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Review

Agricola All Creatures Big and Small – Review

Agricola All Creatures Big and Small (AACBAS) is the condensed sister to Agricola from Uwe Rosenberg it sits exactly two, plays in around 30 mins and recommended from ages 13 but my eldest was playing from around 10/11.

AACBAS is a nice worker placement game that sees you trying to become the best animal breeder by expanding your land, gathering resources, acquiring animals, building enclosures and buildings. Animals equal points and points equal prizes or at least the person with the most points wins.
Game setup is simple and fast there is a centre board that is shared and that’s where each players workers can be moved to so they can complete an action; gathering animals / resources etc, this centre board gets populated with resources each round. Each player also receives their workers in the for of three discs and their player board (farm).
Each round sees both players in turn play their workers if your worker gathers animal you must be able to house them in a building or an enclosure else they will run away. Enclosures are built using fences, each player starts with 9 and more can be gained by placing workers on the relevant part of the game board, there are then a couple options on the game board for building the fences that you can choose from based on your current resources. Buildings can house different amounts of animals, each building / enclosure can only contain one type of animal. Animals can be moved to different buildings or enclosures, buildings and fences used to make enclosures can not be moved once placed.
One each player has played their three workers they are returned to the player and board gets resources replenished / added to ready for the next round. Any player that has at least two of the same animal will be blessed with a baby of that animal at the end of each round as well, if they cannot be housed they will run away.
While gathering animals and resources you can trade resources for buildings to add to your farm and some buildings can then be upgraded adding further benefits be it more space or worth more victory points. You can also buy feeding troughs to put in your farm increasing the number of animals that can be kept in the building or enclosure the feeding troughs is in

Pros:
– Smaller box game
– Specifically designed for two
– Cute design / Animeeples
– There is an app implementation available
Cons:
– Scoring can catch new players out (if you have less than three of an animal it’s negative points)
– Expansions are out of print.

Overall thoughts:
This is a great example of a two-player specific worker placement game, I sometimes feel games that sit 2-5 don’t necessarily works as well with two and it can really take away from the game and for that reason I really like having a few two player specifics in the library. The mechanics with the visuals and tactile nature of the tokens / Animeeples make this an incredibly appealing game to introduce newer/ non-gamers into the fold. It’s always a pleasure to get this to the table and I would love to see a reprint of the expansions.

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