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Subject: 2way Wet Nurse rss

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Louise Moore
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Although the title sounds like an exciting position to try on a Saturday night it refers to a two player game of Agricola I had with the hubby where the Wet Nurse occupation from the Complex Deck was in play.

We each took 7 minor improvements, 7 occupations and early on in the game my husband played the occupation Wet Nurse. The text on the card reads -

"Whenever you Build room(s), you may grow your family by up to the number of rooms that you build. This costs 1 Food per person. (The newborns are only available to take actions in the next round.)

My husband had three family members in Round 1 and all five family members by the end of Round 3 which put him at a massive advantage. I was thoroughly beaten in the game when in family games we are invariably very close in score, and have been very close in score in other games where we've played with the cards. We both felt that if the game were replayed any number of times his victory would be assured victory simply because he had the Wet Nurse card.

I think we've decided to remove it from play from now on, at least in 2 player games. It just seems too overpowered.
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Gabe Alvaro
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You really know how to make a person click a link.
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Joseph Cochran
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Wait, you mean three family members by the first Harvest? Because I can't see how it's even possible in Round 1.

I'm kind of surprised that isn't 3+ or 4+ actually. I mean, you can counter it by hogging the wood and/or reed for yourself but unless you have an occupation or improvement that makes that wood or reed more valuable you're just blocking and both of you will score poorly...
 
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Eric Flood
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otakugirly wrote:
I think we've decided to remove it from play from now on, at least in 2 player games. It just seems too overpowered.


Unless you have the Lover. Or the reed-thatched roof. Or twins. Etc.

You have to remember that the Wet Nurse costs an initial investment of an action and a food, and later investments of a food for each child instead of an action. It maximally saves the player 2 actions, at the cost of an additional 4 food. Early actions are also worth more; the player also misses out on any minor improvements that could otherwise be combined with Family Growth.
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David C
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(bip promptly runs to the FLGS to buy agricola)
 
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Benjamin Notrevealing
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blueatheart wrote:

You have to remember that the Wet Nurse costs an initial investment of an action and a food, and later investments of a food for each child instead of an action. It maximally saves the player 2 actions, at the cost of an additional 4 food. Early actions are also worth more; the player also misses out on any minor improvements that could otherwise be combined with Family Growth.


I disagree with your numbers - it can be more beneficial than you state.

First example - what if the family growth space was taken when you wanted to use it? By building a room & getting a family member at the same time, you are not only saving the action of going on the family growth square, but you are also gaining extra actions in subsequent rounds.
Second example - what if you can only build the room with your last action of a round? Without wet nurse you would have to wait until next round to grow your family, so in this case you are effectively gaining 2 actions also.
Third example - what if you build more than one room at once? You're saving yourself another trip to the family growth square there again.

Also I disagree with "early actions are also worth more" as a blanket statement. The total number of actions you get in the whole game is more important imho, and if by investing a few early actions you get a lot more actions overall - I'd say that's worth it.

I have seen the Wet Nurse come out about 6 times now, and whoever has always won, more often than not in convincing fashion. No other card has come close to this level of supremacy. It therefore has now been removed from our deck.
 
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Nate Johnson
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blueatheart wrote:
otakugirly wrote:
I think we've decided to remove it from play from now on, at least in 2 player games. It just seems too overpowered.


Unless you have the Lover. Or the reed-thatched roof. Or twins. Etc.

You have to remember that the Wet Nurse costs an initial investment of an action and a food, and later investments of a food for each child instead of an action. It maximally saves the player 2 actions, at the cost of an additional 4 food. Early actions are also worth more; the player also misses out on any minor improvements that could otherwise be combined with Family Growth.


That said, it does enable family growth earlier than would be otherwise possible, allowing the player to gain additional, earlier actions beyond what he or she could normally achieve.
 
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Louise Moore
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WelshGandalf wrote:
[q="blueatheart"] Third example - what if you build more than one room at once? You're saving yourself another trip to the family growth square there again.


This is exactly what happened in our case, he built two rooms at once thus saving himself 2 actions on the family growth square. On top of which both those family members were available the next turn, meaning he had even more actions available.

Quote:
I mean, you can counter it by hogging the wood and/or reed for yourself but unless you have an occupation or improvement that makes that wood or reed more valuable you're just blocking and both of you will score poorly...


I did think about trying to deny him wood or reed as a tactic once he played Wet Nurse but I believe that trying to deny him reed or wood would have crippled my game. On top of this consideration is that fact he always had starting player, unlike in a normal game where the jockeying for position for first player happens a few times a game, in this game I felt it would be a waste going for first player. The reason being that with his extra family members at hand he could always have reclaimed first player on the following turn without it really disadvantaging him at all where as with me, it would have been using up a valuable action when I was already behind in the game.

