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Subject: Dutch Championships, preliminary round, game 1 rss

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Eugene van der Pijll
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Leidschendam
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The Dutch Championship (NK) Agricola consists of 6 qualifying rounds between April and November of this year, and a final at the Spellenspektakel in Zwolle on November 15. One of the qualifying rounds was last Saturday at the game group that I recently joined, so I decided to compete.

There were 9 competitors, who each played two 3-player games. My first game was against M and K, and was played using the E-deck.

Round 1: Sow & Bake
Eu: Occ/Seasonal Worker
M: 3W (3)
K: SP + Spices
Eu: PF
M: 1G
K: 2W (2)

I take a look at my hand, and am disappointed: I don't really have any good combos. But I have the Seasonal Worker, which is always worth playing; especially if you like baking (I do). I decide to go for the food engine first, family growth second, so I let the other players have the wood.

K plays the Spices in round 1, which is awfully early for a veggie-related card. Of course, this probably is the only free improvement in his hand. M takes grain, so it looks like I will have competition for the baking spot later in the game.

Round 2: Fences
K: 1C (2)
Eu: 3W (3)
M: 2W (2)
K: Fish (2)
Eu: 1R (2)
M: 1C (2)

We all collect some resources. Wood is popular, of course. K apparently is already nervous about the upcoming harvest, and goes fishing, instead of picking up the reed. I'm quite happy to pick them up instead: I have enough for a room already, and am the favourite for the first family growth action, provided it comes early.

Round 3: Sheep
K: 3W (3)
Eu: 2W (2)
M: PF
K: Occ/Hedge Keeper
Eu: DL (2f+1G)
M: S&B (sow 1G)

K looks like he'll be the only one to go the animal breeding route. I use the Day Labourer for the first time. No surpises this turn. I have enough resources for a room now.

Round 4: MIMI
K: Fences (3W > 2x1)
Eu: 1C (2)
M: MIMI/FP2
K: Sheep (2)
Eu: DL (2f+1G)
M: 3W (3)

Harvest 1
M: 1G > 1f

K has a nice looking animal farm already. As everyone refuses to take the reed, there is no need for me to build a room immediately, so I collect clay to pay for a minor improvement, and more grain from the Day Labourer space.

Round 5: FG
K: 2W (4)
Eu: BR(1)
M: Fences (8W > 2x2)
K: 1R (3)
Eu: FG + Simple FP
M: 3W (3)

I'm in luck: family growth is early this game, so I spend this turn making babies. What's more, M is going to try to compete on two fronts, both baking and breeding. That's good news for me. My improvement is a simple fireplace; cheap but effective.

Round 6: Renovate
K: 1C (4)
Eu: PF
M: Sheep (2)
K: MIMI/CH4
Eu: DL (2f+1G)
M: 3W (3)
Eu: S&B (sow 2G, 1G > 2f)

Instead of growing his family, K decides he first needs a better kitchen. I decide to use this round to grow some grain. I could have taken my first vegetable with the Seasonal Worker now, but I don't because a) I'm planning to buy some ovens and b) I forgot.

Round 7: 1 Stone
K: Fish (5)
Eu: 1R (2)
M: Sheep (1)
K: BR(1)
Eu: 2W (4)
M: SP + Cattle market
Eu: 3W (3)

Harvest 2
M: 1Cattle + 1G > 4f

I'm clearly thinking of my next family growth here. K decides to take the time to feed his people, and has to postpone his FG to next turn, and M spends three turns getting 3 food. Things are looking good for me.

Round 8: Vegetable
M: 1 Stone (2)
K: FG + Cattle Market
Eu: 3W (3)
M: PF
K: 1Veg
Eu: DL (2f+1V)
Eu: 1C (4)

K grows his family, and I end up with enough wood for 2 rooms, and the clay for the next renovation.

Round 9: Wild Boar
M: 1R (2)
K: 2W (4)
Eu: DL (2f+V)
M: Sheep (2)
K: Fences (1W > 2x1)
Eu: Occ/Thatcher
K: 1WB (1)
Eu: BR (2)

Harvest 3
M: 2 sheep > 4f
K: 1 cattle > 4f
Eu: 1V > 2f

M finally has the resources to build a room, but decides to take a few more sheep instead. I delay my next family growth with a turn to play the thatcher; this allows me to build two rooms at once without taking extra reed, so in effect, I trade two actions for two actions, and block FG next turn, when both opponents look like they can build rooms. I'm very pleased about that.

