Topic of the Uweek: It's Rosenweek

@Marx and @MarkSP have already kicked off this discussion in another thread, but it’s time to flesh out this skeleton.

Who is Uwe? He’s not as uncapturable as Knizia nor as narrow as, say, a Lang or a Leacock. What makes an Uwe?

What is his magnum opus?

How many Uwe’s does a person need? If so, how do you choose? How many do you have and are they the right ones?

Are you in the church of Uwe?

  • Bohnanza (1997)

  • Mamma Mia! (1998)

  • Babel (2000)

  • Le Havre (2008)

  • Agricola (2009)

  • At the Gates of Loyang (2009)

  • Merkator (2010)

  • Ora et Labora (2011)

  • Glass Road (2013)

  • Caverna: The Cave Farmers (2013)

  • Patchwork (2014)

  • Fields of Arle (2014)

  • Hengist (2015)

  • Cottage Garden (2016)

  • A Feast for Odin (2016)

  • Nusfjord (2017)

  • Indian Summer (2017)

  • Reykholt (2018)

  • Spring Meadow (2018)

  • Nova Luna (2019)

  • Robin of Locksley (2019)

  • Hallertau (2020)

  • New York Zoo (2020)

  • Sagani (2020)

  • Fairy Trails (2020)

  • Atiwa (2022)

  • Orianeinburger Kanal (2023)

  • Planta Nubo (2023)

  • Le Havre: The Inland Port (2012)

  • Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small (2012)

  • Caverna: Cave vs Cave (2017)

  • Patchwork Express (2018)

Gosh, there’s more: Bargain Hunter (1998), Nottingham (2006), Second Chance (2019), Applejack (2022), Klunker (1999), Sole Mio! (2004), Limits (2001), Bali (2001), Yellowstone Park (2003).


I very much want to play Bohnanza (will wait for Dahlia),
Sagani instead of Nova Luna,
and Le Havre (which is some people’s favourite of its genre).

Oh, also A Feast for Odin, but that’s just curiosity at the very big box experience.

But so far I have only played Indian Summer on pc, which is cute but not amazing.


Of his games, I own Patchwork, which we have played a lot, and Bohnanza, which has yet to hit the table.

I have also played Feast for Odin on BGA, which was fun.

So, I think this means I am not in the church of Uwe.


I have two ways to understand Uwe:

First, the five categories.

  1. Sandbox: Open games with multiple paths, laid back and sprawling spaces to explore
    Arle, Odin, Caverna

  2. Stressbox: Similar in look and mechanics to the sandbox games, but instead you have to do everything, there isn’t enough time, and you’re always on fire.
    Agricola, Le Havre, (Ora et Labora, Hallertau?)

  3. Puzzlebox: Also similar in look and feel to the first two, but distilled down to tight and polished experiences that cover a lot of the ground in a much smaller space:
    Nusfjord, Glass Road (50% share), (Loyang?)

  4. Polyominoes and tiles: fitting pieces together on a board for some reason or other
    Patchwork, Indian Summer, Cottage Garden, New York Zoo (Reykholt?) (Sagani, Nova Luna?)

  5. Bohnanza: Bohnanza bohnanza bohnanza
    And Glass Road (50% share)

For someone who wants to “do Uwe” I generally recommend considering one from each category. And recommend Arle, Agricola, Nusfjord, Patchwork, and Bohnanza.

But I’ve started exploring some of the other titles that I hadn’t really gotten to before and I think there’s another paradigm to make sense of Uwe. More of a, here are his favorite mechanics, pick 2-6 and you’ve got an Uwe.

  • Player Board / Farm development
  • Worker Placement
  • Cardplay / Variable setup cards
  • Resource collection/conversion
  • Polyominoes
  • Engine / Income building
  • Player interaction, not sure how to specify. Bohnanza trading and Nusfjord shares and Glass Road cards (I’m the brave forest glassblower) all have a shared flavor but no label.
  • Stress vs Sprawl spectrum

And these games that are lumped together in the first paradigm can actually have a very different set of bullets in the second. For instance, Caverna and Agricola are very similar except for the stress vs sprawl spectrum. Odin and Le Havre are both more focused on resource collection and conversion than the worker placement / board development portion. In that way, Agricola + Odin or Caverna + Le Havre make complementary pairs that cover different mechanics and moods.