Quote:
Unless you have the Lover. Or the reed-thatched roof. Or twins. Etc.


Unfortunately those cards weren't in play in this game, but it would be an interesting idea to have the opposing player choose the card of their choice if Wet Nurse came out. On the other hand it would change the whole dynamic of using the cards. I generally like the way the cards add a little randomness to the game, offering players slightly different strategies and I feel deciding upon the cards in advance would change the game quite a lot.

 
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Eric Flood
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WelshGandalf wrote:
blueatheart wrote:

You have to remember that the Wet Nurse costs an initial investment of an action and a food, and later investments of a food for each child instead of an action. It maximally saves the player 2 actions, at the cost of an additional 4 food. Early actions are also worth more; the player also misses out on any minor improvements that could otherwise be combined with Family Growth.


I disagree with your numbers - it can be more beneficial than you state.

First example - what if the family growth space was taken when you wanted to use it? By building a room & getting a family member at the same time, you are not only saving the action of going on the family growth square, but you are also gaining extra actions in subsequent rounds.


This is easily avoidable simply by looking at who wants said space; especially easy in a 2-player game.


Quote:
Second example - what if you can only build the room with your last action of a round? Without wet nurse you would have to wait until next round to grow your family, so in this case you are effectively gaining 2 actions also.


This is based on your inability to plan ahead.

Quote:
Third example - what if you build more than one room at once? You're saving yourself another trip to the family growth square there again.



1.build a room
2.family growth
3.build 2 rooms
4.family growth
5.family growth

1.wet nurse occupation
2.build a room/family growth
3.build 2 rooms/family growth

OR even

1.build 3 rooms
2.family growth
3.family growth
4.family growth

1.wet nurse occupation
2.build 3 rooms/family growth

2 actions saved, no matter how you orient your room-building. Of course, if you build 3 rooms at once, you are not using the Wet Nurse efficiently.

Quote:
Also I disagree with "early actions are also worth more" as a blanket statement. The total number of actions you get in the whole game is more important imho, and if by investing a few early actions you get a lot more actions overall - I'd say that's worth it.


Early actions are your preparation for later "concrete" points. You need to build a framework before you can actually get points; without this framework, you would otherwise not do well at all. They may not directly lead to points; but the utility cost of the earlier actions is much higher.

You argue for it yourself in a fashion by arguing for increasing the number of actions you will have during the game; early game framework building allows you to approach this line of action.

Quote:
I have seen the Wet Nurse come out about 6 times now, and whoever has always won, more often than not in convincing fashion. No other card has come close to this level of supremacy. It therefore has now been removed from our deck.


That's funny; I've seen the Wet Nurse beaten much more than I've seen it win. It is one of the easiest Occupations in the K deck to use properly; I might suggest you are doing an inefficient job at the others.
 
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Geoff Burkman
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otakugirly wrote:
Although the title sounds like an exciting position to try on a Saturday night it refers to a two player game of Agricola I had with the hubby where the Wet Nurse occupation from the Complex Deck was in play.

We each took 7 minor improvements, 7 occupations and early on in the game my husband played the occupation Wet Nurse. The text on the card reads -

"Whenever you Build room(s), you may grow your family by up to the number of rooms that you build. This costs 1 Food per person. (The newborns are only available to take actions in the next round.)

My husband had three family members in Round 1 and all five family members by the end of Round 3 which put him at a massive advantage. I was thoroughly beaten in the game when in family games we are invariably very close in score, and have been very close in score in other games where we've played with the cards. We both felt that if the game were replayed any number of times his victory would be assured victory simply because he had the Wet Nurse card.

I think we've decided to remove it from play from now on, at least in 2 player games. It just seems too overpowered.


Just an interjection here; I assume you mean Stages rather than Rounds, as it is utterly impossible to build a room in Round One.

As for the unbeatability of the Wet Nurse, I will opine that it is not nearly as broken as the Taster, though it remains a strong, strong card. I've seen it beaten many times, though, although mostly in 3+ player games. I haven't played enough 2-player games yet with the Wet Nurse to judge it fairly in those circumstances. Still, there are plenty of other strong Ocks that can match up with the Wet Nurse and send her scurrying.
 
