[This is an image from a self printed prototype version of the almost final illustrations.]
After all deliveries are made there will be a "red" scoring phase to close the round. Again here are four steps to perform. But actually in this phase the players are not playing but administering a few things:
- First the market will be scored. All players count their "market booths" from any numberd spaces (not the grey spaces!) and get one victory point per marker.
-After that the siesta track gives the players some additional point if they managed to reach certain regions on the track. Those points are also given to the players.
(In this scoring the yellow player gets 2 points for the market and another 2 points for the siesta track. Green gets one point for the market and onter point for the track...)
To my experience it is best to add both values - for market and siesta track - and hand them out at once.
- After this the siesta track will be reset in way that it is showing the current playing order.
- And the last point is to place new roof tiles on the board.
This sequence I explained now in eight very long parts, will be played six times. Then the game comes to an end. Most points will be given out during the game. This is a circumstance that was wanted by most of the playtesters. Because there are many games with long final scorings out there and people seem to get a bot bored by having ten elements scored in the end. So most of the points are given out during the game and in the end there is only a scoring for the rest of your silver. End.
For a long time the grey spaces on the market, that are assigned to the craft buildings, were also scored in the end of round scoring. That's why they are part of the market structure. We had to change the scoring close to finishing the game - the publisher deceided to keep the illustrations. Which is a small flaw but not really bad. Important is the rule. And the rule is better this way.
Okay. This shall be it. A small introduction to La Granja. Which was written by me in 2014 in the time the game got published first by Spielworxx. It took my 2 years to translate the last part for BGG. I hope the game is still hot for you guys. Maybe some of you will like reading it when you soon get to play "No Siesta" and you are wondering about the board game. Who knows?
Thank you for reading! Thank you to the nice guys who helped me translate a few parts. Thank you to Mike, my co-designer and friend from Switzerland. I hope you guys have fun playing La Granja! I sure had fun designing it!
The original article was published on my blog and can be found here: http://xodex.tumblr.com/post/91924943422/eine-kleine-einf%C3.... It's written in german...
I will explain how La Granja works. Including some designers notes. After reading all parts you will know many things about the game and it's rules - but not everything...
06 Apr 2016
- [+] Dice rolls
I published this part od m small series of articles back in 2014. The series was thought of as a teaser to the game and time went by and in this post I finally could use images showing the real game...
But now I am getting to the part when I talk about how to get points.
The attentive reader has not forgotten, that there are two kinds of delivery tasks in this game. First there are the craft buildings on the board. And secondly the players can tuck cards beneath the top of their tableau to attach market barrows to their farm.
The obvious way of tranfering goods into points is by delivering them to the craft buildings on the board. Every craft building has four lines showing identical tasks and every player may claim one line to complete the task. So by delivering a good to a craft building you choose one of the lines and try to complete it. All lines are the same and so everybody can get one at the same time.
Once a player completes the building (delivering three to six goods) the game pauses immediately and three things will happen:
- The player takes victory points equal to the number of the round. So in round 3 it's three points.
- Then the player will gain a craft marker that is taken from the just completed building. The marker will be placed on the appropriate spot on the players farm. These markers bring special effects with them and may be used later in the game. But every marker has an immediate effect. This effect triggers in the moment the craft building s completed. So, now!
- Finally the player marks that she already deliverd to this very craft building by marking the building with a personal marker. It is only possible to deliver once to a craft building through the course of the game.
Excursion: The craft buildings are designed in a way their effects are antidromic. Do I deliver early in the game I will not get as many points. But I will get a special effect for the rest of the game. But if I deliver late I will get a way bigger amount of points but the effect of the craft marker is not so strong since the game will not linger on for so long...
The player can play a card to his farm sliding it unter the farm board from the topmost edge. The card will be a market barrow then and can be filled with goods. If I complete the barrow it will leave my farm and head for the market of Esporles, the nearby village.
Just like the craft buildings I have to deliver the goods from my farm to the card. On every cards there is a combination of goods that have to be delivered to this place exactly like shown.
Once a barrow is completed the game pauses for a moment to score the card:
- At first the player gets a trade commodity (icon: box). He takes one marker from his supply (or from the card) and marks the trade commodity with it on the center of his farm.
- Now the player will gain points. The card shows a market stand with a small number. The number indicated the number of points that are gained. It's always up to 2-6 points.
- Finally the player may place a marker on the game board to a numbered market stand just like it is shown on the card. This marker will gain additional points in the scoring phase at the end of a round.
