How To Play: Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Master 'How To Play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small' by understanding the strategic value of buildings, efficiently managing workers and actions, and maximizing enclosure space for optimal animal husbandry. Proactive planning, adaptability, and shrewd decision-making will guide you to victory.

Welcome to my comprehensive guide on ‘How To Play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small’ (ACBAS). Delving into this charming two-player strategy game, I’ll provide not only an outline of the basic game rules, apt for beginners, but I’ll also layer in a plethora of strategies tailored to skew the odds of victory in your favor. After countless play sessions with friends, I’ve distilled the essence of the game into crystal-clear strategies that can escalate any player from novice to adept. So, let’s start with an ‘Overview’ and shepherd you toward mastering the art of ACBAS.


What’s in the box

  • 1 Game Board
  • 4 Farmyard Boards
  • 144 Wooden Animal Pieces:
    • 36 Sheep
    • 36 Cows
    • 36 Pigs
    • 36 Horses
  • 16 Wooden Extension Pieces
  • 36 Wooden Fences
  • 1 Starting Player Token
  • 32 Wooden Stall and Stable Tiles
  • 22 Building Tiles
  • 9 Round Tiles
  • 13 Action Cards
  • 2 Farm Expansion Boards

How To Play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small: Rules Summary

Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small is a fiercely competitive two-player game where you’re running a farm and attempting to raise the most prosperous livestock. Although it’s a smaller and more focused version of the original Agricola game, it can be just as challenging and engaging. To ensure a clear understanding, let’s break down the fundamental rules into easy-to-digest sections.


  1. Assemble the game board between the two players.
  2. Sort all wooden animal tokens – sheep, pigs, cows, and horses – into separate supply piles.
  3. Place building tiles and resource tokens within reach to create a general supply.
  4. Each player takes a farmyard board, and starting fences and stalls depending on the first player’s advantage.


  1. The game progresses over eight rounds, each consisting of several phases starting with the replenishment of resources on action spaces.
  2. Players alternate taking one worker to claim an action space and execute its effect – acquiring resources, animals, or building fences and stalls.
  3. Once workers are placed, players can freely build or make purchases for their farm, attending closely to possible combo effects of buildings.
  4. Expand carefully – managing space for the sudden growth of your livestock is a meticulous task.


  1. The game ends after eight rounds; victory points are then tallied based on the number and variety of animals, completed constructions, and filled pasture tiles.
  2. Having pairs of animals allows them to breed, increasing potential victory points, but beware of penalties for empty spaces on your board.
  3. Strategically evaluate which actions can net the greatest point gain as the end of the game nears to adjust your final moves.

Special Rules & Conditions

  1. If animals overflow in a breeding phase, without sufficient space, you must release the excess back to their respective supply piles; efficiently managing your farm space becomes crucial.
  2. Certain buildings offer unique advantages or conditions that can dramatically change your farm’s productivity and scoring potential – understanding their specificities is vital for tailoring your strategy.
  3. Keep a keen eye on both your farmyard and your opponent’s; blocking critical actions impairs their progress and can give you a competitive edge.

Best Agricola All Creatures Big And Small Strategies

A Master Builder’s Guide to Victory

Understanding the strategic value of different buildings in ‘How To Play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small’ is crucial. Buildings are the backbone of your farm’s infrastructure, offering valuable bonuses and options. Each has its unique role and timing for construction is key.

Optimizing Resource Conversion

  1. Focus first on buildings that convert basic resources into points, like the Workshop. These should be strategically built to maximize their potential throughout the game.

  2. Use a ‘cheap-to-scoresheet’ mindset; evaluate if the resources spent on a building translate effectively to end-game points, which could be the pivot between win or loss.

Synergizing with Your Strategy

  1. Align buildings with your overall strategy. If you’re rearing many sheep, constructing the Sheepdog Statue not only boosts your capacity but also can give you an edge over competitors.

  2. Understand timing—construct buildings that will benefit you for multiple rounds rather than a one-time advantage.

Adapting to Opponents’ Moves

  1. Monitor opponents to predict their next moves and build accordingly, blocking their strategy while bolstering yours can swing scores substantially.

