How To Play: Agricola – Setup, rule summary and strategy

Agricola is a remarkable strategic board game that immerses players in the challenge and triumph of building a prosperous farm. With its intricately designed mechanics, engaging gameplay, and vast strategic possibilities, Agricola offers countless hours of enjoyment for players of all experience levels. The game involves efficient resource management, optimal action selection, strategic card usage, expansion of the farm, and thoughtful feeding and family planning. By carefully balancing short-term gains with long-term investments, leveraging occupations and improvements, and adapting to changing circumstances, players can cultivate success in the game. With stunning artwork, high-quality components, and a competitive spirit, Agricola stands as a true gem in the realm of board games. Whether competing with friends or exploring solo, Agricola guarantees a fulfilling experience that tests strategic thinking, decision-making skills, and adaptability. Prepare to be captivated by the challenges and triumphs of agricultural life as you strive to build the most prosperous and efficient farm in Agricola.


Welcome to our comprehensive strategy guide for Agricola! In this guide, we will take you through the ins and outs of this captivating board game, providing you with a deep understanding of the game rules and the most effective strategies to secure victory. Agricola is a game of strategic farming and resource management, where players compete to build the most prosperous and efficient farm. From expanding your land and managing your resources to optimizing your actions and making smart card choices, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tactics needed to master the game.

We will begin by outlining the core game rules and mechanics, ensuring that you have a solid grasp of how the game is played. Once we have laid the foundation, we will dive into the most crucial aspects of winning strategies. You will discover the importance of efficient resource management, optimal action selection, strategic card and improvement utilization, farm expansion and upgrading, feeding and family planning, and much more.

Throughout this guide, we will provide you with practical tips, insightful techniques, and strategic advice that will give you a competitive edge at every stage of the game. Whether you are a novice farmer or an experienced player looking to refine your skills, this guide is here to help you maximize your chances of success in Agricola. So, let’s plow the fields, gather the crops, and embark on an exciting journey towards victory!

What’s in the box

  • 1 Game Board
  • 5 Farmyard Boards
  • 167 Occupation Cards
  • 165 Improvement Cards
  • 48 Major Improvement Tiles
  • 33 Begging Cards
  • 24 Bonus Cards
  • 30 Grain/Sow/Stable Tiles
  • 28 Animal Tokens
  • 16 Wood Tokens
  • 16 Clay Tokens
  • 6 Stone Tokens
  • 6 Reed Tokens
  • 54 Food Markers
  • 1 Starting Player Marker
  • 16 Round Scoring Tiles
  • 1 Scoring Pad
  • 1 Rulebook

How To Play Agricola: Rules Summary

1. Setup

  1. Place the game board in the center of the table.
  2. Give each player a farmyard board.
  3. Shuffle the occupation and improvement cards separately.
  4. Deal out occupation and improvement cards to each player.
  5. Place the resource tokens and other components within reach of all players.
  6. Determine the starting player.

2. Gameplay

  1. Each round consists of several phases, such as the action phase and the feeding phase.
  2. The action phase starts with the starting player selecting an action from the central pool.
  3. Actions include plowing fields, sowing crops, breeding animals, and many more.
  4. Players take turns selecting actions until everyone has chosen one.
  5. In the feeding phase, players must have enough food to feed their family.
  6. Food can be obtained from harvesting crops, breeding animals, and other sources.
  7. Failure to feed your family results in penalties.

3. Farm Expansion

  1. Players can expand their farm by adding rooms to their farmhouse.
  2. Expanding the farmhouse allows for a larger family and more efficient actions.
  3. Larger rooms and additional stables can be built to accommodate animals.
  4. Fields can be plowed and pastures can be fenced to increase the capacity for crops and livestock.
  5. Improving efficiency and capacity can lead to higher resource production.

4. Occupations and Improvements

  1. Players can acquire occupation and improvement cards.
  2. Occupations provide special abilities and benefits.
  3. Improvements enhance various aspects of the farm, from resource production to action efficiency.
  4. Strategically selecting and utilizing these cards can give players an advantage.
  5. Combined with farm expansion, these cards can create powerful synergies and strategies.

5. Scoring and Victory

  1. At the end of the game, players calculate their scores.
  2. Scores are based on various criteria, including the size and quality of the farm, animals owned, and achievements completed.
  3. The player with the highest score is declared the winner.
  4. Strategic decision-making, efficient resource management, and effective card usage contribute to achieving high scores and victory.

By following these rules and being strategic in their actions, players can immerse themselves in the world of Agricola and compete to build the most prosperous and efficient farm.

