Squatter: how to simplify farming for the family to enjoy

So I’m back at it again at the dry humour that is guaranteed to go over your head thanks to my sub-par joke telling skills, also more media blogs and whatnot for the forth year running, and this sessions major topic is Gaming Culture.

The topic that I am tackling today is on the (in their words) ‘classic Australian board game’ known simply as Squatter and I have to say they’ve done a pretty good job of making an exiting game about an occupation that is about 40% hard work and 60% watching the crops gsquatter board.jpgrow and observing the livestock to make sure they remain healthy till they’re shipped off to become produce. Created by Bob Lloyd the game plays like the Settlers of Catan with a touch of Monopoly, with tiles on the board for your livestock in the middle and the monopoly style layout around the edges of the board. The idea is to go around the board actively upgrading your paddocks until they become irrigated (the blue squares) as well as fully stocked with sheep, first to do so wins the game.

The rules are pretty straight forwards with most of thembeing explained on the actually board through prompts for actions written on them instead of house tiles (like in Monopoly) as well as it’s own variations on the chance and community chest cards (here called tucker bag and wool sale) and in these comes the first unique aspect of the game cards.jpgwith the wool sale cards having a role in making the money for you based of special rules that apply to the cards and their respective tiles. They also have replacements for the stations and utilities in the form of prized stud rams which have the added benefit of increased income.  While looking at the way in which money has to be made does seem complicated at first once the basics are understood it becomes as simple as breathing.
The game can be played with 2-6 players although if you really wanted to you could play with one, if you can not find a friend but it can be quite the bore like that. I played this game around four or so weeks ago with my brother and sister when the power was out at home and we all decided to whip it out again after letting the dust collect on it for a few years and I have to say that it was enjoyable to play once again. You can defiantly see how the game is enjoyable however, much like farming, once you reach a certain point in the game it begins to get boring. Not saying that you won’t get a lot of fun out of the game, it sheep.jpgis still pretty enjoyable, it’s just that after a while it becomes pretty similar to the way in which farming has short periods of activity followed by long periods of inactivity. The tucker bag cards as well as the tiles do make it interesting but games can take such a long time (especially with 6 players) and as a result it does tend to become repetitive.

All in all I reckon this game is quite enjoyable until a certain point but usually by that time someone is close to finishing so i guess the mechanics of the game play out well in that regards. While it is made for 6 players that’s usually what leads to the game becoming a little boring due to the length of the game, so I’d recommend a healthy 3 to 5 player game to really get a good feel for the game as well as the most enjoyment possible.


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