In addition to playing LOTR, we got to play Caverna with Garion and friends. They’d all played before but since we knew Agricola we didn’t feel very handicapped. Garion mentioned that the game consisted of farming and adventuring, and that if one of the players managed to dominate one domain unchallenged, that player would usually win.
Not sure it that’s true, but Conlaen was our early game adventurer, with the other players adventuring more mid-game, except for Frosty who stayed home and worked on her farm, and ended up a good 20 points ahead of everyone else.
It’s a nice game. It’s lighter than Agricola – your food troubles are not so terribly depressing and you get to use the engine you create for a longer and more fruitful period of time. In a lot of engine games, it’s often frustrating that the game ends just as you’ve cranked your massive machine into motion and used it to frantically grab points left and right (I’m looking at you, Race for the Galaxy).
I thought I’d like the game a bit easier, but I didn’t, really. After my food problems were off the table and my engine was working, half of the game was still left! Which was a bit boring, it turned the second half of the game in a “This will get me five points, this will get me six points, so I’ll do that six-point thing” slog. That’s fun for the frantic last round, but not for mid-game.