produce, or empty farm square, haven’t improved their house).

Again..only do this when your farm looks fairly safe and you can feed everyone.

Of course it works splendidly if you can use those denied resources for yourself like having the improvements that let reed or clay count as points:)

It pays to keep track of everyone’s farm.

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Gamer - Level 4 Beta 1.0 Tester
38 of 41 gamers found this helpful
“Less actions for more stuff”

Try to build more with less moves.for example use 1 action to build 2 rooms and 1-2 stables at once no need to lose actions building rooms every time you have 5 wood(s).
In multiplayer avoid to chase materials your opponents go for.Let em fight for wood while you plough or heading for the Hearth.
Go for that HEARTH before your opponents.
And one more *obvious*…
Try to synergize your strategy with your advanced cards.

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Gamer - Level 2
20 of 21 gamers found this helpful
“Guiding your focus”

Your cards you are dealt in the beginning of the game should be able to guide you in a specific direction what your focus should be. Try to take 2-3 minor improvements and 2-3 occupations that work particularly well together to get your main strategy underway.

With that said, you should always try to bring out an improvement or occupation which is going to save you actions (e.g. market woman allows you to take 2 grain with every vegetable taken) and minimize your usage of the extraneous action (grain in this case).

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3 Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Grader
37 of 40 gamers found this helpful
“When in doubt...”

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes you might find yourself with a free action (You do not need or really want anything left available). If this happens it is almost always beneficial to plow a field.

In the games I play this action seems to be available often in the middle of the game and plowing an extra field is almost always a good thing. That is one less empty space to subtract from your score and if you can get extra vegetables or grain, then it makes later plowing more efficient since you can plant in more fields with a single action.

Like I said, you rarely have a free action, but I never regret plowing an extra field.

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I'm a Real Person
Check Out My Favorites
33 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Card trade in”

I’ve tried a lot of the different methods for determining start cards (drafting or otherwise), but the one I like the best is dealing the normal 7 for each type, then each player has the option to trade in 3 cards of the same type for one random replacement of that type. I find that you usually have two or three cards that synergize well, and being able to trade in 3 cards you won’t use at a chance for something else useful has been a great method. Note: This can only be done before the game starts.

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Novice Reviewer
Amateur Advisor Beta 1.0 Tester
33 of 36 gamers found this helpful
“Drafting Variant”

If your group would like to eliminate some of the un-balancing effects of being dealt random cards for occupations and minor improvements in Agricola, try distributing the players’ initial hands using an limited-card passing draft instead.

1. Instead of 7 of each type (occupations and improvements), limit the number to 5 of each. Prepare your chosen 2 decks.

2. The initial player will draw 2 cards and pass the decks to the next player, and so on.

3. This cycle repeats 5 times until each player has 5 occupation cards and 5 minor improvements.

4. The player who drafted last may choose either a or b of the following options:

a) receive 1 additional food as compensation for being the last player to draft

b) start first and receive 1 fewer item of food (as per standard Agricola rules)

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23 of 25 gamers found this helpful
“Think different”

If you play with a group often, try to go for the route your group doesn’t. Make a sound strategy that maximizes the use of the resources your opponents are not taking, even if slower to develop, it pays off in the end because you are not fighting for resources with the other players and you can focus on winning more points.

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Marquis / Marchioness
Advanced Reviewer
Professional Advisor Beta 1.0 Tester
43 of 48 gamers found this helpful
“Snag the "first player" spot before the last round”

The last three rounds have the most desirable spaces, depending on your needs, the last space in particular is the most wanted. There will also only be one round in which anybody can get it. You want to be sure to snag the first player the turn before so that you can capitalize on the last card which allows you to both renovate AND build fences.

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Intermediate Reviewer
Novice Advisor
33 of 37 gamers found this helpful
“Avoid the wood rush”

In the first rounds many player fight furiously over the limited amount of wood. There are other things that needs to be done sooner or later, so I try to spend my time plowing fields and grabbing wheat. Quite often the preasure for wood loosen up so that you can grab a double dose.

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Platinum Supporter
Petroglyph Beta 1.0 Tester
50 of 57 gamers found this helpful
“Feed your peeps...”

OK. Here is the one tip every newbie should know when playing the Gric. Feed your family! This may seem obvious, but it is easy to get caught up in building you farm and forget you’ve got people to feed. I have yet to win a game when I had someone starve a round. Luckily, Agricola doesn’t have diseases or barbarian hordes to deal with…my family would die for sure.

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18 of 20 gamers found this helpful
“Hand Building - Dealing out the Cards”

My wife and I have played 20+ games and we felt that we needed to remove some of the randomness when dealing out the cards (minor improvements and occupations). We play with the base decks (E, I, and K) as well as the Gamer Deck (G) and we like to deal three cards from each deck and then trim them down to 7 each instead of just dealing out 7 cards blind and getting stuck with what you were given. This allows you to actually craft a strategy that is as varied or dependent as you desire. Playing this way has made the cards much more important for playing rather than just relying on the luck of the draw or getting stuck with cards that are of no value.

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Novice Advisor
The Gold Heart
Pick a Favorite LGS
33 of 38 gamers found this helpful
“Stage 0: A Beginner's Start-up Round”

For casual games of Agricola I have used a “Stage 0” Round to help give players a bit of a helping hand to start the game. Everything works the same as usual except that we play a round without having the first “Stage 1” card revealed for Round 1 play.

It’s a small boost at the beginning of the game that makes a nice difference when the game is played casually or infrequently. I definitely don’t recommend this for experienced and regular gamers.

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Gamer - Level 2
20 of 23 gamers found this helpful
“Going for more actions”

The strategy I usually employ in a game is usually the following:

Turn 1: Get occupation for free and take starting player token and play a free minor improvement (second action may change based on other player)

Turn 2: Get 6 wood and another action (plow?)

Turn 3: Occupation and day laborer

Turn 4: Reed and fish

Turn 5: build a room, You may be able to extend your family, if not focus on a farming project

Turn 6: Extend family or gather more wood, engage in farming project

Turn 7: Extend family and find food quickly.

I always try to extend family since having more family members allows for more actions which ultimately means more points in the end of the game. If you do this right you should be able to end the game with at least 45+ points.

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