Dan
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San Francisco
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I must think over my position and how I may improve it.
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This is a happy story of a great board gaming session with Agricola—sandwiched between a very sad story of the unexpected and sudden passing of my dog. It was cathartic to play this session with my best friend, Fisch. We play most Fridays, and I felt like calling off the meeting because of grief would be worse for me than sucking it up and letting him kick my butt (as he regularly does…at everything…for the last 20 years). It was also cathartic to write this session report with its final dedication.

This was Fisch’s first time with the K-deck. We both grumbled at our cards. I didn’t see a lot of synergy.

The first stage was an uncommon one. Fisch had start player the entire time and gathered a lot of wood. He ended up building two rooms at once. I was on the fence about playing Fence Overseer, but with his wood lead, I felt like I didn’t have a choice. With my first fenced stable I was able to pick up all four sheep that appeared in the first round. With the rest of my moves, I inefficiently picked up 2 clay and the fireplace.

When stage two began, he was allowed to grow in consecutive rounds as family growth showed up in the first round. I plied my time by playing Plowman, Wet Nurse, and Market Woman. At 4 occupations, I swiped first player from him and laid down the Forest Pasture. It was the only card I could play, and unbeknownst to me would be one of my most powerful plays (I ended up with 8 boar!). I offset his family lead of two by building another room and activating the Wet Nurse. I’ve never had more to do in one move! First, I built a stable, which for 1 food, I fenced—then, I built a room, and with the Wet nurse, grew a family member for 1 food!

In stage three, my fields began to come in thanks to Mr. Plow(man) and I used the Market Woman twice to get 2 vegetables and 4 grain (that card is overpowered). Fisch did his best to block that, but this cost him precious time. By now it was pretty clear I was going to win.

I went on to build a 4th room (and grow a family member for 1 food) and managed to convert it to clay while picking up the well at the same time. By the end, I had won with 50 points! This was my personal best! Fisch was no slouch either, finishing the game with 40 points. He had both ovens, 5 family members, and was only slowed by his inability to get grain in the ground. He was running on a food shortage and was forced to choose ‘take 1 grain’ way too often.

I ended up having max points in 4 ‘negative’ categories. The exceptions were cattle (3), fenced stables (3), and sheep (2). It was a terrific game on both our parts. My final cards were:

Plowman – essentially 3 fields over 10 rounds for 1 food each
Market Woman – 2 grain any time you take 1 vegetable (which is absurd)
Wet Nurse – grow family members equal to the rooms you just built for 1 food each
Fence Overseer – fence a stable for free, once per round, for any stable you just built

We dedicated our best game to date to my 12 year old dog, Autumn, who I had to put down this same day unexpectedly. If not for Agricola and my best friend of many, many years (Fisch), I would have had a much harder time coping with the initial loss. When the brain burn was over, and after Fisch left, I took it on the chin with the emotions I’d been avoiding. Under the covers, I cried for the finest dog I’ve ever trained and loved.

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Patrick Hahn
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Medina
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My deepest sympathies for your loss. I am a dog owner & can imagine the sadness you're dealing with.

Thank you for sharing & hang in there.
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Lance
United States
Moorhead
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The coolest best thing I have ever done in my life is being a father
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The Dread Pirate Caleb!! (age 2)
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My sympathies. When I had to put my first dog down (she was 18 years old) my veterinarian said something that stuck with me, and it helped me come to grips with the situation a little bit. He said "your dog has trusted you her whole life to do what is best for her in every situation, of every day, and that includes making this decision as well."

While it seemed cold and detached at the time, I knew he was right, and I made the right decision for her.

My heart goes out to you, a dog is the most loyal and wonderful friend you will ever have ever have. Some humans might match them, but none will ever surpass.
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Geoff Burkman
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Kettering
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She looks like she was a great dog! My sympathies to you. I lost my dog many years ago when he was stolen from me in Las Vegas. I never had the heart to replace him.

Btw, I don't think the Market Woman is all that overpowered. Veggies don't normally show up until Round 8 or 9, so there really isn't all that much opportunity to take advantage, at least not in a 4-player game. Maybe she's tougher in the deuce, not to mention if one plays "Through the Seasons," when vegetables can show up that much earlier. Your Wet Nurse did you much better, I dare say.
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Dan
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Thanks for your sympathetic replies. She lived a good life--from dumpster diver to full acre backyard, I can say without reservation she had few complaints. It has been hard because it happened so unexpectedly. She was running with all her normal energy and agility on Wednesday, and then crashed Thursday and Friday: total renal failure, according to the vet. It's hard not to wonder what happened, but I do subscribe to the "ours is not to wonder why" philosophy.

Quote:
Btw, I don't think the Market Woman is all that overpowered. Veggies don't normally show up until Round 8 or 9, so there really isn't all that much opportunity to take advantage, at least not in a 4-player game. Maybe she's tougher in the deuce, not to mention if one plays "Through the Seasons," when vegetables can show up that much earlier. Your Wet Nurse did you much better, I dare say.


Points wise, perhaps. Let's see:

Wet Nurse saved two actions (two family growth) at the cost of one action (occupation). VP value = 6 points (plus the harder to gauge additional actions gathering VPs)

Market Woman was used twice for 4 grain and two vegetables. Normally that would cost 2 actions (two 'take veggie') + 3 actions (2x 'take grain' and 1x 'sow' = 4-6 grain) for a total of 5 actions. So it saved two actions as well. Its VP value = 4 points (BUT one sow turned those 4 points into 8).

You're probably right because the additional actions were very valuable--that the growth actions came at the kairos of my strategy is what allowed me to best Fisch. He was struggling with food and I never was. The base to this 50 point score, however, really was the fence overseer and the lucky first round sheep gathering over time.
 
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Bryan Maxwell
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My condolences. That's the downside of having a pet: like anything you love, eventually you'll be parted from it. It sounds like you gave her a wonderful, happy existence. Can't ask for more than that.
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