Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Farmer Olaf


Marcin Pietkiewicz

Self Published

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

I discovered Farmer Olaf at the news show at SPIEL 2018. Marcin Pietkiewicz, the author of the game, walked around the hall, the small micro card game Farmer Olaf attached to his belt. The gamebox seemed to be open and indeed: Marcin was always ready to play the game. All necessary cards were arranged in shelves inside the open box including the draw and the discard pile. Only the hand cards had to be hold in the hand. Well, that's probably why they are called hand cards...I eyed the game up for a while until Marcin noticed my interest and we went over to his presenting table.

Here I learnt that the game Marcin had attached to his belt was a special version, but still the original game was designed to hold all cards in the box. Marcin explained that he was fed up loosing all cards on the table at a small blast of air while he was camping. And he was also looking for a game that the children could play in the rear seats while dad or mum is driving. The result is a micro card game that can be taken along and be played everywhere.

But what is the game about? Farmer Olaf is a simple little farming game. Each turn a player draws a new card, adds it to the personal supply and checks if she or he has a combination to start a farming action. 16 different actions are possible, from sowing the field until cleaning a boar pen. This is quite confusing for new players, but after a while you will recognize that the actions are quite logical. And the small reference cards help you finding available actions. So, for example you need a boar and a boar pen to feed the boar with three food cards. This will end up in loosing the boar and the food, but receiving a ham and a dirty boar pen.

What is dirty, mustn't remain dirty. That's why you can use a worker in your next turn to clean the boar pen, ending with a clean boar pen again and manure. Then the manure, together with a tractor or two workers, can again be used for sowing a harvested field with the result that the field is sown again and can be harvested in a later turn.

You see that there is a permanent giving and receiving in the game, and often you will need more cards to play an action. That's the time for trading with your fellow players. You are free to do so, you only have to find a player who is interested in your offer.

Of course, all the farming is not the end in itself. It's the players' aim to collect as many green cards as possible. Those green cards are the final products from a farming action like the ham from the example or milk, wool and quinoa. The game ends in the round when the last card from the draw pile has been taken.

Farmer Olaf is not a complex game. Much depends on the cards you draw and from the willingness to trade of your fellow players. Especially at the beginning of a game, there will be the one or other round in which you are doing nothing but drawing a new card. If a player is unfamiliar with the game, this will end up in a lot of downtime, because she or he will look after possible actions in the reference cards, whenever she or he will get a new card. But the learning curve is deep, because -as said- the requirements for the actions are quite logical.

So the game speed will increase rapidely and then the game develops into a nice micro game for now and then. Don't expect a deep strategy game, the game is more a children game and can be easily learnt by five-year-olds and older. And for the one or other city child, the farming actions might be even educational. Together with the nice idea of the portable gamebox, Farmer Olaf is definetely worth to take on to the next journey.

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany