Review Fix chats with Felix Dreyfus, CEO, DIGIDICED, who discusses their new board game turned video game, â€œAgricola: All Creatures Big & Small,â€ detailing the development process, gameplay elements and what it was like working with creator Uwe Rosenberg again. Dreyfus also discusses the companyâ€™s plans for the future as well.
About Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small:
In Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small, the player is the owner of an old farmstead with a bit of land. However, a neighboring farmer happens to have a competitive streak — so all bets are off! Both players (human and CPU) must use their wits to acquire and manage both resources and livestock over eight rounds — while attempting to strategically deploy buildings — in a mad dash for farm and fortune.
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Review Fix: What was development like?
Felix Dreyfus: It was a lot of fun! Itâ€™s our third game with Uwe Rosenberg — after Le Havre: The Inland Port and Patchwork — and working together has yielded great results once again. Weâ€™re honored to be able to work on an important IP such as Agricola — and although some the development was challenging, weâ€™re very happy with the end product.
Review Fix: How difficult is it to take a game like this from idea to execution?
Dreyfus: There are pros and cons. When taking a board game as a base for an app, you first need to deal with the onscreen real estate; for example, you have a lot less room to display the information that can be easily scanned when viewing a board game. Figuring out how to translate what worked before into what will work on a tiny iPhone display (while keeping the flair of the original) is almost always the trickiest part of development. A lot of our players complained in previous games about wasted space on one device or another, so we made it a point to have a UI that scaled properly — regardless of the aspect ratio. The village, for example, is where we made the most changes. The player farms look just like those in the original, with the addition of animations.
The second challenge involved the expansions. There are two expansions with 27 new buildings, each of which can be placed on a farm. Almost all the buildings present new â€œrulesâ€ that can sometimes impact the core game. Expansions may add a lot of variety, but they can also bring programmers close to a mental breakdown! Weâ€™ve implemented the first expansion for release and will be adding the second one at a later time.
Review Fix: What’s the most enjoyable element of Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small?
Dreyfus: The breeding phase. Itâ€™s a very logical bit of the rulebook — and everyone gets it instantly: â€œIf you have at least two or more animals of the same type on your farm at the end of a round, you get an additional one.â€ Itâ€™s just very satisfying to get 4 animals â€œfreeâ€ at the end of a round â€¦ and see your score skyrocket — provided you have the room to place them on the farm, of course; if not, it becomes a rather sad part of the game (!)
Review Fix: Who do you think will enjoy the game the most?
Dreyfus: Weâ€™ve made sure to include features for as many different types of players as possible. The farming theme can appeal to a broad range of players after all. The easy AI is a pushover, and the hard AI provides a good challenge for those still getting the grasp of the finer parts of the game (and making little mistakes here and there). There’s casual play for any player wanting to play against friends without the added stress of winning or losing ranked points. Finally, for the more hardcore players, we have an asynchronous online mode (ranked) where players can compete to see whoâ€™s the Alpha Farmer. Reaching the top 10 in DIGIDICEDâ€™s previous games takes a lot of skill and perseverance; weâ€™re confident this will translate to Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small as well.
Review Fix: Bottom line, why should someone play Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small?
â€¨Dreyfus: First of all, itâ€™s based on an amazingly well done board game. Uwe Rosenberg is known for making challenging, fair and fun games — and this one is no exception. It won multiple awards and may be consider as one of the best two-player board games ever made. The digital game gives you the possibility to play without needing another player present and takes care of tedious tasks such as setting up the game or keeping track of the score. The ability to meet like-minded players in our small-but-growing community is an added bonus.
Review Fix: What are your goals for the game?
Dreyfus: We want the game to speak to players unfamiliar with Uweâ€™s work. One of our primary goals has always been to bring games we enjoy playing to a larger audience. Of course, we also hope that Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small will enable us to develop our next title!
Review Fix: What’s next for DIGIDICED?
Dreyfus: Weâ€™ve actually signed an incredible license recently. It will be the first game for more than two players, and the first one not authored by Uwe Rosenberg. Weâ€™re waiting until we have something more substantial to show both players and press before we reveal the details.
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