Most people call Odin his magnum opus, but I disagree. It lacks a lot of the key Uwe hooks and, as I said, is really a resource collection and conversion game, a de-stressed Le Havre with universally rectangular polyominoes. Arle, I’d say, is his masterwork and he might say so as well as it is set in his hometown and comes with an entire book of reference material on Arle. There’s no polyominoes in that one but it dabbles in most everything else and even sits in the middle of the stress/sandbox spectrum.

I’m with @MarkSP in that Agricola remains his best game. It gets less stressful with more play, as many games do, but somehow other games with tight economies don’t get saddled with the same reputation. For pete’s sake, Great Western Trail was stressful and meager (no money) until you learn to play properly, but it’s never called a game of misery. Even so, Agricola remains demanding in a way that gives it eternal legs but also in a way that means it isn’t right for “every night.” That’s basically the reason I recently picked up Caverna, sometimes I want Agricola but I’m not up for the effort and I just want to peacefully, with training wheels, build a little farm and go to bed happy.


Probably because your cowboys aren’t starving if you are doing poorly, causing you to lose points at the end of the game. You may not score well, but you aren’t being penalized. That’d be my guess.


Let’s get some data out of the way first!



Okay, okay, Rosenberg Data
Game Owned Played Multiplayer Played Solo
Agricola Yes Yes Yes
Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small Yes I think so! No
At the Gates of Loyang Yes No Yes
Caverna: The Cave Farmers Yes No Learning Game
Fields of Arle Yes No Yes
Glass Road Yes No Yes
Hallertau Yes No No
Indian Summer Yes No No
Le Havre Yes No Yes
Nusfjord Yes No Yes
Ora et Labora Yes No No
Spring Meadow Yes No No
TOTALS 12 2 6.5

I feel like, when I was getting into the hobby back some 10+ years ago, the different online communities seemed to think you had to have an opinion on both Rosenberg and Feld before you could be a “euro gamer”. Now, I realize that it’s nonsense to think that, but I certainly did back then.

When I was first trying to figure out what kinds of games I like, I was strongly recommended to check out Agricola by a friend of a friend of a brother-in-law – said friend said it was her absolute favorite game ever; hard to argue with praise like that. And Agricola is a great game; I just don’t like playing it.

Or, rather, maybe I should say… I would play it and have a great time with it multiplayer if that’s what someone wanted to do at my table (or at a table where I’m a guest), but it doesn’t happen. And I played Agricola solo once (well, it was a series of solo games I think? Isn’t the solo game a series of 3, maybe?) And I genuinely enjoyed it; but everything Agricola does well, I think I can find somewhere else… most likely in another Uwe sandbox Middle Ages game. As far as the things that I don’t necessarily care for are:

  1. The large deck of cards of which you will see very few, and, as the game unfolds, you will play even fewer. Give me an exciting deck of cards, yes! But let me use the cards. We’re talking about a thick stack of Chekhov’s Guns here.
  2. I don’t want to feed my family. I do enough of that even day. This is a tight, economic game and thematically “starving” my family and resorting to begging so that I could spend the time, instead, learning how to be a Basket Weaver because that’ll help make more victory points next year.

After I got Agricola but before I had enough knowledge, wisdom and/or insight to know how I really felt about it, I was already looking for “another” Rosenberg game. Ora et Labora ended up on my radar followed shortly by Glass Road. A few others followed those.

I convinced my partner and a couple of my friends who were also newly exploring board games to play Agricola with me once; most people were ho-hum afterwards, but my partner showed some amount of enthusiasm, though during the game she definitely struggled with the sandboxiness of the design. As a result, shortly thereafter, I picked up Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small because it seemed to me like a great 2-player game that does a lot of what I enjoyed about Agricola and not much clutter. We did play it once, but I certainly don’t remember any specifics.

