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Subject: It's Not Just the Loss, It's the Precision! rss

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Geoff Burkman
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No real prologue here; Through the Seasons variant, Autumn start, we dealt ten Ocks and Minors each, discarding threes from each…

Round One/Autumn/Fences
Geoff – Occ/Woodcutter
Ron – 3W(4)
Brian – 1R(2)
Geoff – 2W(3+1)
Ron – SP + Raft
Brian – AutumnAction (1V)

I’m a fairly firm believer in getting a prime early-game Ock out ASAP, even in a “TtS” game where good first picks are plentiful. Unfortunately, the two best Ocks I’ve got this time around are the Woodcutter (one bonus wood every time you take wood) and the Charcoal Burner (a wood and a food every time someone builds a cookery). Eenie-meanie-chili-beanie, it’s only a 3-player game, cookeries might be good for about four hits, and with my crew wood is always highly contested, so I’m figuring I’ll have to take wood at least five times, so I go with the Woodcutter. Turns out it really didn’t make much difference in the long run, but that the way the cookie crumbles. Ron grabs the solid 4Wood, Brian snags the stacked reed, and I hit up the other woodpile. Ron takes the button to bring out the Raft (a bonus wood OR reed when fishing), and Brian snags a seasonal vegetable for utterly arcane reasons (he never uses it all game). Novelty, perhaps.

Round Two/Winter/Sheep
Ron – Occ/Plow Maker
Brian – 3W(3)
Geoff – 2W(2+1)
Ron – PF (+PF-2f)
Brian – DL (2f)
Geoff – 1G

Ron gets out his own Ock, a variation of the Plowman (same costs, with one less action required to max out fields), and Brian snags wood again, as do I. God, we’re so predictable sometimes! Ron puts his Ock to work (despite the Winter penalty), Brian scrounges supplies, and I pick up a grain.

Round Three/Spring/MIMI
Ron – Fish (3+1f)
Brian – Occ/Tutor
Geoff – 1C(2)
Ron – 1C(2)
Brian – 3W(2)
Geoff – SP + Potato Dibber

Ron bolsters his food stocks, Brian gets out the Tutor (an eventual 3-point play), and I scoop up some clay. Ron copycats me, Brian picks up another modicum of wood, and I retake the button to get out my Dibber, which turns out to be utterly useless. Oops. Oh, well, at least I’ll have first shot at a cookery next Round, small consolation.

Round Four/Summer/Sow & Bake
Geoff – MIMI/Fp2
Ron – 1R(2)
Brian – Occ(1)/Thatcher
Geoff – Sheep(3)burn2
Ron – 3W(3)
Brian – BR(1)(+1s)

Pressed by Ron, I build the fireplace, trusting Ron and Brian to not snatch the sheep. Ron only has eyes for the reed, and Brian slashes his requirements with a prime Ock. Grateful sheep are soon dead, save one. Ron clears wood, while Brian adds a room and seasonal stable. He’s got the jump; will good ol’ Family Growth show sooner than later? All feed, two of us with leftovers.

Round Five/Autumn/Renovation + MIMI
Geoff – 2W(6+1)
Ron – 3W(4)
Brian – 1C(3)
Geoff – 1R(2)
Ron – 1C(3)
Brian – Fish (3f)

A 7Wood can’t be ignored. Ron follows up with the smaller woodpile, Brian decides on clay, and I claim the vital reed. Ron strips the rest of the clay from the board, and Brian fishes. If there’s any a time for my stupid Charcoal Burner to get in gear, it’s pretty much now. Little do I realize the mistake I’m about to make. Little do I know.

Round Six/Winter/Stone
Geoff – Occ(1)/Charcoal Burner
Ron – MIMI/CH4 (1W/1f>g)
Brian – 3W(3)
Geoff – BR(1) +2s
Ron – Sheep(2)burn2
Brian – SP + Loom

Instead of the more straightforward move of building a room and forcing Brian to grow now, leaving the option open for me next Round, I play Trashcan Man. This ends up netting me a 2Wood and 2food, sad recompense for the missed growth opportunity, though admittedly it secures a key food for harvest time. Ron claims the hearth, Brian snags mama wood, and Now, consarnit!, I expand my hut, tacking on a pair of stables. I already feel myself regretting the Burner when Ron torches the woolies. Those sheep shoulda, coulda, woulda been mine. Alas, alack, whatever once may have been has forever become what never was. It’s a sad, existential life in Agricola sometimes. Brian holds off on growth to nab the button and a pointed Minor he otherwise never uses. Dudes home; we all still have mistakes to make.

