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Subject: Friday Night Duplicate Agricola (part 1 of 2) rss

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Jerry Hagen
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It was a Friday night, and so naturally my wife suggested that we play Agricola. She further suggested that we play duplicate Agricola. We would play two games, trading E-deck hands between the two. (Yes, I'm aware I married well.) This is a report of the first of those games.

The second session report can be found here.

Player 1 Hand (Sara)

Occupations


Minor Improvements


Player 2 Hand (Jerry)

Occupations


Minor Improvements


I've put the moves in spoiler tags in case readers want to think over their own strategies before reading. Throughout I use coordinates to indicate the 15 squares of the game board. Columns are A-E, rows are 1-3. The starting house spaces, therefore, are {A2, A3}.

The Round 1 Action is Sheep.

Round 1 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Sara: Occupation (Grocer)
Jerry: 3 Wood (3)
Sara: Plow E1
Jerry: Start Player + Spices

Round 2 Action = Sow / Bake Bread



Round 2 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Jerry: 2 Reeds (2)
Sara: 3 Wood (3)
Jerry: Take 1 Grain (1) I'm not sure why I was under the impression I'd need grain this early. I should have gotten out Mushroom Collector a round sooner.
Sara: Day Laborer, +2 Food (4), Buy 1 Reed (1) and 1 Grain (1) from Grocer, -2 Food (2)

Round 3 Action = Fences



Round 3 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Jerry: Occupation (Mushroom Collector)
Sara: 3 Clay (3)
Jerry: 3 Wood/Mushroom Collector, +2 Wood (5) and +2 Food (5)
Sara: Sow 1 Grain at E1 Apparently going for a bread-baking strategy, and as I later found out she has the cards to back it up.

I'd never actually gotten Mushroom Collector into play before. I bow before its awesome power. Not needing a food engine for the first couple harvests allows me to build up resources to the 10W+4R point over these next few rounds. I probably shouldn't be allowed to keep the start player much longer once I start wood-hoarding.

Round 4 Action = Major or Minor Improvement




Round 4 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Jerry: 4 Wood/Mushroom Collector, +3 Wood (8) and +2 Food (7)
Sara: Fishing, +4 Food (8)
Jerry: 2 Reeds (4)
Sara: Plow at E2



Harvest wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Jerry: -4 Food (3)
Sara: +1 Grain/E1 (1), -4 Food (2)

Round 5 Action: Stone



Round 5 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Jerry: 4 Wood/Mushroom Collector, +3 Wood (11) and +2 Food (5) Yeah, I really shouldn't have gotten away with this a third time. I catch a huge break with the stone action coming up, too. Normally the race to the fireplace is hugely important, but I can't afford to wait two actions to get the stone house engine going. The sheep just keep building up.
Sara: Buy 1 Stone from Grocer (1), -1 Food (1), Major Improvement Clay Oven, -3 Clay (3), -1 Stone (0), Bake 1 Grain (0) into +5 food (6)
Jerry: Build 2 Rooms, -10 Wood (1), -4 Reeds (0)
Sara: Buy 1 Vegetable from Grocer (1), -1 Food (5), Occupation (Clay Mixer), -1 Food (4)

Round 6 Action: Renovate



Round 6 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Jerry: 2 Stone (2) No family growth? Oh well, I guess one can't have everything.
Sara: 4 Wood (7) Finally some wood! It isn't fun to be up against a Mushroom Collector in 2-player.
Jerry: Start Player + Stone Tongs, -1 Wood (0) I took start player as a reflex more than anything. I guess I didn't really need to since I had a head start on the family growth, but it was nice to get those Stone Tongs out.
Sara: 3 Clay (3), +1 Clay (4)

Round 7 Action: Family Growth



Round 7 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Jerry: 3 Wood/Mushroom Collector, +2 Wood (2), +2 Food (7)
Sara: Renovate, -2 Clay (2), -1 Reed (0), Fireplace, -2 Clay (0) Sara thought for at least thirty seconds before making this move. With a Clay Mixer out and my voraciously grabbing wood, it makes sense. The only question is whether to have built a wooden room first. But 7 sheep is too tempting, and this saves the wood for fences later.
Jerry: Family Growth + Stable at D3, -1 Wood (1)
Sara: 7 Sheep (7), cook 6 sheep (1), +12 Food (16) Normally it would be folly to have allowed this play, but I've monopolized building resources and feel I'm in a very strong position despite Sara's no longer having to worry about food for a couple harvests now.




