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Subject: Zeromus vs IirionClaus, game #6 rss

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El-ad David Amir
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It is time for game number SIX in our 50-game Fields of Arle marathon! Zeromus is currently 4-1, and I am on complete tilt Let’s see if I can gather my wits and snatch a victory.

Starting Buildings

Weaving Parlor, Schnapps Distillery, Wood Trader, Colonist’s House
Smithy, Cooperage
Farmer’s Inn, Junk Dealer’s Inn, Gulf House Inn

Zeromus (Yellow) is first.

Summer 1

Y: Dike Builder for a Cow and a Dike.
R: Baker* for 6 Food
Y: Colonist for a Horse and a Swamp
R: Grocer for a Cow, a Grain, and a Leather
Y: Forester for a Forest
R: Clay Worker for 3 Clay
Y: Fisherman for a Sheep, Fish Traps, and 3 Food
R: Carpenter for Junk Dealer’s Inn

After six games of Fields of Arle I am almost sure that Dike Builder is the strongest first move. Opening up your board and getting five Food off a Cow sets you up well. I decide to try and get a quick Junk Dealer’s Inn, and the easiest way to fulfill the Food cost is to take the Baker. The rest of the turn is straightforward, with both sides filling their banks with resources and me buying my Carpenter.

Winter 2

Y: Master for Workbenches, Shovels, Spades
R: Dike Builder* for a Cow and a Dike
Y: Cattle Trader for a Sheep, a Cow, and 2 Grain
R: Builder’s Merchant for 2 Hides, a Wood, and a Brick
Y: Wood Trader for 4 Wood
R: Wainwright for a Hand Cart and a Peat Boat
Y: Carpenter for a Stall
R: Potter for 6 Food and 2 Peat

Yellow sees that I spent resources on a Building and decides to Master in order to prepare for Summer. I planned to take the Dike Builder eventually, but his Master accelerates my plans as taking a special action also blocks his new tools. I go all-in for a Smithy strategy, and for his last move Yellow considers blocking me by Laborer -> Wainwright. He notices that there are no Hand Carts left and does not wish to get a Wagon so early and then a Smithy with nothing to flip into a Plow, so decides to get a Stall instead and start working on his animals.

One open question here is whether I should have shipped with these two Hand Carts. In retrospect I think that yes, I should have gone for Bricks.

Summer 3

Y: Master for Shovels, Spades, Axes
R: Woodcutter for 3 Wood
Y: Clay Worker for 5 Clay
R: Dike Worker for a Sheep and a Dike
Y: Colonist for a Horse and a Swamp
R: Carpenter for Smithy (three Plows)
Y: Fisherman for a Sheep, Fish Traps, and 4 Food
R: Farmer for a Flax Field, two Grain Fields

Yellow hurriedly gets a second Master, which sets him up for a strong mid-game. Since I do not have any tools, I will be forced to take weaker actions just to block him from maximizing resources. Furthermore, my lack of both Spades and Shovels means that I cannot open the board easily, making my incoming Smithy much weaker. Yellow sticks to the bread and butter of Arle while I get the Smithy and set up three Fields.

I was pondering which Fields to get for a few minutes. I ended up getting just one Flax because of a timing error: I counted the last Harvest as an opportunity to clean up Peat and then use it. Also, I got greedy with a double Grain. In retrospect, getting *two* Flax Fields and one Wheat Field here could have made my later game much stronger.

Winter 4

R: Peat Cutter* for 3 Peat Cutting
Y: Wood Trader for 4 Wood
R: Grocer for Peat Cutting, a Sheep, a Wood, and a Clay
Y: Wainwright for a Cart and a Peat Boat
R: Builders’ Merchant for 2 Hides, a Wood, and a Brick
Y: Master for Axe, Shovel, and Pottery
R: Pottery for 6 Food, 2 Peat
Y: Carpenter for a Stall
*** Yellow ships Leer (Flax = 2 Food)

I again prioritize a special action in order to block Yellow’s strong tools. The lack of Spades is painful, as I take a weak Peat Cutter. Yellow picks up a nice pile of Wood while I set up resources for red buildings. Yellow takes advantage of the fact that I’m ignoring Master to load up on even more tools, deepening the gap between us. I fill the coffers with Food and Yellow gets a third Stall, practically guaranteeing a strong Animal finish.

Summer 5

Y: Dike Builder for a Cow and 3 Dikes
R: Clay Worker for 3 Clay
Y: Woodcutter for 5 Wood
R: Wainwright* for a Cart
Y: Peat Cutter for 7 Peat
R: Colonist for a Horse and a Swamp
Y: Fisher for a Sheep, Fish Traps, and 5 Food
R: Carpenter for Weaving Parlor
*** Yellow ships 2 Wood and a Clay
*** Red ships a Clay, Esens (Hide + 2 Grain + Wool = 10 Food)

Yellow finally cashes on his tools with four extremely strong economical moves. Meanwhile, I reply with much weaker moves: Clay Worker for less resources, a Wainwright that does not get a Peat Boat (I neglected to notice that I do not have one to disastrous effect later), and a Carpenter for a Weaving Parlor that I cannot use optimally because of the earlier Fields miscalculation.

