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Fields of Arle» Forums » Reviews

Subject: My farm is way better than yours! rss

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J H
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Chesterfield
Missouri
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Fields of Arle
Designed by Uwe Rosenberg
Produced by Z-Man Games
1-2 players, ages 12+
Takes about 2 hours to play

Components

Wow, there are lot of bits in this game. The box is chock full of tokens and tiles of every shape and size. All of them are very clear in purpose and perfectly functional. The art is decent and typical of other Rosenberg titles. I would call the overall presentation as "friendly" or "welcoming". Setup time can be prohibitive.

Theme

Players are competing farmers trying to gain the most victory points by improving their land, building vehicles and buildings, and delivering goods. This theme has been done many times (mostly by this designer) so there is really nothing new here.

Gameplay

This is a worker placement/tableau building game so players take turns placing their four "family members" on different locations on the main board to perform various actions over nine rounds. Most actions let you improve an area of your farm or gain goods. The player may also take actions on their own tableau that let's them turn basic to finished goods, make deliveries to towns in the area, or use a building they have built. Again, nothing really new here if you have played Agricola or Caverna: The Cave Farmers.

What do I think?

By me repeating "nothing new here" multiple times above, you would think that I dislike the game. That couldn't be farther from the truth. I really like this and consider it to be my favorite "new to me" game of 2017. If it doesn't do anything new, why do I like it so much?

+ it is a perfect "heavy-ish" game for 2 players that doesn't take four hours to play. If you want a satisfying, medium-heavy Euro for solo or two, this is it. Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small pales in comparison as it is way more simplified.

+ if you like Agricola or Caverna: The Cave Farmers but don't think they scale down to two very well, this game is perfect.

+ the decisions are interesting and tense. Every worker placement is vital to your strategy. Every good and morsel of food has to be accounted for. As in most decent Euros, you always feel like you are two turns short or regretting your last worker placement.

+ while getting blocked hurts a lot, it isn't completely crushing. You have yourself all setup to get a good supply of clay this round only to see your opponent take the clay pit spot. Although it may set your strategy back a bit, there are other, less optimal, places to go. You don't feel like your whole game is destroyed by one small setback.

+ yes, there are a lot of things going on, but it is a relatively simple game. Place a worker and do what it says.

- my one issue with the game is that the first turn can sometimes feel a bit scripted; especially for the start player. I feel like improving your benches is pretty much always the way to go in the first round. Maybe someone can correct me on that, but that is how it's gone in every game I have played.

Summary

Although there is nothing ground-breaking, this game works fantastically well as a 2-player medium-heavy Euro. Lots of things to think about and lots of ways to win. This is probably my favorite "new-to-me" game of 2017.

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Jérôme
Netherlands
Eindhoven
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What I like best is the autobiographical background. The game is about the area where Uwe was born and grew up, in the age of his grandfather.
The booklet with designer notes completes the story.
This is a labor of love.
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Havox wrote:


- my one issue with the game is that the first turn can sometimes feel a bit scripted; especially for the start player. I feel like improving your benches is pretty much always the way to go in the first round.



From my experience, you can make play the whole game without taking "The master" action at all and still win (and making over 135 points).
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Andrew Young
Wales
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And if you never have, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.
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S0laris wrote:
Havox wrote:


- my one issue with the game is that the first turn can sometimes feel a bit scripted; especially for the start player. I feel like improving your benches is pretty much always the way to go in the first round.



From my experience, you can make play the whole game without taking "The master" action at all and still win (and making over 135 points).


That’s good to know. Ive found the master action to be a no-brainer though as it gives more resources AND there are a lo5 if VPs to be made. Seems like you are being highly motivated to take it...

Have you won in games against someone who took the action while you did not?

Andy
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J H
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Sorry Andrew, I just saw this. Yes, I have won without taking master action in the first round. I went strong in food production using fish traps and squeaked out a win.
 
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