From comments and such on here and boardgamegeek.com, quickly building rooms and getting family growth seems to be just about the most important early part of Agricola. The hard part is balancing getting rooms and family growth with feeding the family.

In context of a 3 player game (no +2 of any resource you want, only +1), my other two friends and I will fight tooth and nail over reed to get those rooms out. It is to the point that there is almost never 2 reed on the reed space. If there is one reed on the action space we will not let the starting player get that two reed for that advantage, so one of us non starting players will take the single reed.

In general, we all seem to do OK as far as points go, but I am wondering if anyone can weigh in on their thoughts as to how efficient this is? Is it worth it to take a single reed twice for that first room (or even second)?

Sometimes this is easier if someone has a card that provides reed somehow, or a reduced need for reed, but there are times when none of those cards come out.

As a bonus/addon question, is it worth it to build all 5 rooms as fast as possible, or build 4 and use family growth even without room. This should be in context of both situations of having cards that give bonus points for 5 rooms, and not having those cards.

EDIT: It seems my friends and I were playing wrong. When I learned a couple years ago, I was taught when grain was harvested, we take all 3 grain from the field at the harvest. AND, when animals bred, 2 sheep ( for example ) would make 1 more sheep, 4 sheep would make 2 more, 6 would make 3, etc...

With that being said, other actions have quite a bit more value than they did with our erroneous rules, so reed is no where NEAR of a prominent bottleneck as it was before. For instance, we now value taking that extra turn to get out the Seasonal Worker and use the Day Laborer action space more frequently.

I suppose the abstract question still exists, "Is early family growth worth taking a couple inefficient turns to get early."

1 Answer 1


The sole* value of getting family growth is having extra action. Each round that you can get family growth earlier and is one extra action you can take.

*Actually there are other reasons you might want to take family growth earlier - to block other people from taking it that round, or in order to not lose out on the three points for the family member at the end of the game, if other people take the space before you.

When weighing up whether it's worth:

a) taking resources in order to build a room (ie. wood, reed)

b) building the room/family growth

You need to consider what that one extra turn is worth.

For example:

  • If there is 6 wood there, is the one extra turn really worth the six wood?

  • If there are five sheep there, is the one extra turn worth the five sheep?

  • If you can see that another player is short on food, and there's four food in the fishing pond, you might consider taking taking the food as an aggressive strategy that will hurt them despite them having an extra family member.

Absolutely, generally speaking, growing your family early is a good a strategy, and extrapolating from that, that means taking the necessary resources (wood and reed) for yourself, or preventing others from getting resources is a good strategy.

This does suggest that the 'take the single reed' could possibly be a reasonable strategy - both to acquire the resource for yourself, and to prevent others from grabbing the two reed the next round.

Though - remember there is always the day labour in order to grab a single reed, and it would cripple your own game to try block both those spots each turn.

Generally I don't favour taking a single reed - there are probably better options - such as plowing fields, or taking the wood.

One better strategy, is if you are in last playing position, and there is still the one reed there, then you take starting player as your last move. This lets you grab the two reed first at the start of the next round.

  • This is sort of pedantic, but when you say "turn" are you referring to actions?
    – SocioMatt
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 12:37
  • I edited my question with some new info, but I believe this answer still applies to the abstract question. I suppose it comes down to, "how many actions will I gain by using a certain amount of inefficient actions to build/use family growth"
    – Jeff.Clark
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 22:51
  • @SocioMatt Yes - absolutely.
    – dwjohnston
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 23:06
  • @Jeff.Clark - It's not just 'how many actions will I gain', but also 'how much will I screw over the other players'.
    – dwjohnston
    Commented May 26, 2016 at 23:07
  • 2
    Nice answer. Minor point: The day labourer can only give reed in the family game (in the full game it gives two food). Since the OP mentions cards providing reed I think they might be playing the full game.
    – tttppp
    Commented May 27, 2016 at 7:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .