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Subject: Ranior's "No Such Luck" Solo Session Report rss

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Ryan Feathers
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Madison
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Hello All!

Herein lies my 3rd Session Report for this wonderful game. This is once again a blind playthrough of scenario 12 of the weekly solo competition that can be found here. You can find my prior solo session reports in the session forums for A Feast for Odin.

As always please leave a thumb above if you enjoyed this report and feel free to post comments below! I love talking about this game and see what others have to say. I'm also always open to ideas about how to improve formatting and readability of these reports so more can enjoy them easier.

With that all said, I sat down last night with my copy of a Feast for Odin, pulled up the rules for this scenario, and started planning my moves.

Round 1

Alright, so I get things set up and read through the rules. For this solo scenario there are no luck elements. That means all die rolls have been removed, the order of the mountain strips appearing has been set, and as is standard the occupations are the same for everyone. The biggest thing for me personally though is that lack of die rolls--the rules for this week prevent players from taking any Hunting, Whaling, Trapping, Raiding, or Pillaging actions. This is a big blow for my usual strategy which tends to heavily incorporate the use of those spaces, particularly whaling. Without those options available I know I'm going to be struggling to produce tiles that can go on my homeboard.

I draw the starting occupation which is Scribe (125c, 0 pts, whenever you take an Exploration or Emigration action you also receive one rune stone). Now this is an excellent starting occupation, perhaps one of the best ones I've thus far seen. A rune stone fits so easily on many boards that it effectively is a 2 point bonus for using any of those spaces. This means I'm going to want to work in some emigration and exploration actions surely. Thinking about things a bit further, I think this may be the game to finally try a heavy breeding strategy. Given acquiring tiles is otherwise difficult in this set up, breeding may be the best path to producing tiles along with crafting. So my early focus is going to be on getting income and using early silver to acquire livestock.

The starting mountain strip were:

W/W/S/S/S/O/2
W/W/S/O/O/2/2

These clearly are set up to encourage the now fairly widely known crafting opening where you gather 2 wood and 2 stone and craft it to get 3 income unlocked. Given I wanted a high income this game and knew crafting was one of the good ways to get good this game, I figured it was a solid opening to pursue:

1 Viking to Grab 1 Wood and upgrade beans to milk
2 Vikings to grab 1 Wood, 2 Stone and upgrade milk to wool
3 Vikings to craft 2 wood, 2 stone into 2 rune stones and 2 chests

For that last action I drew the occupation Taster (167B, 3pts, If at the start of the feast phase you have 1/2 spices in your supply you receive 1/2 silver). This occupation does not excite me. I like to get tiles onto my boards as quickly as possible to unlock bonuses, not keep them on the side to earn minimal extra income. The good news is this occupation is at least worth 3 points and that's mostly what I plan on getting out of this one, if I ever even get it in play.

I put my tiles on my board to unlock 3 income, and feast upon the flax, peas, and mead.



Current Tiles and Cards: 2 Occupation (Scribe, Taster), 3 Silver
Bonus Goods: 1 Mead

Update and Add Mountain Strip:

X/X/X/X/X/O/2
X/W/S/O/O/2/2
W/W/W/S/S/S/2

Round 2

I harvest as usual and reflexively try to draw a weapon only to be reminded that that is not a part of this challenge. I stare at the board trying to figure out any good way to work these next two rounds. I know I want to get 2 sheep and 2 cattle by the end of round 3. (That way they will breed and provide new tiles at the end of Round 4 and 6 so I have Round 7 to use to get the final ones on the board). But I know this is going to take a lot of actions and slow down my homeboard development, stagnating income and bonus goods development. I'm worried that's going to be too much of a tradeoff but I can't find any other great paths forward that look promising to me to earning enough tiles otherwise. So press onward.

1 Viking to take 1 Ore, 2 Silver off mountain strip
2 Vikings to buy 1 Sheep for 1 Silver
2 Vikings to buy 1 Cattle, 1 Milk for 3 Silver

I am obviously setting up for next round to spend 4 vikings to buy the pair of livestock and complete both sets. I spend my last few actions weakly doing a few things that will hopefully benefit me down the line.