But maybe the marker will not score every round. Because every marker placed on the market will cause adjacent markers from other players on lower spaces to be displaced! And that's not it! For every displaced marker the player will gain one additional point as a bonus!
After all this steps for scoring the card it will finally discarded. So it cannot be deliverd to over and over again.
Excursion: Off course many of you gamers with an exquisit taste in games already know a comparable mechanism. The inspiration for this market with a displacing mechanism can be found in the game LUNA by Stefan Feld, published 2009 by H@ll Games. I don't deny this. Just like the multi use cards are inspired by Glory to Rome this market has a plain to see idol. But just like with the cards I believe that we varied this mechanism in an interesting way that stands for it's own. Besides that the mechanic is embedded in a different way. I want to express clearly that we got inspired by the other games and did not steal the mechanisms. It is to me like citing a good book or hookline of a song. We want to honor the original designers.
I just explained, that the markers on the market may score again at the end of the round. If they are still there. I want to explain this in the last chapter of this blog.
But I cannot close this part of the blog without mentioning the trade commodities. They can only be gained by completing market barrows. The good and the VPs are symbolic for the trade value of the goods on the market. Later in the game there is a possibility to deliver these goods to a craft building. Or you can save them and spend them to be a "joker good". Next to the space to store your trade commodities in there are five possible trading solutions. By giving up a trade commodity I may get four silver or any two different harvest goods. Or I can use the good to play a card or upgrade other goods for free. Or take a pig. Conpleting market barrows makes your play flexible!
Last of the excursions: To me it is very important that for every sub-ordinate target you complete you will not only gain victory points. I know we all starve for these shiny things and we are all grinding for them. But to me VPs are dead material. I cannot do anything with it. Just count them and win. It is fun to have them. But only one player can win a (not coop) game. So I want the players to have something throughout the game they can use. While still playing! Something you can reinvest, that gets your machine going, pulls you into the game - even though you might not win. That's because with every aim you complete in this game will get you something in addition that is good for you while still playing. When completing a craft building you get a craft marker with strong effects. Completing a market barrow gives you trade commodities - and they make you flexible as hell! The craft markers are not so strong in comparison to the trade commodities. But you may keep the craft markers and use them all over again. Trade commodities have to be discarded instead...
OK. After a long time I continued translating this designers diary I wrote back then. Again: Please excuse my bad english. My friend Grzegorz will surely shake his head while reading this. But what the hell! :-)
- [+] Dice rolls
12 Dec 2014
So far everything has focused on the farm and its construction because you must build something there in order to operate. However, as I wrote earlier, La Granja is not a game where you only have to build your farm. There is just too much of AT THE GATES OF LOYANG in this game. Just as in "Loyang", you have to deliver the goods you generate.
For this reason you will find La Granja is as much an economics game as a development game. I've already explained why you should be clear about this to play La Granja.
In the Transportation Phase, the donkey markers are used. Each player has a set of donkey markers. They can be seen on the player aid, but I have also included a photo showing the markers.
The donkey markers are constructed like this: each has 4 symbols that can be one of two different kinds and are in a different distribution on each marker. There is a mixture of sombreros and donkeys. The sombreros represent steps on the siesta track. This track will soon determine the new order of play. Donkeys are, as already explained at length, for deliveries of goods to market barrows.
Like the Farm Phase, the Transportation Phase also has 4 steps, and the steps are each completed by all players before going on to the next step.
Step 1 - Choose a donkey marker
Each player secretly chooses one of his donkey markers and places it in front of his farm face down. Then all the players reveal their markers simultaneously, each showing which marker he will use in this round.
Step 2 - Advance on the siesta track
The players, in order of play, (This is clearly represented by game order markers included in with game.) move on the siesta track as many spaces as the number of sombreros on his donkey marker. The starting player goes first, then the second player, etc., creating a new ranking on the track. Game order markers are immediately rearranged on the table to match the order on the track. The player who is furthest on the track, becomes the new starting player; the one who is second furthest, becomes the new second player, etc ...
Step 3 - Carry out deliveries
In the newly established order of play, the players carry out their deliveries. For each donkey symbol on the marker, one delivery can be made. Each player completes all of his deliveries, and then it is the next player's turn ...
After a player is done with his deliveries, he places the donkey marker face down in the top left corner of his farm. This marker is then no longer available to the player in the following turn. The whole thing is repeated in each of the next two turns, but with a reduced set of markers to choose from. Only one of the markers that remains "on hand" may be chosen. After that, you get all the markers back again (after 3 turns) and the cycle repeats itself over the last 3 turns.
