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Subject: Getting started with Agricola - a query rss

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Maik Hennebach
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There have been several discussions, often centered on individual cards, on whether the influence of your initial hand of cards is strong to practically determine the winner. As I've stated in most of those discussions, my stance is No, it ain't, but I'd prefer to spare you (and myself) another rehash of my arguments.

Rather I'd like to ask for your help in getting to the root of this misconception, since I have a hunch that it can be avoided by not using all cards right from the start. There is some anecdotal corraboration for that hunch, but I'm definitely running the risk of only reading what I want to read, and so I'd like some more data. Cold, hard data, preferrably.

So if you'd like to sate my curiosity, please answer the following set of short questions. Again, the hypothesis your answers will prove or crush is: if you restrict yourself to the E deck for your first few games of Agricola, you'll have more fun than if you don't.

1a) In your first three (or less) games of Agricola, which card decks did you play with? If you've only played once or twice, please state that along with your answer.
1b) How would/did you rate the game after these first games?
1c) How would you gauge the influence of the cards on winning after these first games:
none - pure game of skill
weak - only significant between players of very even skill
middling - about as significant as skill
strong - can only be evened out by great differences in skill

Optionally, you can also answer this second set:
2a) What's your current total number of plays?
2b) What's your current rating for Agricola?
2c) How do you gauge the card influence now?

I'll be the first to answer myself to make this thread look a little livelier and will have a first look at the results (if any) next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thanks for participating!

Maik

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Maik Hennebach
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1a) E deck
1b) 9
1c) weak

2a) 59
2b) 10
2c) weak
 
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Melissa
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1a) E deck first 1 game, then family game x2
1b) high - 9
1c) we decided that they actually made our scores go backwards! So weak, I guess.

2a) 23 or so
2b) 10
2c) weak

I do recognise that there is a very small possibility of a killer combo of cards, but my experience is that in most if not all cases the other players should be able to play against that combo. (eg by denying grain to that user)
 
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Richard Rutten
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1a E & I
1b 9
1c Middling

2a 10
2b 9.4
2c Weak
 
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David Fair
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1a. E deck
1b. 9
1c. weak

2a. 80 or so
2b. 10
2c. weak

a player, can actually hurt themselves greatly trying to make situations where their cards are more useful.
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Ik ben een kleine boefje
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1a: E, I and K
1b. 9
1c. Middling

2a: 20 or so
2b: 9.8
2c: Weak



Quote:
the players, can actually hurt themselves greatly trying to make situations where their cards are more useful.


I completly agree with this opinion. Is a normal situation that one player wastes several actions (and food) in order to use cards that seemed to be good (or that can actually be good). And doing this he/she forgets to use his/her familiars to collect goods, mayor improvements or whatever, and once the card is on the table is really too late to generate enough points for a win.
 
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Simon Lundström
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Now who are these five?
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Maybe I shouldn't reply to this. Why? Look at the replies:

1a) None. only family game
1b) 10.
1c) Hypothetically, we figured "marginal".

2a) 13
2b) 10
2c) No idea… still playing the family game as I'm mostly playing with new people all the time.
 
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Michael
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1a) Don't really know - imo only E.
1b) high - 8
1c) middling

2a) Well, this was my only play (this Monday, btw).
 
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Werner Bär
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1a. E Deck
1b. 8
1c. middling

2a. 13 (2 x family game, 11 x E deck)
2b. 9
2c. weak

I've seen 2 extreme cards hands in about 25 games (my games played, and about the same number i supervised).
One IMO very weak hand in the very first game i played (not my hand).
One very strong hand in a game i wasn't in; the only game i've seen where the players used the K deck (only).



 
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Emile de Maat
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1a) K-deck
1b) 8
1c) Weak

2a) 7
2b) 8.5
2c) Middling
 
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Gustav W
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It's next wednesday today but I answer anyway.

1a) All cards, ie E, I and K.
1b) 8 after game 1, upped to 9 after game 3.
1c) Middling.

2a) 5 (I've only had the game for 3.5 weeks).
2b) 9.
2c) Weak most of the time but middling from time to time whenever someone get (a) great combo(s).
 
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Doug Faust
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1a) E deck.
1b) 8
1c) weak

2a) 6
2b) 9
2c) usually weak

As David Fair mentioned, often the key to winning is knowing when not to play your cards. It takes a fair bit of experience to know whether cards or card combos are worth it in the long run. There's a significant difference between "hey, look at all this ridiculous stuff I can do" and actually scoring points.
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Maik Hennebach
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Thanks for all the answers, and sorry for not having the time to comment earlier.

With ten answers so far, this is not yet transcending the obscure border between anecdotes and statistics, I feel. And so far, there's no vote for a strong card influence, which makes it somewhat hard to correlate any starting deck configuration with that stance.

Hopefully, some more data will trickle in over the weekend, otherwise I'll just have set up some shill accounts
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Mike Bazynski
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1a) family game
1b) 10
1c) none

2a) 33
2b) 9.5
2c) weak. I still play mostly family game though. for newbies - always family game, found new people introduced to family game like agricola a whole lot more than when introduced to card game. with cards significantly better player will win by a lot bigger margin than in family game even with a supposedly weak hand - there's quite a bit of skill in using your cards effectively.
 
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