Best Agricola Strategies

Taking Control of Resources: Efficient Resource Management

Efficient resource management is key to success in Agricola. By prioritizing and optimizing your resource usage, you can ensure a productive farm and maximize your chances of victory. Here are some strategies to help you master resource management:

1. Balance Production and Consumption

  1. Focus on actions that generate resources, such as plowing fields, sowing crops, and breeding animals.
  2. Ensure you have enough food to feed your family each harvest, while also keeping an eye on future turns to avoid unnecessary stockpiling.
  3. Monitor your resource output and needs to strike a balance that keeps your farm running efficiently.

2. Prioritize High-Yield Actions

  1. Select actions that provide substantial resources, like building grain and vegetable fields, as well as animal pastures.
  2. Invest in improvements that boost your resource production, such as the Fireplace, which generates additional food each harvest.

3. Invest in Upgrades and Expansions

  1. Acquire expansions like additional rooms and stables to unlock more resource-generating options.
  2. Upgrade your fences to accommodate more livestock, increasing your potential for animal-based resources.

4. Plan for Winter and Scarcity

  1. Consider the potential scarcity of resources during winter, and plan ahead by stockpiling enough food during the warmer seasons.
  2. Use actions that conserve resources, such as renovating your home, which can reduce the food requirement for your family.

5. Adapt to Opponents’ Strategies

  1. Observe your opponents’ actions and adapt your resource management plan accordingly.
  2. Strategically block actions that would significantly disrupt your resource flow or disadvantage your opponents.

Implementing these efficient resource management strategies will give you a competitive edge, ensuring that your farm flourishes and you secure triumph in the world of Agricola.</p

Mastering Moves: Optimal Action Selection

Choosing the right actions at the right time is crucial for victory in Agricola. By strategically selecting actions, you can maximize your efficiency and progress towards a winning farm. Here are some strategies to help you optimize your action selection:

1. Prioritize Actions with Multiple Benefits

  1. Select actions that provide multiple benefits, such as plowing fields and sowing crops in the same turn, ensuring both resource generation and future harvest potential.
  2. Look for opportunities to combine actions that synergize well together, like building fences to prepare for animal breeding and the respective occupations that enhance these actions.

2. Balance Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

  1. Weigh the benefits of immediate gains versus long-term investments.
  2. Consider actions that set you up for future success, like expanding your farmhouse to accommodate more family members or upgrading animals for higher resource output.

3. Disrupt Opponents’ Plans

  1. Observe your opponents’ strategies and identify their key actions.
  2. Use blocking moves, like occupying a limited action space when someone relies on it.
  3. Strategically pick actions that hamper your opponents’ progress while advancing your own goals.

4. Leverage Occupation and Improvement Cards

  1. Utilize occupation and improvement cards to your advantage.
  2. Select actions that synergize with your card abilities, enhancing their effects and maximizing their potential.

5. Adapt to Changing Circumstances

  1. Be flexible in your action selection as the game progresses and the situation changes.
  2. Assess the availability and scarcity of actions, as well as your opponents’ choices, to adjust your strategy on the fly.

Implementing optimal action selection strategies will give you a competitive edge and pave the way to victory in the engaging world of Agricola.

Building Brilliance: Card and Improvement Strategies

The strategic utilization of cards and improvements in Agricola can greatly enhance your chances of securing victory. By selecting and implementing these powerful tools effectively, you can optimize your farm’s productivity and outpace your opponents. Here are some strategies to make the most of card and improvement strategies:

1. Plan Ahead and Synergize

  1. Consider the long-term effects of the cards and improvements you acquire.
  2. Look for cards that synergize well together or with your overall strategy, combining their benefits for maximum impact.
  3. Focus on cards that provide versatile abilities or enhance the usefulness of other cards and actions.

2. Specialize or Diversify

  1. Choose between specializing, focusing on a specific strategy, or diversifying, gathering a collection of cards with different utilities.
  2. Specializing allows for a more streamlined approach, enabling you to excel in a particular area, such as animal husbandry or grain production.
  3. Diversifying can provide flexibility and adaptability as it opens up various paths to victory.

3. Leverage Card Combos

  1. Identify card combinations that work synergistically.
  2. Look for combinations that enhance each other’s effects or create powerful chain reactions.
  3. Combine cards that facilitate resource production and efficient action usage to gain an edge in the game.

4. Adapt and Adjust

  1. Be flexible in your card selection to adapt to the available actions and strategies of your opponents.
  2. Consider the value of cards based on the current state of the game and make choices accordingly.

