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Subject: Less is More, or It Ain't What You Play It's How You Play It rss

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Geoff Burkman
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No real preamble to this one; I present it mostly as an example of a relatively high-scoring game, mostly by virtue of apt use of the various actions provided by the “Through the Seasons” variant, as well as reasonably strong play by all involved. I also thought it appropriate to post the game in which Ron established our crew’s new benchmark for high score.

Turn One/Autumn/Fences
Brian – 3W(4)
Geoff – Occ/Wood Collector (5W>
Skyp – 2C(2)
Ron – 1R(2)
Brian – 2W(3)
Geoff – RSf
Skyp – 1G
Ron – 1W(2)

Brian opens with the wood gambit, I follow with an Ock to guarantee wood, and Skyp makes the long shot clay grab, praying that the great goddess MIMI make her appearance next Round. Ron and Brian quickly clear out the reed and wood, and I shop at the five and dime. Skyp eeny-meanies and picks the grain. Ron sweeps the last wood from the board, and everyone’s dudes come marching home.

Turn Two/Winter/Sheep
Brian – Occ/Dancer
Geoff – SP + Private Forest (6W> -2f)
Skyp – 3W(3)
Ron – Occ(1)/Clay Worker
Brian – TP (2f+2f)
Geoff – 1G
Skyp – RSf
Ron – 2W(2 +1C)

Brian ocks the Traveling Player spot into a modest little food engine for himself, while I nab the button to activate another timber source. Skyp snubs the secondary Occupation spot to claim wood. Ron happily ocks what turns out to be a long-term 8Clay, a nice investment, while Brian feeds at the local chew `n’ view. Torn, I snag a grain, though I might have been better off with Skyp’s visit to the general store. Ron closes out the Round with another augmented wood grab.

Turn Three/Spring/Sow & Bake
Geoff – 2C(3)
Skyp – Occ/House Steward (4W)
Ron – 1C(2+1)
Brian – Occ(1)/Storyteller
Geoff – Fish(3f)
Skyp – PF
Ron – SP + Harrow
Brian – TP(1f+2f+1V)

In a bid for an early fireplace, I take the stronger clay pit. Skyp ocks himself a 4Wood and an eventual 3-point handicap against everyone else. When you opt for a room-building bonus, you’d best keep your sights on building rooms. Ron takes augmented clay, Brian increases his interest in the Traveling Players spot, and I settle for sushi. Skyp plows, Ron nabs the button (and I see my fireplace receding into the future), getting out the Harrow for the first and only time we’ve ever seen it in play. Brian hauls in a load of food and seed, and we all haul in our dudes.

Turn Four/Summer/MIMI
Ron – 3W(5+1C)
Brian – 2C(3)
Geoff – MIMI/Fp2
Skyp – Occ(1)/Street Musician
Ron – DL (2f+1G)
Brian – 1R(2)
Geoff – SP + Cooking Hearth
Skyp – RSf

To my relief, Ron pursues clay-enhanced wood. Brian allows himself to be distracted into grabbing clay as well, clay that he never puts to any use. I MIMI the fireplace, thank you very much. Skyp ocks a reliable “free” grain source, given Brian’s interest in the trigger. Ron feeds his family, with a seasonal grain to boot. Brian properly collects reed, I snag the button, if only to upgrade to the Minor hearth. Skyp hits up the general store again and everyone hastens home to feed their families. Cue appropriate Ramones song as we head into Stage Two.

Turn Five/Autumn/Stone
Geoff – 2W(6)
Skyp – MIMI/Fp2
Ron – 3W(4+1C)
Brian - 1W(4)
Geoff – Sheep(4)burn3(6f)
Skyp – BR(1)
Ron – 1R(2)
Brian – SP + Stone Tongs

Who can resist a defenseless 6Wood? Not often, not hardly, not me. Skyp promptly nabs a fryer of his own, while Ron and Brian clear out the underbrush. I rake in the sheep, putting most to the torch in preparation for next Round’s plans. Skyp wisely expands his hut, a basic mechanic he has a sad tendency to ignore. Ron gloms the reed, and Brian wraps things up with a button heist and a Minor that yields a whopping two stone. It’s hard to tell why he bothered.

Turn Six/Winter/Family Growth + MI
Brian – 1S(2+1)
Geoff – Winter Action (FG w/o –2W/3f)
Skyp – 1C(3)
Ron – BR(2)
Brian – SP + Canoe
Geoff – TP (4f) (1G>s.)
Skyp – FG + Duck Pond (3f>
Ron – MIMI/CH4

Eager to use his Minor, I suppose, Brian nabs the enhanced stone. I make the pricey seasonal play, knowing it’s giving me eight extra actions down the line. That, my friends, is what this game is all about. Getting ‘em and using ‘em wisely. Skyp grabs clay, priming for a cookery of some sort. Ron knocks out a double build, a very strong move at this point in the game. Brian snags the button, popping out the Canoe for some fishing action. I hit up the Players, sending another grain Skyp’s way, Skyp smartly grows, activating a handy Minor, and Ron closes things out by grabbing up the cheaper hearth. Well, not as cheap as mine was, but good enough for government work.

