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Subject: Session Report w/questions rss

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J
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I just finished my fourth game of Agricola, four players, E deck, and card passing variant.

We passed cards to the left with Occupations and Minor Improvements, keeping one each time until we had a full hand of each.
I focused mainly on cards featuring advantages in clay, sheep, and vegetables, trying to get combinations of cards that would be more powerful together. I ended up getting a lot of clay and vegetables, but never got a single sheep until late in the game, so I never used any of the sheep cards.

Early on I focused on getting some occupations and minor improvements out, because I had the cards that let you plow three fields instead of one, the card that lets you add an extra vegetable when you sow, and the card that gives you a free vegetable when you take the day laborer action. (Sorry, I don't remember the names of the cards). I didn't plow until I had the 'plow three fields' card down and I didn't sow until I had both the 'sow extra vegetable' card down and three vegetables in my supply (from taking day laborer three times). Then I finally planted all three vegetables which resulted in a total of nine in my fields all at once. This took quite a few rounds to pull off, probably somewhere around round 7 or 8.

In addition, I put down the '2 wood 2 reed for a wood room' card and was the first to build a room and then the first to add a family member. I also bought a cooking hearth because I could see that I would need to cook vegetables for food.

At this point I had pretty much ignored everything except getting my big vegetable engine going and getting an extra family member. I had no animals, no grain, and no fences.

Once the first vegetables were harvested, I never had to worry about food again. I took a food action a few times when there were five food available, but that's about it.

I spent the rest of the game expanding my wood hut to five rooms, getting five family members, renovating my house to clay and then stone, and using the 'clay vendor' card combined with the 'take two extra clay' card to turn a bunch of clay into one sheep, one boar, one cow, and a couple of reeds I needed for building, in order to avoid the negative 1 point scores in those categories. I never bred an animal or even had one until the final round. I also got a bunch of wood and built (mostly empty) pastures over all of my empty spots to avoid those negative points.

I never had a single grain or stable in the game.
Do you ever finish a game with zero of something or do you make sure you have at least one in all categories?

I finished with one single point (cooking hearth) out of all the cards I played.

I maxed out vegetables at the end and was able to eat a lot of them to feed my family, never took a beggar card.

I ended up with a score of 39.

So how did I do? What is a good score in a four player game?

I ended up winning, but the other players were all playing for the first time, so I don't take a lot of pride in my victory. This was my fourth game. Two players were out of the running because they had a bunch of empty farm spaces at the end. The guy who got second place went heavy on animals, maxing out all three categories while feeding his family with them for the entire game, but he ignored too many other categories to win.

Where are the efficiencies I missed? Is building a massive engine that requires several cards and actions to pull off, like my vegetable deal, a good idea if it takes quite a few rounds to execute?

One thing I can say for myself is that I didn't end the game with a bunch of extra unused resources. I had one stone and one food left and that's it.

Thanks!
Jarred
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I think 39 points is a very decent score. Many games have been won with less points.

Can you score higher? sure. In our 4-er games winner has around 45, with decks E,I (haven't tried K yet, cowards!). And i think there is room for more improvement.

Some things i would like to point out, they would allow you to score higher (IMHO):

Vegetable food machine was a good option, but...no grain? From 0 to 1 in grain gives you the same points that 4 boars, 3 cows, 2 pastures, etc.

Build as many rooms as you can in one action. If you spend one action to build a room, the new family member is going to spend his action building a room for his sister. If you have the axe (2 wood, 2 reed->1wooden room), take as many reed as you can and as soon as you can.

I don't know when you played your cards, but i think animal breeding and harvest can be as useful as card effects, sometimes. Moreover, just one point in cards is pretty low. Seek some improvements that give points. They often make the difference.

Well, probably in my games i make a lot of mistakes you don't and so. Just tried to help. :)

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J
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Sergei wrote:

Vegetable food machine was a good option, but...no grain? From 0 to 1 in grain gives you the same points that 4 boars, 3 cows, 2 pastures, etc.

I was trying to get one of everything towards the end. I had the clay vendor (or whatever he's called) and I sold all my clay for 1 sheep, 1 boar, 1 cow, and then I ran out. I could have had 1 grain as well if I had a few more clay. I didn't want to waste a whole action getting 1 grain and I didn't have any cards that could get me one.

Thanks for the advice.
-Jarred

EDIT: Wait a minute, I don't get your math. How is getting one grain as good as getting 4 boars?
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Adam Daulton
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I'd say that is a pretty solid score. Better than I do most of the time. I do usually try to not get any negatives, simply because the first you get of anything (except fields) gives you two points. Good luck in your future gaming!
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Geoff Burkman
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jarredscott78 wrote:
...How is getting one grain as good as getting 4 boars?


Four boar score two points at game's end. One grain effectively scores two points, by raising your score in that category from -1 to 1 at game's end. Really, though, the four boar are "worth" three points (by eliminating the negative in their category).

Anyway, good session report. You might have been able to do better by, as mentioned, conserving an action here or there (multiple rooms built at one time) or timing occupations and/or improvements better, which may have allowed you to gain more resources than you did otherwise.

Agricola is all about efficiency and timing.
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MisterG wrote:
jarredscott78 wrote:
...How is getting one grain as good as getting 4 boars?


Four boar score two points at game's end. One grain effectively scores two points, by raising your score in that category from -1 to 1 at game's end. Really, though, the four boar are "worth" three points (by eliminating the negative in their category).


Once you removed the -1 from getting one boar (as he did), to get 4 boars is worth 2 points. And its far easier to get one grain than to get 4 boars, or 3 cows...

I usually focus on almost every category of scoring track. In the last rounds I try to remove those -1. Two points for one action isn't that bad. If your four/five actions of last turns give you more than two points each, you are going to score high, even with some -1s.
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László K.
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jarredscott78 wrote:
Two players were out of the running because they had a bunch of empty farm spaces at the end. The guy who got second place went heavy on animals, maxing out all three categories while feeding his family with them for the entire game, but he ignored too many other categories to win.

The real question is: how did the 3 other players enjoy farming in the 17th century?

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J
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Ladislaus wrote:
jarredscott78 wrote:
Two players were out of the running because they had a bunch of empty farm spaces at the end. The guy who got second place went heavy on animals, maxing out all three categories while feeding his family with them for the entire game, but he ignored too many other categories to win.

The real question is: how did the 3 other players enjoy farming in the 17th century?



We've played three times now, so far so good!
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