By strategizing how you utilize cards and improvements, you can harness their strength to optimize your farm’s productivity. With careful planning and thoughtful execution, your path to victory in Agricola will be paved with strategic brilliance.

Growing to Greatness: Farm Expansion and Upgrading

Expanding and upgrading your farm is a critical aspect of success in Agricola. By strategically expanding your farmhouse, fields, and livestock, and efficiently upgrading your resources, you can establish a thriving and efficient agricultural empire. Here are some strategies to help you make the most of farm expansion and upgrading:

1. Expand Your Farmstead

  1. Prioritize expanding your farmhouse to unlock more rooms.
  2. More rooms allow for a larger family, enabling you to take more advantageous actions each turn.
  3. Focus on well-timed room expansions to strike a balance between immediate benefits and long-term potential.

2. Upgrade Your Fields and Livestock

  1. Invest in upgrading your grain and vegetable fields for improved crop yields.
  2. Improve the size and quality of your pastures to accommodate more livestock and increase your resource output.
  3. Upgrade animals to higher-quality breeds that generate increased resources.

3. Balance Timing and Resource Investment

  1. Weigh the timing of expansions and upgrades against resource availability and future benefits.
  2. Strategically accumulate the necessary resources before investing in significant farm upgrades.
  3. Strike a balance between upgrading early to secure benefits for multiple rounds and maximizing immediate actions.

4. Utilize Occupations and Improvements

  1. Acquire occupation and improvement cards that offer advantages in farm expansion and upgrading.
  2. Select occupations and improvements that provide discounted or upgraded expansions, facilitating efficient growth.
  3. Combine the abilities of your acquired cards with farm expansion and upgrading strategies to supercharge your growth.

By implementing effective farm expansion and upgrading strategies, you will establish a flourishing farm ready to reap the rewards of efficient production and resource management in Agricola.

Sustaining Success: Feeding and Family Planning

Ensuring the well-being of your family and effectively managing the constant demand for food is paramount in Agricola. By strategically planning your family size, optimizing your food production, and efficiently managing food consumption, you can maintain stability and maximize your chances of victory. Here are some strategies for successful feeding and family planning:

1. Plan Family Growth

  1. Consider the balance between the benefits of larger family size and the increased food requirements.
  2. Strategically time family growth to coincide with increased food production and availability.
  3. Ration resources and actions to ensure a sustainable food supply for both existing and future family members.

2. Boost Food Production

  1. Focus on actions that generate food, such as cultivating crops, developing animal husbandry, and baking bread.
  2. Invest in improvements and occupations that bolster food production.
  3. Maximize the outputs of your fields and livestock to ensure an abundant food supply for your family.

3. Efficient Food Consumption

  1. Monitor the necessary food requirements for your family throughout each harvest.
  2. Plan food consumption strategically to avoid wasting excess food or falling short of meeting the requirements.
  3. Use actions and improvements that minimize food consumption, such as renovations and efficient occupation usage.

4. Prioritize Sources of Sustenance

  1. Assess the different sources of food available in the game and their benefits.
  2. Strategically invest in actions that provide long-term and reliable sources of sustenance.
  3. Maximize your resource allocation to secure necessary food without neglecting other crucial aspects of your farm.

By implementing effective feeding and family planning strategies, you can ensure the sustainable growth of your farm, keep your family well-fed, and pave the way to success in Agricola.

Conclusion: Cultivating Success in Agricola

Congratulations! You’ve now equipped yourself with a comprehensive understanding of the rules and strategies to thrive in the world of Agricola. By mastering the art of efficient resource management, optimal action selection, smart use of cards and improvements, farm expansion, and strategic feeding and family planning, you are ready to embark on an exciting journey of building the most prosperous and efficient farm.

Remember to carefully balance short-term gains with long-term investments, adapt your strategy to the ever-changing circumstances of the game, and strive for synergy between your choices. Balancing competition with social interaction and carefully observing your opponents will also give you an edge on the path to victory.

Whether you choose to focus on producing bountiful harvests, nurturing a variety of animals, or mastering a combination of strategies, creativity and adaptability are key. Implement strong startegies nkrooted in effective resource management, thoughtful action selection, and strategic card usage to cultivate success in Agricola.

Now it’s time to gather your farming tools, roll up your sleeves, and create the most thriving agricultural empire in Agricola. Best of luck, and may your fields be abundant with bountiful crops and your farm be filled with contented livestock!

Want to know what we think of Agricola? Read our detailed review of Agricola 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.