1 Viking to craft flax to linen
1 Viking to draw 1 occupation, gain 1 Silver

I draw Flax Baker (171A, 2 pts, After the harvest phase you can exchange 1 flax for 1 grain plus 1 silver). This is a decent occupation but with only 2 harvest phases left it is a pretty minimal gain. I'm not going to be rushing to get this into play, especially as I still want to get Scribe's powerful bonus into play. (With hindsight I should have perhaps gone and exchanged my ore here to play Scribe and draw a silver instead).

As is I don't have enough tiles to unlock anything so I don't put anything on my homeboard. I feast upon grain, mead, and peas.



Current Tiles and Cards: 3 Occupation (Scribe, Taster, Flax Baker), 5 Silver, 1 Linen, 1 Milk, 1 Beans, 1 Ore, 1 Cattle, 1 Sheep
Bonus Goods: 1 Mead

Update and Add Mountain Strip:

X/X/S/O/O/2/2
X/W/W/S/S/S/2
W/W/W/W/S/S/2

Round 3

Well there's not a ton to consider here. I've started a strategy to shoot for breeding and I need to follow through with that to make the most use of it. So off goes half my workforce.

4 Vikings to buy 1 Cattle and 1 Sheep for 3 Silver, play Scribe

Of the occupations in hand Scribe I think is clearly the best one. I'd like to get Iceland soon, probably during Round 4, and maxing use of Scribe's bonus with that will be ideal.

Next, I realize I'm actually in some feasting trouble given I've been inefficiently eating peas and crafted my flax. I sadly think I'm going to have to use some pretty weak actions to save me from wasting income on the feast phase.

1 Viking to grab 1 Beans and 1 Silver
1 Viking to grab 2 Milk from 2 Cattle

I know both of these actions spaces are not that optimal in terms of their payout. It's at this point in my game, staring down a barely developed home board, with some pretty inefficient actions taken, that I'm seriously concerned if this is going to be enough to hit the 160's or so that I'm shooting for. I haven't ever taken a heavy breeding strategy like this before so I have some hope it may pay off, but overall I know I'm a bit behind my standard progression and will need to rush to catch up if I have any hope of posting a top score in this scenario.

Looking at how I can at least get to 4 income I send my last workers out to take the only path forward I see.

1 Viking to grab 1 stone, upgrade mead to oil
1 Viking to craft 1 stone into 1 rune stone and 1 silver

I carefully place my linen, rune stone, and oil to finally unlock 4 income. I feast upon 2 milk and 2 beans. I debate placing some of my silver to unlock some more bonus goods, but I want to keep most of it to use for getting a Knarr to take Iceland next round. Oh, during the breeding phase I get a pregnant cow and sheep.



Current Tiles and Cards: 2 Occupation (Taster, Flax Baker), 8 Silver, 1 Milk, 1 Ore, 2 Cattle (1 Pregnant), 2 Sheep (1 Pregnant)
Bonus Goods: 1 Mead

Update and Add Mountain Strip:

X/X/X/X/O/2/2
X/X/W/S/S/S/2
X/W/W/W/S/S/2
W/W/W/S/S/O/2

Round 4

At this point I knew I had a few routes I could take. I could stay homebound and try to fill in my homeboard some more. But I decided not to focus on this as I would only be able to get up to 7 income probably and that's a fairly minimal gain in long term points. It seemed, like it often does, that taking Iceland was the best plan to really pushing my score higher as the income I could generate from that island would really help score points. Not to mention the silver could be purposed to fund some later emigrations for even more points.

So I spent the silver I had set aside from last round on purchasing a Knarr and set sail.

2 Vikings to claim Iceland, gain 4 silver from what was on the island, 1 rune stone via Scribe

This is the nice part about taking Iceland round 4. The fact it comes along with 4 silver of its own really helps out in figuring out how to fill in the island. From here I just am figuring out different ways to fill in the island some more.

2 Vikings to grab 3 goods, gain 1 ore, 4 silver, and upgrade one cattle to one clothing.
2 Vikings to craft 1 ore into 1 silver and 1 chest
3 Vikings to special sale and buy the glass beads and gold brooch

For that last action I drew the Bosporous Merchant occupation (190B, 0 pts, with each new spices you also gain 1 oil). This is a pretty good occupation if you have a good way to get spices. I don't see a great way of doing that in this scenario, but there may be some synergy to take advantage of with Taster in a future play-through. As is I don't see a way to work this into my strategy at this point in the game.

