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Subject: Co-Operative Challenges rss

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Mircea Pauca
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Following the discusssion on the Kibbutz thread, http://boardgamegeek.com/article/2896537 let's get started with Co-Operative Challenges like the Solo are already well analyzed ! There can be vast combinations of players, cards, ways of scoring, so I start with one of them:

2FwE) Two-player Family game (no cards, boards on their back), worst case order of Round cards, Elitist scoring: 69+26 = 95 VP

The idea was to make the Best family the best, with priority access to resources, and the Aux best just with what remains. Building resources (esp. Stone and Wood) were the hard limits. Food was surprisingly easy, actions relatively abundant too after Best's wave of growth, and the Family version of Day Laborer (1 Food and any 1 building resource) surprisingly useful both for flexibility and just those extra materials. Thanks to Solo forerunners for their great examples and some tips (including the early Day Laborer for 1 Stone to get Clay Oven).

Aux farm - start with 2F

R1) Wood(3), Plow
R2) Day Labor (F,W), Storehouse (2F)
R3) Day Labor (F,W), Plow
[Fences, Improve, Sow/Bake, Sheep - in any order]
R4) Day Labor (F,W), 1 Grain
Harvest 1 (eat 4F) 3F, 1G, 6W, 2 empty fields

R5) Day Labor (F,W), Fences (-7W > 1+1 pasture like the digital '8')
R6) Day Labor (F,C), Plow
[Stone, Growth, Renovate/Improve - in any order]
R7) Day Labor (F,C), Sheep (4+, excess may run)
Harvest 2 (eat 4F) 2F, 1G, 2C, 5 Sh, 3 empty fields

R8) Day Labor (F,W), Fireplace (-2C)
[Boars, Vegetable - in any order]
R9) Day Labor (F,W), 1 Grain
Harvest 3 (cook 1Sh>2F, eat 4F), 2G, 2W, 5Sh, 3 empty fields

R10) 1 veg, Sow 2G+1V
[Cattle, Stone - in any order]
R11) 1 veg, 1 Stable (-2W) inside pasture
Harvest 4 (cook 2Sh>4F, eat 4F), 2G, 2V, 4Sh, fields 2G/2G/1V

R12) Plow, Storehouse (10F)
[Growth without Room, Plow+Sow - in any order]
R13) GrowthWOR, Plow+Sow 1G+1V
Harvest 5 (eat 5F), 5F, 3G, 3V, 5Sh, fields 1G/1G/-/2G/1V

[Renovate+Fences] Move sheep in the stabled pasture, let 1 go
R14) GrowthWOR, Cattle(2), Boar(1) - take as pet

Harvest 6 (cook 1Sh>2F, eat 7F), 6G(3p), 4V(4p), 4sh(2),1B(1),2Ca(2),
5 fields(4), 2 pastures(2), 1 fenced stable(1), 6 unused spaces (-6),
2 wood rooms(0), 4 family members (12), Fireplace (1) = 26 VP


Best farm - start with 3F

R1) 1 grain, Day Labor (F,S)
R2) 1 grain, Plow
R3) 1 grain, Clay (3)
[Fences, Improve, Sow/Bake, Sheep - in any order]
R4) Clay Oven+Bake 1F>5G, Sow 1G+Bake 1G>5F
Harvest 1 (eat 4F) 10F, 1G, field 2G

R5) 1 grain, Plow
R6) Wood (15), Reed (6)
[Stone, Growth, Renovate/Improve - in any order]
R7) 3 wood rooms (-15W,6R), Growth
Harvest 2 (eat 5F) 5F, 3G, field 1G/-

R8) Growth, 1 grain, Plow
[Boars, Vegetable - in any order]
R9) growth, 1 veg, plow, sow 2G+1V+Bake 1G>5F
Harvest 3 (eat 9F) 1F, 4G, 1V, fields -/2G/2G/1V

R10) Clay (7), Reed (4), Stone (4+), Day Labor (F,S),
Renovate to Clay (-5C,1R)+Stone Oven(-1C,3S)+Bake 1G>4F
[Cattle, Stone - in any order]
R11) Plow, Sow 1G+1V+Bake 1G>5F, Day Labor (F,S), Wood (15), Well (-1W,3S)
Harvest 4 (eat 10F) 2F, 4G, 2V, 14W, 1C, 3R, fields 2G/1G/1G/-/1V

