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Subject: Why a limitation on fences? rss

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Derek Carver
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This game has been extremely well thought out. What is more, in the games I've played to date each player has followed their own style of development, which adds to the interest of the game.

Whilst some players might follow a 'plough and sow' approach others might create fenced pasture for animal husbandry. But in this latter case we come up against the limitation of fence pieces because instead of being 'neutral' (like resources) they are in each player's colour.

In our most recent game a new player followed this 'animals' approach and easily acquired plenty of wood. But to his horror he then found that he couldn't use the wood because he didn't have enough fence pieces. "Here I am" he said "pretending to be a 17th century farmer with a huge stock of wood in my yard yet unable to build fencing with it!!!" He found this totally illogical and so did I.

I accept that Herr Rosenberg might have felt that if too many people want to indulge in excessive fencing (something I've not yet seen happen) there might not be enough 'wood' to go round. But is this a bad thing? Competition for wood is surely preferable to having the wood but not being allowed to build fencing. And it's even more logical for a farmer to be forced to change tack simply because too many are following the same style of farming and thus causing a shortage of raw materials.

But, as I say, in all of our games some players have hardly used their fence pieces whilst others have exhausted their stock.

Personally I would like to put all of the fence pieces in a pool so that players could use fencing in any colour, and so not run out. But I've no wish to tinker with this excellent game. I just wondered what others felt about this aspect.

- Derek
 
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Hanno Girke
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The limitation on Family Members, Fences and Stables is meant as a cap to onesided strategies.
The same wiht the scoring with a limit of 4 points standard per categorie.
And, as someone else already pointed out, you can't score full on all categories at once with 15 spaces for your farm - you need 16.
So it's all an attempt to give diversity a bonus and to encourage players to go with different strategies.
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Markus Pausch
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And you don't wonder why your farmer can't bake bread because his neighbour just did this? Is this realistic?

I also was going for animal breeding, but in the end I had to get fields and sheds to avoid penalty points.
In my eyes this is not a simulation of 17th century farming.I mean there is nothing exciting happening, such as: one of you sheeps get sick or due to bad wether all crops are spoiled.

It is again the good old choosing-actions-to-produce-victory-points-affair.
And also because of such restriction, like you have limited amount of fences, you can't make babies because this action has already been taken and so on, I never felt I'm farming.

I just was paying attention to vps not to farming or animal breeeding. So this limitation don't bother me much.
 
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Derek Carver
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Hanno wrote:
The limitation on Family Members, Fences and Stables is meant as a cap to onesided strategies.


You may be right but that's not immediately obvious to me. After all, there's no intended limit to the number of fields you can sow. And why should one-sided strategies be wrong for the game? The scoring tries to penalise them anyway.

Having been much involved in the world of game design/publication I am fully aware that it is not unusual for mistakes/oversights to occur during the production process Something not thought about or not made clear to the person doing the work or ordering the components. A rule then needs to be incorporated that makes the error seem intentional. We've all seen it. Similarly a reasonable limit has to be set on components for cost purposes.

Whilst I'm not for a moment suggesting it happened in this game I can easily imagine that it wasn't before it was too late that it was realised the fences should have formed a pool in a neutral colour (the stables too, come to that).

- Derek
 
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Derek Carver
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Carver wrote:
Hanno wrote:
The limitation on Family Members, Fences and Stables is meant as a cap to onesided strategies.


You may be right


I owe you an apology Hanno. When I read your reply I assumed you were 'just another Geek' like the rest of us and you had assumed this was the designer's intention. I didn't appreciate that you are a 'super-geek' and actually published the thing, which make one read you reply in a different light - and certainly no slight was intended by my reply.

(But I still say you could have saved yourself a nice big box of euros by making the fences and stables a neutral colour - and still not spoil an excellent game!!!)

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Mik Svellov
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Carver wrote:
(But I still say you could have saved yourself a nice big box of euros by making the fences and stables a neutral colour - and still not spoil an excellent game!!!)


I can't think there is much saved by using neutral pieces insteads of colored ones.
And it would certainly go against all traditions for German games!

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Lee Fisher
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The fences definitely does seem to confuse a lot of people. In another game I played with new players, a couple of people also hit the fence wall and went oh crap.
 
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Mik Svellov
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lfisher wrote:
The fences definitely does seem to confuse a lot of people. In another game I played with new players, a couple of people also hit the fence wall and went oh crap.


