Stronghold Games Fields of Green Board Game
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- Expand your farm
- 2 to 4 players, ages 10 and up
- Plays in 40 to 90 minutes
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CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
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Fields of green takes place in the second half of the 20th century. Players take the role of farm owners trying to expand their property and business. By adding fields, livestock and facilities, they build an economic engine that will bring them closer to victory. Fields of green, inspired by among the stars, is played over four rounds (years) during which players draft cards and add them to their ever-expanding farms. At the end of each year comes the harvest season when they must water their fields, feed their livestock, and pay maintenance costs in order to receive valuable resources that will allow them to further expand in the next year. Through various means, player eventually convert their wealth to victory points, and the player who gathers the most by the end of the fourth year wins.
Legal DisclaimerFields of Green 2-4 players, ages 10+, 40-90 minutes By Stronghold Games
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|Item Dimensions||8.9 x 2.8 x 12.4 in||11.6 x 2.8 x 11.6 in||12 x 8.75 x 2.75 in||12.25 x 12.25 x 2.75 in||3.25 x 12.25 x 12.25 in||2 x 15 x 11 in|
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As a disclaimer, I understand this is basically a re-theme of this designer's earlier game called Among The Stars..which as you can surmise from the title is about building a space station. I have never played that game, so I am unable to compare them and will speak solely on FOG.
Players take turns drafting cards that they use to build up their farm. Cards come in four flavors: fields, livestock, constructions, and buildings. Fields give you food, which in turn can feed the livestock that brings the money to expand your farm. Constructions tend to help out your fields and livestock in different ways. Buildings don't really help your farm, but they produce end game victory points based on certain conditions. In this way, you generally start out building fields and livestock, then get constructions to help your production...finally, turning to buildings to help maximize points based on what you have on your farm. Of course, this is just a generalization. If you wish to build some buildings early and work your farm around that feel free, but you won't get anywhere without generating money from food, which comes from your fields!
When building your farm you just don't place tiles willy-nilly. You must consider their placement carefully. At the end of every round there is a harvest phase. During harvest, fields require water and must be close to your water towers(within 2 spaces). You can't go crazy building fields because when it comes time to harvest you won't likely have the water they need. Likewise, you have to manage your food production in order to feed your livestock. Silos only hold four food, so as your farm progresses you will have to account for the extra food storage you will need. Furthermore, certain tiles benefit from being placed in special ways. For example, turkeys benefit most if they are further away from other livestock. I guess nobody wants to be around those poor, filthy, obnoxious, turkeys! Yet other livestock types will thrive with other like types...poultry livestock being near other poultry livestock, etc... This is especially true once you start adding constructions to the mix. To top it off, you can earn equipment tiles which can be placed on cards to give them extra benefits. These benefits could be ongoing, such as providing extra space in your silos for additional food or extended range for your water towers. They can be one use tiles that give you a special chance to break the rules. An example is the tile that lets you discard it in order to avoid paying the water/food cost to harvest a certain card. Or, they could contribute to end of game scoring conditions. When you gain equipment tiles you are allowed to pick 3 and choose 1, so it isn't just totally random.
I should also mention I have only played this game as a 2 player game. While most card drafting games fall flat with 2 players, FOG implemented a neat mechanism that really makes the drafting work. Each player selects 6 building types from the four available. The 12 cards selected between the two players are shuffled and 6 are turned face up. After each player takes a turn drafting a card, two more are turned up until all 12 have been taken. That signals the end of a round.
No matter the player count, at the end of each round is a harvest phase where the players collect whatever their cards provide, but they must be able to supply them the water or food they need. Otherwise the card is turned over, providing no resources. You can, however, revive the card by burning one of your chosen cards and paying a gold in a later round. Also, some cards are not harvested at the end of each round. These cards provide immediate effects when played. They might give you some food or money immediately instead of making you wait to harvest. This makes for some great decisions during the game as you weigh the benefits of taking a card that grants you some much needed resources right then and there vs. taking a card that will provide you with things throughout the game.
There are a couple warnings I should give regarding this game, though they will not be applicable to all. First, you will need a decent amount of table space for this game. Once your farm starts expanding it can get pretty big. Not a problem if you have a large gaming table, but those who are gaming on smaller coffee tables should be aware. Second, the game can lead to some downtime between turns if you are playing someone who is prone to overthinking things. There can be a lot of thinking and planning ahead regarding how your going to use a card and how you're going to place it to produce in the harvest phase.
Overall we've enjoyed this game a lot. There are tough decisions to make and you get that tension of not being able to do everything you need to do in order to satisfy the requirements of your farm. It's not as punishing as something like Agricola for those that have played that, but you will definitely find yourself having to really think about what you're doing during your turn and how you're going to get everything produced during the harvest phase.
In sum, FOG is a very enjoyable game that really makes you feel like you're building a farm. The theme and mechanics go together wonderfully. It's simple enough to teach pretty quickly, but I wouldn't choose it as the first game you introduce to someone who isn't into these types of games. It isn't far off from that though. At the same time there is plenty here for those that are more into these types of modern board games.
In Fields of Green, players are now drafting cards to build farms in an effort to earn the most victory points, through careful management of water and food to expand their farms with fields, livestock, and buildings. The heart of the game is this drafting mechanism familiar from games like 7 Wonders, but unlike 7 Wonders, in Fields of Green players choose from four different types of cards to make up their initial hand for drafting, which gives more control and information. Fields of Green also adds a very important and meaningful spatial element to the placement of the cards that are drafted. There is an engine-building mechanic, which relies on a basic economy of resources: water, food, and victory points, and creates a real sense of development as you build up your farm, especially when you find ways to make these elements work together in synergy. Can you manage your resources carefully, maximize the cards available, and build the most successful farm?
Fields of Green is a welcome follow-up to Among the Stars. It takes what was good about its predecessor, and by re-skinning the original game with a new theme that is tied even more closely and sensibly to the game mechanics, it enhances the game by making it even easier to learn and giving it a completely fresh feel. The elements of drafting and engine building come together very solidly, and offer interesting decisions, while not requiring a big investment of time in learning complex rules. Fields of Green is very accessible and easily explained, which is in part due to it having logical engine building mechanic that is tied closely to the theme. Yet within the context of a relatively straight-forward rule-set, there’s lots of interesting and tough decisions to be made, including choices about which card to keep, what to activate, and what equipment to use. The result is a very pleasant game that is challenging, and yet not confrontational. There’s also a variety of different strategies and paths to victory, with replayability ensured by the fact that different cards and combinations will be available from game to game. The fact that Fields of Green works so well as a two player game is especially a boon to many.
There are a number of farming themed games on the market, but Fields of Green feels very fresh and different because it gives a modern take on this theme, while also applying it in a unique way to a drafting game. The drafting mechanic is a tried and true mechanic, but what sets it apart in this game is the fact that it is combined with the need to carefully place cards in an optimal spatial arrangement, and also build up a solid engine and economy, by optimizing the different abilities of your cards, and the resources of the game.
Fields of Green is a very solid drafting game that feels fresh and fun, and I’m very grateful to have come across it and to own a copy! Highly recommended! - BoardGameGeek reviewer EndersGame