Round Seven/SpringSummer/Family Growth + MI
Brian – FG + Clay Path
Geoff – DL (2f+1G)
Ron – Occ(1)/Seasonal Worker
Brian – Fish (3f)
Geoff – Fences (5+2)
Ron – 2W(3)

Brian hires on the obvious extra peep, and pops out a nice Minor, trusting that Ron and I don’t have the Stone Path, nor the interest in ponying up its horrendous cost in resources. I have little choice but to assure food supplies; the seasonal grain doesn’t hurt, either. Ron activates another Ock that he uses exactly once. Waste not, want not. Brian fishes, I fence a tiny pair of pastures, and Ron gathers in more wood. Seed, feed, and breed and we move into the middle game.

Round Eight/AutumnWinter/Vegetables
Brian – 3W(6)
Geoff – 1S(3)
Ron – Sheep(2)burn2
Brian – SP + Carp Pond (3f>
Geoff – 1R(2)
Ron – Occ(1)/Hedge Keeper
Brian – 2W(3)

Brian snaps up the 6Wood (as if…!), and I perhaps foolishly ignore growth to purloin the bargain stone. Ron socks away mutton, Brian nails down the button to score a Minor, and I again bypass growth in favor of the reed. Nothing like compounding an error, eh? Ron gets out yet another Ock, this time one that serves him to much greater effect than the last. Brian clears the wood

Round Nine/SpringSummer/Boar
Brian – 1C(4)
Geoff – 1C(4)
Ron – Fences (1+2+3)
Brian – Fish (3f)
Geoff – Ren>C + Stone Oven (8f)(+1W/1f)
Ron – DL (2f +1G+1V)
Brian – Occ(1)/Schnaps Distiller

Clay now proves too cheap for either Brian or me to resist, and we don’t. Ron fences most parsimoniously, Brian raids the pond again, and I upgrade my digs to claim the appropriate oven and beaucoup food, cashing in on my Burner for the second and last time. Note to self: don’t count on the Charcoal Burner for much unless it’s a 4- or 5-player game. Ron exercises his Seasonal Worker, and Brian closes the Round with Mr. Veg-O-Matic, which he puts to rights at harvest. I’m now having serious misgivings about my failure to add another worker this Stage.

Round Ten/AutumnWinter/Cattle
Brian – 3W(6)
Geoff – Boar(2)
Ron – Sheep(2)burn1
Brian – Occ(1)/Chamberlain
Geoff – FG + Broom + Ceramics (2f)
Ron – WinterAction (FG –2W/3f)
Brian – Ren>C + Quarry

Brian again swipes a 6Wood. Growth isn’t forced, so I detour for boar. Ron decimates sheep, Brian sneaks out the Chamberlain to mixed effect, and I grow, pick up a new hand of Minors and make wedgeware while the making’s good. It turns out to be the only new Minor I play. Ron is almost forced to pay the vig and grow; he can’t afford to fall behind in actions at this late juncture. Brian gumby©izes, dropping down the dreaded Quarry; his stone concerns are secure. One could easily argue that this is the move that wins him the game.

Round Eleven/SpringSummer/Stone
Brian – DL (2f +1G+3S)
Geoff – 2W(5+1)
Ron – Cattle(2)
Brian – 1V
Geoff – Fences (6+2)
Ron – SummerAction (2VP)
Brian – P&S (1Vf)
Geoff – PF
Ron – S&B (1Gf/1Vf)

Brian immediately cranks up his new stone machine, but then diverts to veggie production. I snag wood to complete my fencing, and start in on needed plowing. Ron does a little bit of this and that, grabbing cattle, points, and growing some food. Ron sacrifices his lone sheep, a veggie, and a grain to feed his family; likewise, Brian puts his Distiller to work. We move into the endgame.

Round Twelve/AutumnWinter/Plow & Sow
Brian – AutumnAction (1V)
Geoff – 1S(3)
Ron – Fences (6+3)
Brian – Occ(1)/Stone Cutter
Geoff – SP + Pottery
Ron – Boar(2)burn1cattle
Brian – P&S (2Vf)
Geoff – Sheep(2)
Ron – PF (+PF-1f)

Despite his cache of stone and wood, Brian delays renovation and fencing in order to bolster vegetable production. I take the stone while the taking is good, and Ron finishes off his fencing. Brian ocks an eventual 3Stone savings; he could have done as well with another Day Laborer play, and had two food to boot. I grab the button to claim my free Pottery. Ron cancels a negative, Brian maxes out vegetables, I cancel a negative, and Ron gets as far as he’s going to get with fields. I’m a little surprised that Brian didn’t delay the veggie operation in favor of taking on a fifth worker; no doubt feeding concerns were a large factor.

