Card game with a local twist

Adib Noor

Whenever the word ‘game’ is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind for me is growing up playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the SEGA Mega Drive, late nights during Ramadhan spending hours to complete Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation and days playing Counter-Strike at cyber cafes during school break.

Who would’ve thought a simple game about farming would be the one that opened the gates for me to the world of turn-based card games?

And that game is Agro.

Agro is the second card game developed and designed by Zaed Hani and produced by Comet Games.

It is a quick strategy game, where players compete to harvest the most crops. It is suitable for all ages and can be played by two to six players.

‘Agro’ comes with a set of 101 cards and a set of instructions on how to play the game. PHOTO: COMET GAMES

“I wanted to make a simple game that is easy to understand, fun and competitive, and one that is easy to follow,” Zaed said.

“What’s simpler than the concept of farming? You plant a crop, take care of it, then harvest when it’s ready.”

The concept for Agro is a total opposite to his previous card game, Letters to Brooketon, which is based loosely on the White Rajah of Sarawak in 1889, who took over Pekan Muara and re-named it as Brooketon.

“It’s a fun game but might intimidate those who are just getting into card games,” shared Zaed.

“This time, Agro hits close to home. The cards portray crops grown in Brunei and the value of points are nearest to the value of the actual crops,” he said.

Rice, cucumber, durian and rambutan are some of the local crops featured in the game.

Agro puts players in the role of farmers competing against each other, which to me, is simple to understand.

“Players will be farming on the same land, but you can only harvest crops if the same ones are placed or planted next to others and according to how many they are in a row as indicated on the crop card,” explained Zaed. “Action cards can make or break your chance to win.”

And just like that, I played my first Agro game, in a session which was supposed to be a simple step-by-step tutorial which escalated into a couple of heated rounds, mostly with me trying to redeem myself and struggling to win a game.

I was truly zoned in, planning my next move, carefully planting my crops to maximise my points. Who would’ve thought this card game would transport me to a giant farm. I was going back and forth against the creator of the game, which gave me more reason to try and win.

There is just something about playing a game that is tangible instead of looking at a screen, and seeing everyone in front of you scheming their next move, frantically placing their cards and shuffling the deck hoping for a miracle.

“I wanted to share my love of card games, how it brings everyone together to have a wonderful time and that’s the true magic of games like these,” said Zaed.

Zaed shared that with the pandemic, it was a perfect time to reignite the love of card-based games.

“Families can re-connect and play together. It is one of the main reasons why I made Agro. It’s something everyone can play and is competitive and fun enough that keeps you on your toes. A bit of competition can bring out something that you rarely get to see in someone.”

“Agro comes with a set of 101 cards and a set of instructions on how to play the game. There is a short tutorial on our Instagram account so there’s no reason for anyone not to pick the game up and start playing right out of the box,” he added.

I was hooked and grab a set for myself and, while still in the losing mode, I won’t say no to a game of Agro.