Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why I Like - Agricola X-Deck

• First off it's an Agricola expansion

• Next it's a FREE Acgricola expansion

• After over 100 games of Agricola face to face this really shakes things up.

• Did I mention it's an Agricola expansion...and it's free?

OK so seriously, there are lots of reasons I love this little deck of cards. I'd say that since printing it up it gets played 85-90% of the time Agricola comes out. It's a simple little addition that when played according to the rules adds flavor to the game without mixing things up too drastically.

What is the X Deck you ask? It simply put is the aliens having arrived and taken over the first stone quarry that comes out in Stage 2. Every time you take stone from this spot you pull an X Deck card and good, bad or ugly you have to do what the card demands. Alright I know in my disclaimer I said I'd not include how the game is played but it's my review so I figured I would with this one. Leave me alone.

The brilliance behind the X Deck is the fact that every card in the deck relates to something from Sci-Fi lore that we are all familiar with. Take the invasion of the Space Woozles which in the picture appear to be small fuzzy balls with eyes. As they are constantly breeding each harvest and needing to be fed you can feel the frustration Kirk had in the original Star Trek Episode "The Trouble With Tribbles." Several Star Wars reference appear including being Frozen in Carbonite and having a family member go off to fight for the Rebels, who is pictured with a couple of very familiar looking droids I might add. Need a free family growth? Try pulling the "Earth Girls Are Easy" card. Or maybe you want some bonus points? Try following around a little extra terrestrial creature who is dropping candy bits all over the board. The aliens are not all fun and games though and all at the table should beware of the terror of the Tripods, they just down right suck! Crop circles, and controlling the transporter for all the other players, from transmogrifiers to replicators, the power of alien poop to building your own home made space rocket the X Deck has all this and more.

I suppose for purist this kind of randomness is unacceptable in gaming. Alright so if that's your model of game play cool I can dig that. Though if you are like me and are willing to play a game, have some fun and take some chances which may help you win the game or may lose the game outwardly or even have little impact on the game simply because it's "all in the cards" then you need to do yourself a favor and get the X Deck.

Now you are asking yourself "Did he say free?" Yes I did. In the files section here on the geek there is a file called the X Deck player aid. Rschumucker made it and included small (typical euro sized) card scans of every card in the deck! BRILLIANT! Another reason I love the X deck. Honestly I'm not a fan of small cards in general. However let's face it when spread out with 4 or 5 players Agricola is a big game and takes up a bit of room. Last thing you need is another deck of full sized cards sitting there taking up room! So in comes the player aid cards. I even asked Rschumucker to do backs for the cards and he gladly did! So what I did was print the cards out on card stock, then print the backs, laminated them and cut them out. This made for a very sturdy deck of cards that sits nicely next to the board and as mentioned does not take up too much room either. The perfect combination for a silly little expansion that adds a ton of flavor to the game.

Bottom line this takes 2 sheets of crd stock and a little time. I'd suggest if you have the slightest interest in the X Deck after having read this little review then head over the files section and get to it. I say it's worth your while.

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