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Subject: Two 3-player games using the K Deck rss

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Game 1: I finally focus

First time for me with the K deck. I don't see any more complexity, at least in understanding what the cards do. I can certainly bungle them just as easily as I can the E deck.

I'm playing against Tom "Agricola" McCorry and two-games-under-the-belt Eric. I've also played twice.

This time I made up my mind to focus and tighten. I chose three occupations and two minor improvements that fit. Put the others down... so I can barely see them... step away from them slowly and nobody gets hurt.

I wanted to play my Furrowing Plow which requires three occupations. So as start player (which I've been all three games I've played) I avoid the goods and go right for Training (it's never there on the second pass) and play the Resource Seller. Actually, that fits in nicely because it will add to my resources when I do grab goods.

I play the Market Woman to go with my eventually plowed fields. Sweet! (I really miss this card in game 2.) And quite soon I also play the Fence Overseer which will blend in nicely. All the while I'm grabbing the resources that match the Resource Seller.

With only two family members to feed, I didn't have to scramble (i.e., waste precious actions) often for food. My next game I did. Ouch. Note to self...

So I'm able to play my beloved Furrowing Plow. It was fun hearing the grumbles when I used it, and even more grumbles hearing "you get to use that twice?"

I noticed in my previous game how rapid plowing pays off in multiple ways. You quickly: eliminate unused farm spots, add to your plowed field VPs and ramp up your grain/veggie production. Put that with the Market Woman and ... how did I still lose this game? Well, I still have a lot of learning to do. My timing is surely still off.

I managed to get a Hearth and a late Well. I built my family to 5 at a fairly normal pace and had stone rooms.

Tom used the Clay Pit and Lover cards to good effect mid to mid-late in the game and was really cranking out the occupations and improvements. He had an efficient mix of varied pastures (actually breeding animals--what???) and productive fields.

Eric did decently, but was just a little behind in things. He still made a good run down the stretch.

We could have knocked this out in one hour flat, but Eric has AP disease. (Plug: Won't you please donate generously to the anti-AP fund?)

I learned that veggies and grain in fields score. I had thought it was just those in supply. If you read my previous session, credit me with 3 or 4 more points. (Insert scoring dance here.)

Tom 41
Jim 36
Eric 33

I'm quite proud of myself.

Lessons learned: The 3-player game is great to learn to track what other people are likely to do. Two other boards are manageable to keep an eye on and doing so will ensure you grab actions in a favorable order. This may be obvious, but in a game that has an initially heavy "what the?" learning curve, I was usually too busy worrying about what I needed to do.

Game 2: I continue to focus--as if it were game 1

Eric bails and Mason joins. Mason is coming off a horrendous high-beggar first game a few weeks ago while Tom has been playing superbly. So, you guessed it, Mason wins and Tom loses. If you do the math, I come in second; if you don't, I win.

I applied the focus I used in game 1. If you read that carefully, you realize that's deceptive.

Each game is its own entity. You must RE-focus: on your cards, on the new players (what are they trying to do this time), on the new action order, on. It's like switching tables in a poker tournament--different mood, different playing styles; but now add in all new cards too.

The players don't even have to be different people. From game to game, people will adjust their play, knowingly and unknowingly.

Equally important--you don't have the same cards!

This is the first game I'm not the first player, although I'm still second.

I plan on using the Wet Nurse (there's no good verb to use in that sentence! playing, forcing, taking advantage of?) and cranking out the family early and often. Along with the Bruswhood Collector I'll be unstoppable!

Yeah, but right away I can't/don't get the occupation out. I think I started a group-think trend last game, which is the start player grabbing the occupation. Not a bad move, really. There's no super-haul of goods out there in the 3-player.

Well, the other occupation will still be there, so I grab resources (what did I just say about no super-haul? Doh!) Sure enough Mason grabs the 2-food training spot.

I do some more resource grabbing, including reeds, and abandon my Brushwood plan. (It's only now in retrospect that I realize I was thinking in terms of last game with the Resource Seller. That's seven extra goods over the game. Taking a one or two resource spot works with that occupation--One reed is suddenly two and you can build a room, etc...) I get the family up and running fairly soon, but with no food infrastructure. I'm wasting turns BIG time taking a few food and still take a Beggar card (my first, but probably not last, ever.)

When I played the Wet Nurse, Mason commented that it was a "game winner." Tom just shook his head at that naive comment. Many cards have the potential to be particularly effective depending on a host of variables. But it's not like there aren't other good cards out there.

Mason's cards all worked together and he was cranking them out. He kept up with my huge family while maintaining a good food infrastructure and a killer combo of occs and improves.

Tom must have been tired. His farm was, frankly, quite sad-looking. I knew it was bad when he pulled a "Jim" and made the "massive fence build for the sole purpose of filling empties" play near the end of the game. He didn't get a third family member till very late.

I patchworked my farm, getting each animal (and several cattle) despite no pastures with the Animal Tamer and using, again, the Furrowing Plow. I did get on track foodwise with said Tamer, a Basketweaver and the use of a Hearth (the expensive Hearth, you Hearthless bastards!) I bought the Well again this game, draining a whopping two food out of it.

Resources were always a battle, maybe because of how many family members were out so early. Goods rarely stockpiled.

Mason: In the high 40s. Dude!
Jim: 23 (don't you hate thinking you've gotten better and then suck?)
Tom: Score misplaced to protect the guilty.

Lessons Learned:
-- RE-Focus every game. Every game is different in pace and needs--obvious until you forget
-- Don't force.
-- Don't forget the bonuses for Major Improvements. I wasted a chance for reeds with my Basketweaver.

Lessons Learned from both games:
-- You really can storm back. If you're diligent and patient in the (figurative and literal) planting season, it will blossom manyfold come the (figurative and literal) harvest. You will likely use that 4 stone even if you don't need it right now.
-- New family members are like seeds. Don't plant them too early or too late.

Anyone have any ideas on how to finesse the Wet Nurse?
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