I lay out my tiles to get up to 5 income on Iceland right away, along with surrounding the oil and stone/ore bonus. Using a bit of my income I place some on my homeboard to unlock some more bonus goods. I contemplate pouring more of my silver onto my boards but I don't see a compelling reason to do it quite yet, especially since I want to carry some over into Round 5 to emigrate. I feel better about my position after this round given I'm finally producing a reasonable number of bonus goods and income. I still worry it was too slow of a start though to be a great game and I think I may be playing for the 130's.

I feast upon milk, mead, peas, and flax. My animals breed, providing me with a new cattle and sheep.



Current Tiles and Cards: 3 Occupation (Taster, Flax Baker, Bosporus Merchant), 11 Silver, 1 Ore, 2 Cattle, 3 Sheep, 1 beans, 1 grain, 1 cabbage
Bonus Goods: 1 Mead, 1 Wood, 1 Stone, 2 Ore, 1 Oil

Update and Add Mountain Strip:

X/X/X/S/S/S/2
X/X/W/W/S/S/2
X/W/W/S/S/O/2
W/W/W/S/O/O/2

Round 5

I purposefully didn't upgrade my any sheep last round because I planned to take advantage of the special space where you get up to 3 wool for up to 3 sheep. So I know I want to go there, especially since I left spots open on my Iceland board to accommodate all that wool. I also know I want to emigrate so I start with those actions.

2 Vikings to emigrate Knarr, gain 1 Rune stone via Scribe
3 Vikings to earn 3 wool from 3 sheep

I draw the next occupation which is Etiquette Teacher (176B, 3 pts, every time you take an action in which you play at least 1 occupation, gain 1 peas). This is a pretty bad occupation as I don't really need more peas, and the number of peas it will earn me is minimal. The 3 points is nice though and there may have been some value in this if I was using a strategy that involved taking more actions that played occupations. But I'm not so I'm moving on.

Looking at my situation I know I want to make some good home board development this round. At this point in the game I think my best path forward to a good score is going to be developing my home board, then focusing on Newfoundland Round 6 and then finishing up with another emigration and homeboard development in Round 7 to finish the game. I do some quick calculations and think I might still have a shot at pushing 150 which is now my goal.

1 Viking to take 2 wood from a mountain strip
1 Viking to take 1 Stone, upgrade 1 sheep to fur
3 Vikings to craft 2 wood, 2 stone into 2 rune stones and 2 chests

This time I drew Treasurer (55C, 2 pts, at any time pay 3 silver to exchange 1 chest into 1 treasure chest). Now this is an occupation I can utilize in my strategy. I have a few chests now and probably will craft again Round 7. Chests take up 4 spaces, treasure chests take up 9. So doing this basically nets me 2 points, at the downside of the fact that treasure chests don't fit as nicely onto most exploration boards. Still this may be a nice way to net a few more points and I probably will get this into play.

Else, I successfully complete Iceland and get my homeboard up to 6 income. I use some silver to unlock the rest of the bonus goods that I can. Overall things are looking alright as I pull in a total of 14 income and gain a pregnant sheep and cow. I feast upon grain, mead, and beans.



Current Tiles and Cards: 5 Occupations (Taster, Flax Baker, Bosporus Merchant, Etiquette Teacher, Treasurer), 16 Silver, 1 Wood, 2 Cattle (1 Pregnant), 2 Sheep (1 Pregnant), 1 Cabbage, 1 Chest
Bonus Goods: 1 Mead, 1 Wood, 2 Stone, 2 Ore, 1 Oil, 1 Fish, 1 Rune Stone

Update and Add Mountain Strip:

X/X/X/X/X/S/2
X/X/X/X/X/S/2
X/X/W/S/S/O/2
X/W/W/S/O/O/2
W/W/S/S/O/O/2

Round 6

Looking at what I wanted to get done this upcoming round, I knew I wanted to grab Newfoundland. In trying to figure out a way to score a few more points I figure taking a trip to build a house would be worthwhile too. Else I'd continue to focus on collecting good and tiles to put onto my new exploration board, my home board, and my long house.