Step 4 - Extra deliveries
In the last step of the Transportation Phase, players can pay for extra deliveries. But not as many as you like. This is controlled by the number "extra delivery symbols" on the right side of the farm, that is, the gray line which you can extend with cards. The player in the picture below has "up to 3 extra deliveries". Every player starts with one extra delivery printed on the player board. If you want more, you have to play the right kind of cards. The player whose turn is it makes as many extra deliveries as he can and wants. The player below may make zero to three extra supplies in a turn, and each delivery would have to be paid for with 1 silver.
After the step of extra deliveries, the Phase is over and it is followed by a brief scoring phase. But what is more important is what happens if you completed any of your delivery objectives and how these are then counted. I will come to that next...
[P.S. A big. big THANK YOU goes out to BGG-User blink440 for the translation! Thanks a lot!]
- [+] Dice rolls
Initial point of the development of DICE FOR THE GALAXY, a prototype by Mike Keller, was the wish of combining "Roll through the Ages" and "Race for the galaxy". Conquer the space with dice! La Granja began when I was trying to solve the problems in Mikes game. I jettisoned the whole thing and started from the beginning.
Because I am not the biggest fan in the world of space themes I was trying to find a theme that I liked and that pushes the developing process. Being a big fan of harvest games - especially those by Uwe Rosenberg and Richard Breese - my approach was a kind of "At the gates of Loyang"-Dicegame. I formed planets to be explored into delivery requests by customers. And space ships taking goods to those planets are now donkeys and so on.
The longer I was fiddling around with the agricultural theme, the more the game shifted thematically in that direction. So, coming from a space themed game I was now getting a harvest economics game.
The space themed symbols on the dice were becoming agricultural symbols. Nobody except me ever played the space themed game. A very long period, over month, I played the game by myself. When I first introduced it to other people it finally was a agricultural game.
The dice phase was close to the model. In a turn a player used the dice like in Roll through the Ages and after a few throws there was a result. And after that the player used the dice to perform an action phase, like in Loyang. I liked that game a lot. After a playtest with my friend Ralph Bruhn and his wife we realised the problems of the game. The dice phases were way too long. The game lasts forever when playing it with four players. And you needed to wait through three complete dice and action phases. Took very long to finally perform your own turn again...
Before that I just played with my wife. Playing only by two players was quite okay. We're both very fast gamers and the downtime was no issue. Ralph and his wife are real thinkers. Well, they think fast. That's for sure. But they thought everything through. I learned something about how to design a game and consider the time that is needed to play it. It's about fun. Sitting around watching is no fun. Playing is fun. So, if I wanted the game to be fun with more than two players I needed to change some parts.
The grant model "Loyang" should have told me. This odd (but awesome) four player game in Loyang is there for a reason...
I did not wanted my game to be a limited two player game. So I needed to change the dice phase. A small dice game came into my mind that a friend of mine designed. Matthias Cramer invented this awesome dice game. You use dice in different colors from the pool in the middle of the table and try to collect values in the certain colors by collecting those dice. In Matthias game the dice phase worked like this: Everybody gets a die and then there is one die left and that color is scored in a certain way. After that a new game round follows. Very simple but awesome game. Sad enough this game is still not out. Once it is (I don't know when that will be) I strongly recommend the players who like the dice phase in La Granja to check it out!
A few month after I designed my variant of this dice draft mechnism (in Matthias game the dice were colored and you try to get the majority in those colors - in my game it's two dice in one round and it's more like performing actions) ... well... Seasons came out. A real awesome game by Régis Bonnessée, published by Libellud, and it contains a nice dice draft mechanism. In Seasons the players get one die per turn and the last die determines the progress of the game.
I was really frustrated by that, because after the success of all those card drafting games I was hoping to come first with a dice draft. And if not me than Matthias!!! But it is okay. I was quite sure that there were designers out there trying to make games with dice draft. And Seasons is awesome!
In the meantime I was honored to have Matthias and his wife come by my house to playtest my "farm farmer" (The title of the prototype - the german title was "Bauernhof Bauer". A "Bauernhof" is a farm. And a "Bauer" is a farmer. But in german "Bauer" also means builder. So it was a pun because you had a farm and also you needed to build one up...). Luckily for me he saw enough differences between his dice mechanism and mine. But I do not want the credit for that. Matthias is a real creative game designer. All I can do is get inspired by something other people create and turn those creations into my own variants. So all glory should go to Matthias for inspiring me!
