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Caverna: The Cave Farmers» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Solo Game Openings rss

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Kyle Mechler
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I've played several games with 3-6 players so far, but have just started the foray into solo games. I was wondering what people had arrived at as the strongest openings in solo play.

You can't expand your family until round 4, at the earliest, so the first 8 worker placements are more limited (heh) and include the first harvest and the mini-harvest. After these, there are harvests after every round.

For reference, the spaces available over the first four rounds are:

Logging: 3(1) Wood -> accumulating and then / or Level 1 Expedition
Wood gathering: 1 Wood -> accumulating
Excavation: 1 Stone -> accumulating and / or Cavern/Cavern twin tile or Cavern/Tunnel twin tile
Ore mining: 2(1) Ore -> accumulating +2 additional Ore for each Ore Mine
Sustenance: 1 Food -> accumulating +1 Grain and / or Field/Meadow twin tile
Ruby mining: 1 Ruby -> accumulating +1 additional Ruby if you own at least 1 Ruby Mine
Housework: 1 Dog and / or Furnish a Cavern
Slash-and-burn: Field/Meadow twin tile and / or Sow up to 2 Vegetables and up to two Grain
Blacksmithing: Forge a weapon for this unarmed dwarf of strength 1-8 (1 Ore per strength) and then / or Level 3 Expedition
Available Round 2: Sheep farming: 1 Small Pasture for 1 Wood, 1 Large Pasture for 2 Wood, 1 Stable for 1 Stone and then / or 1 Sheep -> accumulating
Available Round 3: Ore mine construction: 1 Deep Tunnel/Ore Mine twin tile on two adjacent Tunnel tiles and then / or Level 2 Expedition
HARVEST
Available Round 4: Wish for children: Either Family growth or Furnish a Dwelling
FEED 1 FOOD PER DWARF

What have you discovered to be the most powerful openings?

Is it possible to have your Round 4 actions be Housework to Furnish a cavern with Couple's Dwelling and then Wish for children for family growth without having to take begging tokens? I can find two ways that come very close, but it seems to be tuned to specifically keep this from happening. If there's a way to do it, what are the six actions that lead up to that? Mind you, the six actions have to result in having 8 wood, 6 stone, 7 food and 1 open cavern. 8 wood and 6 stone should reflect the building power, so Carpenter and Stone carver reduce those values accordingly.
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Grant Holzhauer
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Can't say it's the best option, as I'm new to Agricola/Caverna, but I tend to go to both stone spaces. This let's me on the next turn build an ore mine, and then gather ore (+2 for the mine), and then on the third turn, I build a very strong weapon (level 8). That seems to be the quickest way to jump into expeditions and get high-level rewards.
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Bastian Winkelhaus
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Interesting thought Grant, though the Ore mine construction is only available from round 3 on, so you cant use it in round 2. Still might have to try this out one time since i am sure that an early, good weapon is important.

So far i had the most success though with forging a 3-weapon on turn 2 and then taking the additional +1 benefit twice. That gives me a 7-weapon to use on turn 4.
Other actions on turns 1 and 3 are taking 1 stone + excavating 2 caves and then building the Stone Carver and the Carpenter. That way my first family growth is only in round 5 but it leads to a score of 155 points, so i am not complaining.

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Ægir Æxx
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In solo games there is only one stone space.
 
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Grant Holzhauer
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ChillusMaximus wrote:
In solo games there is only one stone space.


I can't be that crazy. The leftmost spaces at the top row both provide stone.
 
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Grant Holzhauer
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zlorfik wrote:
Interesting thought Grant, though the Ore mine construction is only available from round 3 on, so you cant use it in round 2. Still might have to try this out one time since i am sure that an early, good weapon is important.


You're right. I must take longer than I said. I've only played twice.

Also, my wife beat me two nights ago by going a peaceful (weapon-free) route.
 
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Ægir Æxx
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dojogrant wrote:
ChillusMaximus wrote:
In solo games there is only one stone space.


I can't be that crazy. The leftmost spaces at the top row both provide stone.

You are supose to cover up four offering spaces. You can see it on the back cover of the rules.
 
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Grant Holzhauer
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ChillusMaximus wrote:
dojogrant wrote:
ChillusMaximus wrote:
In solo games there is only one stone space.


I can't be that crazy. The leftmost spaces at the top row both provide stone.

You are supose to cover up four offering spaces. You can see it on the back cover of the rules.


