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Subject: Agricola with the wife; she tans my hide rss

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Mike R
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Last night the wife and I played a game of Agricola. We've had the game for nearly a year, and have played probably over 50 games. We hadn't played much in the last couple of months though, due mostly to our daughter becoming mobile, and pressure from school for her (she was in the last semester of her degree).

Exams done and the baby asleep, we broke open the game again. We play a card draft (deal 8 to each player, keep two and pass the rest across), and after looking at the initial cards I decide to go for a mansion/improvement strategy.

(In my mind there are three broad strategies to use:

- Carnivore, where you drive for a hearth/fences/breeding animals early, and make up veges and house building in the late game;
- Vegetarian, where you aim for plowed fields, ovens and an abundance of grain
- Improvement, where you go mainly for points and a huge house, and pick up food from secondary sources (eg fishing or day labourer).)

Out of my initial cards I keep Clay Mixer (+2 clay) and Wood Cutter (+1 wood), and Builder's Trowel (renovate to clay anytime) and Clay Roof (use clay instead of reeds). I figured I'd monopolise the clay spot, renovate to clay immediately and build clay rooms, saving wood for stables and fences. Picking up clay every round I hoped to force the wife to either dump any thoughts of renovating, or have to pick up single clays every turn. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way.

We trade the remaining cards, and I'm happy to see the Maid and the Chief arrive (+1 food every round with a clay hut, and bonus poiints for stone rooms). A great fit with my strategies... Also turning up were Animal Pen and Dovecote.

We start the game, and I get out the Clay Mixer and Maid in the first couple of rounds. Builder's Trowel and renovate gives me a clay hut in round three, and I set out the 11 food I'd be accumulating one per round from now on. I'm feeling pretty good about the way things are going.

My wife was busy herself, and after a Stablehand (free stable when fencing) and a Raft (+1 food or reed with fishing), she plays a Mini Pasture (free pasture, with a stable). D'oh. But she passes it over, so it's not so bad. We trade it back and forth a couple of times during the game.

She gets hold of two clay in a turn when I had other fish to fry, and picks up the fireplace and a few sheep. I wonder about that... obviously a fireplace is important, but clay (for her) is at a premium. All is revealed next turn when she plays Conservator (renovate direct from wood to stone house). That's a blow... I have a clay monopoly, but when I'm the only one buying it's not so great.

We continue on, and I get out Clogs (bonus points for the house) and Chief (ditto). I play Animal Pen (2 food every 2nd round) as soon as I'm able, and with the dovecote (1 food per round starting round 10) food isn't so much a concern.

However, the wife gathers stone, builds two wood rooms and renovates. And then out comes Mason (free room for a stone house), upgrade to a hearth, and then the gamebreaker - Vehicular Plow (three fields instead of one, twice).

By round 10, both farms are looking OK. I have five people already (by building clay rooms and family growing regularly), and a string of improvements. The wife was a five room stone house and a pretty good food engine (three each of sheep and boars).

The last few rounds see us gathering animals and veges and making general improvements. Unfortunately (for me), that trickle of food that was ok with 2 or 3 people, wasn't so great with 5. I'm forced to eat quite a few of the animals I grab, and plowing one field at a time is a pain.

Round 14 comes and goes, we feed our families and tally up the score. My farm infrastructure looks great, but is strangely lacking in livestock and plants:



And my wife's farm - similar in look, but bursting with life:



Looking at the farms, I knew the wife had me beaten. But I hoped my bonus points (chief, clogs etc) would make it close.

Final scoring (wife - me):

Fields: 4 3
Pastures: 4 4
Grain: 2 1
Veges: 4 1
Sheep: 2 -1
Boar: 3 -1
Cattle: 3 1
Unused: 0 -2
Stables: 4 4
House: 10 10
People: 15 15
Bonus: 4 12
Total: 55 47

I have to say I was happy with 47. In the past, it would be enough to win 19 times out of 20. Unfortunately my wife played a fantastic game, picking up resources in the right amount and at the right time to win comfortably. As you can see in the images, she had no unused resources at the end while I was left with a few spare (always a sign of inefficiency).

After the game, I realised something I should have known long before. Cards that give you a significant advantage are often a double edged sword. The Clay Mixer was a big advantage for me, but if your opponent doesn't require clay it's nullified somewhat. And the Clay Roof meant I never needed reeds (always scarce in a two player game)... but that just meant my wife was able to gather them as needed with no competition.

Overall it was a great game. It reminded us how mush we enjoyed it and after a layoff, hopefully we'll get to play more often.




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Hah! She kicked your ass! Didn't she win last game as well?

Good to hear your getting some games in again. I'll play you next time so you can remember what it feels like to actually win a game. I think she's got your number boy.

 
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gregory duff
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Thank you for a great, enjoyable report about a fun and big-time replayable game (which I have only one once out of four plays)!!!
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Geoff Burkman
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How did you renovate in Round Three?
 
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Nate Johnson
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Exactly how he explained it: Builder's Trowel (renovate to clay anytime)
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Corin A. Friesen
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chezzilla wrote:
Thank you for a great, enjoyable report about a fun and big-time replayable game (which I have only one once out of four plays)!!!

Common typo alert.

Sorry, being a bad boy knit-picker.
 
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Geoff Burkman
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Limey Sponge wrote:
Exactly how he explained it: Builder's Trowel (renovate to clay anytime)


*smacks forehead*

I have eyes, but I do not see.

Pretty fortuitous turn of events, I must say. Two Ocks, a wood grab, a clay grab, a reed grab, and either MIMI or SP+MI to get out the Trowel, with nary a peep from the opposition. Very nice. Not that it matters, since he lost anyway.
 
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Mike R
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MisterG wrote:
Pretty fortuitous turn of events, I must say. Two Ocks, a wood grab, a clay grab, a reed grab, and either MIMI or SP+MI to get out the Trowel, with nary a peep from the opposition. Very nice. Not that it matters, since he lost anyway.


Hi Geoff -

It was pretty standard play from what I remember. I know I was Start Player in round one, so the opening moves were probably:

Rd 1
Me - Clay Mixer
Opp - 3W
Me - 3 clay
Opp - SP/minor

Rd 2
Opp - Occ
Me - 3W
Opp - ???, maybe 2 reed
Me - SP/Builder's Trowel

Rd 3
Me - Maid
Opp - 3W
Me - Clay Roof (then free renovate action using clay for reed)
Opp - 2C

(round four for me was probably a food grab, while the wife went fireplace and available sheep)....

Our games are generally pretty competitive, with each of us keeping an eye on the other's farm to see what they might be going for, and trying to hamper where possible. Having said that, we're not ultra competitive - if there are 3 or 4 sheep on the table and I know she's banking on them for food, I'll take them if I have fences or a fireplace but leave them if I can't use them at all.

Regards

Mike
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Mike R
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GeneSteeler wrote:
Hah! She kicked your ass! Didn't she win last game as well?

Good to hear your getting some games in again. I'll play you next time so you can remember what it feels like to actually win a game. I think she's got your number boy.



It's true, I can't argue with the facts. Early on I was winning probably 3 games out of four, but before the break she had improved somewhat and wins were probably 50/50.

She's won the last two though, and by more than 5 points each time. I think I play too many occs and improvements - it's not unusual for me to play at least 4 of each, while the wife has probably 4 total.

When we get together, I'd rather play C&C:A - that usually reminds me what it's like to win...
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Geoff Burkman
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Ah, yes, the ol' Clay Roof maneuver, I should have realized. Sweet! Thanks for the breakdown, Mike.

And shame on you for losing after all that skullduggery!
 
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