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Allen Hoffmann
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I totally agree that it is flatout overpowered. But its ok if a few things slip through playtesting. I have a shortlist of banned cards, and I simply don't put them in the decks when we're playing with my set

that list includes:
taster
chamberlain
lover
wet nurse
the O and Z decks (they're just broken)

its a much more balanced game now, and games are never a case of 1 person getting to runaway with it starting in phase 2 or 3

Allen
 
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Jason Gische
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WelshGandalf wrote:
blueatheart wrote:

You have to remember that the Wet Nurse costs an initial investment of an action and a food, and later investments of a food for each child instead of an action. It maximally saves the player 2 actions, at the cost of an additional 4 food. Early actions are also worth more; the player also misses out on any minor improvements that could otherwise be combined with Family Growth.


I disagree with your numbers - it can be more beneficial than you state.

First example - what if the family growth space was taken when you wanted to use it? By building a room & getting a family member at the same time, you are not only saving the action of going on the family growth square, but you are also gaining extra actions in subsequent rounds.


I would find it difficult to argue with your point that it might be additionally helpful in the case where the family growth space were already taken. Clearly that is accurate. However, I will alternately point out that if player 1 has played the wet nurse, then player 2 will never have to battle for that space. When p2 wants the space, it will be available for her. Given your own expression of how valuable that would be for p1 if it ever happened, you'd have to admit that this is a pretty big benefit for p2, and it's guaranteed.

I also think everyone is ignoring how expensive that extra food is early in the game. You will tend to use your extra early actions just making up the additional food expenditure.

Quote:
Second example - what if you can only build the room with your last action of a round? Without wet nurse you would have to wait until next round to grow your family, so in this case you are effectively gaining 2 actions also.


I have to admit I am not completely sure what you mean by that. Regardless of when you choose the build rooms action, you're saving an action by spending the one food to get the bonus family growth. Are you asserting that it's worth two actions (per room) in the case where you build rooms at the end of the turn because it's not just the saved action but also the "extra" action you get by getting the new family member a turn earlier than you otherwise would have? Okay, I think I buy the additional value there. I'm just not sure how much to value it because how often would it occur? I suppose the best way to estimate it is to say that the first room build action is 50% likely to be on your last move (since you only have two actions) and the next is either 33% or 25% (depending on if you built one or two rooms the first time.) I'll leave it up to some other enterprising reader to complete this task.

Quote:
Third example - what if you build more than one room at once? You're saving yourself another trip to the family growth square there again.


I thinks this one is provably wrong. Playing the wet nurse will save you up to three actions (ignoring the fact that you it cost you an action to play the occupation) because you do not need to take the family growth space at all in the game. Building two rooms at one time does not change this fact at all. Building two rooms at once saves you an action, but it is unrelated to the wet nurse. The player without the wet nurse can save that same action.

Quote:
Also I disagree with "early actions are also worth more" as a blanket statement. The total number of actions you get in the whole game is more important imho, and if by investing a few early actions you get a lot more actions overall - I'd say that's worth it.


I tend to agree with that.

Quote:
I have seen the Wet Nurse come out about 6 times now, and whoever has always won, more often than not in convincing fashion. No other card has come close to this level of supremacy. It therefore has now been removed from our deck.


I've seen it win and I've seen it lose, so we see no need to remove it. Yes, it's a powerful card, but we don't see it as broken. I have not ever seen it in a 2p game, however, so I can't comment from direct experience on that situation.
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Benjamin Notrevealing
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Jason,

Firstly bear in mind that my post was to disprove Eric's assertions of "maximal" benefits of the Wet Nurse. I don't think his answers were particularly constructive on the whole - where they were constructive, your answers were constructive also - so I'll just answer yours.

Re: First example - that's a good point about it being good for player 2 also. I think this is one of the reasons why Wet Nurse is more powerful in 3 or 4 player games than 2 player games (I have found this to be true in practice too).

Re: Second example

Quote:
Are you asserting that it's worth two actions (per room) in the case where you build rooms at the end of the turn because it's not just the saved action but also the "extra" action you get by getting the new family member a turn earlier than you otherwise would have?


Yes that's what I'm asserting. I agree that this isn't an easily quantifiable benefit, but it is a possible benefit and given the post I was responding to - I felt it worth bringing up.

Re: Third example, I think I need to expand on this point.

Quote:
Third example - what if you build more than one room at once? You're saving yourself another trip to the family growth square there again.


Let's say you've got the resources to build two rooms. Also let's assume you're not playing 5 player - so there is only one "family growth" space.

Without Wet Nurse...
Turn 1... 2 actions to use as you want
Turn 2... 2 actions. Build 2 rooms, family growth.
Turn 3....3 actions, Family growth, 2 other actions.
Turn 4....4 actions.