R12) (+1F) Fences (-14W >2,1,1,1), Clay (2), Day Labor (F,S), Sow 1V, Cattle (2+)
[Growth without Room, Plow+Sow - in any order]
R13) (+1F) Fish (13), Stone1 (3), Pottery (-2C,2S), Day Labor (F,S), Boars (5+)
Harvest 5 (eat 10F) 9F, 7G, 3V, 1C, 3S, 3R, 6B, 3Ca, fields 1G/-/-/1V/-

[Renovate+Fences]
R14) (+1F) Stone2 (4+), Renovate to Stone (-5S,1R)+Basketmaker's Workshop (-2S,2R),
Wood (9), 4 Stables (-8W, one inside each pasture), Sheep (7) - rearrange animals

Harvest 6 (eat 10F) final stocks 8G (4p), 4V (4), 1W, 1C, 8Sh (4), 7B(4), 4Ca(3),

5 fields (4), 4 pastures (4), 4 fenced stables (4), 5 family (15), 5 Stone rooms (10),
Clay Oven (2), Stone Oven (3), Well (4), Pottery (2), Basketmaker's Workshop (2) = 69 VP

As it's my first try, it's very likely it can be improved (better score to Bests, or better Aux without decreasing the Bests). Yes, there are many local inefficiencies but look at all coupled constraints (action boards, resources accumulated...).

The following Challenge will be just a total score of both farms (Utilitarian philosophy). The last Pottery and Basketmaster's Workshop of Best used resources that surely can improve the score Aux more, raising the total from 95 to over 100 VP. I still don't know if the truly optimal 2-player Utilitarian will retain a strong asymmetry like this, or give more balance. Don't know if both players can get 50 VP each (Rawlsian minimax). Can you ?

Thank you for thinking about this !
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Geoff Burkman
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Kettering
Ohio
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For a while, I didn't realize what you were up to with this, but then realized that this was a solitaire play of a 2-player game. Drrr. Looks like pretty good scores; now let's see what you can do with each of them having a hand of cards.

In the 2-player solitaire games I've played (which has only been 4 or 5 so far), I always try to do the best I can for each side, but somehow one side or the other has generally kicked butt against the other.

I think maybe I've been cheating me. devil
 
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We just played a 59/52 game, with randomized E/I/K cards for a 2-player game. Details to come in a Session report.
 
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Mircea Pauca
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(2FwU) 2-player, Family game, worst case round card order, Utilitarian (simple sum) scoring
100 VP = 44 + 56
for this happy neighborhood !

This one was quite tighter optimized, but efficiency comes at the expense of robustness. Don't try to play like this even with light competition, or without the deep forecasting that needs at least pen and paper !

Able's farm - starts with 2F

R1) Day Labor (F,W), Wood (3)
R2) Day Labor (F,W), Clay (2)
R3) Day Labor (F,W), Storehouse (3F)
R4) Plow, Fireplace (-2C)
Harvest 1 (eat 4F) left 4F, 6W, field -

R5) Day Labor (F,R), 1 grain
R6) Day Labor (F,R), Plow
R7) 1 Room (-5W,2R), Growth
Harvest 2 (eat 5F), 1F, 1G, 1W, field -/-

R8) 1 grain, Plow, Sow 2G
R9) Stone (3), Well (-1W,3S), Fish (9F)
Harvest 3 (eat 6F) 4F, 2G, fields 2G/2G/-

R10) (+1F) Wood (12), Fences (-12W > 4,2), Boar (2+)
R11) (+1F) Plow, Cattle (1+), Sheep (8+; 1Sh>2F)
Harvest 4 (eat 6F) 2F, 4G, 8Sh, 3B, 1Ca, fields 1G/1G/-/-

R12) (+1F) Plow, 1veg, Storehouse (9F)
R13) (+1F) GrowthWithoutRoom, 1veg, Plow+Sow 2G,2V
Harvest 5 (1Sh>2F, eat 7F), 8F, 6G, 2V, 8Sh, 4B, 1Ca, fields -/-/2G/2G/1V/1V