  2. Balance aggressive building to block opponents with wise resource management to maintain the growth of your own farm.

Mastering the Art of Worker Placement

Efficient management of workers and action spaces is the linchpin of dominating ‘How To Play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small’. It’s about timing, prioritization, and sometimes, a little bit of cunning. I remember this one intense game night; each choice was pivotal. Lesley was closing in on a massive sheep collection, while I was attempting a more balanced strategy. It was anyone’s game. Revolving around these memories, let me dive into strategies:

Maximizing First Player Advantage

  1. Be strategic about when you seize the first player position to gain control over critical actions in upcoming turns.
  2. Balance the need for expansion with the benefits of being first, timing this switch with crucial build or breed phases.

Action Space Timing

  1. Monitor board positions closely to predict when key actions will be available.
  2. Plan your moves to prevent opponents from blocking your essential actions, especially in constructing buildings or acquiring new animals.

Prioritization of Tasks

  1. Adapt your game plan each round. For example, if building stalls is key, target the appropriate resources first.
  2. Be versatile; often a secondary choice can set you up for better plays in future turns.

Passive Blocking

  1. Use your workers to block spaces you know opponents are targeting, as an indirect strategy to throw them off balance.
  2. Sometimes, preventing an opponent’s move is as beneficial as completing one of your own objectives.

Intertwine these strategies like the patchwork fields of a vibrant farmstead, and the preservation of your dominance in Agricola: ACBAS will resonate like the hearty bellow of a well-bred bull!

Mastering the Art of Animal Husbandry in Agricola: ACBAS

Maintaining a clever balance in your livestock could very well be the key to your victory in ‘How To Play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small’. As you start amassing various animals, remember, it’s all about maximizing the use of your enclosures and stalls. Let’s dive into the methods of ensuring your animal population blossoms efficiently!

Strategic Enclosure Allocation

  1. Early in the game, prioritize securing diverse animal types to fill all enclosure types and gain bonuses.

  2. Expand judiciously, balancing between too many empty enclosures and limited space for animal breeding.

  3. Anticipate your future animal needs and prepare for space expansion accordingly.

Timing Your Breeding

  1. Time your moves to gather pairs that breed at round’s end, multiplying your livestock strategically.

  2. With each new breed obtained, immediately plan for their accommodation and eventual propagation.

Optimal Use of Special Buildings

  1. Integrate special buildings that complement your strategy to boost your farm’s efficiency.

  2. Adapt your farm layout to take advantage of these buildings’ unique effects on animal husbandry.

Mastering the Farmyard: Your Path to Victory

And there you have it! From the verdant pastures of worker placement to the thriving stables of animal husbandry, ‘How To Play Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small’ wraps around strategies that invite repeating games. As you apply these tactics, remember the irreplaceable value of adaptability. No two games are the same; hence, your keen sense of judgment—the culmination of practice and observation—is your true ally on the farmhouse battleground.

Focus on a flexible strategy that balances building acquisition, precise worker placement, optimizing your expansion spaces, and developing a dynamic breeding program. With this guide as your blueprint and your evolving insights as your hammer and nails, may your farmstead not just endure but flourish, heralding your mastery over this charmingly complex game world. Embrace each match as a fresh challenge, adapt swiftly, manage your resources wisely, and watch your tiny empire of wool and hoof prosper!

Now that the seeds of knowledge have been sown, it’s time to head to the fields. Gather your friends, set up your farm, and let the best farmer win. Good luck, happy farming, and may your pastures always be green!

Want to know what we think of Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small? Read our detailed review of Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small here

Jamie in his proper element: With all of his board games
Jamie Hopkins

With years of dice-rolling, card-flipping, and strategic planning under my belt, I've transformed my passion into expertise. I thrive on dissecting the mechanics and social dynamics of board games, sharing insights from countless game nights with friends. I dive deep into gameplay mechanics, while emphasizing the social joys of gaming. While I appreciate themes and visuals, it's the strategy and camaraderie that truly capture my heart.