03 September 2018
Not all farms are created equal
Get Off My Land! is a mixture of area control and farming economy with some take-that mechanics, in humorous packaging but with quite meaty gameplay. Players are farmers all vying for the same piece of the prosperous land on which to grow crops or animals, and ultimately to earn the most money.
There is a strange dynamic in the game between the desire to build the most lucrative farm and attacking land belonging to your opponents with the take-that-style mechanics. It is almost as if the game itself cannot decide which type of experience it really wants to be. However, taken separately, both parts of the game are quite fun.
Farm building has a lot of layers to it: crops and animals have to be matured to earn money; there are subtle, yet significant, differences between income and harvesting that can change the economy of the farm; and seasons affect the viability of certain crops.
There are small, yet thematically fun rules. For example, if there is no fencing between your livestock and crops, those cows will walk right into the field and eat it all up, leaving the farmer to re-plant and, hopefully, properly wall the area next time.
As the crops and animals mature only at certain times during the year, it is important to sync into a certain rhythm of planting, harvesting and maturing in order to profit from your land to the fullest. This may not be so easy, especially since your neighbours are always coming onto your property, trying to steal your crops and land – and, no, shaking a fist in their direction won’t make them go away.
Cards in Get Off My Land! are extremely multi-purposeful and can be used for building fences around your land, performing special actions and attacking or defending. As they are used for almost everything in the game, cards can quickly become a precious commodity. Sometimes, instead of wasting two cards to defend your farm, it is easier to take the damage and impart sweet revenge on the next turn using a single card.
Even though thematically both concepts work quite well, in practice players will either want to primarily build or to attack. Some of our best games were where all players agreed to be non-confrontational and the game was won or lost based on how well the players worked the economy, rather than on the lucky draw of the cards.
On the table Get Off My Land! looks like a vibrant mixture between Takenoko and Carcassonne. The board has a different layout based on the number of players, there is a good variety of excellent-quality components, including a good-looking, although not completely necessary, market tile. And you have to love the artwork and humour on the cards! For something that has clearly been so well-thought out and designed, down to the meeples’ adorable overalls, it is strange to notice (or rather, fail to notice) one graphical hiccup in the forest tiles. There are supposed to be two different types – something you would never realise because they barely look any different, yet their positioning is quite important when building the board.
Get Off My Land! plants a bit more than it can harvest. It is undeniably a good game, with some fun, quirky mechanics that give it a lot of unique character. However, it keeps shifting from being economy-based to becoming a take-that game, which ultimately does not benefit either style. With fewer random elements, it could have been an amazing economy game. Whereas, with less complexity and a shorter play time, it could have been an excellent take-that game. With both of those conflicting styles, it is good – sometimes very good – but not great.
Even though Get Off My Land! is confused about the type of game it wants to be, it has many great ideas, heaps of personality and engaging – if not completely flawless – central gameplay.
Designer: Gordon Oscar, Liam Smith, Stephanie Kwok
Artist: Gordon Oscar
Time: 30-60 minutes
This review originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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