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Subject: Food and sheep and clay, hurray hurray! rss

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Holger Hannemann
United Kingdom
Upper Heyford
Oxfordshire
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Hi everyone.
I'm fairly new to the Geek, and I just wanted to share my first sologame of Agricola with you.
First of all, I played Agricola before in my gaming group. Once. We played a 4-player game, and except for Craig we were all new to the game. After explaining the rules (it took Craig 15 minutes to go through), I sat there and thought: is THAT all? Seems too easy for a game that weighs about a ton and has millions of bits and pieces. But I like heavy themed games, and I couldn’t wait to raise cattle, plow fields and have a "sheperd’s hour" with my wife (the Germans among you know what I mean ) and to send my kids plowing fields the next turn. Anyway, what I found was a very intriguing and fun game, and I was so proud of myself, my farm and my wooden family that I didn’t realize until the end of the game that I came in dead last with 17 VP (OK, the three Begging cards might have done their fair share...). I’d better watched the others....
So, just a few days ago, having totally forgotten about the humiliation of being just a sucky farmer and a poor head of family, I finally got my own copy of Agricola.
After punching, unwrapping, shuffling, dropping 200 cards on the floor, picking them up again and shuffling I started my first two games. They all ended at Harvest one (on my own free will), cause I was 4 food short in both games. But then I started planning ahead, and I managed to get a grip on the game, and I began my first REAL game of Agricola.
After playing 3 occupations (Seasonal Worker, Mushroom Collector and Baker) in Stage 1 I had enough food to make it over the first harvest. Woohoo! I was proud again. Very proud. I also had tons of wood and reed at the beginning of Stage 2. Good thing I played the Hedgekeeper and the Stablehand next. I clipped some hedges, built a stable and picked up 6 sheep. Food is safe again, no begging this time! My wife managed to get one field plowed and sown. We even had a nice and cozy Cooking Hearth. And as I looked over my land, hand in hand with the wife, I though: can it get any better than this?
Yes, it can! In Stage 3 it was time to make some room in the house, have a good time with the wife, and, the Gods be blessed, she gave birth to a boy. The poor guy was send out to the clay pit next turn (Oh, how the kids love to play in the mud), and luckily he had enough clay on his pants to renovate the house in Stage 4. Daddy built some more pastures, and Mom got some wild boars at the local market. But Mummy was more the housewife type, so she stayed at home and made us some Pelts from the animals I sacrificed to keep us warm at night. Good girl! Daddy was already pretty tired after working in the quarry the whole day in Stage 5, but somehow he managed to produce one more wooden kid (I named him Pinocchio), and Pinocchio was really good for planting some vegetables. Daddy was not a big fan of veggies, since we now had all kinds of animals (yes, some cattle too), and meat is the man’s food. But then, on the other hand, Daddy thought it will get him a net gain of 2 VP, so let Pinocchio play around with cabbage and cucumbers. My first born helped renovating the house once more, and suddenly it was time to retire. What a shame, I really had fun playing. This game’s too short, it took me less than 20 minutes from 2 wooden rooms to a really big ranch with a huge stone house and a lovely family.
I counted up VPs and was sooooo proud to reach 39.
I want to play again! And as I read the rules further down to the "series of solo games" I made a shocking discovery: My goal was 50 VP! FIFTY??????? Is that possible? Why do I always suck at this game?? Oh well, I think I just rain a little fire and brimstone on this ranch, clear the board and try again until I reach 50!
True Geeks play sologames on Saturday nights......
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