With Wet Nurse...
Turn 1.... 2 actions, Play Wet Nurse, do something else
Turn 2 ... 2 actions, Build 2 rooms (&grow family), 1 other action.
Turn 3.... 4 actions to use on anything.
Turn 4.... Still 4 actions to use on anything

So - Without the wet nurse, you have 8 other actions open to you during these 4 mythical turns. With the wet nurse, you have 10 actions. You've gained 2 extra actions even including playing the occupation. You're saving going onto the family growth square but ALSO gaining actions in having extra family members earlier.
 
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Nate Johnson
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WelshGandalf wrote:

Without Wet Nurse...
Turn 1... 2 actions to use as you want
Turn 2... 2 actions. Build 2 rooms, family growth.
Turn 3....3 actions, Family growth, 2 other actions.
Turn 4....4 actions.


To continue the recursive nitpicking, how exactly were you getting a family growth action in the first 4 rounds without Wet Nurse?
 
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Eric Flood
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Limey Sponge wrote:
WelshGandalf wrote:

Without Wet Nurse...
Turn 1... 2 actions to use as you want
Turn 2... 2 actions. Build 2 rooms, family growth.
Turn 3....3 actions, Family growth, 2 other actions.
Turn 4....4 actions.


To continue the recursive nitpicking, how exactly were you getting a family growth action in the first 4 rounds without Wet Nurse?


I don't believe he is actually referring to the "first" 4 rounds, just "turn 1" from some arbitrary starting point.
 
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Louise Moore
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In the game we played my husband played wet nurse in Round 1 during Stage 4 and unfortunately for me the Family Growth card was the last of the Round 2 cards in Stage 7.
 
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Geoff Burkman
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otakugirly wrote:
In the game we played my husband played wet nurse in Round 1 during Stage 4 and unfortunately for me the Family Growth card was the last of the Round 2 cards in Stage 7.


Roger that. You're still referring to Rounds as Stages and vice-versa, though. There are 14 Rounds in the game, grouped into six Stages.
 
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Jason Gische
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WelshGandalf wrote:
Jason,

Firstly bear in mind that my post was to disprove Eric's assertions of "maximal" benefits of the Wet Nurse.


Got it.

Quote:
Re: First example - that's a good point about it being good for player 2 also. I think this is one of the reasons why Wet Nurse is more powerful in 3 or 4 player games than 2 player games (I have found this to be true in practice too).


Yes, but wasn't the OP talking about a 2p game?

Quote:
Re: Second example

Quote:
Are you asserting that it's worth two actions (per room) in the case where you build rooms at the end of the turn because it's not just the saved action but also the "extra" action you get by getting the new family member a turn earlier than you otherwise would have?


Yes that's what I'm asserting. I agree that this isn't an easily quantifiable benefit, but it is a possible benefit and given the post I was responding to - I felt it worth bringing up.


And I think I already agreed with this one.[/q]

Quote:
Re: Third example, I think I need to expand on this point.

Quote:
Third example - what if you build more than one room at once? You're saving yourself another trip to the family growth square there again.


I think my first problem with this is that you're just calling this the wrong thing. Building more rooms at once in no way "saves" you an action. The actions "saved" are the ones you don't need to spend going to the family growth space, and that will be 2 saved actions if you build up to a 5 room house (3 family growth actions saved, minus one action for playing the occupation.) You're talking about "gaining" actions.

Quote:
Let's say you've got the resources to build two rooms. Also let's assume you're not playing 5 player - so there is only one "family growth" space.

Without Wet Nurse...
Turn 1... 2 actions to use as you want
Turn 2... 2 actions. Build 2 rooms, family growth.
Turn 3....3 actions, Family growth, 2 other actions.
Turn 4....4 actions.

With Wet Nurse...
Turn 1.... 2 actions, Play Wet Nurse, do something else
Turn 2 ... 2 actions, Build 2 rooms (&grow family), 1 other action.
Turn 3.... 4 actions to use on anything.
Turn 4.... Still 4 actions to use on anything

So - Without the wet nurse, you have 8 other actions open to you during these 4 mythical turns. With the wet nurse, you have 10 actions. You've gained 2 extra actions even including playing the occupation. You're saving going onto the family growth square but ALSO gaining actions in having extra family members earlier.


I don't get it. Using your example, the player with the wet nurse has two extra actions to play over the course of these 4 turns. That's it. There is no ALSO gained actions from having the family members earlier, since those are the SAME gained actions.

Look at it this way:
Before those 4 turns, both players were in the exact same position.
During those 4 turns, the player with wet nurse has two additional actions to use.
After those 4 turns, both players are in the exact same position again.