4 Vikings to build long house and Knarr, put Treasurer into play

I know that I'll need a longship to get newfoundland, but the points are better for building a Knarr/Longhouse so I went that way. Treasurer seems most likely to provide me the greatest benefit at this point in the game. I spend 8 silver to buy a longship.

3 Vikings to claim Newfoundland, earn rune stone via scribe

Once again Scribe is really showing off here. That is now three rune stones the occupation has provided me, and I plan on one more payout when emigrating Round 7. For placing 3 vikings here however I draw Cowherd (74A, 1pt, when you play this card you may pay 2 silver and 1 grain to receive 1 cattle). That's an alright card but there is no way I'm going to be using it anymore this game. I already have lots of cattle and sheep tiles and have better use for the food between feasts and my longhouse.

1 Viking to earn 2 milk off of 2 cattle
1 Viking to upgrade cattle to clothing and sheep to fur
2 vikings to craft ore into chest and 1 silver

I finish this round just gathering some tiles and preparing some of the sheep and cattle to get on my boards. I figure crafting chests is useful to take advantage of Treasurer, which I do when placing goods onto Newfoundland. I'm a bit short on tiles that fit well so I have to spend a good chunk of silver to unlock all the great bonuses Newfoundland provides. I also push to 7 income on my homeboard. I feast upon mead, beans, milk, and grain while mostly filling my longhouse. My animals produce their offspring.




Current Tiles and Cards: 5 Occupations (Taster, Flax Baker, Bosporus Merchant, Etiquette Teacher, Cowherd), 5 Silver, 2 Cattle, 2 Sheep, 1 Cabbage, 1 Milk

Bonus Goods: 1 Mead, 1 Wood, 2 Stone, 2 Ore, 2 Oil, 1 Fish, 1 Rune Stone, 1 Peas, 1 Skin and Bones, 1 Cloakpin, 1 Stone House

Update and Add Mountain Strip:

X/X/X/X/X/X/2
X/X/X/X/X/X/2
X/X/X/S/S/O/2
X/X/W/S/O/O/2
X/W/S/S/O/O/2
W/W/W/W/S/O/2

Round 7

Time to extract the most points I can. Looking at what I all have and doing some quick calculations I still think pushing 150 may be possible from here but it will be a bit of a stretch. I know I have to upgrade all my tiles and get them on my board. I want to emigrate for sure as well.

2 Vikings to emigrate longship, gain rune stone via scribe
2 Vikings to upgrade 2 cattle to 2 clothing, 1 sheep to 1 fur
1 Viking to upgrade 1 sheep to 1 fur, gain 2 silver from mountain strip

This takes care of the obvious moves--upgrading the animals and emigrating. At this point I start calculating out what else I will need to do to best fill my boards. I'm not positive I took the best path, but this is what I ultimately wound up doing:

1 Viking to take 2 wood off of mountain strip
3 Vikings to craft 2 wood, 2 stone into 2 chests, 2 rune stones
1 Viking to overseas trade, pay 1 silver to upgrade oil, fur, clothing, skin and bones.

Finally I didn't have much else left to do for points. So I just went and did a couple actions to net a few more points:

1 Viking to take 1 beans and 1 silver
1 Viking to pay one ore for one silver and play Ettiquette Teacher (for the 3 points)

I used all my tiles to fill in my homeboard and put a few extras on Newfoundland to limit negatives. I feasted upon fish, mead, and cabbage. I filled in my houses as best I could. At this point I'm confident I made several mistakes throughout this game that could be cleaned up, but I'm also contemplating if that heavy of breeding was worth it. As is I start to count up the points.




Final Score

Ships: 5
Emigrations: 39
Houses: 27
Exploration Boards: 54
Occupations: 5
Silver: 1
Final Income: 26

Positive: 157

Home Board: -0
Exploration Boards: -8
Houses: -7

Negative: -15

Total Score: 142

Not bad. I'm happy with that given the constraints of the challenge. However there are many others who have already been reporting scores in the 160's for this challenge so this is a bit off the mark from the top players of this challenge. My prior strategies have been so focused and reliant on whaling or raiding to gain tiles along with some hunting and trapping that I really struggled this round to efficiently gain tiles to put on my board. The fact that I twice used the gain 1 beans + 1 silver space suggests to me that I easily have room to improve since the efficiency there is pretty poor.

