Does this small app make a big splash in search of a 2 player Agricola?
Agricola: All creatures big and small is the 2 player only version of the popular farming worker placement game Agricola and for the longest time was the only way to play anything resembling Agricola on Android devices. Thankfully earlier this year the app version of Agricola was released onto the Google Play Store giving us all the ability to play against our friends online as well as the AI and so you may be right in asking whether the 2 player variant of Agricola still has a place on our devices and who is it really for?
If you have never played an Agricola game before, they are all worker placement games which sees you attempting to build up your farm in order to maximise victory points at the end of the game. Players do this by using one of their limited worker tokens to choose an action, be it gaining resources, animals or upgrading fields and buildings. While the full game of Agricola provides you with a myriad of options for growth and avenues for victory, Agricola: All creatures slims down this experience and distils it to one focus, breeding and storing animals of various types. Your sole aim is to finish the game with the most number and widest variety of the 4 animals in the game, all nicely contained within the fences, stables and buildings of your farm, the player with the best farm wins.
Compared to Agricola, this 2 player version is an absolute breeze but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Yes you lose out on a lot of the engine building joy you get from Agricola, by reducing the crops and actions you can take you simplify the decision making massively. However what this makes is an Agricola feeling within a game that I’m actually happy to bring out to play with beginners and players unfamiliar with the world of Agricola, something that I can’t say about the full games app.
Agricola: All Creatures uses the art style that is consistent throughout all of the Agricola games, it’s nothing ground breaking in terms of design but it fits the theme well and makes everything in the game clear. Each action square features basic iconography however also includes the ability to click on a space and see a full description of how the action works. Controls are handled using a drag and drop method and is forgiving and easy to use as all of the tokens are large. While there are some minor annoyances, such as the time it takes to move your animals around the fields, there’s nothing which is overly problematic about the presentation and everything looks and works absolutely fine.
When it comes to modes, the Agricola: All Creatures app has all the hallmarks and modes that you’d expect from the developer Digidiced; with online multiplayer available through casual or ranked matches as well as offline via pass and play included. In addition to this there is the ability to play against up to 3 levels of AI all of which are too easy once you have played a few games and know what you’re doing. Too often I find myself dominating the AI, who make some strange unoptimised choices when laying out their farms. While they are a great resource for gaining experience in the game, you will soon find yourself out growing them and wish for a more challenging foe.
The game has the option to purchase the additional expansion More Buildings Big and Small, this adds some additional buildings and options available to really jump start your farm. I’m always grateful when expansions are included, even as optional purchases and so it’s good to see that this one made it to the app.
Overall, Agricola: All Creatures is a nice and light taste of a much larger euro game experience. It’s stripped down and streamlined all the the benefit of making it a far more accessible game than it’s larger counterpart. It is easy to learn and simple to master against the AI. With that being said, if you have experience within the world of Agricola or are more than a light gamer, I think you simply get more from playing a 2 player version of Agricola than you get from playing this 2 player variant. However, for people who don’t like the stresses of tight decision making or those of you who are new to the hobby or to Agricola games as a whole then Agricola: All Creatures makes a good addition to the collection. Play it, master it and then move on to it’s larger cousin where you can start that with at least some footing.