Interesting about Seasons, Matthias game and La Granja is, that there is one last die in the selection phase that has a special meaning. Design-wise it is a great thing and necessary. And I think it has a reason for being so in all three games. If you have a pool of options somebody has to begin to take from the pool. By that the pool gets smaller. Until there is almost nothing left and the last player may choose. But this last players needs options to choose from! Otherwise he would feel played - and that's no fun. You want to choose in a game like this. At the same time you can use the left over die to be of importance - and giving the last player the power to deceide in this matter. A very elegant way to balance the advantage of the starting player and create intersting options for the players to choose from.
In the whole designing process I used dice with symbols on them. But at a certain point, close to the drop of the game, I was tired of always making new dice for every small change. It was very much work to always craft and glue the dice. So I went for cards with pips on it to indicate where the dice should be placed. And the cards showed what to get. So, if I had to change something I just needed to make a new card instead of change nine dice. That was the decline of dice with symbols for La Granja. Because this was a cost-saving way to realize the game. Dice are very expensive in the production of a game.
But at the same time I had the chance to balance the revenues in a better way! Because there was no longer a need to have small symbols fitting on a die. I was very sure, that there won't be such big dice in the game, like in Roll Through The Ages or Seasons. So symbols needed to be small and that made it difficult. Dice are very expensive, like I said, and custom made dice are even more expensive.
So, in the published version of the game you can find revenue spaces on the boards that show very beautiful and big symbols and they show what you can get, when using a certain die.* I am very happy with the published version. But the dice went through quite a long evolution. I am pretty sure that I have more than 20 different files on my computer documenting the different stages of the dice...
*Since the game is out I very often read, that the using of the dice in La Granja reminds many players of Castles of Burgundy or Yspahan. I was really stunned by that – but I can totally see what brings people to that conclusion. Because for me the dice always were like in Roll Through The Ages I did not see that... Funny thing... And not the worst games to be compared to! :-)
- [+] Dice rolls
01 Oct 2014
In this phase, the dice finally get used. The starting player rolls a number of dice, where the number depends on the number of players. Two dice for each player in the game, plus an additional die are used. I.e., for three players: seven dice.
These dice are now placed on the revenue spaces on the left edge of the game board corresponding to the value on each die. They show the types of revenue available to players in this round.
Beginning with the start player, each player chooses a die and immediately takes the revenue or performs the action indicated by the die's space. The player places that die on the space provided on their player board. The remaining available options are reduced with each selected die.
Once all players have chosen one die and collected the revenue, they choose a second die, again in order of play, and again collect the revenue.
After the last player in the sequence has chosen his second die, there will be one die left over. All players get to collect the revenue indicated by its space.
In this way, each player gets to collect revenues from 3 dice per round.
What can the dice provide? This is relatively simple. In most cases, the player takes something and puts it with his collection. I will go through the die values in order:
1 - The player takes a pig. To do this he takes one of his markers from his supply and puts it in his pig stall.
2 - There are four possible choices. Either play a card (or draw an additional card, but you would not normally do that) or gain one of the three crops (harvest goods). The card is played from your hand to the usual locations on the player board. A crop is indicated with a marker in the appropriate den.
3 - Take two different crops. Markers for crops are always placed in harvest goods dens on the player board - never on fields. Crops on the fields must be grown.
4 - Take 4 silver coins.
5 - This is the first of the tricky die values. The player has the choice of three options. Either advance two steps on the siesta track. This is what the symbol of snoring sombreros represents. The siesta track determines the order of play later in the game. Or the player upgrades two crops for free. I've already explained in Part 1 that you can improve the value of crops at any time by paying silver. Using this revenue die is another way to upgrade goods for free. The third option is a mix of both: one free upgrade and one step on the track.
6 - This die brings us to the core of the game, the deliveries. When choosing a die with 6, the player must choose whether he wants to have two silver coins or immediately perform a delivery. One delivery is not much. Usually more deliveries are available in Phase 3, which follows. But it can be quite useful! Especially because the delivery from the die is free. If you want to make more deliveries than are provided by the available donkey tiles, then you must find another way. This die is a possibility. (For future reference, more information about the delivery system is in Part 6 of this blog series.)
That's about it for the Revenue Phase. It is short and consists only of the selection of dice and small actions they allow.
The Transportation Phase, which follows the Revenue Phase, is somewhat more involved. More on that later.
P.S. Boardgamegeek-User Brian Link (goes by the nick "link440") offered to help us translating the blog for La Granja. Mike and I are very thankful! Thanks for the help! I will pass all geek gold some of you might spend on the articles Brian translated to him. Thanks for reading!