I shudder to think what people would have tried to do if all 75 Fence pieces had been of the same neutral color!
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B C Z
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2 room house
1 field
12 fenced in pastures with each animal getting its own individual pen and a nameplate on the gate.

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Todd Pytel
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Hanno wrote:
The limitation on Family Members, Fences and Stables is meant as a cap to onesided strategies.

Could you elaborate on what kind of "onesided strategy" one could employ by building >15 fences? It's not obvious to me why you would ever want to do this. Even with 15, the last fence is purely for the sake of maxing out your pasture points, since 14 fences and two stables are enough to hold the max animal points, even without any special cards (Animal Tamer, etc.). As I've only experienced the game via the solitaire app, I'm assuming I'm just missing something.
 
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John Kennard
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tppytel wrote:
Could you elaborate on what kind of "onesided strategy" one could employ by building >15 fences?

For one, it takes a minimum of 16 fences to enclose the entirety of your fields, thereby negating any -1 penalties for empty fields.

carver wrote:
Competition for wood is surely preferable to having the wood but not being allowed to build fencing.

Ahh, but it's not just wood that you need.
Just think of it as a limit resource of nails
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Larry Levy
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tppytel wrote:
Could you elaborate on what kind of "onesided strategy" one could employ by building >15 fences?

Well, for one thing, you could soak up a lot of unused spaces by building a huge amount of fences. If the fences you can build are unlimited, you could do this as well as maximize the points you get for building four pastures. Right now, you really can't do both.
 
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Tim Seitz
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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RacingHippo wrote:
carver wrote:
Competition for wood is surely preferable to having the wood but not being allowed to build fencing.

Ahh, but it's not just wood that you need.
Just think of it as a limit resource of nails


You don't need nails to build a wood fence!
 
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Tim Seitz
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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Hanno wrote:
And, as someone else already pointed out, you can't score full on all categories at once with 15 spaces for your farm - you need 16.


I'm assuming you mean without occupation/improvement cards.
 
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Warren Cheung
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Mechanically, don't forget that most of the plow action will only let you plow one new field. Contrast this to building fences, where you could easily build all your fences in one go, enclosing most of your board.

And as others have mentioned, lets not use Agricola as a model for a normal farming community. The more I try to think about it, it's probably like one of those strange cult camps, where only one couple is allowed into the mating room at a time (I'm assuming everyone else needs to wear chastity belts or somesuch), and there's only one communal magic hammer in the entire commune for all construction related activities (ostensibly to prevent people from cracking open those chastity belts). Then again, I guess you do need to have population restrictions in place for a species where the offspring jump out fully formed and ready to work...
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Derek Carver
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warrenac wrote:
I guess you do need to have population restrictions in place for a species where the offspring jump out fully formed and ready to work...


That's the important point Warren. It isn't a restriction on babies. It's a reflection on the number that survive the diseases of childhood (plus the high chance of being eaten by the family pet wild boar) and grow to adulthood wanting to work on the farm; as opposed to composing operas or going off to sack someplace or other.

But the restriction of fence building (even if one has the wood) seems a bit of the EU nearly 400 years too early. Of course, it might not turn out to be a good idea gamewise, but players are normally allowed to choose their own route to disaster.

- Derek
 
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Hanno Girke
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So I give you another reason why the limit is at 15.

There's a rule that you may not fence a plown field.
If you had 16 fences, you could do the following:

___ ___ ___
! !
! ___ !
! !~~! !
! !___! !
! !
!___ ___ ___!

ie fencing in a plown filed (depicted as ~~). Which is forbidden. ;-)

 
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Derek Carver
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Hanno wrote:
So I give you another reason why the limit is at 15.

There's a rule that you may not fence a plown field.
If you had 16 fences, you could do the following:

___ ___ ___
! !
! ___ !
! !~~! !
! !___! !
! !
!___ ___ ___!

ie fencing in a plown filed (depicted as ~~). Which is forbidden. ;-)



Good one Hanno. Keep 'em coming!

- Derek
 
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Werner Bär
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Hanno wrote:
If you had 16 fences, you could do the following:

Hint: use the code tags[/c] [c] [/c] for such illustrations:

___ ___ ___
! !
! ___ !
! !~~~! !
! !___! !
! !
!___ ___ ___!


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Hanno Girke
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thanks Werner!

 
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Craig Viau
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Sounds like a swell idea for a camp.
 
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