A few years later, I still hadn’t tracked down copies of Ora et Labora or Glass Road, but Indian Summer came out and I remember thinking Cottage Garden looked pretty good, but Indian Summer had a better, in my opinion, color palette and seemed a bit more my style. I should have waited for Spring Meadow, if I had known it would be a thing, because I think it’s even more my style, though the colors aren’t as good. My partner does like polyomino style mobile games, but I’ve always been wary of introducing her to boardgames because I have better spatial/areal awareness than her and I fear she may get frustrated, as she is very competitive (this is also why I’ve rarely given AffO any thought, even though the bulk of my gaming is done solo these days).

Eventually, Le Havre popped up on my radar because it had just got another printing and it looked like a great multiplayer game that also had a highly touted solo mode. My partner got it for me for Christmas, 2018, and I played it, I think, right around that time, solo. I think the solo mode is okay but the multiplayer is, hopefully, where it shines, or it won’t earn a permanent spot in my collection.

At some point, I managed to find a copy of Caverna: The Cave Farmers locally secondhand; I’m still slightly mad that they decided it needed to be a 7-player game, have an enormous box, and weigh just slightly less than if it included real dwarves and real gold. It seemed to address a lot of my issues with Agricola, have a great setting that included fantasy and whimsy (rather than dirt farming and poverty). I’ve set out a few times to get it played solo; and I’ve gotten so close – I really just need to get it played.

Eventually I picked up Glass Road on a deal of the day/week special somewhere, and then found Spring Meadow, At the Gates of Loyang, and Nusfjord in various BGG auctions when COVID lockdowns flooded the secondary market with tons of games. And then I bought Ora et Labora when the new printing was released using some birthday money.

At the Gates of Loyang was/is talked about quite a bit in solo-gaming corners of the Internet, so I was eager to give that a try; which is also the case with Glass Road. Both of their solo modes are different than their multiplayer modes by some degree (though that, too, is very common with Rosenberg, isn’t it?). Both were good… not great.

I can think back to before 2017; before I had children and most of my gaming was done with 3 or 4 people at the table – I remember seeing Fields of Arle on the shelf at my FLGS and I remember thinking, “That box is huge for only being a 2-player game!” Eventually, my entire gaming hobby got flipped, turned upside down and suddenly I wasn’t even looking at the “2” in the “1-2 players” player count when I looked at Fields of Arle again. It may have been in response to someone here on these fora (Yashima, maybe?) that prompted me to take another look. I’m glad I did… as I immediately found a bucolic sandbox that does a lot of what I want out of a Rosenberg game but without being depressing or austere.

At some point, before I had played Fields of Arle, I had picked up a copy of Hallertau secondhand on that first wave of “I bought it, but it’s not the new hotness anymore” and I was very excited to try it, but I decided to try FoA first and haven’t ever actually gotten back around to it.

All-in-all, I like serene, bucolic themes/settings and I tend to like the Rosenberg “you do a thing and then you can do the thing better and then you can do the other thing better, but if you want to do the first thing better, you have to do another thing, but that can be done better if you do the second thing first” – essentially, you have a cart, a horse, and you can put the cart before the horse, or the horse before the cart, and both are valid, and at the end, the cart and the horse both turn into some number of victory points.

I look forward to, at some point, playing Don’t Sort Your Beans Bohnanza; a game that I’ve never actually heard anyone talk bad about… but… I’ve never been enthusiastic about the concept. I’m sure it’s great.

Also looking forward to Oranienburger Kanal (a.k.a. Kanal in it’s next release) which got a ton of talk on BGG in the last few months… but… it’s hard to tell if it’s because it’s a good game, or if a bunch of people were just feeling smug that they got to play a limited-release Rosenberg game.

I would play New York Zoo if it appeared on the table in front of me… but… that… that would be spooky.


Pre-Agricola Uwe is much more fun. Bohnanza alone is enough. Babel and Mamma Mia! are fun pre-Agricola Rosenbergs too.

