I want me some cabbages! (Please). It's true, the publisher of Fields of Green is really offering a new promo card for this game (see here for details). Cabbages! "Whenever a Livestock is built adjacent to this location, get 1 of something." I'm so excited I can hardly wait! And I'm not even a vegetarian!

Apparently all you need to do is write a review about the base game. Well I can do that! Whether or not I actually own the game isn't relevant is it? I do want me some cabbages, after all! So let's review this game. There's already a gazillion other reviews from people wanting cabbages, but my review is different. Hear me out:

Concept

First of all: the title. Fields of Green. That's amazing. No, really! Imagine it was Fields of Cobalt Blue. Or Fields of Fuschia. Or Fields of Ochre. That's just dumb. Plus none of those colours are the colours of cabbage. So Fields of Green makes far more sense. We all know that fields have grass, and grass is green. So Fields of Green it is. But what about the Fields part? Well, imagine it was: Streets of Green? Or Shoes of Green? Or Planets of Green? That's just silly, right? Not to mention that it just wouldn't have much marketable value with a name like that. Fields of Green is so much sensible. It's thematic. It's environmentally friendly. I also like the word OF. I suppose the marketing team also considered Fields Are Green, but that just seems so obvious, because, well, they just are. Fields of Green is a much more practical all round. I like it. Thumbs up for the title.

Next: the designer. Vangelis Bagiartakis. Now I have a lot of different games by different designers. Some have awesome names like Vlaada Chvatil. That's a pretty amazing name, because it begins with three consonants, and one is a V. I can't think of any other game designers whose names begin with three consonants including a V. And then there is Stefan Feld. That name has an uber-coolness factor because we all know that Stefan with an F is much more hip than Stephen with a PH. But it is a pity Stefan's mum was busy making point salad while writing out his birth certificate, that she forgot the I in his last name (which was supposed to be Field), so minus points for that. Uwe Rosenberg is another pretty neat name, just because it begins with a U, and none of my friends have a name that begins with a U, not even my friends Ernest or Frank, although they both wish they did. But: Vangelis Bagiartakis. Wow! What a name! Now that is a name to be proud of! Try saying it slowly, and get lost in the majesty of it. Try saying it fast, and get overcome by the staccato of multi-syllabic bliss. Let those consonants roll off your tongue. Let those vowels explode with sensory delight. I couldn't invent a name like that even if I tried! To have a name like that on a game-box is something to be proud of. And if you buy this game, that's what you get.

Now: the setting. This game takes place in the second half of the 20th century. In other words, you get to go back in time. That's time travel! I'm not kidding, but I'm quite serious. Because I just checked on the internet, and apparently right now we are in the 21st century. That means that if you get this game, time travel is real! That just defies the laws of physics, and blows my mind already. Anybody can make a game that has a modern day setting. But to actually have a time travel mechanic that brings you back to the previous century is amazing. My dad is going to love this, because I think he was born then, and it will probably have appeal to all my uncles at our Thanksgiving reunion, because I'm pretty sure they were born in the 1900s as well, judging by their sense of fashion anyway.

So, moving on to: the theme. Farming. You're trying to expand property and business. You add fields, livestock and facilities. And you build an economic engine that will bring you closer to victory. I know that's the truth, because it says so on the game page, and I read that on the internet, and we all know that everything on the internet is true. But how cool is that: a farming game! And this one doesn't even have a Latin title like Agricola! And we all know what happened to that game! Didn't it get to number 1 in the BGG rankings or something? Imagine how far a farming game with an English title could go. Maybe even past number 1, I'd say!

Finally: the inspiration. Apparently this game is inspired by Among the Stars. Now I don't really know what they mean by "inspired". But ... stars! We all know that star-gazing is a pretty neat hobby. And you don't even need to be a geek with a lot of disposable income for buying telescopes or astronomy paraphernalia to do it. I have friends who just pull out a blanket, and lay on their back lawn, gazing at stars. And they don't even have any income, not even a disposable one. Now I realize that this game wasn't actually inspired by stars, but you have to admit that anything that even mentions stars as part of the inspiration already has a lot going for it. At the very least, it probably has at least one component that will glow in the dark, I'd say.

Mechanics

Let me begin by mentioning: the economic engine. I had a game once that came with a thimble, a wheelbarrow, and a dog. You had to move them (manually) around the board by rolling dice. But Fields of Green actually comes with an engine. It's an economic one, but that doesn't matter, because it's still an engine. I'm not entirely sure how much fuel they include, or whether you have to build it yourself, but you have to admit that any game that has an engine is pretty much way better than a game that doesn't have an engine. I think it may have something to do with the tractor on the front cover, but don't quote me on that. Just make sure that whatever engine is included, that it gets serviced regularly, otherwise it might seize up, so bring it to your mechanic regularly.