Harvest wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Jerry: -5 Food (2)
Sara: +1 Grain/E1 (2), -4 Food (12), buy 1 Wood (8) and 1 Clay (1) from Grocer, -2 Food (10)

Round 8 Action = Take 1 Vegetable



Round 8 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Jerry: 4 Reeds (4)
Sara: Start Player + Ceramics, -1 Clay (0), +2 Food (12) Finally. I'm fine surrendering the initiative now though, as I've accomplished what I need to accomplish in the first two stages and so far have uncontested access to Family Growth.
Jerry: Fishing, +4 Food (6) The downside to Mushroom Collector is that I have no food engine to speak of. But yielding the sheep to Sara means I have free rein over other food sources! After all, why would she fish when she's already got 12 food? (Both our denial instincts could be developed a little better, I think.)
Sara: 4 Wood (12)
Jerry: Occupation (Conservator), -1 Food (5) With apologies to Scott Nicholson, this is the point at which Sara "says bad words." It hasn't really been clear that I've been building up to a large stone house until this point.

Round 9 Action = Wild Boar



Round 9 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Sara: 3 Clay + 1 Clay (4)
Jerry: 3 Stone + 1 Stone (6)
Sara: Occupation (Baker), -1 Food (11) Without a decent Oven yet, she chooses not to bake.
Jerry: Renovate to Stone/Conservator, -4 Stone (2), -1 Reed (3), Basketmaker, -2 Stone (0), -2 Reed (1) A move made solely out of desperation for food, I wasn't too sanguine about bonus points.
Jerry: Family Growth, Potato Dibber, -1 Wood (0)



Harvest wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Sara: +1 Grain/E1 (3), -4 Food (7)
Jerry: -1 Reed (0)/+3 Food (8) via Basketmaker, -7 Food (1)

Round 10 Action = Cattle



Round 10 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Sara: Fences {B2, B3, C2, C3} and {D2, D3}, -12 Wood (0)
Jerry: 6 Wood/Mushroom Collector, +5 Wood (5), +2 Food (3) Getting a little desperate for food.
Sara: 2 Reed (2)
Jerry: Occupation (Mason), -1 Food (2), Place free stone room at B2 More bad words from Sara. I had been muttering aloud that my hand was ridiculous since the beginning of the game, and after all we had agreed to play these hands from the other side afterwards.
Jerry: 2 Boar (2)
Jerry: 1 Clay (1)

Round 11 Action = Stone



Round 11 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Sara: 2 Cattle (2)
Jerry: 4 Wood/Mushroom Collector, +3 Wood (8), +2 Food (4)
Sara: Sow Grain at E1, E2
Jerry: Family Growth + Simple Fireplace, -1 Clay (0) I probably wouldn't attempt this if I didn't have three actions in a row.
Jerry: 5 Sheep, cook 4 sheep (1) and 1 boar (1), +6 Food (10)
Jerry: Occupation (Chief's Daughter), -1 Food (9) I'd rather have taken Start Player with Round 12 coming up, but I have two occupations to get down in the last four rounds and don't want to take any chances. Since I have this food lying around...



Harvest wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Sara: +2 Grain/E1,E2 (3), Bake 1 Grain (Baker), -1 Grain (2), +5 Food (12), -4 Food (8), Breed 1 Cow (3)
Jerry: -9 Food (0)

Round 12 Action: Family Growth without room



Round 12 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Sara: 2 Boar (2) I'm full on family members, so no rush to claim the family growth space.
Jerry: 3 Stone + Stone Tongs, +4 Stone (6)
Sara: Family Growth without room
Jerry: Start Player + Dovecote, -2 Stone (4)
Jerry: 4 Wood/Mushroom Collector, +3 Wood (11), +2 Food (2)
Jerry: Plow B3
Jerry: Take 1 Vegetable (1)

