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Agricola - Solo
Posted On 5/22/2012
Agricola is an excellent agribusiness sim boardgame by Uwe Rosenberg. Agricola cleverly masks the econ engine by using food rather than money as a game currency. Vendors, goods, and your workers all get paid in food tokens, yellow colored dinner plates that suspiciously resemble gold coins. Furthermore the core game play revolves around a worker placement (action selection) mechanic, by which a player choose from a list of tasks, locking out that specific task from other players. Worker placement is an auction system that a player bids with time, both a worker's workday and player's turn order, rather than money for resources. The game is tense because you have limited workers but many urgent tasks that need to get done, while your competitors keep getting in the way of getting stuff done.
Agricola includes a solo play option in the box. The solo variant is a resource management puzzle since you purely maximize points, rather than compete for ideal worker placement with other players. The rules are mostly same, the biggest change being that workers get paid three food rather than two food per harvest. A tournament level player can score 60 points or more on the solo variant.
Boîte à Jeux, a French play-by-web site offers Agricola multiplayer and solo play. Being a play-by-web site, Boîte à Jeux is designed for asynchronous play, by which players are expected to make couple of moves a day, making games last for weeks to months. Because it only takes few minutes per turn, many play twenty or more games simultaneously. However there is nothing that prevents you from getting together with a buddy for a LAN party or video conferencing and finishing a game quickly. In many ways Boîte à Jeux is better than most real-time game sites because Boîte à Jeux is a simple site with static images, and so it runs on many platforms including iPads. If you quit in the middle, Boîte à Jeux saves your last move and a log of every move of all players is available. Until a full game with an AI is developed, Boîte à Jeux is the best place to play solo or multiplayer Agricola .