Game Buzz: Agility

Time for a game about dog competitions called

image by BGG user bpovis
image by BGG user bpovis

Agility is a new game from designer Brent Povis that is being published by Two Lanterns Games.  The game ran a successful Kickstarter campaign last October, and is now being delivered to backers.  It’s a two-player only game that takes around 30-45 minutes to play.  Brent Povis’ only other design is 2012’s Morels, one of my favorite two-player games.

Agility comes with 39 training cards, 15 agility dog cards, 15 dog meeples, 8 flex tokens, 7 exchange tokens, 4 rush tokens, 15 red trust treats, 15 green speed treats, 15 black strength treats, 15 yellow agility treats, 15 blue jump treats, an action board, 13 action tokens, 6 open ground tiles, 8 double-sided courses, 20 -1 markers, 15 +1 markers, 11 clear markers, 6 feature markers, a counting marker, a tiebreak marker, and two player aids.  Each player is dealt three training cards.  In the display, deal out three training cards, 5 agility dog cards, and 6 randomly selected courses.  The action board is set up with one action per space (numbered 0-9), and this can be done randomly or using a recommended set up (even with random, you need to ensure that some specific ones are available).

image by BGG user bpovis (prototype components)
image by BGG user bpovis (prototype components)

On your turn, you follow a particular sequence.  First, you PLAY A TRAINING CARD.  The card you play will determine what you can do next.  Each card gives you a choice between two type of training treats to take, so take the indicated quantity of the type you choose.  Next, move the counting marker on the action rondel the number of spaces indicated by the large number on the card.  You will take the action you landed on.  The possible actions are:

  • Sweep: Collect the other type of treats you did not choose to take.
  • Flex: Take a Flex token, which can be used to take the action in front of or behind the counting marker instead of the one you landed on.  Don’t actually move the marker, just take a different action.
  • Exchange: Take an Exchange token, which can be used to trade all of one type of treats in your supply for the same number of a different type of treat from the main supply.
  • Break: Lose 1-2 treats, then discard the same number of cards from your hand to the bottom of the deck.  You then refill your hand from the top of the deck.
  • Boost: Draw a training card and place it on the discard pile.  You can then either take the action of the number shown on the card (Flex tokens do not affect this), OR you can take one treat matching one of the colors on the card.
  • Distraction: Add a +1 marker to an obstacle with an opponent’s dog.  They now must pay on extra treat when trying to clear it.
  • Hurdle, Tunnel, A-Frame, or Weave Poles: If one of your dogs is on one of these obstacles when you land on the action, you can clear the obstacle for free.
  • Rush: Place a Rush marker on an obstacle with an opponent’s dog.  This obstacle must be cleared before your opponent can clear any other obstacles or adopt another dog.
  • Intimidation: If you and your opponent have a three card hand, your opponent receives a Flex token and trashes one card from their hand.  They may not refill – they are now playing with two cards.  If you have a two card hand, you may use Intimidation to refill back up to three at the end of your turn.  If your opponent has a two card hand, he just gets a Flex token when you use this.
  • Inspiration: One of each treat is placed on this action at the beginning of the game.  If you land here, you take one.  If they’re all gone, tough luck.
  • Slip: Add an open ground tile between two obstacles on an opponent’s course.

After taking your action, you may ADOPT ONE DOG.  To do this, pay the indicated treat cost and place the dog next to one of the courses.  You may not claim a course that has already been taken by another dog, yours or your opponent’s.  Then, refill the dog display.

Next, you can MOVE UP TO THREE DOGS.  You can’t have more than three dogs anyway, but here, you can move them all if you want/can.  You can clear any non-feature obstacle by paying the cost listed.  This can only be done once per dog per turn.  Or, you can clear any feature obstacle by paying the cost (if any), and this can be done as many times as you want/can.

The first player to complete all three of his courses wins the game.  And that’s Agility.

There are some pretty clever ideas in this game.  It’s a very cool implementation of the rondel mechanism, with card play and collection critical to getting what you need.  You have to think about two things when selecting a card to play – what treats you can get, as well as which action you will land on.  It seems like it will be a nice mental exercise for you.  The theme is interesting, though the implementation of the theme seems a little odd – are they in a competition, and if so, why are we still training them as they go?  But I also thought the theme of picking mushrooms was pretty odd, and I love Morels.  So I’m willing to give the game the benefit of the doubt.  I think it looks great, and I really hope to give it a try someday.  Thanks for reading!

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