Agropolis - Dastardly Review #135
We are huge fans of Button Shy's Sprawlopolis and were both excited and a little nervous to play our preview copy of Agropolis. Would it deliver to our high expectations? Or was it going to be a dud?
Note: This is a preview deck and subject to change.
Sprawlopolis is our most played cooperative/solo game and was our introduction to Button Shy's 18 card wallet series of games.
We now own over a dozen of their wallet games. I normally have a couple with me as we travel or visit a brewery etc.
They pack a huge punch in a small wallet.
Agropolis is a stand alone 18 card game based upon all the mechanics and card layouts of Sprawlopolis. Agropolis is set in the countryside instead of the city. The four blocks on each card are Corn Fields, Vineyards, Orchards and Livestock Pens. Base play is also the same with turning over 3 cards to reveal Scoring Conditions and building a map using the other 15 cards.
New cards are placed either edge to edge with existing cards or can overlay blocks on existing cards.
This makes for unique map layouts and allows you to cover up blocks that you don't want to show as some of the Scoring Conditions include losing points for certain block combinations!
Tip: Pick one or two Scoring Conditions to maximize.
At the end of the game, score 1 point for each block in the largest group of each type and lose 1 point for each road. Then add/subtract the Scoring Conditions scores to get your final Victory Points.
Each Scoring Card also includes a Target Victory Point number. The total of the cards is compared to the Victory Points you earned. Beat the target number and you win!
Note: the Target Victory Points vary widely from the different Scoring Conditions. They are a good hint on how much a Scoring Condition can generate!
So...good news! Agropolis is built on a strong, proven and fun base. But what is new besides the theme?
The first thing we noticed are the brown Livestock Blocks. Each Livestock Block contains either 1 or 2 Pens and either Cows, Pigs or Chickens. Some of the Scoring Conditions refer to the number of Pens and/or types of Livestock.
This adds a lot more options to scoring and an increased level of complexity.
Next, there is the Feed Fee option. Some of the cards include a Feed Fee by the card's Target Score. Feed Fees matching the livestock symbols on the bottom of the three Scoring Condition Cards are added to your Target Victory Points.
On this card +1/Cow adds 1 Target Victory Point per Cow at the bottom of each of the 3 scoring cards.
Feed Fee makes Agropolis more challenging by increasing your Target Victory Points and is optional. We recommend playing your first couple games without the Feed Fee and then adding it later to raise the bar.
Lastly, the Scoring Conditions for Agropolis are slightly more complex (fun!) than the original game. Part of this is due to the added options of the Livestock Blocks. The rest is from devious minds. We greatly enjoyed this added level of depth.
THOUGHTS - AGROPOLIS
As a standalone game, Agropolis rocks!
Agropolis is slightly more complex than Sprawlopolis thanks to the Livestock Blocks. The Feed Fee is a cool and balanced way to raise the victory bar. We played it 12 times and had a blast each time (that doesn't mean we won every game!)
Agropolis is a worthy follow-up to a classic game.
But...what if you could combine Agropolis and Sprawlopolis? You can with the 6 card Combo Pack! These cards include Blocks from both games and blended Scoring Conditions.
During setup, a card from each of the Combo Pack, Sprawlopolis and Agropolis are turned over to be the 3 Scoring Conditions. A random card from the Combo Pack starts the map. The remaining Combo cards are put aside. The remaining 17 Sprawlopolis and Agropolis cards are kept in two separate decks.
At the start of each turn, draw your hand using the top card of both stacks. Choose a card to play on the map. Discard the other card. Repeat until 17 cards have been played. All the other rules stay the same.
THOUGHTS - COMBO PACK
We were surprised by the Combo game.
Our first thought was that it was going to play the same but just with more cards for a bigger map. We were wrong!
The mechanic of drawing both a Sprawlopolis and a Agropolis card each turn and then having to pick one to play and discard the other meant the map is about the same size as a standalone game.
Also, in a standalone game all 15 Agropolis cards hit the table. In the Combo game, the ratio between the Sprawlopolis and Agropolis cards forming the map is completely dependent on your decisions and which Scoring Condition(s) you are trying to maximize.
The Scoring Conditions from the Combo Pack require the map to be a blend of cards from both the city and countryside.
The Combo Pack ramps up the importance of your early decisions. It takes the game to the next level of tension and fun.
THOUGHTS - FINAL
Agropolis and the Combo Pack are great additions to the realm of Sprawlopolis games and to my backpack.
They definitely fall into the "easy to learn but difficult to master" category. Don't expect to win every game.
The new mechanics in Agropolis increase the ability to adjust the game's winning conditions and add more scoring options. Both are very well done.
I love the Combo Pack's ability to combine the games and also ramp up the strategy. Expectations exceeded!