Winter 6

Y: Clay Worker* for 6 Clay
R: Wood Trader for 4 Wood
Y: Builders’ Merchant for 2 Hides, a Clay, and a Brick
R: Laborer -> Builders’ Merchant for 2 Hides, a Wood, and a Brick
Y: Potter for 9 Food and 3 Peat
R: Grocer for Peat Cutting, a Horse, a Wood, and a Clay
Y: Cattle Trader for 2 Grain, a Sheep, and a Cow
R: Wainwright for a Peat Boat
*** Yellow ships 2 Clay and a Wood
*** Red uses Weaving Parlor for 3 Linen, 3 Peat Cutting
*** Red ships 3 Wood

The error of my ways finally strikes me as I notice the lack of the Peat Boat -- I cannot use the Weaving Parlor to clear a Swamp! While Yellow reinforces his coffers with two tool-powered moves, I struggle for leftovers and get a Peat Boat.

Summer 7

*** Red ships Aurich (Leather + a Sheep + a Horse = 13 Food)
R: Carpenter for Village Church
Y: Colonist for a Horse, a Swamp
*** Red ships Linen
R: Woodcutter for 3 Wood
Y: Clay Worker for 6 Clay
R: Warden to flip a Cart into a Horse Cart
Y: Builder for Lutetsburg Castle
R: Potter* for 6 Food, 2 Peat
Y: Peat Cutter for 7 Peat Cutting
*** Red ships 2 Clay, a Wood
*** Yellow ships a Wood
*** Yellow ships Esens (Hide + 2 Grain = 6 Food)

I snatch the Village Church to get more shipping ability. Yellow keeps using his strong tools actions and matches his own red Building. I take a Potter here to guarantee that I am first on the last turn of the game (otherwise Yellow could take a special action and flip the turn order). However, that is unnecessary -- we are not really competing for action spaces at the moment, and it’s possible a Summer action would have served me better.

Winter 8

Y: Wood Trader for Cooperage (three of every resource)
*** Red ships Emden (Summer Wear + Leather Wear = 13 Food)
R: Laborer builds Waterfront House
Y: Potter for 12 Food, 4 Peat
*** Red ships 3 Wood
R: Dike Warden for a Swamp and a Dike
Y: Dike Builder* for a Cow and 3 Dikes
R: Tanner for 3 Leather
Y: Cattle Trader for 2 Grain, a Sheep, and a Horse
*** Yellow ships Emden (a Peat = 3 Food)
*** Red ships Hage (Flax Field = 1 Food)
R: Builders’ Merchent for 2 Hides, a Wood, and a Brick

Yellow grabs the Cooperage and I finally figure out his plan: he’s going to catch up on his board point deficient through Goods! Thanks to his Spades he has a big pile of Peat, Cooperage gave him a significant boost, and he could easily maximize several resources for a crazy Depot bonus. Sadly, this is too late to do anything about it. I could have tried to steal the Cooperage, or at least force him to build it earlier.

The rest of the turn is uneventful as both of us prepare for maximizing our last turn. I was not sure what to do with my last action -- at the time it seemed none of them would score many points. I ended up taking the Builders’ Merchant out of habit.

Summer 9

R: Carpenter for Joinery (3 Horses, 2 Peat)
Y: Warden to flip a Stall into a Depot
R: Fisherman for a Sheep, Fish Traps, and 6 Food
Y: Master for Fish Traps, Fleshing Beams, Weaving Looms, Slaughtering Tables
R: Builder for Saddlery
*** Red ships Bremen (remove a Swamp)
Y: Laborer for Warden (flip a Forest into a Park)
R: Forester for Farmer’s Inn
*** Red ships a Linen and a Clay
Y: Grocer for a Cow, a Grain, and a Leather

Both of us go for the last point push. I build a series of high-scoring buildings while Yellow gets his Depot, scoops more points off Master, and gets four points off each of his last two actions. He then proceeds to use his Peat bank to turn his resources up to 11 -- or, actually, 15.

Final Score

Red

Materials: 4
Barn: 16
Travel: 6
Tools: 3
Goods: 4
Board: 56
Animals: 12
Total: 101

Yellow

Materials: 2
Barn: 2
Travel: 5
Tools: 14
Goods: 30
Board: 32
Animals: 27
Total: 112

Zeromus wins, going up to a 5-1 over score! 44 games to go and there is a significant gap for me to overcome.

My early game Smithy rush was a little too costly. Since I let Yellow get all the Masters with no opposition, he had very efficient actions in the mid-game. To make matters worse, I could not open my board (no Shovels nor Spades), which means I could only fire the Smithy once. We later calculated that even one more Farmer on Summer 5 would have translated into a big pile of resources. Furthermore, I had several miscalculations (with my Field composition and with the missing Peat Boat) that lead to very weak moves in the mid-game. This translated into an eventual eleven-point lead for Yellow.
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