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Subject: Zeromus versus IirionClaus, game #3 rss

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El-ad David Amir
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Zeromus and I started playing Fields of Arle a couple of weeks ago. We both love the game and decided to focus on it for our next year's worth of weekly sessions. Zeromus suggested that we log our sessions on BGG, so here is the third game! (Unfortunately we did not keep notes for games 1+2.)

I'm Red, going first for Summer 1. Zeromus is Yellow.

Buildings:

Loading Station, Litter Storage, Schnapps Distillery, Weaving Parlor
Smokehouse, Turnery
Potter's Inn, Golfhouse Inn, Farmer's Inn



I did not log a fourth action for Yellow, in retrospect it's possible he only played three. Pretty straight forward opening for both players. I go for a Clay + Pottery strategy, aiming to get the Potter's Inn down the line. Yellow takes a Forest, counters my Clay Worker with a Dike Builder. We both grab some Wood for last action.



My Summer 1 Wood forces Yellow to get the Wainwright as first action. We each continue to reinforce our respective strategies -- me with another Master for more Clay, Yellow with a second Forest.



I load up on a lot of Clay and get my Potter's Inn (which sets up my animals beautifully) and Vehicle. Yellow continues to develop his board. That last Grocer was a nice trick which I did not notice in previous games -- it lets Yellow set up Emden for next turn.



This fateful turn is where I set up a nice trap. Yellow continues to develop his board toward the Turnery. I convert my surplus Clay into food, free some board space (since Yellow locked me out of Dike Builder so far), and set up more resources so that ...



... I can build the Turney myself! I do not gain any Peat Cutting out of it, but I did throw Yellow into disarray. He continues to ship everything possible (that second Cart coming in handy) and build an early Castle. This lets him use Peat Cutter to start removing the Peat he preferred to hit with the Turnery. Meanwhile, I'm reinforcing my animals and getting more wood. Sadly, everything goes downhill from here.



Thanks to his Forests Yellow has ample Wood supplies and he doesn't need that much Clay to sustain his construction efforts. Since I'm running out of Clay, I decide to diversify my economy by going into Butcher/Tanner. Yellow gets Leather so he can snatch my Saddlery.



I push on the Tanner button to force Yellow to get that Saddlery. It's a painful move but I'm ready with the Peat Cutter. I mimic the Dike Builder to free some space while Yellow is getting a Litter Storage (which is effectively two Horses) and a Grocer to smooth his economy. Yellow contemplates stealing the Church, but I will be able to get the Castle next turn so he decides it will be too expensive. The Dike Builder here is probably unnecessary: I don't need the space and it does not provide me with enough points. We both use Bremen to abolish a Swamp.



I stop messing about and get the Church before Yellow has too much of an advantage. Two weak moves happen here. One, the Laborer into Wood Trader is a feeble attempt to steal the Castle, but Yellow has ample opportunities to build it himself. Two, the Butcher + Tanner does not supply me with enough points to justify two actions. Meanwhile Yellow builds up his animals and nets five points off a Dike Warden.



Only cleanup remains for the last turn of the game. Yellow is guaranteed to get his big scoring moves (Peat Cutter for four points, Master for 10 points, Warden for four). I try to maximize points through Master, Carpenter the only building I can, and shipping.



I feel that I dropped the ball somewhere around turn 6. I had a strong economy in place and I was going toward a nice chunk of points in Animals. I decided to switch into Butcher/Tanner, eating my Cows and slowing down my construction efforts. In retrospect, building your board is one of the biggest source of points in Fields of Arle. Instead of going for Tanner I should have focused on getting resources. For example, I should have fought for Builders' Merchant more aggressively -- I did not take it a single time this game. I then did another switch through a half-hearted attempt to snatch the Castle, the last red building. While it forced Yellow to get the Castle with his last turn 8 action, I could not capitalize on that tempo advantage -- Yellow got everything he wanted on turn 9.

My three take-homes here:

1) Aggression is good in Fields of Arle, but not if it requires you to overinvest. In this game, I should have stopped stealing stuff after I got the Turnery and focused on my core gameplan.

2) I over-invested in Dikes. This probably comes from my Agricola mindset, where you want to get rid of the negative points. Three negative points are not a huge deal in FoA (where games end with ~100 points, compared to Agricola's ~45-50). I spent too much efforts there.

3) VPs in buildings are important! Zeromus and I are wondering whether the player with the two reds always wins. We will keep monitoring it in future games.

Overall, excellent game by Yellow. He adapted to my Turnery steal, flipped the table by taking the Saddlery, and got enough of a resource advantage to get a better board and the victory.
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JR
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Interesting. Is this conducted as just a spreadsheet? I'd never considered this, but it's a perfect information game so it should be easy to just ledger. I'd like to know exactly what you did use to play if you don't mind giving a bit of background.
 
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El-ad David Amir
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jrebelo wrote:
Interesting. Is this conducted as just a spreadsheet? I'd never considered this, but it's a perfect information game so it should be easy to just ledger. I'd like to know exactly what you did use to play if you don't mind giving a bit of background.

We used Tabletop Simulator for the actual game. I highly recommend it -- you can get it on Steam for $15, I think, and it makes online play easy and fun. Zeromus and I played a bunch of games with it already.

For logging, I used Google Spreadsheets. I entered each action as we have done it. After the game I added formatting and commenting. I used a similar format in the past (for the Civilization board game session reports and PBFs).
 
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Chris Hinkes
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In our first game I went heavy plowing, because I love to do some farming! My score ended up really bad and I got crushed. Second game I went animal heavy and was able to pull out the win.

We have also started playing solo games with the same building seed and comparing scores. In our first one so far he was able to beat me by four points. I'm not sure how much solo games apply to multiplayer. Some of the solo strategies are way too fragile.

Either way, El-ad and I seem pretty evenly matched. Solo play is fun to get extra games in, but I think multiplayer is where the excitement is going to be for future plays. It should be a ton of fun to evolve our competition as we figure out what the better strategies are.
 
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Chris Hinkes
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Regarding this specific game, he got me really good with the Turnery steal. Luckily, I was able to purchase the Lutetsburg Castle that turn to salvage the situation. Now that I know how savage El-ad is willing to be, I'll be more prepared in the future.
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