Turn Seven/SpringSummer/Renovation + MIMI
Brian – 3W(5)
Geoff – 2C(6)
Skyp – MIMI/Fp>CH5
Ron – Fish(6f)
Brian – BR(1)+1s
Geoff – Fence (11+2)
Skyp – S&B (1Gf+3f)
Ron – FG + Shepherd’s Crook
Geoff – Occ(1)/Head of Family
Skyp – DL(2f+1G)

Brian, unabashed, claims the major woodpile. I’m terribly tempted to empty the pond just to mess with Ron, but stick with the bargain clay. Skyp hauls in the last hearth, and Ron fishes, no compliments required. Brian gets a room built, along with a free stable, and I fence, also a fan of freebies. Skyp fills up a grain field and does some baking, Ron grows his work force, and I waste time with an Ock that I never have occasion to use. Skyp finishes the Round with a weak food grab. Families fed, we press on into the heart of darkness. Well, okay, it’s really just the midgame, but that’s almost the same thing…isn’t it?

Turn Eight/AutumnWiinter/Vegetables
Brian – 2W(6)
Geoff – Sheep(3)
Skyp – Occ(1)/Undergardner
Ron – 3W(4+1C)
Brian – FG + Turnwrest Plow
Geoff – 1R(2)
Skyp – 1W(3)
Ron – PF (+2PF)
Geoff – Ren>C + Clay Oven (5f)
Skyp – DL (2f +1V)
Ron – 1V

Brian can’t resist the lure of the 6Wood, nor can I refuse the pitiful lowing of sheep. They need a home and I’m just the guy to give it to them. Skyp ocks Day Laborer into a veggie source. Ron piles on the wood, Brian hires on help and a handy plow, and I snap up the reed. Skyp plays pick up sticks and Ron utilizes his Harrow. I renovate my rinkydink hut to clay, nabbing the eponymous oven and sumptuous food, Skyp tries to justify his recent Ock and then forgets about it for the rest of the game, Ron snags the veggies, and we all retreat to our huts. Home, sweet, home!

Turn Nine/SpringSummer/Wild Boar
Brian – Fish (3f+1f+1R)
Geoff – 1C(4)
Skyp – Boar(1)burn(3f)
Ron – Occ(1)/Sheep Farmer
Brian – TP(2f+1f+1V) (1G>s.)
Geoff – 1S(3)
Skyp – SP + Beanfield
Ron – Sheep(1+1)burn2(4f)
Brian – Fence (9+2)
Geoff – MIMI/Well (5f>
Skyp – S&B(1Vf+6f)
Ron – FG + Reed Exchange (2C>2R)

Brian tests out his canoe; it works. I gumbify, Skyp fries pork, and Ron improves his lot with an effective 6Food. Brian keeps the Dancer busy, I snag the discount stone, fingers crossed, and Skyp jumps the button, activating a spare veggie field. Ron lays in more mutton, Brian fences, and I quickly snap up the Well, my favorite Major. Skyp gets a vegetable planted and bakes up a storm. Ron ends the Stage with the obvious growth and a handy resource swap. Everyone feeds, eyes cast toward the endgame.

Turn Ten/AutumnWinter/Stone
Skyp – 3W(6)
Ron – 2W(5+1C)
Brian – PF (+2PF)(-2f>r.)
Geoff – 2C(5)
Skyp – SP + Flail
Ron – Sheep (1+1)burn2(4f)
Brian – Occ(1)/Conservator
Geoff – 1R(2)
Skyp – Boar(1)
Ron – Occ(2)/Market Crier
Brian – Ren>S + Turnip Field (2Vf)
Geoff – BR(2)
Ron – 1G(+1G+1V) 1G>b.g.s.

Skyp is no more able to resist a 6Wood than the rest of us, and doesn’t. Ron clears out the other major woodpile, and Brian rents Ron’s Harrow to plow fields. I concentrate on expansion, claiming clay. Skyp nabs the button to get out his Flail, which he uses all of once. Ron gathers in bolstered woolies and promptly introduces them to the Great Beyond. Hunger rules. Brian sidesteps renovation to clay, I take the reed with my name on it, and Skyp Ron prepares to kickstart his fields with the Market Crier. Brian puts the Conservator to immediate work, possibly a premature move, but it does allow him to get the Turnip Field in play and max out his vegetables. Ever the Zappa fan. I bang out two clay rooms, probably too late to make a major difference, but you never can tell. Ron ends the Round with free rein to his Market Crier, with the rest of us kowtowing to the gift of grain.

