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A Feast for Odin» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Cattle and sheep considerations rss

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GAF Blizzard
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The rulebook mentions new players tend to overlook animal potential, so I wanted to start some discussion specifically about the animal mechanics. I am ignoring occupations in this initial post because there are so many, you cannot depend on getting an animal-friendly occupation.

Without special occupations, you can get a maximum of 1 sheep and/or 1 cattle per turn, plus breeding every other turn.


A. How to get 1 sheep
1. Pay 2 workers, 1 silver
2. Pay 3 workers (and get a card)
3. Pay 4 workers, 3 silver (and play a card, and get a cattle)

B. How to get 1 cattle
1. Pay 2 workers, 3 silver (and get 4-square milk)
2. Pay 3 workers, 1 silver (and get a card)
3. Pay 4 workers, 3 silver (and play a card, and get a sheep)


C. Sheep benefits
1. You can use them as food for the Feast.
2. You can upgrade them to 8-square furs.
3. You can keep them for 2 points each (plus 1 if one is pregnant).
4. If you have at least 2, you receive a new one every other round.
5. You can pay 3 workers (and get a card) to get 4-square wool tiles from up to 3 sheep. The sheep are not used up, and wool can be crafted into a robe or upgraded into a chest.
6. You can pay 4 workers (and play a card) to get 6-square spices, 1 silver, a 4-square milk tile if you have any cattle, and a 4-square wool tile if you have any sheep.

D. Cattle benefits
1. You can use them as food for the Feast.
2. You can upgrade them to 12-square clothing.
3. You can keep them for 3 points each (plus 1 if one is pregnant).
4. If you have at least 2, you receive a new one every other round.
5. You can pay 1 worker to get 4-square milk tiles from up to 3 cattle. The cattle are not used up, and milk can be used for the Feast or upgraded into wool.
6. You can pay 4 workers (and play a card) to get 6-square spices, 1 silver, a 4-square milk tile if you have any cattle, and a 4-square wool tile if you have any sheep.


E. Overall game effects
1. You can get a maximum of 2 sheep or 1 cattle in round 1 in the long game. This means you receive a sheep at the end of rounds 2, 4, and 6. If you try to rush cattle, you get a bonus animal at the end of rounds 3, 5, and 7.
2. The above means you can convert a maximum of 3 bonus sheep into green tiles (24 points total) in a game, and/or a maximum of 2 bonus cattle (24 points total), barring occupational help or other bonuses.
3. If you need food, cattle are helpful because of the cheap food action.
4. If you need green and blue tiles, sheep are helpful, and at least one cattle can help because the milk upgrades into wool for turns when you do not use the normal sheep wool spaces. Plus you can eventually upgrade the cattle into 12-square clothing.
5. Once you have one of each animal, you can easily get 19 points from 5 workers using the big combo action (spices, silver, 2 milk, wool) and the upgrade-2-tiles space, while also playing a card. Compare this to a simple emigration combo of 2-wood -> knarr -> emigration for 16 or fewer points.


Please feel free to share any corrections, suggestions, and analysis for animal-related activity. Of course if you have certain occupations animals become better, like Farmer for turning Cattle straight into 8-square Jewelry at any time.
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Steven Meiklejohn
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As you start the long game with six Vikings I think it is possible to get two sheep in the first round.

If you go to one of the '1 Viking' first column actions that provide 1 Silver (either the 'Take 1 Occupation' space or the Weekly Market space that provides Beans)you can then use the remaining five Vikings to get the sheep from the second and third columns, paying the one silver to get the sheep in the second column. Therefore, you could get new sheep at the ends of Rounds 2, 4 and 6 (and upgrade the one from Round 6 that you wouldn't be able to if you'd got it in Round 7). As in Round 7 you would only get a pregnant sheep, not a new one, it would probably be prudent to use/upgrade the two in your stables in the final action round for a total of five used/upgraded sheep (including three bonus ones). Cattle would however, work as you say.

Also, once either a sheep or cattle is pregnant you can always upgrade or otherwise use its mate and leave a lone pregnant animal who will give birth to another animal it can mate with (inbreeding objections aside!)
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GAF Blizzard
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Omegathnd wrote:
As you start the long game with six Vikings I think it is possible to get two sheep in the first round.

If you go to one of the '1 Viking' first column actions that provide 1 Silver (either the 'Take 1 Occupation' space or the Weekly Market space that provides Beans)you can then use the remaining five Vikings to get the sheep from the second and third columns, paying the one silver to get the sheep in the second column. Therefore, you could get new sheep at the ends of Rounds 2, 4 and 6 (and upgrade the one from Round 6 that you wouldn't be able to if you'd got it in Round 7). As in Round 7 you would only get a pregnant sheep, not a new one, it would probably be prudent to use/upgrade the two in your stables in the final action round for a total of five used/upgraded sheep (including three bonus ones). Cattle would however, work as you say.

Also, once either a sheep or cattle is pregnant you can always upgrade or otherwise use its mate and leave a lone pregnant animal who will give birth to another animal it can mate with (inbreeding objections aside!)

I miscounted and forgot you get the 6th viking at the start of the first round even in the long game, thanks. I will correct it. How interesting that the resulting benefit is 24 squares either way. I did not mention it, but you it costs the same amount of workers to get 3 wool from 3 cattle (1 to get the milk, 2 to upgrade all the milk) as to go from 3 sheep straight to 3 wool (pay 3 workers but also get a card).

Selling the mate and inbreeding is indeed a valid strategy.
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Alex Bove
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East Lansdowne
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Lately I've been trying lines where I take 1 sheep in round 1, 1 cow in round 2, and one of each (with 4 vikings) in round 3. Then I keep a pair of them all game, and every other round I have giant tiles ready to be upgraded.
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Ryan Feathers
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I have been interested in trying out more a livestock based strategy but I haven't really gotten around to it. Intuitively it seems somewhat strong to be able to grab so many resources at some of those product spaces along with getting those nice big tiles for use during the game.

The downside is you don't get those tiles for a few rounds and in the meantime are you doing enough on your home and exploration boards to make up for the tempo? That is the part that is the hardest for me to evaluate.

I like montu's suggestion above about getting the sheep, then cow, then pair in Round 3. That's a great time to get a good occupation in play and kick off breeding. There hopefully are enough actions to get some nice development work on getting some income going among those actions to set up a strong engine to win with. In my mind it should work pretty well, I look forward to actually trying it someday though.

Given how most everything else in the game seems so well balanced, I'm hopeful that animal breeding is too. The only certain thing I've found thus far is that you have to work on getting income in order to win. I've just found that the points the silver gives along with the options to save actions (like buying ships) or securing bonuses means you really can't afford to skimp on income development. Given early animals requires quite a few vikings, I do worry it will be competing too much with getting a solid income going early.

I'll be interested to see what others have to report here with their experience with animals. It does seem that animal breeding may be one of the hardest strategies to pull off well--I also do wonder if animal breeding is particularly hard in solo where you can't double up on actions in back to back rounds, making it even harder to assemble the breeding pair.
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