Post-Agricola got some good stuff too. Nusfjord remains my personal fave with the combo building gameplay with the buildings and elders. Le Havre is one of the best resource management I’ve played (certainly better than old Gric :smirk: )

Feast for Odin is meh. Definitely feel aligned with Praul when he likes AFFO than Caverna and prefers Caverna over Agricola. But Le Havre is still the sandbox of choice.

Glass Road and At the Gates of Loyang are weird fun and I won’t say no to them. The latter is a good way of exploring the farming mechanism from Agricola in isolation. I just don’t have the shelf space and mind space for them.

Hallertau and Reykholt were awful and disappointing.

Still very keen on playing Ora et Labora and Fields of Arle with the expansion


@Pillbox, Agricola is Pass-the-Parcel, 18xx teeth. The teeth hurt when you are learning but are required for its greatness :slight_smile:

Edit: I’m shocked, shocked also by @lalunaverde’s comments below. All these 18xx players who want Age of Steam rather than Steam RtR because of the sharp edges and threat of catastrophe, who a week ago were saying that a game isn’t meaningful unless you can lose, now pivoting to saying they want to play with training wheels.

I’ll let it rest.


I also really like Agricola All Creatures. It does away with the feed-your-family bit, which I’m not really into. And it does the combo-building that I really like from Nusfjord

The polyomino titles are decent, except for Patchwork. Patchwork the best

I haven’t played Caverna Cave vs Cave

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The reason I haven’t played AFFOdin yet is, people either say it’s “fine” or that it should be number 1 on BGG, and when I can’t tell which way I’ll feel about it I’m not spending a hundred pounds to find out. (It’s £80 now, but still).


I think I’ve only played Agricola and AFFO and … they are OK. Fine. I have not felt any need to seek out more.

That’s all fair, and you’re not wrong. But there’s a nuance missing; I’ll reply again when I have more time…

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I’m definitely in the Church of Uwe. If anyone wants a record of my actual opinions?

Agricola (10 tabletop, 10 bga, maybe 20 playdek app): This is the shizz. It was maybe 5 games in that I discovered the “zen of Agricola” and got past the existential angst. People keep taking the wood? Build a fireplace. Just cook the animals. Plow a field. Every space is valuable and there’s always room to be contrarian. There’s so much food if you know where to look. That’s when I fell in love with it. The boa constrictor of actions and food leaves no room to lazily try the same strategy over and over, and I love finding a different way up the mountain each game.

Le Havre: (maybe 5 games?) I suspect this is as good as Agricola but haven’t yet gotten to the zen. There are so many resources, and upgrade chains, that you have to grok and learning the buildings is key. But I love the design, the way everyone is “buying” action spaces and paying to use what other people have claimed. And I love the way your points are your wealth. I want this one.

Odin: (2 plays, solo) Did not like this. Want to play again, both with actual opponents and now that I know what it is. I was expecting laid back Agricola but you don’t build anything, there’s some acceleration of engine and income but it’s just a wildly different beast. It throws in everything but I’m worried it waters it down at the same time. More plays, we’ll see. Haven’t done Norwegians.

Arle: (1 online, 2 solo) LOVE this one. It is more laid back than Agricola and lets you specialize and try different strategies (as opposed to finding different paths to a similar end). Does a lot of new stuff. Still has that sense of building and acceleration. Food is easy but not too easy. Real masterpiece here.

Hallertau (0 plays): Heard that if you love Agricola you’ll love Hallertau. I love Agricola. We’ll see.

Patchwork (who knows): Another masterpiece. I always win in real life and my wife wins on the app, must be different mental spaces. So good and gets better over time.

Indian Summer (3 plays): Maybe the worst one I’ve played. Just didn’t feel grabbed by any of the hooks.

Cottage Garden (5 plays): Better than Indian Summer. I’d be willing to play this one. But… if I have 2, it’s Patchwork. If I have 4, it’s Blokus or Barenpark. If I have 3 or 5, it’s New York Zoo or Tiny Towns. This one is fine but just not good enough.