Wow, I need to reread the rules. Disregard all things I've said.
 
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Cyril Sneer
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you can watch my walkthrou (its in german - but you can watch the moves) I get my 3rd dwarf in rd.4 - but ended up only with 88 points ....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bu0bQJzgT0
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Ægir Æxx
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A rule I got wrong was you must choose different things from the loot list. You cannot e.g. take 3x Grain or 3x stables. So my score of 100 points is moot. I'll have to solo it again.
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Alex Matusiak
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You know what my days used to be like? I just tested. Nobody murdered me. Or put me in a potato. Or fed me to birds. I had a pretty good life. And then you showed up. You dangerous, mute lunatic. So you know what? You win. Just go. Don't come back.
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I'm in the middle of another solo game right now. I took largely the same starting route as my previous game where I totaled 102 points (tho it should have been 104 had I not forgotten to put baby donkeys in mines) but this time I'm aiming for a Guest Room instead of a food one, and focusing my early adventuring to fill the food gap.

I think allowing some of the goods spaces to accumulate early on is a good idea, so I largely leave those alone early on. My opening 3 rounds were

Round 1
Start Player (+1 food, +2 ore)
Blacksmithing (lvl 2 weapon) -> (+1 Wheat, +1 Wood, +1 Weapon)

Round 2
Sustenance (+2 food, +1 Wheat)
Blacksmithing (+1 Vegetable, +2 Ore, +1 Weapon)

Round 3
Blacksmithing (lvl 2 weapon) -> (+1 Wheat, +1 Wood, +1 Weapon)
Slash and Burn

This ends the first three rounds with some food in the ground and on reserve, enough to sustain early growth especially eating pigs as I expand outside primarily before in-cave.

For what its worth, in round 4 I did Excavation (double cavern) then Logging - with that first weapon now at level 7 I used the single Logging adventure to build the Guest Room and in round 5 I had plenty of resources to build a dwelling and Wished for Children, then used my lvl 8 weapon to furnish a Beer Parlor (among other things).

I hope I'm remembering this correctly ...

EDIT End of the first solo I mentioned. Will do a better post-game on this current one later tonight if I get a chance to finish.
 
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Ægir Æxx
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apartment42 wrote:

Round 1
Start Player (+1 food, +2 ore)


This space is supose to be covered up in solo mode. You cannot select it. Check out the back cover of the rules.
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Kyle Mechler
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Well, at least we're all learning the rules for the solo game.

I'm watching Cyril's video now and he looks to be doing it correctly.

I really want to try to set up a strong building-based strategy because the only one that I've seen so far that worked smoothly (providing enough food) involved sowing grain early, which feels fine, but there has to be another way.

Edit: Here's a way to get a R4 dwarf with all the food. There's an option of starting the forest development or going for weapons, too. This particular build gives Stone carver and Carpenter.

Skip to the summary at the bottom if you don't want to check me for rules violations, but I appreciate someone double-checking my work.

Start with 2 Food.

2Dwarf0 2F

Round 1

A: Excavation
+1 Stone (1)
+1 Food (water source) (3)
+2 Caverns (3)
2Dwarf0 3F 1S 3C

B: Housework
+1 Dog (1)
-1 Stone (0)
+Carpenter
-1 Cavern (2)
2Dwarf0 3F 1D 2C Carpenter

Round 2

A: Housework
+1 Dog (2)
+Stone carver
-1 Cavern (1)
+2 Stone (2)
2Dwarf0 3F 2S 2D 1C Carpenter Stone carver

B: Logging
+4 Wood (4)
2Dwarf0 3F 2S 4W 2D 1C Carpenter Stone carver

Round 3
You now have 1 open Cavern and the required materials to build the Dwelling in Round 4. You can do it then or during this round, but it changes some options. Most importantly, you need 4 more food during this round.

Option 1: Weapons
A: Ore mining
+4 Ore (4)
2Dwarf0 3F 2S 4W 4O 2D 1C Carpenter Stone carver

B: Blacksmithing (0 Strength
-4 Ore (0)
+1 Strength 4 Dwarf (1)
+1 Level 3 Expedition
Level 3 Expedition
+1 Vegetable (2 Food) (1)
+1 Sheep (1 Food) (1)
+1 Grain (1 Food) (1)
+1 Strength 4 to 5
1Dwarf0 1Dwarf5 3F 2S 4W 1V 1G 2D 1Sh 1C Carpenter Stone carver

This gives a total of 7 available food, the materials to pay the reduced costs of an ordinary Dwelling, and the cavern to put it in.

