This is in some ways a followup to Is the Complex deck in Agricola strictly better?.

In Agricola, are there many synergies between cards across decks, or do cards which work towards a certain theme tend to be grouped into the same deck?

I kind of like the idea of mixing the E, I, K (and, when FedEx arrives, G) decks, but does doing so reduce the chance of getting strong combos? If so, would it be better to increase the cards drawn (but still discard or draft down to 7) when combining decks?

In response to the first answer received: I can see that a larger deck reduces the risk of "negative synergy", where some cards are specifically meant to balance other powerful ones by the possibility that an opponent has that card. (Chief and Chief's Daughter, for example.) In fact, that's obviously the case with any card which mentions a specific other card, so, what if we set those cards aside and just consider the rest? Is there a greater or worse chance of getting a set of cards which happens to work together nicely without explicitly saying so?

1 Answer 1


I'm going to go with my gut response here (again) and say that mixing the decks does dilute the game, but not so much by "reducing the chance of getting strong combos"... more by increasing the chance of being dealt a powerful hand!

The key deck to examine here is the I-deck. The other two (core set) decks are ostensibly just two piles of assorted cards, one of which contains some allegedly more difficult concepts than the other. The Interactive Deck though is specifically designed for, well, interactivity. If you play with just the I-deck the cards in your hand are more likely to interact with the cards in your opponents' hands than if you just mix everything together.

Let's consider the Wood, Clay and Stone Paths in the I-deck. The Wood Path is a superb card in isolation, giving you 2 Victory Points for the low, low cost of 1 Wood. And if you've mixed all the decks together into one mega-deck, chances are you can consider it in isolation. The chance that someone has the Clay Path, or the difficult-to-play Stone Path, is probably small enough to discount.

Whereas if you're playing just the I-deck, chances are high that someone else does have the Clay Path, which makes the Wood Path a much less attractive proposition. If you use it early as part of a starting player grab, you run the serious risk that someone will take it upon themselves to out-Path you later in the game. Which forces you to think very hard about the best time to use your Wood Path - as late in the game as possible is probably good. Which makes the Wood Path a much more interesting card, but obviously a less powerful one...

  • On the other hand, the Harrow and Juggler probably have more chance of interacting with another card when all three decks are mixed together.
    – AlexC
    Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 23:32
  • 1
    Well, the Juggler is a bit of an odd one, whether it's good or not is more dependent on how hotly-sought-after the Travelling Players square is than on what Occupations the other players have. Having said that, it's a really good point that, considering it's an Interactive Deck card, a lot of the things it interacts interestingly with are not actually in the I-Deck! Commented Jan 11, 2013 at 23:51

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