“To eat figs off the tree in the very early morning, when they have been barely touched by the sun, is one of the exquisite pleasures of the Mediterranean.”
― Elizabeth David
When I started in this hobby a couple of years ago, I had some gaming under my belt already. I’d been down the RPG path. I’d played a little Magic on the hallway floors of my highschool, but board games? Like… Risk? Clue?
I was yet to be indoctrinated in the ways of Euro boardgaming when I strolled into Snakes & Lattes in Toronto for the first time. This was a new world. When my wife and I sat down with her brother from British Columbia, we played Carcassonne, Tsuro, and then we asked the local guru what else we should play. He recommended Finca. We played it, and I bought it the same day.
Finca is still in my collection, but I don’t play it as often as I used to. Having said that, it’ll never leave my collection. It was my first Euro game, and as such – it’s earned an esteemed place on my shelf. It’s a gateway game, and I use it to play with new people or family who don’t normally play games. It illustrates the essence of the Euro game. Lots of colourful wooden fruit, a rondel, a mediterranean island village…
Finca is an economic/farming game of set collection from Hans im Glück. It plays 2-4 players, does it in about 45 minutes to an hour, and is recommended for ages 8 and up. The setting is a beautiful and fictional little island where farmers are producing heaps of fruits and veggies on their “fincas” (a spanish term for a plot of agricultural land).
They’ve got brilliant green olives, pink grapes, blue figs… lots of eye candy – and other stuff that will make you hungry while you play. You’ll run around picking up handfuls of this produce.
You’ll do this by moving your players around a rondel… played here by a circular windmill that will get randomly seeded with produce chits every game. Movement depends on how many pieces occupy that spot when you start. If there’s 3 pieces in your spot, and you want to move someone from it, you move him 3 spaces. Now there are 2 pieces in that spot, and if the next person wants to move from there, they will move 2 spaces. If you land on a lemon, and you’re alone in that spot, you grab a lemon from the supply. If you land on a lemon, and there are three other players there, you grab four lemons from the supply! It’s a nifty little puzzle that will have you constantly trying to pre-determine where people might end up.
Round and round you go, picking up fruit and nuts! Delicious. Now what?
Now you sell. The island has all sorts of demand tokens placed around it, asking for produce of certain types and in certain quantities. If you have the right produce, and a donkey (which you get by circling around the Rondel far enough), you can deliver your produce and save the world!
It’s a charming game that looks great on the table, plays fairly quickly, and keeps people happy. It’s not a terribly challenging game. After a few plays, you kind of get the idea of what needs to be done… and you do it. There’s no Mensa award coming down the pipe for Finca.
That’s okay though – because this is a family game. Not only is it a family game, it’s a highly regarded family game, a 2009 Spiel des Jahres nominee. It’s an easy, breezy, beautiful way to spend an hour, and if you’re looking for a light Euro to add to your collection, I can’t think of a reason for it not to be Finca.