David returned after a long absence, and brought his son Avi.
NileMace, Gili, Nadine, Jon/Avi
Mace wanted to play this for the filler game. He started off quite well. I gave up my position to Avi when he came, because he likes the game more than I do, though I think the game may grow on me if I play it several more times. I don't know what the results were, if any.
Carson CityDavid 60something, Mace 40something, Avi
First plays for David and Avi, Mace taught them. I don't know much else about the game, but I think they all enjoyed it.
ShipyardGili 110something, Nadine 90something, Jon 80something
This is what happens when I don't write scores down. First play for all of us, we learned some of the rules and all of the strategy as we played.
At first the game seemed interminably long and complex, as Euros tend to do. Just setting up the game took an hour; and, like Le Havre, the game pieces are not easily stacked on the board and tend to make a complete mess, unless you invest in some kind of cup holder system for the parts.
"Like Le Havre" is also the feel we had for the great number of pieces and turn methodology in the game. Unfortunately, Le Havre is just on the other side of the border that Agricola just manages to just stay within: a great sprawling complex game which is fun, but only if all the players are experienced and able to take their turns in a timely manner. And yet difficult to get that experience and hard to take one's turns in a timely manner.
The game is a series of rondels and queues, around eight of them. The main one is the action rondel. On your turn, you move the action marker that you used last time to the front of the queue and then you take any available free action, except the one you used last time. If you take an action not used often (i.e. further back in the queue) you get some money, though not much.
The actions are either a) move a marker around one of the rondels and take one of the items now marked (or pay to move the marker more spaces), or b) take one of the items in one of the queues (for free if at the front of the queue, or pay a little extra for items later in the queue).
When you complete a "ship", you gain points for various items on your ship and how well those items match other items on your waterways. At the end of the game, you gain points for items you have acquired during the game in from hidden missions, most of which must be on ships that you've completed.
There. That's probably the quickest explanation ever for this complex a game.
Nadine, as usual, found it dry at the beginning; she tends to judge games harshly if the tactics and strategy are not more accessible, espeically if they have a lot of pieces. I think she began to soften a bit as the game came to a close, mostly because she beat me. Gili managed a triumphant first ship of 24 points, and then some great end scoring to boot.
I look forward to playing again, but I'm not sure how often it will make it to the table.