P.P.S. The photos are still from a prototype. I did not make new photos. I wrote the article before the drop of La Granja. There will be articles with photos from the real game...
- [+] Dice rolls
There are two exceptions for the rules in the fist game turn.
The first exception conerns step 1. In the beginning of the game players may play two cards to place them on their farm. So the game gets going. This exception is very easy to momorize and the advantage is: It's fun! Normally I would try to avoid such exceptipons. In this case it fits very well.
Exception #2 concerns the roof tiles. The effects on the tiles are similar to the revenues you can get with the dice in the next phase of the g ame turn (I will explain those dice in part 5 of the blog). So by buying those roof tile you can avoid bad luck with the dice later on. Nevertheless it would be very strong if the first player in the revenue phase would also be the first player to buy those roof tiles. So the advantage of the starting player is balanced by turning around the playing order. This is a rule all involved people wanted to avoid, but it was necessary for the balance.
All other game turns need no exception.
Excursion on the fields:
I was thinking very hard on how to explain that fields that still hold goods do not get new goods in step 3 of the farm phase. In an early version of the game farm goods had to be sown on the fields at the end of the game turn. You needed to have one good left so you could use it to sow it on your field and get an additional one from your stock. If you're thinking of Agricola you're quite right. That was the idea. Those two goods would be harvested immediatelly and placed in your storage on the tableau. So that would have been a doubling of your goods – if you had the right fields. You had to choose to spend your goods and earn points in the course of the game or spare them so you could get more by using your fields.
In the published version the fields are involved in the players farm more suitable. Storages are not that crowded because the markers remain on the cards and it's more challenging to use them and not so easy to sell them. The only problem was thematically. I solved the problem by discarding all unused goods on fields at the end of the turn. They simply go bad. So players had to take the markers from the field only to put them right back on in the beginning of the next game turn! That was silly... So I let the players just keep their goods but declined their request to get new ones and hat the same effect – but questions how that could fit themetically...
Excursion on the offspring:
In the game you have the so-called „one female offspring mechanism“. A term that came to life during playtesting. Because it used to be different back then. The offspring rule was: number of pigs minus one. So if you had 4 pigs you could have gotten 3 pigs offspring! That was the so-called „one male offspring mechanism“ if you know what I mean... A frequently discussed topic in the playtestings. I can tell you that!
Excursion on the roof tiles:
This element was quite new in the development of the game. For a long time there were storage limits in the game. Even for money. I wanted to avoid the typical hoarding of goods and silver.
I realised that the players needed impulsions what the game is really about. It's not about harvesting and having offspring as much as possible. But it is about getting those things off your farm and turn them into victory points by delivering them. At this point the thematical closeness to Agricola got in the way of many playtesters (which helped me a lot on the other hand). Because most playtesters assumed La Granja to be a buildup kind of a game (just like Agricola is) where you get victory points for having much stuff in the end of the game. But that is not the case!
I will get to the deliveries later, but they are the way to earn victory points in La Granja. And the players only have a certain amount of deliveries per game turn. If you do not use them every turn they are gone! So it is important to work towards the aim of the game throughout the whole play. And the plan is to get rid of all the stuff you build up, not to keep it.
So, what happened in some playtests was, that players were hoarding stuff like it was worth something in the end. And they were surprised that this was not the case! So they assumed the game was not good instead of realising that the just didn't get the aim of the game right. It would take them two to three playes to realise: This is a economics game and not only a buildup game!
And something like this is poison to a game in these times when hundreds of games are published in Essen. A negative experience with the first play is not good for the game. It will stay forever in the shelves and just look good. That was not my aim and is not the aim of a publisher that wants people to play the games they publish so they know: „Wow! This publisher makes great game! Let's buy the next one from them, too!“
So for these reasons there were limits to having stuff in the game. You were allowed to keep just some stuff for the next game turn. The aim was to show the players: You cannot keep it! Better sell it or deliver it in order to get victory points! But in the course of the development of the game I realised that players just need impulsion towards the aim of the game. Being fast is one of the ways to get some more extra points. Many bonuses can be worthy if you own them for a long time in the game. So at one point there was no need for those limits any longer and I could get rid of those limit extra rules.
But still silver was a good that could be hoarded easily. I do not like that. Piles of stuff before the players. That's no fun. Goods need to be short. The rule before the introduction of the roof tiles was: If you have more than 10 silver at the end of the game turn you must dicard so much that only up to 10 is left. For the money you discard you got victory points. That was something I did not like but needed it so the game works fine.