Round 13 Action: Plow + Sow



Round 13 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Interturn: Jerry +1 Food (3)
Jerry: Plow + Sow, Plow C3, Sow Grain at B3, Vegetable at C3
Sara: Start Player + Lettuce Patch
Jerry: 3 Reeds (3) Gotta eat somehow. Lucky these were still available.
Sara: 3 Stone (3)
Jerry: 4 Wood/Mushroom Collector, +3 Wood (14), +2 Food (5)
Sara: Family Growth without room, buy 1 Reed (1), 1 Vegetable (1), -2 Food (6)
Jerry: Fences {D1, E1}, {D2, E2}, {D3, E3}, -14 Wood (0)
Jerry: 2 Cattle




Harvest wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Jerry: +1 Grain B3 (1), +1 Vegetable C3 (2), 1 Reed/3 Food, -1 Reed (2), +3 Food (8), Cook 1 Vegetable (0), +3 Food (11), -10 Food (1), Breed 1 Cow
Sara: +2 Grain E1,E2 (4), Bake 1 Grain (3), +5 Food (11), -7 Food (4), Breed 1 Cow (4) and 1 Boar (3)

Round 14 Action = Renovate + Fences



Round 14 wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Interturn: Jerry +1 Food (2)
Sara: Build Room, -3 Clay (1), -2 Reed (0)
Jerry: Plow C2 + Sow Grain at C2
Sara: Renovate to Stone, -3 Stone (0), -1 Reed (0), free Pottery
Jerry: Fishing +5 Food (7)
Sara: 4 Clay + 2 Clay (7)
Jerry: Occupation (Chief), -3 Food (4)
Sara: Family Growth without room
Jerry: Plow C1
Jerry: 4 Sheep (4)



Harvest wrote:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Sara: +2 Grain/E1,E2 (5), Bake 1 Grain (4), +5 Food (9), -9 Food
Jerry: +2 Grain/B3,C2 (3), +1 Vegetable C3 (1), Cook 2 Sheep (2), +2 Food (6), 1 Reed/3 Food, -1 Reed (1), +3 Food (9), -9 Food (0), -1 Grain (2)



Final Scoring wrote:

Sara's farm
Jerry's farm
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Sara's farm
2 Fields @ {E1, E2} = 1
2 Pastures @ {B2, B3, C2, C3}, {D2, D3} = 2
4 Grain = 2
2 Vegetables = 2
1 Sheep = 1
3 Boar = 2
5 Cattle = 3
4 Unused Spaces = -4
0 Fenced Stables = 0
3 Stone Rooms = 6
5 Family Members = 15
Cards {Clay Oven 2, Fireplace 1, Lettuce Patch 1, Pottery 2} = 6
Bonus Points {Clogs 2, Pottery 3} = 5
TOTAL SCORE 41

Immediately after the game, I commented that I thought the Grocer wasn't a great first-turn play. Looking back I think it actually accomplished quite a bit, and I've changed my mind on its suitability for the first turn, as it turns the day laborer into a pretty good space. The issue with it, though, is that it takes a lot of food to get to that second reed. If she'd been able to buy both reeds sooner, she might have been able to build a room before renovating, which would have allowed her a family growth action around Round 8 and forced me to compete a little for family growth in stage 3. Clay Mixer is an all-star, especially when going up against the Mushroom Collector. After I conceded the 7 sheep to her, Lettuce Patch wasn't that important a play; I'm sure we would have seen it come out sooner if not for her food surplus. A few of her good cards (Baker, Baker's Oven, Lettuce Patch) involve food production, so the sheep didn't help as much as one would think 12 food ought to.