Going on to: the rounds. There are four rounds (years), and you're drafting cards to add to your ever-expanding farm. I once had an idea for a game with ever-reducing farms. At the time I thought it was pretty incredible, but publishers didn't seem to like it. And now I have to admit in hindsight, maybe it wasn't that great an idea after all, because in most games you ended with nothing left. Like: nothing. That was the whole aim. I suppose it was a bit depressing to see your cows die, your barn burn down, and your farm shrink. Having expanding farms is a much better idea. Now why didn't I think of that?

Then there's: the harvesting idea. This is genius. Every year, there's a harvest, and you have to water your field and feed your livestock. I should tell you that I once played this other farm game where you had to feed your family. Now that I think of it, that's a pretty lame concept. Why feed your family? Isn't there already lots of food on a farm? And if the kids get hungry, won't they go raid the pantry, make a sandwich, or kill a cow or something? I think that feeding your livestock is a much better idea. After all, if nobody feeds the livestock, how do you think the farmer's kids will even have cows they can try to kill? They do need to have some fun with the bow and arrow set Uncle George bought them for Christmas, and there's only so many rabbits on a farm. Feeding livestock - it's so obvious, that it's brilliant! I also like the idea of watering fields. Adding water to things is always a good idea. Especially coffee. I had a dry coffee once, and it was very dehydrated. Hydration is important, even in board games.

Then (drum-roll) there are: the victory points. You need to gather them. The more the better, because that's how you win. This is really genius, because it is a complete surprise. In a farming game, you'd expect the win condition to have to do with having the biggest melon, the largest cow, or perhaps the biggest tractor. So it's quite a surprising twist that instead the winner is determined by victory points. I like surprises in games, so I think that is a Really Good Thing for this game. Victory points. Brilliant!

And then: Kickstarter. This is really quite clever, and I don't think most people realize what this mechanic is about. But sometimes on a farm your machinery just doesn't work right. And it can take a bit of effort to get going, especially old machinery. Old farmers probably know this better than young farmers, because if you're an old farmer, you're more likely to have machinery that is also old. But some of these machines can be a real nuisance to start. Sometimes you even have to kickstart them. I know this, because my neighbour Patrick had a vintage motorbike that he was forever kick-starting to get the engine going, and I imagine farm machinery is the same, especially if it is a bit rusty. So that's quite clever of them really. Apparently there are over 2,000 backers, so I'm guessing they all take turns pushing the tractor or something. You have to admit that this is much better than just having one mechanic. So thumbs up for lots of mechanics, even if some of them just push.

Components

First of all: the box cover. Now I studied this very carefully. It has exactly 139,229 blades of grass in the picture (one for each funding dollar), which is an amazing number, because it's not even a prime number, but perfectly divisible by 29. It must have taken them a while to figure that out, because we all know how difficult times tables are, especially the 29 one. But the box cover also has a tractor. And a windmill. And a goose. With outstretched wings (bonus points for that - the psychology behind that is really quite powerful). Now I've seen pictures of a tractor and a windmill before, but never in combination with a goose with outstretched wings. It really is quite moving. Well it will be moving once it starts flying and takes off. But that's the point really isn't it? You get going with this game by kickstarting the tractor, you take off, and eventually you fly into a cloud of victory points, which for gamers is all quite heavenly really. Sheer brilliance.

Now inside: the cards. This was a bit of a surprise to be honest. I wasn't expecting cards. Not in a game about farming anyway. I was expecting some seeds or maybe even some milk, just to give you the feel of things. But no, the main thing is cards. Field cards. Livestock cards. Construction cards. Building cards. There's exactly 33 of each of those by the way. I think 33 is perhaps the designer's favourite number, or maybe his eBay password. By the way, all of these sound much better in French, even if you're not French. There's 20 cartes Château d'Eau (Water Tower cards), and 14 cartes Silo (which amazingly, are Silo cards). Now even though I wasn't expecting them, it's nice that cards were included. For the record, batteries are not included. I don't think that matters, because you don't need them, but the game would have been even more awesome if it did include batteries.

Also: the wooden bits. These wooden bits represent water and wheat, which is somewhat surprising, because none of the wooden bits seems to be actually edible (I have actual proof of this, because I tried giving my mother-in-law one). But I suppose real food might get mouldy coming from Greece, or perhaps the airport cargo people might eat it, so it's common sense not to include actual food now that I think about it. And yes, they are real wood. To be properly scientific about this, I tried setting one on fire, and yes, definitely real wood. And there are lots of them. I once heard of this game called Twister that was really popular, but when I bought it, I was disappointed because it only had one main component. This game has over a hundred times more components than that, so it must be over a hundred times better.