The roof tiles were the ultimate impulsion to spend all the money players were hoarding. Introduced as furniture for your farm house you could spend your money on strong one time actions and victory points. And the earlier you start the more points you can get. So there was no hoarding of silver any more. Instead everybody was complaining about how short money is sometimes! That was awesome! I like it when players struggle of short things in a game. Because, if you do it right, this struggle means players have big fun during the game and the wish to make it better than the other players on the table.
An interesting detail is, that the roof markers were introduced to the game as furniture. Harald Lieske, being the illustrator of the game, thought about that and had the idea of placing the markers on your farm house. Because that is where furniture belongs. When I visited him to look him over the shoulder and suck up to him for being such an awesome illustrator of boardgames (by the way: worked... ;-) ) we thought of a better thematical integration of those tiles. Most playtesters were arguing that the furniture feels like it is not really belonging to the game. Felt more like a unthematical addition. Because in his first idea you had to place the tiles on your farm house we thought of roofs. Building your roof could be a nice thing. Having a roof over your head could get you victory points, we guessed. Since those tiles are called roof tile I never heard anyone complaining how unthematic this element feels. This is a nice example how the illustrator works for the game. And I have th thank Harald a lot for his awesome work for La Granja!
- [+] Dice rolls
16 Sep 2014
The six game turns of La Granja are quite structured. There are four different phases and every phase (except the revenue phase) is divided into several smaller steps, which all players play one after another.
Every phase has a certain color. Some elements in the game show those colors and refer to those phases of one game turn. The reason for that is to give a guideline for using those things during the game turn.
The farm phase is the first phase of every game turn. It is some kind of a management phase and its color is blue.
But what exactly happens? I will explain it step by step like the players should also do:
1. Every player plays one card. Just like that. Play a card means, to place a card on one of the sides of your farm tableau. This is for free, but there is an exception: Every farm extension cost something.
After that every players draw new cards up to their hand limit, which is three at the beginning of the game.
This one card ist the only card granted to be played by every player. If you want to play more cards, you have to
manage it somehow. There are different possibilities: You can use helpers, revenue dice, trade commodities or roof markers. If you don't get any of these things, you just play this one card.
2. Now every player gets income. The opened hand symbol indicates income and you can find it on the right side of the playerboard. I added a picture for this.
Usualy the income means the silver coins which you placed on your board by farm extensions. In addition there are some craft markers that the players can get, if they deliver craft buildings completly. I get to that later. For now its important that three of those craft markers provide income. It could be something different than silver, such as trade commoditys or ressources.
3. In this step there is growing on the fields and pig offspring. Both is very simple.
First you get the indicated harvest good on every empty field by simply placing markers there from your stock.
After that you might get offspring for your pigs. If a player has at least two pigs in the stall, they get one pig as offspring. Problem: You only get offspring, if there is a free space in your den. As you can see on the farm tableau there is only space for two pigs in the beginning. If you want to have offspring, you need to play at least one farm extension with a additional den. You can see it quite nicely in the image.
4. Buy roof markers in playerorder: Now all players have the possibility to buy the precious roof markers (by spending silver) which are placed on the game board. After purchase you place them face up on the illustration of your farm house on your player board. Those markers show one time actions. You can use them once in the game. After using them you flip them on the backside and so the illustrated roof of your farm house gets finished.
This farm phase can be played simultaneous, except for step 4. I like it when there is little downtime and let the players do things at the same time. Everybody plays – this is important to me. Nobody has to sit around and wait.
There are no real important decisions which affect other players in this phase. It's more about managing your own farm.
Play cards, take income, growth and pig offspring. Done! Experienced players do this steps automatically and don't need further explanaitions.
Step 4 is more important, because the players buy roof markers in player order. There are always enough roof marker laid out – so everybody can get one. The roof markers of one game turn are always different from each other. If players want something specific, they do best to be first in the playing order.
After everybody bought a roof marker (or not, because they lack silver or for other reasons), this managing phase is over and the game passes on to the next phase, where dice will be rolled...
P.S. Thanks once again to Mike for translating the article I wrote in german. Please note, that all pictures show a handmade prototype of La Granja with almost finished illustrations. I wrote those articles before La Granja was published in german...
P.S.S. Once again excuse our bad english.
- [+] Dice rolls
10 Jul 2014
If I would explain the game at the table, I would start with the components of the game. In this texts many things get explained between lines. So always keep an eye on the pictures.
The way to earn victory points of La Granja are the donkeys. The symbol ¨donkey¨ always represents the possibility to deliver goods to a specific place.
