This was a four-player game with the “E” deck. I was the starting player and my fellow farmers will go by the pseudonyms Blue, Green and Purple – in seating order. I opened the game with an occupation – the Dancer – allowing me to receive at least 4 Food whenever I took the Traveling Players action. In the next two rounds, the other players put down their first occupations. Blue started with the Land Agent picking up a Vegetable early in the game. Green started out with the Basketmaker (converts 1 Reed to 3 Food at the Harvest), a sign of the reed-hoarding strategy that was to come. Purple had the Master Forester. This added an additional “2 Wood” action card to the game, and if any other player took the wood, they would have to pay Purple two food. Purple used this strategy throughout the game – allowing 6-8 wood to accumulate before taking the pile.
In the third round, I played the Reeve occupation, giving me 4 wood, and setting me on a strategy to play the most occupations. I quickly followed that up with the Sack Cart minor improvement which added grain to rounds 5, 8, 11 and 14. Several rounds later I followed up with the Field Warden (allowing me to plow fields or take vegetables even if another player occupies those actions) and the Fruit Tree (adding food for rounds 8-14). I had also added another room to my wood hut and was getting ready for family growth. Blue meanwhile had played the occupation Clay Mixer and was starting to hoard clay. A Clay Oven followed up quickly and Blue was able to bake bread right away. Green had added the Raft minor improvement (gain reed or extra food when fishing) and the Basketmaker’s Workshop, thus solidifying his reed acquiring strategy. The Hedge Keeper occupation came shortly after but he hadn’t really put it to good use. Purple, on the other hand played the Turner (converts wood to food). Coupled with the Master Forester, Purple had a solid food supply. Purple also played the Clay Roof minor improvement (allows substituting clay for reed when building/renovating) since Green was hoarding reed. Before the second harvest, I had been the starting player for about half the rounds, but Green would take over and hold that position for the most part in the second half of the game.
Green was the first to family growth, followed by myself and Purple. Blue (who was going fourth when Green was the starting player) was instead the first to renovate to a clay house. Blue also acquired Pottery and then played the Pastor therefore acquiring a bunch of resources as the last player to only have two rooms. Green soon upgraded to a clay hut too. I was concentrating on plowing fields and sowing grain and vegetables. The Potato Dibber allowed me to multiply my vegetables at the same rate as my grain, and I acquired the Cook and therefore needed less food to feed my family at harvest. It was Purple (who was hoarding wood) who monopolized the livestock, building pastures and acquiring sheep and wild boar before anyone else. Green acquired the next batch of sheep and played the Spindle minor improvement adding 2 food at harvest. I was a late arrival to the sheep but managed to build four small pastures and an unfenced stable before game’s end. Blue played the Riding Plow and plowed three fields immediately, and was planting and harvesting at a greater rate than me. Purple had not neglected planting and sowing either, unlike Green who had one plowed field but no grain or vegetables.
Towards the later part of the game (Round 10 or 11), I played the Maid occupation adding more food, and built a Fireplace (to cook the excess vegetables for food) and the Millstone (which I didn’t use because I ended up not having to bake bread). Blue had built a Cooking Hearth and was now converting vegetables to food at harvest. Green had built the Chief and was obviously going for a Stone house. Green and I both grabbed most of the stone resource. Purple seemed content with a clay house and further expanded it. Purple had also played the minor improvements Feed Pellets (which was not used) and Clogs. Green built a large pasture and acquired cattle and Blue got a few wild boar to place in two tiny pastures. I was able to upgrade to a stone house after Green, Purple and I, by the last two rounds, had a fourth family member. Blue was shut out. Green had one last trick – the Academic, thus equaling my number of occupations played and shared in the Reeve bonus.
The final tally (with pictures, sorry for my inexperience here):
I had 6 fields, 8 grain, 4 vegetables; 4 pastures and 6 sheep; a 3-room stone house and 4 family members; 1 unused space; 2 points from my improvements; and 3 bonus points from Reeve. My total: 39 points.
Blue had 6 fields, 5 grain, 5 vegetables; 2 pastures, 3 wild boar and 1 fenced stable; a 3-room clay house and 2 family members; 4 unused spaces; 5 points from improvements and 3 bonus points from Pottery. Blue’s total: 26 points.
Green had 2 fields; 2 pastures, 8 sheep, 5 cattle and one fenced stable; a 3-room stone house and 4 family members; 3 unused spaces; 5 points from improvements and a whopping 9 bonus points from the Basketmaker’s Workshop, the Chief, and Reeve. Green’s total: 36 points.
Purple had 5 fields, 7 grain and 3 vegetables; 4 pastures, 8 sheep, 6 wild boar, 4 cattle and 2 fenced stables; a 4-room clay house with 4 family members; no unused spaces; 1 point from improvements and 1 bonus point from Clogs. Purple’s total: 44 points.
Purple had the most balanced farm overall and interestingly, had the fewest occupations and minor improvements played. The two occupations (Master Forester and Turner) were used very effectively for food and animal husbandry. Blue and I had both concentrated on growing crops. Blue, however, was slow to extend his home (but benefited from the Pastor) and was not able to do family growth. Although Green had no crops, the bonus points from his cards were sufficient for him to come close to my score. Also noteworthy was that Blue used a clay-hoarding strategy, Green used a reed-hoarding strategy, and Purple used a wood-hoarding strategy, while I concentrated on crops. At the end, Purple’s superior wood resources and livestock won the day, coupled with a balanced farm with reasonable numbers of crops. There wasn’t need for additional cards. The Clay Roof, Master Forester and Turner were sufficient. (The Clogs only added 1 point at the end.) I came in a respectable second place with the most improvements and occupations played.
Very nice account, left me dying to see the play-by-play. I'm not at all surprised that Purple won, given his tandem, early play of the Master Forester and the Wood Turner (mmmm! Cellulose!), as well as his virtual guarantee of going second through the second half of the game. Conversely, Blue obviously suffered from being forced to go last through that second half, and probably suffered from a relatively weak opening Ock as well (I feel the Land Agent should almost always be saved until the end of Round Seven, using the time aforehand to aggressively expand one's hut, grow, and possibly fence. But that's just me...).
Also, I'm quite bemused that no one nabbed the Well.
Anyway, great job, and I look forward to more such reports!