Round Thirteen/SpringSummer/Family Growth w/o
Geoff – Cattle(2)
Ron – 3W(8)
Brian – 1S(3)
Geoff – FG w/o
Ron – 1R(5)
Brian – DL (2f+1G+3S)
Geoff – SpringAction (+1s1b1c)
Ron – BR(2)(+2s)
Brian – Ren>S +Fences (13+2)

I snag the eventual three points in cattle, Ron hauls in the wood for room building, and Brian continues to dominate stone. I grow, Ron claims critical reed, and Brian exercises the Quarry yet again. I expand my herds (and food resources), Ron pops out rooms and complimentary stables, and Brian finally renovates and fences, too late to help whatever animal husbandry goals he may have. Dudes home, feed, gear up for the last turn.

Round Fourteen/All/Renovation +Fences
Geoff – P&S
Ron – Sheep(2)
Brian – BR(1)(+1s)
Geoff – PF
Ron – Fish(7f)
Brian – FG w/o
Geoff – SummerAction (3VP)
Ron – FG + Turnip Field
Brian – MIMI/Well
Geoff – Ren>S + Corn Sheaf>(1G)

I cancel my plowing negative, Ron cancels a negative he should never have had to bother with, and Brian cranks out a stone room. I plow, as much to deny the space to my opponents as anything, Ron gloms all the food he needs, and I happily take the 3-point holiday. Ron closes his play out with growth and a Minor point, Brian snags the Well, and I renovate, canceling another negative with my own fortuitous Minor. That’s all she wrote, folks, and it’s time to score.

Final Score (Occupations Played, Minors/Majors Played)(Wood taken/bonus)(Rounds as Starting Player)(Total Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Actions)(Points Per Primary Action)(Food Spent)

*Primary Actions are those actions first taken when a player claims a space with a family member. Secondary Actions are the “extra” actions allowed by certain spaces, such as a Minor Improvement when taking Starting Player, or Baking after Sowing. Tertiary Actions are all other “extra” actions enabled via card play or the seasonal rules of the “Through the Seasons” variant. Note that the “TtS” variant has two Action Spaces that allow Secondary Actions: Spring and Autumn

Brian – 39 (5 Occ, 4/1)(23/6)(6)(35/8/6)(1.114)(38)
Geoff – 38 (2 Occ, 4/3)(16/8)(6)(33/6/9)(1.152)(34)
Ron – 32 (2 Occ, 2/1)(22/17)(2)(32/2/9)(1.000)(37)

Player Fields Pastures Grain Veg Sheep Boar Cattle Unused Stables House Peeps Pts Bonus
Brian 2(1) 4(4) 1(1) 2(2) 0(-1) 0(-1) 0(-1) (-3) 2(2) 4S(8) 4(12) (9) (6)
Geoff 3(2) 4(4) 1(1) 0(-1) 1(1) 3(2) 4(3) (-3) 2(2) 3S(6) 4(12) (6) (3)
Ron 4(3) 4(4) 2(1) 1(1) 3(1) 1(1) 4(3) (-1) 2(2) 4W(0) 4(12) (3) (2)


Of note: my marginal efficiency edge wasn't quite good enough to surmount Brian’s action surplus, Ron’s wood domination failed to give him much advantage, and in fact may have diverted him from better plays. Ignoring renovation and/or being blocked from it was a major setback on his part. My own shortfall undoubtedly centered on failing to grow in a more timely fashion. The extra actions would have easily counterbalanced the increased food requirements. Brian and I pretty much played neck-and-neck, with his two extra actions making the difference. Next time, pal, next time…!

As always, feel free to post-mort the post-mort. Until next time, happy farming!
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Brian Bastage
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I won one!!


I took the veggie in Round One due to the fact I'd be playing the Schnaps Distiller. I wanted to get some kind of surplus ready since it since it doesn't appear until at least Round 8. I intended for it to be my main food engine at the time, but plans got rearranged, either by you or by Ron. I can't really see it looking back over it but I'm sure one or the both of you did something.
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Geoff Burkman
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Brian Bastage wrote:
I won one!!


I took the veggie in Round One due to the fact I'd be playing the Schnaps Distiller. I wanted to get some kind of surplus ready since it since it doesn't appear until at least Round 8. I intended for it to be my main food engine at the time, but plans got rearranged, either by you or by Ron. I can't really see it looking back over it but I'm sure one or the both of you did something.


Aye, Cap'n, I noticed that, but must remind you that you still didn't use the poor thing until Round Nine, the Round after "Take 1 Vegetable" appears. QED: something else in Round One would have better benefitted you. Of course, you won anyway, so...
 
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Frederic Bush
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Brian's starting hand is very strong. Chamberlain + Quarry + Thatcher, and the Tutor, an otherwise weak card, works to help bring out the Quarry.

