This question isn't about the mechanics or rules of the game, but what dynamics it adds.

After playing several games of the the family friendly version of the Agricola, I played a game of the full version with one other.

What I found was that the minor improvements and occupations acted and somewhat of a distraction and confusion to the game.

Using them definitely adds to the game play time, because there's more time spent examining your cards, etc.

The question is - what do the minor improvement and occupations add, that make them worth playing with, given that they are essentially an optional feature of the game?

1 Answer 1


At first, the additional complexity definitely feels like a downside. But once you play enough, the decisions present in the family version become much more intuitive and faster. At that point, the additional complexity becomes a good thing: deciding which minor improvements and occupations to use (and when) becomes a big, interesting decision. And it's not just wasted time making decisions; using them well has a large effect on your score. In fact, they can be much more meaningful than the worker placement decisions you might agonize over in the base game.

So in addition to making the game more interesting to play, they'll also make it a more interesting competition. Once everyone's pretty good at the family game, you'll start to lose control of your destiny: everyone will be able to pick their actions and plan fairly well, so it'll get harder to win by virtue of good strategy. But throw the minor improvements and occupations, and suddenly there's again a lot of room for good (or bad) strategic decisions.

On top of that, they also add a lot of variety and replayability. Since you don't see the same set of cards every game, you're forced to adapt your strategy to suit the cards you have, giving you different decisions to make each game, not just more decisions.

So in a way, the things you dislike about them now are some of the good things that they add to the game: they add additional decisions, making for a deeper game. Right now that's a bit overwhelming, and you're not able to take full advantage of it, but if you play enough it'll become a positive, defining part of the game.

  • This is pretty much what I thought. So the bottom line is, once you're all getting a bit bored of the family game, add some variance and replayability with the full version.
    – dwjohnston
    Dec 29, 2015 at 0:22
  • Right, though you don't necessarily have to wait til you're actually bored to add them in. Depending on your preferences, you might well like the full game better even if the family game is still complex enough to be interesting.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 29, 2015 at 0:22
  • 1
    For what it's worth, I started playing with them even when the family version was still a bit challenging, and so the full game seemed very difficult. But as long as you're not totally overwhelmed, it's still worth playing like that, because you get a serious challenge, and you learn faster. Jumping straight into the deep end, I suppose.
    – Cascabel
    Dec 29, 2015 at 0:33

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