Actually, now that I think about this one step further, I think you are correct in one way, but you're not doing the correct comparisons to demonstrate it. What you are actually trying to assert here is that you gain additional actions when you build more rooms at a time, over and above the actions you would gain if you only built one room at a time. Yet you're not actually comparing those two situations in your example. Let's try that. (And while I do this, I'm going to accelerate the actions a bit since I see no reason for the players to wait until turn 2 to build their rooms. As it turns out, this helps both equally so it didn't change anything in the earlier quoted situation either.)

Build one room at a time:
Without Wet Nurse...
Turn 1... 2 actions. Build 1 room, family growth.
Turn 2... 3 actions.
Turn 3... 3 actions.
Turn 4... 3 actions.

With Wet Nurse...
Turn 1.... 2 actions, Play Wet Nurse, Build 1 room (&grow family)
Turn 2 ... 3 actions.
Turn 3.... 3 actions.
Turn 4.... 3 actions.

Wet nurse player gets 9 non-committed actions in this time period, player without wet nurse also gets 9. There is an expectation that both players will build two more rooms, one at a time, in later turns. In those two builds, the wet nurse player will gain an additional action each time because he gets to "BR + action" while the player without wet nurse plays "BR + FG". So wet nurse player nets 2 additional actions total.

Build two rooms at a time:
Without Wet Nurse...
Turn 1... 2 actions. Build 2 rooms, family growth.
Turn 2... 3 actions. Family growth, 2 other actions.
Turn 3... 4 actions.
Turn 4... 4 actions.

With Wet Nurse...
Turn 1.... 2 actions, Play Wet Nurse, Build 2 rooms (&grow family)
Turn 2 ... 4 actions.
Turn 3.... 4 actions.
Turn 4.... 4 actions.

Wet nurse player gets 12 non-committed actions in this time period, player without wet nurse gets 10. As above, the wet nurse player will net one more action if both players build one more room, for a total of 3 additional actions.

Build three rooms at a time:
Without Wet Nurse...
Turn 1... 2 actions. Build 3 rooms, family growth.
Turn 2... 3 actions. Family growth, 2 other actions.
Turn 3... 4 actions. Family growth, 3 other actions.
Turn 4... 4 actions.

With Wet Nurse...
Turn 1.... 2 actions, Play Wet Nurse, Build 3 rooms (&grow family)
Turn 2 ... 4 actions.
Turn 3.... 4 actions.
Turn 4.... 4 actions.

Wet nurse player gets 12 non-committed actions in this time period, player without wet nurse gets 9, for a total of 3 additional actions.

So it looks like building more than one room at a time does get the wet nurse player one more action (above and beyond the action gained purely for building multiple rooms in one action.) Strangely, there is no extra benefit for building 3 rooms at a time over what you get for building two rooms.
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Geoff Burkman
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This is my take on the Wet Nurse, based on my FEATS algorithm (one food = one action = one point):

The normal growth pattern, as others have indicated, is A) build room (one action), B) take Family Growth (one action), plus probable Minor Improvement (one secondary action). This yields 14-N actions (where N = the Round in which Family Growth takes place). Total yield is thus 12-N actions.

Wet Nurse growth pattern is A) build room (one action) plus Family Growth (one secondary action) minus one food, which yields 14-N actions (where N = the Round in which Family Growth takes place). Total yield is thus 13-N actions. Wet Nurse essentially "saves" one action at a cost of one food, which in the long run is a wash, according to FEATS.

Now, in those instances of normal growth in which "Build 1 Room" and "Family Growth" can be achieved in the same Round, the use of the Wet Nurse simply allows a player's otherwise unused peep to do something else, at the cost of playing a Minor Improvement plus the aforementioned food. I do not consider this to be a horrendously great advantage. In those instances of normal growth in which the player must build a room during one Round, and then add a peep the next Round, the Wet Nurse would, indeed, "save" another action by virtue of getting the new peep into play one Round earlier than expected. This still entails the cost of one food, and the swapping of a guaranteed MI play for some other play. Again, and especially if the player has a highly useful Minor ready to rock, this is not an overwhelming advantage by any means.

Because of this food/actions/points relationship, the Wet Nurse is most valuable the earlier it can be used, preferably before normal Family Growth becomes available. Once Family Growth appears, the value of the Wet Nurse drops off, and declines radically the further the game moves along. This is very similar to the status of the Lover, another Occupation that is quite strong when played early (preferably in Stage One), and much less so as the game progresses.

If I want to kick some farming butt, give me the Taster any day.
 
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