You all are really hesitant about growing your families. I find it puzzling.

Brian missed a trick. Neither of you guys could build a room when he built his. If he'd taken starting player instead of br, he could've taken 6w and then built *two* rooms the next round. That locks up the first family grow, and maybe even the 2nd depending on food supplies and board situation.

With the quarry in his hand and a 2 peep edge *and* the chamberlain he'd be unstoppable, especially with that silly Summer action (if he takes it with his 4th or 5th peep, +4 or 5vps, right?). You were criticizing some of his occ plays, but remember that he got tutor points for them and needed 4 occs to get out that game-winner of a quarry.

I also think the charcoal burner is a stronger 1st turn play than the woodcutter. You're right that in 3p it's not as amazing as in 4p, but you missed a charcoal bonus by not improving your fireplace to a cooking hearth at some point.

On that first turn, I don't play through the seasons, but those bonuses are pretty compelling; possibly just taking the 3w+1 and hoping that either the occ or the 1r+1 makes it back to you is the best move. Ron is obsessed with wood and clay for fireplaces, as I recall, so the odds are decent. Even if you "miss out", you still get the 2w+1.

I'm also not sold on your midgame fences play. You got a 2w bonus for building a small fenced area, but the 3w on the board was available, and would've set you up for a more usefully-sized fencing action later as well as helping resource hose your opponents. You guys end up with the 3w action square with double resources a lot.





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Geoff Burkman
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fbush555 wrote:
....You all are really hesitant about growing your families. I find it puzzling.


I certainly was in this game, not a normal modus operandi for me. In retrospect, I believe I should have gone ahead and built my room with my first peep in Round Six, forcing Brian to take Family Growth then. This would have paved the way for my own growth the next Round, and kept me from wasting time with the Charcoal Burner. As it is, I probably should have definitely added a peep on Round Eight instead of waiting.

Quote:
Brian missed a trick. Neither of you guys could build a room when he built his. If he'd taken starting player instead of br, he could've taken 6w and then built *two* rooms the next round....


Absolutely correct.

Quote:
With the quarry in his hand and a 2 peep edge *and* the chamberlain he'd be unstoppable, especially with that silly Summer action (if he takes it with his 4th or 5th peep, +4 or 5vps, right?). You were criticizing some of his occ plays, but remember that he got tutor points for them and needed 4 occs to get out that game-winner of a quarry.


Not Brian's so much as Ron's.

Quote:
I also think the charcoal burner is a stronger 1st turn play than the woodcutter. You're right that in 3p it's not as amazing as in 4p, but you missed a charcoal bonus by not improving your fireplace to a cooking hearth at some point.


I agree with you on both points here, though the trade-off seems close. My Burner would have gotten one extra payoff when I built the fireplace, and possibly another if I'd upgraded to a hearth, so there'd have been a food profit, but I'd have also lost out on three Woodcutter bonuses and thus at least one stable.

Quote:
On that first turn, I don't play through the seasons, but those bonuses are pretty compelling; possibly just taking the 3w+1 and hoping that either the occ or the 1r+1 makes it back to you is the best move. Ron is obsessed with wood and clay for fireplaces, as I recall, so the odds are decent. Even if you "miss out", you still get the 2w+1.


Good point, and I did actually mull that one over before going for the Ock. Man, I just love 20-20 hindsight, don't you?

Quote:
I'm also not sold on your midgame fences play. You got a 2w bonus for building a small fenced area, but the 3w on the board was available, and would've set you up for a more usefully-sized fencing action later as well as helping resource hose your opponents.


My intent was to threaten with animal-breeding capability, but that sure didn't work out.

Quote:
You guys end up with the 3w action square with double resources a lot.


That's a function of resource distribution in "TtS" with telescoping seasons, especially once the midgame arrives. The wood is always going to be -1 one Round and then +1 the next, so it's a cycle of 3W(2) followed by 3W(6). It's not terribly efficient to grab a 3W(2) unless you really, really need it.

Again, great observations/comments; I appreciate it! Cheers![/q]
 
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Frederic Bush
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MisterG wrote:
fbush555 wrote:

Quote:
I'm also not sold on your midgame fences play. You got a 2w bonus for building a small fenced area, but the 3w on the board was available, and would've set you up for a more usefully-sized fencing action later as well as helping resource hose your opponents.


My intent was to threaten with animal-breeding capability, but that sure didn't work out.


I agree with the idea: being able to credibly threaten an animal play is very useful in making your opponents take the animal actions suboptimally. But you don't need fences to do that; a fireplace or cooking hearth (which you already had) is sufficient.
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Geoff Burkman
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Very true, but I was also ready to start breeding, if convenient.
 
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