Option 2: Sustenance
A: Sustenance
+3 Food (6)
+1 Grain (1)
+1 Food (water source) (7)
+1 Unsown Field (1)
+1 Unused Meadow (1)
2Dwarf0 7F 2S 4W 1G 2D 1C 1Fi 1Me Carpenter Stone carver

B: This option leaves free a second action. What a bonus! It doesn't have anyone to go on expeditions, however, which is an interesting fork in the road. You could do Housework here and use a stronger accumulating space on Round 4. That's probably what I will try as I flesh out the Sustenance path of the Round 4 Dwarf.

So there you have it. Those are the two starting routes, or similar routes, that I'll be exploring for a while as I seek out a strong solo build that fills the mountain with furnished caverns. I will likely be using the Weapons route as that affords me the ability to furnish as part of a reward later in the game while also collecting other goods that I require to continue building and work toward filling the forest.

Please do let me know if you see a more efficient way to lay out this start. I haven't messed around too much with which actions go where just yet, but I know that Excavation/Logging must come before the first Housework action, and Excavation has to come before the second Housework action.

Summary —

Weapon route:
R1: Excavation for cavern/cavern and covering +1 food in mountain, Housework for Carpenter
R2: Housework for Stone carver, Logging for 4 wood
R3: Ore mining for 4 ore, Blacksmithing for strength 4 (becomes 5) and the necessary food (veg, grain, sheep)
R4: Housework for Dwelling, Wish for children for Dwarf #3

OR

Sustenance route:
R1: Excavation for cavern/cavern and covering +1 food in mountain, Housework for Carpenter
R2: Housework for Stone carver, Logging for 4 wood
R3: Sustenance for 4 total food (covering +1 food in forest) and grain, Housework for Dwelling
R4: Ruby mining or some other powerful accumulating space, Wish for children for Dwarf #3

OR

Cyril's Sowing route (My German is very rusty, but I'll try based on watching it and recognizing most of the resource words and numbers.)
R1: Ore mining for 2 ore, Blacksmithing for level 2 weapon (becomes 3 then 4) giving wood, grain and +1 weapons
R2: Sustenance for 2 food and 1 grain and field/meadow + another 1 food from the water source in forest, Slash-and-burn for another field/meadow and sow the 2 grain
R3: Excavation for 3 stone and 1 food with cavern/cavern tile covering water source in mountain, Logging for 5 wood and 1 expedition at level 4 (becomes 5) giving 1 vegetable
R4: Housework for 1 dog and a Dwelling, Wish for children
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Alex Matusiak
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You know what my days used to be like? I just tested. Nobody murdered me. Or put me in a potato. Or fed me to birds. I had a pretty good life. And then you showed up. You dangerous, mute lunatic. So you know what? You win. Just go. Don't come back.
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ChillusMaximus wrote:
apartment42 wrote:

Round 1
Start Player (+1 food, +2 ore)


This space is supose to be covered up in solo mode. You cannot select it. Check out the back cover of the rules.


You're right, I just took two ore, and never used the Ore Mining space again in the game. My final score was 106 points, but I had an overabundance of food at every harvest so I know where to improve next.
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Ryan Elkins
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Here's one I just tried:

Round 1: Sustenance/Ruby Mining (get +1 food from river)
Round 2: Sustenance/Slash and Burn ( get +1 pig, trade ruby for pumpkin, plant all 3)
Round 3: Logging/Excavation (get +1 food from water)
Round 4: Housework (build Dwelling)/Wish for Children

If I did that right it left me with 3 dwarves, 1 wood, 1 pumpkin, 1 grain, 1 dog, 1 pig, and 3 fields sown (1x1 pumpkin, 2x2 grain)
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Kyle Mechler
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That looks like a pretty straightforward opening that gives a strong start in developing the forest. Any thoughts on what you can do with all the field spaces? Developing for Beer parlor is frustrating with the 2/2 sowing limitation, but I have to believe that food can be valuable somehow.

The reason that I bring it up is that the opportunity cost of getting fields is that you have less room to make pastures and thus an abundance of animals. Pastures generally give more points than plants can over the course of the game, I've found. That should be solvable with a bit of math, but it feels intuitive after quite a few plays.

I think I will try this start and see if it helps to have a stronger field-harvest to provide food for a while. I suspect it may free up a few actions.
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