Players: Arthur, ScottLouSteveDave, Random_Person, Markadelic
Location: R_P's house
Oregon has quickly become a favorite game among our gaming group and gets played most every gaming session. The most recent play led to a very exciting finish.
R_P won the opportunity to play first, followed in order by SLSD, Arthur, and then myself. The early game was dominated by R_P and SLSD as they were able to place Farmers adjacent to multiple Buildings (primarily Churches for R_P and Mines for SLSD).
At one point, R_P was up to 38 points, SLSD had 18 but had already collected 5 mine tokens, while Arthur and I were tied with 11. Arthur was burned by constantly drawing 'Fire' Landscape cards which left him very limited in options. R_P started to slow down, primarily limited by not being able to activate either his Joker or Extra Turn token, but was able to score a few more points and connect 3 of his Farmers for 5 more points.
Connecting Farmers became a primary focus of mine during the middle of the game, and I had completed 1 and was setting up the potential for at least 2 other such separate connections. Otherwise I was only scoring very few points, but I was being sure to take advantage of either a General Store and Railroad on each turn. My use of the tokens kept me ahead of R_P, and playing before him, I was able to begin to foil plans he was setting up for placement of Farmers while structuring mine so that I would be able to score more points for connecting sets of 3 Farmers.
The game began to approach the end as players began to exhaust stacks of Building tiles. As what turned out to be my final turn, R_P had 71 points and I had 44, while SLSD and Arthur were behind in the 30's. By this point I knew that SLSD had about 30 points in Mine tokens, which would put his final score at most in the low-to-mid 70's, and R_P had just 1 Coal and 1 Gold token so the most points he could finish with would be 79 if I could finish the game on my turn. The trick would be to score enough points while doing so in order to claim victory.
I have to admit that I actually exercised some foresight on my prior couple turns. First, I placed a Farmer in a spot that gave me 3 points from a Post Office and a Coal token. I had a couple other options that could have yielded a few more points, but more importantly this play prevented R_P from placing his Farmer there on his next play and set up the potential with another Farmer to connect for another 5 points. I also took an action to build a Railroad track adjacent to 1 of my Farmers, yielding only 1 point but giving me the vital Extra Action token active in order to complete my plans. My next turn I placed a Farmer to not only make what was my second connection of 3 Farmers for 5 points along the far left edge of the board by set me up for a wonderful place to Build on my next turn.
So, for my final turn I would have to build one of the Buildings that had only 1 tile left and score enough points to secure the win. As I had mentioned earlier, I had been using my Joker and Extra Turn tokens on at least every other turn and had sacrificed a few points in order to set up other future Buildings and Farmers that would result in more points. Thankfully, it was worth it. I love it when a plan comes together!
My turn began with my Joker token active but my Extra Turn token was inactive. Another little twist to this would be that I would have to Build adjacent to a Railroad with my first action in order to get my Extra Action token active to have any chance to achieve victory. I used my Joker to help place a Farmer adjacent diagonally to both a Railroad and a General Store, giving me 1 point from each tile, but this Farmer also completed my third connection of 3 Farmers for 5 more points and activated both my Joker and Extra Action tokens. I used both in order to place a Post Office to the right of my middle Farmer of my connection of 3 Farmers along the far left edge of the board. Moreover, I also had a Farmer diagonally adjacent to the bottom right corner of the Post Office tile, so it scored me a total of 12 points. R_P had a Farmer adjacent to it as well for 3 points, but the net gain of 9 should be enough to win the game.
On my final turn my score began at 44. After my first action is increased to 51, then after my second action it jumped up to 63. I had 2 Coal tokens, each worth 3 points, and 4 Gold tokens, with 2 3's, a 4, and a 5, thus bringing my final score to 84. R_P had 71 points, with a Coal token worth 3 and a Gold token worth 4 making his final total 78. SLSD jumped up to 75 with his tokens, while Arthur made it to 50 at the end.
Vital to winning this game was having patience to not always make the place that would score the most points on that turn. It was important to take the time and to have the foresight to set up future plays and connections of 3 Farmers. Even more important may have been utilizing the Joker and Extra Turn tokens as often as possible and getting them back even when a play might yield more points.
Most times I have played this game I have gone first or second. This was the first time I went last, and I definitely combined the fact of going last with the more patient and future focused style of placement, which ultimately did pay off. Timing definitely was everything on this frontier!