I also think that rushing to breed that much doesn't quite pay off. It just sacrifices too much development work to get both sets of animals breeding. I am thinking that it may be reasonable to get either sheep or cattle going and still score very highly in solo games, but rushing for both may not be a viable strategy. Still I haven't tried enough rounds with it so maybe there is yet hope for that strategy path.

The other lesson from this game I think is to make sure to plan some occupations into your game. Scribe was the starting occupation and I got an easy 4 rune stones out of it which is basically 8 points for that occupation. And if I had wasn't breeding animals during Round 3 I might have been able to fit in one more emigration (emigrating on rounds 3, 5, 7) for an even better payout from scribe.

Finally though this week's challenge really shows just how crazy balanced this game is. The solo scenarios are now onto their 12th challenge and the solo community has shown high score games can be achieved even with seemingly crazy constraints. There are a lot of viable strategic paths to explore in this game and the solo scenarios do a great job at forcing you to explore them. For me this week, it forced me to not be reliant on those dice actions I otherwise use so much. Who knows what directions future weeks will push me in. I look forward to finding out.


As always feel free to leave a comment below and I'll be glad to discuss details of this play-through or general strategy with you. If anyone has any ideas on how to improve the content of these session reports to make them more useful to you, please let me know. As usual, a big thanks to GAFBlizzard for organizing and running these solo challenges, and thanks to the community of players who partakes. Finally please consider leaving a thumb up above if you enjoyed this session report. It lets me know people are enjoying them which makes me want to continue posting them, and it also helps bring visibility to them so others can discover them.






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Marc-Andre Dufort
Canada
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I find going for sheep and cattle isn't balance enough between short term profit and long tberm investment so i go for one or the other.


First time i see this start with the but wouldnt it be more efficient with hunting and upgrade (on a regular game as this was prohibited on that scenario)
 
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Ryan Feathers
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I fully agree with you, it seems going for both breeding pairs is simply too much. In the future I intend to only do one or the other. (In which case it can actually be quite effective!) Overall I don't see a great love for breeding strategies yet, but I suspect in time players will come to respect them more and more.

As for the opening, it's been around for awhile and get utilized here and there. The upside is that you already have 3 income, got an occupation draw, and everything is blue so it's easy to start placing green goods around still.

The downside is that it's not incredibly efficient and you're carrying forward relatively little. I agree there are other strategies that may be better for the first round, but I'm not sure. I've seen some players score very highly with this opening. (Just look to likewize's 181 in last week's old Faroe challenge). There are quite a few other games in the solo scenario thread with people utilizing this opening and getting good scores too.

Still in the end...I'm not sure it's the best in the world either. I frankly prefer openings where I rush whaling or else do some Hunting and a few other actions setting up for a bigger round 2.

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Marcel Sagel
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Thanks for the detailed report. I'm still a 120-130 player myself, so I can certainly learn something from reports like these.
The most obvious thing I noticed here is that you often place peas/mead "inefficiently" in the feast. I've never even considered that, as it feels like a waste. But when I think that I often have some orange and red tiles left over at the end of the game, I guess I should have done that more often. The silver I save could sure come in handy...
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Ryan Feathers
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Mmm indeed it is inefficient, but if you're comparing it to saving a silver I'm completely willing to do that. I mean if you're placing peas or mead inefficiently you're wasting one space of an orange/red tile. That is not a big deal. As you say you probably often enough wind up with extra orange/red tiles at the end of the game. The literal worst case scenario is that you lose a point because you are short one space that would have covered a negative in the house or can't fill the feast table....and that's when you use the silver.

I mean when you look at it like that, there's really no good reason to be using the silver earlier since the silver is far more flexible in where it can be placed.

Anyhow, glad to hear you are finding them helpful. Always nice to know people appreciate them as they do take a while to put together. But knowing people are enjoying them is enough to make me want to keep putting them up.

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