Jerry's farm
4 Fields @ {B3, C1, C2, C3} = 3
3 Pastures @ {D1, E1}, {D2, E2}, {D3, E3} = 3
5 Grain = 2
2 Vegetables = 2
4 Sheep = 2
1 Boar = 1
4 Cattle = 3
0 Unused Spaces = 0
1 Fenced Stable = 1
5 Stone Rooms = 10
5 Family Members = 15
Cards {Basketmaker 2, Simple Fireplace 1, Dovecote 2} = 5
Bonus Points {Chief 5, Chief's Daughter 3} = 8
TOTAL SCORE 55

My hand basically plays itself. For the sake of variety Sara played it differently in game 2, but I've no doubt she'd have scored in or near the fifties if she'd played the hand first. The stone house cards (Conservator, Mason, Chief's Daughter, Chief, Stone Tongs) are an obvious killer combo, and the Mushroom Collector is an obvious and powerful early play which interferes with Player 1 a lot. After this game, I might even call the Mushroom Collector the card I most want to see in my hand in a 2-player game. I think this hand's score is actually more affected by what Player 1 does than what Player 2 does - in this game Sara's strategy didn't get in my way too much, and so the ridiculous combo is allowed to do its worst. Fighting me more for wood would have held my score down substantially, though it probably wouldn't have been a positive for hers either. It might have cut the margin a bit though, holding my score down around the mid-forties.



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Jesse Dean
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Nice idea for a report. Unfortunately it isn't really possible to decide what to do unless we know what the current round space is.

So, a suggestion. Have the first round space appear in the open. Have additional round spaces appear at the END of the spoilered out text of the previous round.

Should work.
 
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Jerry Hagen
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I moved the new actions as suggested.

I'll have the second game up by tomorrow morning, and I'll provide a link here when that's finished.
 
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Tim Seitz
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Interesting replay method. I disliked the spoilers mode, though, since it made it more difficult to follow.

You had a good hand, although I think you over-value mushroom collector. It was effective in your game versus her since she let you abuse it, but the other player just needs to fight you for start player and they benefit from it almost as much as you do. Whenever you use the card, they can pick up the extra wood on the next turn. So YOU end up running short on wood, not them.
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out4blood wrote:
You had a good hand, although I think you over-value mushroom collector. It was effective in your game versus her since she let you abuse it, but the other player just needs to fight you for start player and they benefit from it almost as much as you do. Whenever you use the card, they can pick up the extra wood on the next turn. So YOU end up running short on wood, not them.


Unless you also get the Woodcutter like I did last night.

In any event, I realy like how the hands make you play the game differently. This could be that I am terrible at Agricola but no matter what hand I get I "always" score in the 40's (2-player games). Just once I scored 30 but that was very poor play and I leanrt my lesson.
 
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Jerry Hagen
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It took me 20-30 games before I could consistently score in the 40s, so I wouldn't call that "bad play" at all. I've only cracked 50 four or five times.

I'm putting the finishing touches on the second report, and should have it submitted to GeekMod in just a few minutes. I'll update this thread with a link tomorrow.
 
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Jan B.
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Great report, nice to read. I think the mushroom collector would not have been so valuable if your wife didn't concentrate on clay so much.

I am a little bit confused, if I should play the grocer if I get him next time. I played him as an opener and I regreted it. But it might make sense to use him during mid-game if you have a killer-food chain. Then the extra grain/reed/vegetable might come in very handy.
 
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Jerry Hagen
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See game 2 for an example of that.

BGG went down last night as I was about to submit to geekmod, but I got the report submitted this morning and have included a link at the top.

I think what it really comes down to is that 2-player Agricola is fundamentally different. Multiplayer can be played without concentrating much on what others are doing except in how it affects you, but you just can't get away with that in 2-player. I'd played 5 games of 2-player before, she'd played 2. That was enough of a difference for me to have caught on to the fundamentally different nature of the 2-player game before she did.

I should note that she did go on to beat me in a third (not part of the experiement and unrecorded except for the 41-40 score) game that night.
 
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Tim Seitz
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kent_bro wrote:
Great report, nice to read. I think the mushroom collector would not have been so valuable if your wife didn't concentrate on clay so much.

I am a little bit confused, if I should play the grocer if I get him next time. I played him as an opener and I regreted it. But it might make sense to use him during mid-game if you have a killer-food chain. Then the extra grain/reed/vegetable might come in very handy.


The grocer is a winning card if you also have rum distiller. The problem with the rum card is getting an early vegetable. The grocer solves that nicely.
 
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Grzegorz Kobiela
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jhagen1908 wrote:

(Round 6) Sara: 3 Clay (3), +1 Clay (4)


You played the clay mixer wrong here. Clay mixer gives you TWO additional clay, not just one.
 
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