The goods system is designed in the way, that empty octagonal spaces are meant as storing places. A player marker in this place represents a property in the storage. The kind of property is displayed next to the place. You can find these places on the playerboard or also on farmcards (either fields on the left side or pig stalls on the right side).
If there is a demand of some goods, the specific symbol is located in (!!) the octagonal space. You will find examples for that in the pictures below: A market barrow shows 2-4 goods, which can be put in the barrow (to remember: a farmcard which I place above the playerboard, represents a market barrow). You can find six craft buildings on the gameboard, which demands different kinds of goods. The buildings, that are located around the market, are public tasks for every player to deliver to. (Sorry for the bad quality of the picture – I had to tilt the camera because of the reflections).
If I want to deliver one of my goods, I take a marker from the appropriate space and put it on the space for the demand. This way I cover the demand, which is considered fulfilled. Have a look on the picture below: The demand of the market barrow is olives and wine. If I want to deliver to this market barrow, I need to have olives or/and wine in my store. After the delivery the demand is covered by the ¨delivered¨ marker – just like that!
The way to delivery are donkeys. I need a transportation, so I have to take care of getting these donkeys in the course of the game. Therefor the players have some possibilities: By revenue dice, by donkey markers or additional deliverys on farm extensions. Also some helpers on the farmcards have delivering functions.
You can earn victory points for deliverys when the whole demand is coverd only. That means the demand of the whole market barrow or craft building is coverd by markers. In this way it is always necessary to do several deliverys to score. If something gets deliverey completely, players take a short break in the game to do a personal scoring.
I will tell you later how scoring is done. For now, I just want to give you an overview of the game.
- [+] Dice rolls
02 Jul 2014
The player board of each player represents his farm. La Granja is a country estate on the island of mallorca, which was ¨founded¨ at the time of moorish occupation. On pictures of the building you can see the typical oriental architecture. By the way: the building on the cover ist the main house of the country estate La Granja. Anyway… The historical background of the boardgame is the growing of small farms that were located around the Alpich pond. Through the course of time those small farms developed to become a big estate that still exists.
Each player has a small farm and who earns the most victory points in the game will be the winner – that player will become the owner of the country estate La Granja. To get your farm running you have to expand it. And this is represented by farm cards.
Each farm card has 4 different functions. In the following pictures you can see one of the cards as an example (taken form the publishers website) and then the different possibilities to place a farm card to your board.
Because there is just a small space on a card, its not so easy to place 4 different functions on it. In the course of the game, you have to decide for every farm card, which one of the 4 functions you want to use and which other 3 you want to ¨cover¨. Just the one function should still be visible and that's why the farmboards have such a funny shape.
At this place I have to mention, that it is really nice that the publisher realised this odd looking boards! They did a great job, especially Harald Lieske, who did not just do the whole grafics, but also needed to match the cards with the tableau which was not so easy.
Every card, that comes into play, thematically represents the growth of the own farm. I will explain the 4 different functions.
If I place a card on the left side of my farm, it represents a field. In part 1 of my explanations I already talked about the fields a little. There are 3 sorts of harvest goods (olive, grain and grapes) and every card has one sort of field on it. Fields produce the indicated kind of harvest good at a specific point in the game.
If I place a card at the bottom of my farm, it is called a helper. Thematically as a employee, there are small special functions in textual form. This special functions will chance the rules a little bit for the player who played the helper. All 66 cards in La Granja contain a different special function. On every farm there are 3 slots for helpers. In a case of three blocked slots and if a player wants to employ a new helper, he has to discard an other one.
If I place a card at the top of my farm it will be a market barrow. These are „private supply contracts¨, which a player tries to fulfill in the course of the game. When a market barrow is filled completely the player may place a stall on the market (and get victory points – but I will get to that later). The player will also recieve a trade commodity as a reward. That is a very special good an it is only granted through the market barrows. You can only have 3 cards in the upper slots. But all fulfilled cards get discarded. Usually you will never have a lack of space here.
If I place a card on the right side of my farm, it becomes a farm extension. In this way 4 rows of the farm tableau will be extended
First of all, each card there raises my hand limit by 1. At the beginning of the game every player has a hand limit of 3.
Playing cards as farm extensions is essential to have a higher hand limit.
In addition there are 3 rows in special colors. The gray row increases the possibilities to deliver goods. I will get to that later and explain more about the delivery system. For now every donkey represents a delivery.
The blue row represents the income. In a specific phase of a round you will get a regular income. Some cards show that this income is increased by 1 silver.