R14) (+1F) GrowthWithoutRoom, Clay (3), Day Labor (F,R), Renovate (-3C,1R)
Harvest 6 (1Sh,1B>4F; eat 9F), 5F, 8G (4VP), 4V (4), 8Sh (4), 4B (2), 1Ca (1),

6 fields (4), 2 pastures (2), 5 family (15), 3 clay rooms (3), Fireplace (1), Well(4) = 44 VP


Baker's farm - starts with 3F

R1) 1 grain, Plow
R2) 1 grain, Plow
R3) 1 grain, Plow
R4) Sow 3G, Day Labor (F,S)
Harvest 1 (eat 4F) 3G, 1S, fields 2G/2G/2G

R5) Clay (3), Clay Oven (-3C,1S)+Bake 1G>5F
R6) Wood (15), Reed (6)
R7) Day Labor (F,S), Plow
Harvest 2 (eat 4F) 2F, 5G, 15W, 6R, 1S, fields 1G/1G/1G/-

R8) 3 Rooms (-15W,6R), Growth
R9) Growth, Day Labor (F,S), Sow 1G+Bake 1G>5F
Harvest 3 (eat 7F) 1F, 7G, 2S, fields -/-/-/2G

R10) Growth, 1veg, 1grain, Day Labor (F,S)
R11) Day Labor (F,R), Clay (6), 1veg,
Renovate (-5C,1R)+Stone Oven (-1C,3S)+Bake 2G>8F, Sow 1G+2V+Bake 1G>5F
Harvest 4 (eat 10F) 6F, 6G, 2V, fields 2G/1V/1V/1G

R12) Day Labor (F,W), Fish (3F), 1grain, [no Sow and] Bake 1G>5F, [no Stable and] Bake 1G>5F
R13) Day Labor (F,W), Stone1 (4), Stone2 (3+), Reed (7), Basketmaker's Workshop (-2R,2S)
Harvest 5 (eat 10F) 11F, 7G, 4V, 2W, 5S, 5R, fields 1G/-/-/-

R14) Wood (12), Renovate (-5S,1R)+Fences (-14W > 2,2,2), Sheep (3), Boar (4), Cattle (3)
Harvest 6 (eat 10F) 1F, 8G (4VP),4V (4), 4R, 4Sh (2), 5B (3), 4Ca (3),

4 fields (3), 3 pastures (3), 5 family (15), 5 stone rooms (10),
Clay Oven (2), Stone Oven (3), Basketmaker's Workshop (2+2 for 4 reed) = 56 VP

No farmyard space was wasted now on either farm...


Now, with those hand-picked Baroque combinations of cards, I would aim for at least 250 if not 300 VP total ;-)
One starting point is the 182 VP for the solo super-builder (and with 2 players it's easier on food), but I must 'audition a Casting' of other cards to complement them well to make an efficient conventional farm for the other player...
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Mircea Pauca
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Just found the time last night to read *each* card for a "casting"...

For the cooperative game, the really powerful cards are the ones that help the others at the time of helping oneself. For 3+ players (Braggart, Reeve...) and 4+ (Puppeteer - others [EDIT: only one another player -still useful!] can play Occupations cheap and 'free' of actions; Market Crier, Constable, Village Elder)... Other 'traveling cards' can pass in circles each round - like the Mini Pasture... (generally those cards are quite poor).

The public challenge is to reach 400 VP total among 4 players, or 500 VP with 5 players. I can see some specialization:
- one mega-builder (Mansion, Chief, Pelts = 6 VP/room, Animal Tamer = 15 animals; Conservator! = jump over the Clay phase) like in the solo record.
- one balanced Lord of the Manor
- one Animal Breeder, Fence Overseer, Hedge Keeper, Estate Manager ... - with Manger bonus, Loom, Milking stool etc.
- one edutainer (Puppeteer, Magician, etc) - "Traveling Player" often, with another Street Musician to profit the Grain from her, and everyone learning their new occupations without losing time...
- one "1 grain" often - Market Crier,...
- one Day Laborer (+Undergardener, Clay Pit, Quarry,...)
- one Braggart (piling improvements with Traveling Salesman then Broom)
- one Tutor and occupation-hog (Writing Desk, Bookshelf, Patron)
- one exclusive Fisherman - that Fishes rarely and abundantly.