Turn Eleven/SpringSummer/Cattle
Skyp – Occ(1)/Bread Seller
Ron – Cattle(1)
Brian – Fish(3f+1f+1R)
Geoff – PF (+2PF)(-2f>r.)
Skyp – SP + Wildlife Reserve
Ron – Fences (8+2) (+2s)
Brian – TP(3f+1V)(1G>s.)
Geoff – Boar(1)
Skyp – RSf
Ron – S&B(2Gf+1Vf+3f)(1f>s.)
Brian – SpringAction (1Gf+1Vf)
Geoff – FG + Wooden Path
Ron – SummerAction (4VP)

Skyp, apparently tiring, starts the Round off with an Ock that garners him a whopping two food, not a very good deal obviously, and even more obvious that he should have played it much, much earlier. Ron takes livestock, Brian canoes, and I tithe to Ron to use the Harrow. Skyp steps on the button to get out yet another near-useless Minor, Ron partially fences to get fair value out of his Shepherd’s Crook, and Brian gloms more food and a bonus veggie. I now make my first major mistake, settling for a piggy instead of nabbing the summer Holiday. The swing value could well have won me the game. Skyp hits up the general store, and Ron gets prime value out of the ol’ sow `n’ bake. Brian follows up with seasonal sowing, I expand my workforce, squeaking out another Minor for a few points, and Ron caps things off with a leisurely 4-point Holiday. In retrospect, I’d have done better taking the three-pointer, and dispensing with the wasted reed grab in Round Thirteen. My hindsight’s great, but I still need corrective lenses for foresight.

Turn Twelve/AutumnWinter/Family Growth w/o
Skyp – 3W(6)
Ron – 2W(4+1C)
Brian – 1S(3+1)
Geoff – 1S(3)
Skyp – Ren>C + Windmill
Ron – Fence (5)
Brian – RSf
Geoff – 1V
Skyp – 1W(4)
Ron – FG w/o
Brian – SP + House Goat
Geoff – 1G
Ron – Sheep (2+1)burn3(6f)
Geoff – S&B (1Gf+1Vf+5f)(1f>s.)

Eager to fence, Skyp takes the 6Wood, Ron follows with the 4Wood, and Brian and I clear the stone, his with the Tongs bonus. Skyp bumps his hut to clay, popping out another minimally effective Minor. Ron finishes off his pasture complex, Brian grabs the last stone he needs for renovation, and I start canceling negatives with a veggie. Skyp nails the last wood, Ron takes the critical family growth without room, and Brian purloins the button and adopts the goat for a point and some food. I cancel another negative, Ron serves himself up fresh mutton, and I do some genuine farming and feeding. Look upon my works, oh, ye mighty, and despair!

Round Thirteen/SpringSummer/Plow & Sow
Brian – BR(1)+1s
Geoff – Cattle(2)
Skyp – Fence (13+2)
Ron – Boar(2)
Brian – FG + MiniPasture (-2f/Fence(3))
Geoff – 1R(2)
Skyp – P&S (2Vf+1Gf+6f)
Ron – PF
Brian – TP (4f) (1G>s.)
Geoff – RSf
Skyp – FG w/o
Ron – SP + Liquid Manure
Geoff – SummerAction (4VP)
Ron – 2C(7+1)
Ron – SpringAction (1Vf+1b+1s)

Push has now advanced past shove. Brian pops out another room and seasonal stable. I nab the beasties, Skyp fences, and Ron nabs the other beasties. Brian rightly grows his press gang, acquiring a somewhat cheap pasture. I snake the reed, an utterly wasted play; I should have nailed the clay to keep Ron from getting it. Skyp maxes out his vegetables and covers feeding requirements, Ron plows, and Brian stuffs his face. I hit up the general store for the last stone I need for renovation, Skyp grows (much to all of our amazement), and Ron takes the button, playing a crappy Minor (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Thrilled, I holiday for 4VP. Ron piles on the clay (can you guess what he plans for next Round?) and ends the Stage with a seasonal action good for a few points.