Finaly there is a brown row, which extends the pig stall. The bigger my stall is, the more pigs I can keep.
Each farm extension has a combination of 2 out of this 3 rows. One of the rows is not available on a card.
I just want to mention, that this way of playing card is not new: In the game ¨Glory to Rome¨ by Carl Chudyk you can play cards in a similar way around your board. After a game of Glory to Rome I wondered, how this awesome using of cards could be transformed into a game of my own. I hope that we varied this in a nice way.
So, enough about farm cards! In part 3 I will tell you what to do with all the stuff you produce on your farm.
P.S. Thanks again to Mike for translating the article I wrote in german. Please note, that all pictures show a handmade prototype of La Granja with almost finished illustrations (except for the single card of course).
P.S.S. Once again excuse our bad english. We are doing this in our free time and both of us are not that firm with translating. There are 9 following articles to come and it ill take time to translate them. If there are some of you reading this and want to help - please contact me by geekmail. That would be really nice. Thanks for reading.
- [+] Dice rolls
25 Jun 2014
Now, while the game can be preordered and the release is close, I would like to write a tiny introduction into La Granja – for everybody who is courious about the game.
There are 8 different goods in La Granja. Each of this 8 goods has its own particular space on the players farm (the board). The goods are indicated by octahedrons in the colors of the players. If an octahedrons of my color is placed in my den for olives, then I have 1x olive. Are there 3 octahedrons placed? Then I have 3x olives.
All three sorts of harvest goods can be found on the leftside of the farm. There are three small dens with dark-brown roof. You can easily recognize the octagonal shape on the roofs of these dens. There is space for the octagonal shaped playermarkers (octahedrons). It can be seen on the corresponding banners of the dens, which goods are meant to be placed in which den.
You can also see the prices for buying and selling those goods next to these symbols (given that you are allowed to buy or sell this good). Selling or buying is something, you can always do in La Granja to get more silver (which is the currency in La Granja) or to buy more goods.
On the lower right side of the farm you can find a pig stall. The typical mallorcan ¨porc negre¨ can be kept there.
The spaces on the pig stall (the pigs in my property are also indicatet with the octahedrons) are much smaller than those on the dens. Per space only one octahedrons may be placed there – in contrast to the dens, where theoretically an endless amount of octahedrons may be placed.
Now you know about the 4 ressources of the game: 3 harvest goods – olive, grain an grapes – as well as cattle, the ¨porc negre¨
Each one of the 4 ressources can be ¨upgraded¨. This means, they can be convertet to a more valuable form of goods.
Arrows between the dens of the farm show how this is done – e.g. olives: If a player wants to upgrade an olive, he has to shift a playermarker from the olive den along the arrow to the next den. An amount of money is indicated on the arrrow. The player has to pay the money to do so. As you can see in the picture, it costs 2 silver to make food out of olives. The players are free to think of any food that can be made out of olives: olive oil, pickled olives or anything else nice and tasty (best with garlic, I guess ;-) ).
The pot-symbol stands for the good ¨food¨. Grain can also be upgraded to food, if I move playermarkers from the grain den to the food den - but always for money. Grapes can be upgraded to wine. And on the right side of the player board pigs can be upgraded to meat.
I can always upgrade goods and also buy or sell them during my turn. In this case La Granja is a very open game. The players have all the possibilities to manage their goods like they need them. But: Everything costs money.
I can also harvest goods on my fields. You can see this in one of the pictures. In this example the player has 3 cards placed as ¨fields¨ on the left side of his player board. One of each of the 3 kinds of harvest goods. The olive grove is harvested not jet.
One kind of good I did not mention jet: The trade commodities. This good is so important as you can think and therefor it is placed right in the middle of the player board. Next to the place of the trade commodities (box symbol) you can find 5 possible uses for this good. For each trade commoditie I spend I can choose one of this 5 possibilities. I can turn my trade commodities eather in 4 silver, in any 2 (but different) goods, play or draw a card, take a pig or upgrade2 of my goods for free (the amount of money on the arrows may be ignored then). You realize how valuable this trade commoditie really is – and that's why they are hard to get.
You now know the goods system of La Granja. For now, that's not so easy to understand, but the design of the player board is as self-explaining as possible and the connections of the goods are easy to internalize.
In the next part, I will explain how to use the cards to build up you farm.
You can read this article in german on my blog.
Many thanks to my co-designer Mike Keller for doing most of the translation stuff. Please excuse our bad english.
- [+] Dice rolls