Agricola games on iOS
There really is only one thing I love more than video games when it comes to the plethora of entertainment options, and that would be board games. I generally love them all, from the well know Monopoly, Clue, Risk, and yes, even Settlers of Catan – which is now mainstream – to the less popular Viticulture, Dominion, Settlers of Skye, and so many more. One board game that I jumped on early was Agricola, an incredibly challenging and insanely long worker placement game that takes a long time to learn. When I heard the game had been adapted for iPad use, I was skeptical at first.
Thanks to the PR company for the Agricola board game, I was able to get a copy of both Agricola – the stand alone title – as well as the two player variant, Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. Both games are strategy heavy, require a ton of thinking, and can be confusing even after playing 3 or 4 times. The tutorials for both games, however, walk you through the various options in a orderly and understandable fashion.
We primarily played the two player variant (my wife and I) which was developed by DIGIDICED. You can visit their site and see what other things they are working at by visiting http://digidiced.com/!
I’ve had this game for over a month now, and frankly, it has taken me this long – and 10s of games – to fully get a handle on what I’m doing. It’s insanely enjoyable, it works very well, and I’m now of the opinion that if Agricola can be adapted for the iPad, almost any game could be adapted for the iPad.
Don’t go in expecting a simple concept like Settlers of Catan or Dominion, because you will not get that here. And I definitely recommend playing through the tutorials for both games, as they teach you things you might otherwise never understand or figure out. The downfall of this application is not rooted in the software itself, but rather, in the game. Many people will walk right past Agricola when the difficulty level proves too much, and this, ultimately, is disappointing.
There is no way to actually explain this title here and now. It’s nearly impossible. For a reference point, however, I’ll lay out the following. You own a farm in the 17th century, and your farm requires workers, food, resources, and animals to thrive and survive. During each turn, you will either take resources, build fields, harvest crops, gain workers, purhcase animals, buy pens, upgrade facilities, and so on.
No really, I mean so on. You can do so much, which instantly adds to the confusion. What should I do on this turn? How could this affect me three turns later? Why am I playing a game that is so damn complicated?
The reason is pretty simple. Once you get a handle on turn movements and available options, Agricola really opens up. No one strategy is going to win the game, and even with a few missteps, there is always time to recoup. That is why it is so much fun – so many variables, so many ways to win, and almost never feeling left out.
The transition from the table to the iPad seems to have been flawless, and when you think about what board game adaptations for iPads should be, this is it. Whether you are playing the tutorials, playing against AI, or playing with friends and online, the experience is equal to – if not better than because of the automatic organization – the actual game itself. Both in the regular version and the two player variant, the developers have taken the time to recreate the experience, and as an owner of both physical games, they have done an extraordinary job.
For only a few dollars, you can easily play and begin to the master one of the best games of the past decade.