Nusfjord (3 tabletop, 4 solo): OMG another one. This is so good. It’s… the perfect game? Everything is sanded and balanced to a razor’s edge. But in that perfection it’s a bit sterile. No broken combos, no wonky edges. I’d call this a very cerebral pleasure and it’s a game where you silently smile and nod to yourself as the blossom unfolds.

Glass Road (2 solo): Didn’t like the solo. It’s fine. Still crazy excited for the 2p and 3+ versions, which are also meaningfully different from each other. The other side of the Nusfjord coin, this game also shrinks down the farm/fishing building experience to a svelte 40-60 minutes but this one is all chaos. You play your fishmonger, someone else is forced to reveal theirs. Maybe their plans are also ruined, maybe they just got an extra action? This is the social angle with a lot of conversation and groans, but a lot less control.

Caverna (1.5 plays): Years have gone by. YEARS. And I do still want “laid back Agricola.” Not to replace Agricola, but to appease those who aren’t up for it or to get all the satisfaction without the work. Arle kind of did it but YEARS and I still want this as a “side b.” I’m getting it.

Bohnanza (5 tabletop): People talked about this for 25 years. I finally tried it. Loved it. Those who didn’t love it were the Myers Briggs J’s who couldn’t handle the game constantly disrupting their plans.

New York Zoo (2 solo): I get the criticisms. If Mountain Goats or any Knizia has an excellent ratio of effort/complexity in to interest/pleasure out, NYZ has an inconvenient amount of setup and teach for what you get. But what you get is pretty good. TBD on if this one sticks around.

ACBAS, Inland Port: App plays. Felt these lacked what made the originals good.

Loyang and OraBora stand out as unknowns that I just haven’t looked into. Caverna and Le Havre are ones I tried to do without, saying that I’d covered the Uwe space but as time goes on I still want their unique flavor. Odin is most like to go as “redundant” and not favored compared to its overlaps.

(Edit: And I’m completely blind to his new space. Sagani, Nova Luna, Fairy Trails… I have no idea what these games are. One day.)


I’ve not played much Uwe. None of the stuff he’s really known for, as it just hasn’t sparked my interest and I have other games to fill that niche (notably Lowlands, that he consulted on). Solidly in the category of “I wouldn’t say no to a game, but I’m not seeking them out”.

I’ve played a fair few games of Patchwork, but haven’t felt the urge to own it (except in app form). I think I prefer Nova Luna, which I do own. Its puzzle just appeals to me a bit more than polyominoes.

That said, I also own New York Zoo (that I got for free, thanks to an ordering mishap), though I’ve yet to play it. I keep meaning to, but the rules are a bit fiddly, so it often gets passed over.

And this thread reminded me of Robin of Locksley, which I was interested in when it came out, but not £35 interested. Just looked and found it on sale for a much more interesting £18 (and I was able to kill multiple birds with one stone by ordering some gifts for people) so I grabbed it.


We like Nova Luna, haven’t played much else of his. It was Bohnanza that made me realise how much we hate trading games.

Need to play more Bargain Hunter.

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I believe I have only played three of his games, and I have enjoyed them all: Bohnanaza, A Feast For Odin, New York Zoo. Not enough to make me want to buy them, but I would repeat. All of them had that something that is sort of genius touch. But I must admit none of his games themes really appeal that much to me, and I am discovering that I am more and more a theme b*tch.

Perhaps the one I would be less likely to play is AFFO, mainly because length and eye strain (you end up with polyomino indigestion by the end of it). I have been years after playing Le Havre or Nusfjord, but either no one wants to play it (LH) or no one has a copy locally (Nusfjord). If anything, the Nusfjord theme is the one I find more appealing of his lot.


Returning to this…

18xx has sharp elbows, and I recently talked about the episode of Bluey with Pass-the-parcel…

First, let’s look at Pass-the-parcel; in the episode of Bluey, the way that pass-the-parcel was structured was that there was one small toy wrapped up in the bundle for each participant; all of them seemingly of equal excitement and appeal. When Lucky’s Dad (Pat) got involved, he remembered how it was played when he was young, and there was just one thing in the middle, and it was great; great because it was a great toy? Or because it was the thing that only one person got? It’s hard to say (I’m not, despite my best efforts, Lucky’s Dad).

