Last night I played what has been agreed to be the most fun game of Agricola we've had for a while.
When I first forayed into the world of board games in 2004, I would have put Puerto Rico as the game that has influenced me a lot towards the concept of 'board games are not just for kids anymore'. Nowadays Agricola is a game no one objectes to if it is bought up as a suggestion (in fact, we now define it as a light game despite the length it takes to play)
We opted to play the Through the Moors expansion with the occupation cards (Usually you play the expansion without the occupation cards, but we love them too mucy to leave them aside!).
It was 5 players, we started at 8pm and didn't finish until well past midnight. My hand of cards wasn't exactly stellar, but did contain a bricklayer (which heavily discounted my clay improvements, renovations and rooms) and the improvements weren't that great either, with only a Night Pasture (allows me and my opponents to store animals there*) and Slaughterhouse (one food whenever someone else converts animals to food) that proved valuable to my eventual strategy.
With the focus on building a clay house, I stockpiled wood to build fences and got my first pair of sheep breeding during the first harvest. During the second harvest, I renovated my house, double expanded (for a bargain of 6 clay and 4 reed) and grew my family. I thought I made a mistake when I didn't pick up a fireplace as part of the renovation and built the Night Pasture instead. Fortuneately this worked out well as my sheep population eventually outgrew the pasture capacity (and food slowly started to trickle in with a Slaughterhouse that I built later
In the end, I managed to win the game by a single point. At this point I had reached my animal capacity limit (at least one offspring couldn't be housed during breeding) and I had the optimal number of grain and vegatable. After looking over the board with one action point left, trying to locate addtional VPs, I had found my play. I took a free action to remove a tree tile from my board for 2 wood (which costs me -1 victory point for having an empty space in my farmyard), then built a stable (+1 victory point), thus doubling the capacity of one of the pastures, thus allowing my animals to safely breed (at least +1 victory point).
Agricola just feels to have a high replay value amongst our group. Add to the fact that we always come up with a stream of inappropriate innuendos and witty remarks, it is one of the few game will frequently come back to.
*Management does not accept responsibility for any hanky-panky that may arise due to animal activity (the rules say that the animals there are allowed to breed with my own and I get to keep any offsprings)