Then there's: the Crop Circle expansion. If you don't believe me, check right here. This is not a hoax, and aliens weren't involved. Yep, you actually can get a Crop Circle for this game. Except you don't get it with the game, but you get it at Spiel 2016, which has already happened, so you're too late. But that shouldn't be a problem really, because if you can time travel back to the 20th century, you can easily time travel to 2016. But even better, this expansion card is cross-promotional. Yes, cross-promotional. It's kind of like cross-pollinating, which every farmer is very good at, except that instead of pollinating, you promote. Apparently this means that you mix it up with Among the Stars. Note that this not the same as self-promotion or self-pollination, which is something quite different.

Last but not least: the cabbages. You get them. That's it really. But let's be honest, what other game can you think of, lets you get cabbages? Directly from the publisher? I know this, because they say so right here. And here. And the publisher lives in Greece! I've never had mail from Athens before, especially cabbages, so that's all very exciting.

Recommendation

So, on to my conclusion about Fields of Green. Do I recommend this game? Well if you like cabbages the way I do, you already know the answer. It's worth it for the cabbages alone. I haven't been this excited about a game, since Aunt Virginia choked on a red meeple while playing Carcassonne and we had to call a real live ambulance with sirens. I would add siren noises to this review if I could, but I'll just have to make do with your thumbs up. Fields of Green - all round amazing.

I'm sure the publisher won't let me down now, will they?! Maybe they'll even send me a whole game along with my cabbages. Now to whom do I send my postal address?



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Brian Bowles
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Honesty from the start!
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Woo-Hoo Gamer
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"Play is an essential component of Wholehearted living." Brené Brown
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What do you mean we don't have time for another game?
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Dang. I haven't laughed that hard at a review since reading through the Sugar Free Gummy Worms reviews on Amazon. Good times!
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Tanner Martin
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Brilliant review! laugh

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Jeff Troyan
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Excellent Review!

This ranks right up there with Gola's Amun-Re session report as things I will read multiple times and laugh every time! BTW, go read the session report if you haven't!

Well done sir. Well done.

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Jens www.spielefreun.de
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Nobody reads this, anyway!
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Doea anybody read this, anyway?
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Best worst review I've ever read!
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Nick Shaw
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Quote:
It has exactly 139,229 blades of grass in the picture

I think you missed one. Over there, just stuck under the tractor's rear-right wheel. It's in shadow, so don't blame yourself for having missed it. It DOES look a little like a tiny green worm, to be fair.

I do wonder, though, how that tractor got to where it is in the field without leaving any tractor-trails in the grass, like there are right up the middle of the field. Has the tractor been sat there since the grass was sown, and the farmer only just got on it to move it? Maybe he's just posing for a photo on his old broken tractor (popping a bit of burning hay down the engine funnel to simulate the exhaust smoke)?

I'd also like to know what that red-chimneyed building in the town in the centre-left is. Why does it have half a red chimney?
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If you appreciated the humor of the above review, you will also enjoy reading the review that I posted a while back for My Little Pony Hide & Seek here:

Ender's (non)Comprehensive (non)Pictorial Overview: The new #1 - Why. This. Is. The. Best. Game. Ever.

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Y P
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Pics or GTFO! Couldn't even bother to throw in some royalty-free stock photos? Boooo!

Enjoy your cabbages.
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Jim Bolland
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Loooooooooooooooon!
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Once you get those cabbages, there is a single word you need to be aware of, and that word is ... colcannon. Colcannon is so awesome that there is a song about it.
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Serious? Lee
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Lost in thought.
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You've outdone yourself... again. Thanks for the laughs. I hope your enthusiasm, creativity and love for cabbages awards you the desired promo.
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Tanner Martin
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So after all that... Did you get your Cabbages? I need to know!
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mrgeneraldude wrote:
So after all that... Did you get your Cabbages? I need to know!
Not yet, but I think they're only shipping in April, aren't they?
 
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Woo-Hoo Gamer
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Nope. March. I've received mine, and some others have, too.
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I'm delighted to say that my Cabbages arrived in the mail today, all the way from Athens, Greece, complete with a beautiful Greek stamp!

A big thank you to Artipia Games!


Edit: stupid mistake fixed!
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Jens www.spielefreun.de
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Athens has been moved to Italy??? wow
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I have to admit that while researching Fields of Green for the above `review', I learned a lot about the game, enough to know that it was definitely a game I'd enjoy playing and want to own.

I'm pleased to say that I've subsequently got a copy, and just love it. So here is my follow-up review, with my thoughts on Fields of Green:

What you need to know and what people think about Fields of Green (the re-themed upgrade of Among the Stars)
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