Agricola: How To Play – Simplified

Agricola - How To Play - Simplified


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Your two Meeples are settled into their wood house on their plot of land but there’s a problem, harvest is coming up and they don't have any food. Your role is to place your Meeples in order to help them to grow crops, raise animals, get jobs and expand their houses. Decide what you want to do carefully this season, as your neighbour may be looking to place their Meeple on the same spot, screwing up your farming plans!

Want to see what we thought about this game? Check out...
Our Full Review of Agricola

Rules Overview

As mentioned above, in Agricola, you are a farmer (a Meeple) set on building out your farmstead with your spouse. Each player has their own farm that they are trying to build out. You will do so by placing your Meeples on the various action tiles on the game board.

Note: These simplified rules for Agricola are to help you decide if the game is right for you and your group, or to help you get started quickly…not to be all encompassing.

There are a lot of rules to this board game, in fact it has a 12 page rulebook (that can be found online here --> Agricola Rules PDF). AND ALSO a 12 page Appendix. There are so many rules that you will definitely need to refer to the rulebook before playing.

This write up is here so you can get an overview of how the game is played and/or progresses. That way you can decide if this is a game you might like to purchase, and also to make reading the rulebook less intimidating/easier to take in. We’re trying to save you from having to read that darn rulebook twice.

Starting A Game Of Agricola

Each player starts with the same, nearly empty, farm game board. All it has is your small little wooden house for your 2 Meeples to live in.

Each player is dealt 7 Minor Improvement and 7 Occupation cards from the deck. This is what will usually dictate your play and direction of development but not always. These cards will almost always be a different set every time you play, so you get a lot of replay-ability from these.

There is also a central Action Board and Major Improvements board that are used by all the players, which we will discuss next…

The first player will start by placing one of his Meeples on one of the action space on the aforementioned Action Board, and do the appropriate action. See the image below for the full list of actions (Click to Enlarge).

A note here is that you will flip over one action card with every new round. Which means there will be progressively more options available for you to choose from.

There are spaces that allow you to get grain, plow a field, and sow a field (yes, those are all different actions), as well as spaces for you to obtain animals, or materials, so you can improve your farmyard.

After player ones does their action, it moves to player two’s turn who will do the same. This continues around until everyone has placed one Meeple, then it starts again with the first player placing his/her second Meeple.

Note: Once an action space is occupied by a Meeple, you cannot put another Meeple on the same space (until the next round that is).

This continues until everyone has placed all of their Meeples. At the point the round is over and you must check if it is time for a harvest!

Harvest Time

During Harvest Time, this is when you will harvest your fields and feed your Meeples (see rulebook for full details). This is done by converting some of your grains/vegetables/animals into food tokens (or collecting food tokens directly).

As the game goes on, these Harvests come more quickly. See the image below where we highlighted (circled in red) then there is a Harvest.

agricola rounds with harvest highlighted

After Harvest is done, you set up for the next round by replenishing items that were used (some items have a chance to accumulate over rounds if they aren’t landed on) and flip over the next action space/round card. You can see an example of partially flipped action cards above.

Example of an Action Space that accumulates items if not used.

You then start again with player one placing their first Meeple again. This continues until you have completed all the rounds.

Goal Of Agricola and How To Win

The goal of Agricola is to gradually improve your farm/homestead as much as possible. You gain points by having different animals, some crops, house upgrades and a few other various improvements to your farm.

It is a slow and stressful chore to improve the land you own, but you must do so as much as possible in order to avoid empty spaces, which translate into negative points.

The winner of a game of Agricola is the person with the most points at the end of all the rounds. As mentioned, there are all different areas to get points in, and diversification tends to be the key to success in this board game. See a picture of the scoring board below.

Agricola Point Board cheat sheet (Click to enlarge)

A final note is that there are many paths to improving your farmyard, and as mentioned your occupations, minor improvements, and major improvements can really help you out on your way. These, along with animal breeding, animal housing, baking, etc., etc., have a lot of subtle rules/procedures that go along with them. Don’t be surprised if you are referring to the rulebook/appendix along the way.

After a round of figuring out the subtleties this game is pretty quick to set up and understand. See the video below for a longer walk through, but please note that he is using an older version of Agricola. The newer one has much nicer Meeples and Animeeples among other improvements, but the concepts still apply.

If you are still on the fence about picking up this game, note that it made
Our Favorite Single Player Board Games

About the author


We are the HexaGamers. Six good friends that love all things game related that gets us together to enjoy each other's company.

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