For his birthday this year, I bought Eric a new game. We didn't have the space to bring our entire collection along to Kenya with us, but have been for the most part contented with Settlers, Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, and an assortment of card games. So when it came time to think of birthday presents for Eric, my mind immediately jumped to games, in the style of Spiel des Jardins (i.e. German board games that are strategy based), playable by groups but also just 2 people, if possible. Some friends recommended Agricola, so I decided to take the plunge and give it a try.
So, the general idea of the game is that each player has his own farm and tries to acquire points by expanding/upgrading his house, having children (more workers!), building fences to house livestock, plowing fields, and sowing grain/veggies. Sounds simple enough, I suppose. But during your turn you only get a limited number of actions. Do I take the wood so I can build another room onto my house? Do I plow a field? Do I get food to feed my family so they don't starve? And each action can only be taken by one player each round, so if my opponent plows a field before me, I'm out of luck until the next round.

We've really enjoyed figuring the game out so far with our fellow McCropders, and have come to the realization that we have no idea how to win this game. What strategy to use? Who knows. And then there's the fact that so far we have only played the "dummy" or family version. The standard version introduces decks of cards that increase in complexity depending on what deck you use. I have a feeling that we could be playing 5 yrs from now and still be confused. :) I mean, challenged and engaged. But it's a fun process. So far, I think I'd recommend it (although I think it would be easier to learn if you played with someone who already knew how to play).