Of course, some functions will overlap...

and all the other well-known and less-known tricks, somehow distributed between them: Well Builder > Well > Village Well and back; Tavern early; Wet Nurse; Wooden Path; ...

Anyone's head hurting yet ??
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Mircea Pauca
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Agricola 4p co-op record on the way > 407p
[This was posted on http://groups.google.com/group/BGG_down while BGG was down]

Preliminary calculations for my Co-Operative Challenge (4 players,
picked cards from E,I,K decks; don't have Z) indicate around 407
points are possible, maybe a bit more. A detailed play-by-play may
take a few more days ...

The really BOMB card in 3-5 player cooperative Agricola is the "Market
Crier" - 2 grain, 1 veg for self, 1 grain for everyone else for just 1
player action ! Everyone bakes bread (some only later) and then is
free to do everything else...


I plan on overlapping layers of specialization. First, by actions
repeated:
A. "take 1 grain" + Market Crier etc.
B. "Traveling Players"
C. "Day Laborer" + Clay Pit, Quarry etc.
D. Clay Deposit
also the Tavern, maybe C is the best recipient ? because early food =
Lover = 3rd action from Round 2 on...


The big scorers should be:
- one 15-room Mansion with Chief and Pelts = 6 VP / room. still maxes
animals with Animal Tamer and Forest Pasture.
- Clay Deposit and Tavern built early and visited often, for some 24
VP each
- one biggish (10-12?) Half-timbered house ? (I'll see if enough
building materials remain)
- Reeve and Constable ? (of course all 4 players will get 5 family and
7 Occupations) and all other 4-wood early, VP for many-or-all late...
- Braggart for 9 VP (the Broom guy)
- Lord of the Mansion for 8 VP - the best overall balanced.
- and almost every good card out there...


not clear yet what's the best coupling of specialization (means) to
the pieces of scoring objectives...


Somewhat tight resources look to be, besides Wood, the action spaces
themselves, even with the best planning the socialists never
dreamed ;-) Some have extra shortcuts:
- Improvements: Traveling Salesman, Merchant
- Occupations: Puppeteer benefiting from other guy's Traveling
Players, Writing Desk
- Family growth: first-round Lover, another family gets a Wet Nurse.


Key to building the first big house is the Conservator to jump
directly from Wood to Stone.
Also the Axe. Not sure how it plays - saves 3 wood per room, or per
Building action (if building several rooms at once) ?

[end that posting]

Since then, I've advanced some (only the first 4 rounds and harvest for all). Quite difficult to 'weave' them all efficiently within all constraints, and it's still not as elegantly tight as the 182p solo ! A lot of backtracking/erasing/rewriting happened on paper...

A better outline of the 4 players' roles.

A: "1grain" + Market Crier. "Only" 5 wood rooms (+Wood Hut Builder) but becomes the best balanced farm with all categories at max 4 - Lord of the Manor. Businessman to help with improvements; finishes with Brewery and Schnaps Distillery too, to put all those vegetables to use.
B: "Traveling Players". Remains in 2 rooms to save materials esp. Wood, eventually upgraded to Stone for Scholar - but still grows to 5 persons with 1st round Lover (they can have lots of early food - 4F/action Dancer) and 2 late Growths-Without-Room. Also is the Animal Trainer (buys easily animals with the food) with large pastures (since there is space...).
C: "Day Laborer" + specializations (received from B as Puppeteer). Quite close to the Solo record strategy. 15-stone Mansion, built mostly in the Clay phase with Clay Supports and Ladder. Accumulates objects with Traveling Salesman, and a second lot of them with the Broom. then gains prestige as Braggart.
D: Tavern guy. 11-stone Half-timbered House, (3 fields to use the Straw Roof and save all Reed, and 1 pasture since it's not as nice to have -1). Built with Carpenter and Conservator too.

Not still decided how to weave the order of house and family growths, and who will have the Wet Nurse (surely not B).
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