But how does that apply to gaming? Well, I’d say there as to be stakes. When it comes to Agricola, I believe there are stakes, in places. But they often present as push-your-luck mechanisms. Be it the card drafting or waiting that one extra turn before collecting the wood, there are some stakes involved certainly. But the tight economy and the “feed your workers” aspect… I don’t think it applies. Feeding your workers vs taking the begging cards doesn’t feel like that – it’s not exciting and it didn’t (in my experience) ever feel like an interesting decision. Simply put, I would either take the begging card per food I lacked, or I wouldn’t – and whether I stockpiled enough food for Harvest phase or not is based on a bunch of math I did in my head as to what was worth more… the lose of 3 points per begging card, or whatever I was doing instead of collecting said food.

Additionally, sometimes I did have a plan to collect enough food, but it was foiled by another player – now, maybe that’s also push-your-luck, because maybe I could have done that part of my plan sooner… but in reality, it just felt like a bit of bad luck and a rather oddly inflexible game mechanism.

Are there big stakes in Agricola? Hmm… not in the games I played; there’s some, but not “big”, per se.

18xx has sharp elbows. This was actually quite a thought provoking comment to add regarding my previously stated opinion about Agricola. I don’t actually like the backstabbery that occurs in 18xx games – but I like having to account for it. I like knowing that if I leave an opening for a company to be dumped on me… well, it’s probably going to get dumped on me… because that’s how the game is played. And, not often, but maybe one of the times… I do get that company dumped on me, but that was okay, because I just go out-of-pocket for the Diesel and make it all back and more (this would probably not be an 1830-like, since it may rely on more lucrative routes and/or double-/triple- jumps or something).

Does Agricola have sharp elbows? No. It has a weird quasi-friendly kind-of-fighting-for-elbow-space-at-the-table-but-there’s-kind-of-enough-room-for-everyone-and-any-amount-of-throwing-elbows-will-actually-just-distracted-me-and-whomever-I’m-bumping-up-against-and-then-everyone-else-will-get-an-advantage. And, yeah, there are times that you absolutely needed that one spot and if you don’t get it, your entire year is wasted… well, tough; but they didn’t do “to you” – it just happened, most likely.

If we were going to retheme begging cards into 18xx terms, then perhaps poverty cards would have no intrinsic loss of points. However, your opponents and possibly the game itself could give you food through one or more actions, flipping over those cards to reveal negative points, and also earning them some bonus victory points.

So, yes, I want sharp elbows in games, but not because I want to be jabbed in my ribs… but because it leads to better decision-space texture. And I just don’t feel that with Rosenberg games at all, and the “brutal” portions of Agricola are just math problems to solve.

I guess one day I should try Agricola

Definitely an Uwe fan but no keyboard right now. Nusfjord, Bohnanza, Cottage Garden. More later if I feel the need to explain :sweat_smile: which I always do I guess.


We have:

Bohnanza, which is great.

Würfel Bohnanza, which we play much more, and enjoy very much. I’d recommend this to anyone.

Agricola, which is brilliant, but I think I’m going to try to sell it.

Nusfjord, which just works, and is lovely.

Cottage Garden, which is nice enough, but I wouldn’t miss it if it wasn’t here.

Fields of Arle, which luckily I really enjoy solo, because nobody ever wants to play it with me. I used to have the expansion, but greatly prefer the game without it, so moved it on.

Mamma Mia, which we played once years ago, and quite liked, but have never got round to again. We should!

Oh - nearly forgot Patchwork. Other people like this more than I do. It’s ok though; I don’t not enjoy it.

Edited to say I forgot we did have Caverna: Cave vs Cave, but we found it rather dull, so we sold it.

omg - edited again to say we also used to have Agricola All Creatures Big and Small and Agricola: Family Edition, but we didn’t really like them either. (Surely that must be everything…)

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