Round Fourteen/All/Renovation + Fences
Ron – P&S (2Gf)
Brian – Fish (4f+1f+1R)
Geoff – PF
Skyp – Cattle(1)
Ron – 1S(2)
Brian – TP (4f) (1G>s.)
Geoff – Ren>S + Clay Pit
Skyp – Sheep(2)
Ron – SummerAction (3VP)
Brian – FG w/o
Geoff – SpringAction (1Gf+1Vf+1c)
Skyp – Occ(1)/Corn Profiteer
Ron – MIMI/Pottery
Brian – Occ(2)/Chief’s Daughter
Geoff – WinterAction (FG w/o –2W/3f)
Skyp – Boar(1)
Ron – Ren>C

Ron opens with a double grain field, Brian grabs food, and I plow. Skyp takes beef, Ron picks up some stone, Brian feeds again, and I stupidly renovate. The smart play would have been to take the Summer Action holiday for a deuce. Curse that 20/20 hindsight! Skyp takes the woolies, Ron wisely nails down the 3VP bonus, and Brian grows. I take the Spring Action for a few points, Skyp kills time with a fairly useless Ock, and Ron takes the Pottery, a move I should have forestalled last Round. Brian plays a 3VP Ock, I take the last possible growth via the Winter Action, Skyp chases piggies, and Ron executes his only renovation of the game as his and its final action.

Final Scores (Occupations Played, Minor/Majors Played)(Wood taken/bonus)(turns as Starting Player)(Actions taken)
Ron – 54 (3 Ocks, 4/2)(26/0)(2)(42)
Geoff – 49 (2 Ocks, 4/3)(6/11)(2)(39)
Brian – 39 (4 Ocks, 6/0)(22/0)(7)(35)
Skyp – 34 (5 Ocks, 5/1)(22/4)(3)(37)

As one might expect, the players with the most actions were atop the scores. In addition, the players’ PPA (points per action) scores correlate with their ranking, from Ron’s 1.286 to Skyp’s mediocre .919. Regardless, Skyp still managed one of his best scores ever, despite his proclivity for letting his cards play him rather than the other way around. Ron played a fine game, with almost no mistakes, although strong argument could be made that my own misplays gave him the victory, specifically in reference to the Summer holiday. Notice that the player who had the button the most (Brian) failed to win or even place. Also note that the player who took the least wood still ended up second, and that the players who got out the most Ocks and Minors lost.

Edited to correct a typo and one repetitive sentence.
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Joel Schuster
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Bretten
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Once more an excellent report
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Joe Niezelski
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Seymour
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The more I read these session reports, the more interested I get in this seemingly boring math exercise.

I think I should stop reading the session reports before it's too late.
 
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Geoff Burkman
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Joe, you simply must get it out of your head that math exercises are boring, though I'm glad to note you qualified that with "seemingly." Agricola may be a spreadsheet in disguise, but it's a very entertaining spreadsheet in disguise. If my session reports nudge even one newbie toward playing Agricola, then my job has been done.

And Joel, thank you! There's at least one more to come. Ron still has to get his comeuppance.
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James Klemm
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Awesome!
 
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Matthew Sharp
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I know I'm resurrecting an old thread and I apologize for that. A few times in this session report, I'm seeing
Quote:
PF (+2PF)

using what I can only assume is the Harrow. This notation to me suggests that 3 fields were plowed, however both my physical card and the unofficial compendium say that the Harrow allows you to plow 2 (not 3) fields instead of 1.

Am I reading the notation wrong, or missing something?
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Kasper Baack
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Brian had his own plow, so I assume Geoff made a little mistake there. And why Geoff got to oplow 3 fields I dont know, might be a seasonal bonus as I've never played with that little expansion.
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Geoff Burkman
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shopt wrote:
I know I'm resurrecting an old thread and I apologize for that. A few times in this session report, I'm seeing
Quote:
PF (+2PF)

using what I can only assume is the Harrow. This notation to me suggests that 3 fields were plowed, however both my physical card and the unofficial compendium say that the Harrow allows you to plow 2 (not 3) fields instead of 1.

Am I reading the notation wrong, or missing something?


This is a tough one to double check, since I wasn't recording the scoring breakdowns in my reports yet, and the hard copy is long gone. No doubt, though, the transcription is accurate, as I'm normally extremely particular about that, even when intoxicated. Your observation is astute and somewhat embarrassing. The Harrow is not a card that we've ever paid a lot of attention to, and given that his fine-print eyesight is not the best, I'm guessing that what happened was that Ron misread the card when he first utilized it, and none of us had any reason to doubt him. Thus, I used it inappropriately as well. Brian, of course, had no need of the Harrow, since he had the Turnwrest Plow in play, so his payment to Ron was unnecessary.

Moral of the story: know the cards, especially Ron's! laugh
 
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Frederic Bush
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Always a pleasure to come back to the forum and see a bunch of your session reports, Geoff!

I still boggle to see that you guys hate fg w/o room so much. It usually goes in the first two actions in the games I play. Look at rd 12 -- you take 1v over fg w/o...
 
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Geoff Burkman
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I know. That was fairly stupid, wasn't it? gulp

I coulda been a contendah!
 
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