Round 10: 1 Stone
M: Occ/Conservator
K: 3W (6)
Eu: DL (2f+1V)
M: 1S (2)
K: 1R (1)
Eu: PF
K: BR (1) + 2s
Eu: FG + Clay Roof

M plays an occupation, and collects stone. She still refuses to extend her home, and her family. K takes a lot of wood and 1 reed, to build another room and some stables. He's doing nicely, but I'm the first to get 4 people on my farm. The Clay Roof is mainly because of the 1 VP.

Round 11: 1 Cattle
M: 1WB (1WB + 2f)
K: 2W (4)
Eu: Ren + simple FP > CH5
M: BR (1)
K: Sheep (2)
Eu: FG
K: PF
Eu: DL (2f+1V)
Eu: S&B (sow 1V, 3G > 9f)

Harvest 4
M: 1 sheep > 2f
K: 3 sheep > 6f

M finally builds her first room. K already has a spare room, but refuses to get another child. I renovate first, giving him another chance, but no; and my last family member enters the game.

The renovation doesn't give me extra points, actually; I have the Wooden Hut Builder on my hand, which gives 1 bonus point per wooden room. But I have other plans!

Round 12: Family Growth without room
M: 3W (6)
K: Cattle (2)
Eu: 1S (3)
M: FG w/o
K: FG + Gypsy's Crock
Eu: 1C (6)
K: 1R (2)
Eu: 1S (2)
Eu: 2W (2)
Eu: SP + Half-timbered house

I could have renovated now, but I still have to build fences too, so I'm waiting for round 14 to do that. In the meanwhile, I collect some resources to build the Half-timbered House. With all those points for my rooms, I'm now way ahead of the competition. M and K both grow their families; M gives K a point by choosing the "without room" space.

Round 13: Plough & Sow
Eu: P&S (sow 1G+2V)
M: FG w/o
K: 1C (5)
Eu: 3W (3)
M: 1R (1)
K: fences (2W > 2 x 1x1)
Eu: 2W (2)
M: Fish (6)
K: PF
Eu: Wild Boar (1+3f)
K: 1G
Eu: DL (2f+1V)

Harvest 5
Eu: 1V > 3f
M: 1 sheep > 2f
K: 2 sheep + 1V > 8f

In the last round, I need wood for fences, and stone for renovation. As M doesn;t have any clay, it's not necessary to take it all this turn; the stone can wait until there's 2 of them on an action spot. This is the 6th time I take the Day Labourer.

Round 14: Renovate & Fences
Eu: 1S (2)
M: Ren&F (4W > 2x1)
K: Ren
Eu: 3W (3)
M: Cattle (2)
K: 1Veg
Eu: fences (6W > 2x1)
M: P&S (sow 1G)
K: S&B (sow 1G+1V)
Eu: Sheep (3)
M: FG w/o
K: Wild Boar (1)
Eu: MIMI/Well

Harvest 6
Eu: 1G > 1f, ...?
M: 1 cattle + 2 sheep > 7f
K: 1 cattle + 1V > 8f

"You can't renovate, you don't have clay!"
"I have the Conservator."
"...!"
"I'm renovating too.."
"You BASTARDS!"

Final Score
Eu: 33
K: 30
M: 28

I was lucky to win, after that devastating blow in the last round. In one move, I could have gained 10 points; I wasted quite a few actions on building the Half-timbered House and collecting the resources for the renovation which never happened. M was very late in growing her family, but it didn't show in her score. K could have extended his house and family a few rounds earlier, and that would have probably cost me my victory.

Still, it was a nice game, played at an enjoyable pace: we were finished in less than 75 minutes. And with one win, I was still in the race to advance to the Championship finals in November.

For those of you who are in the Netherlands and who want to play in the NK: there are still 2 more qualifying rounds, in Hilversum and Zwolle. More info at http://www.ducosim.nl/nieuw/wiki.php?id=654.
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Geoff Burkman
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Nice squeaker of a win, Eugene! Thanks for the report! If anything else, it's nice evidence of the uselessness of the Half-Timbered House.
 
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Chen Goh
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Really, anyone who lets reed gather up to 3 by stage 5 in a 3er, ought to get shot. Rest assured that would never happen at the agri online site.

Also,someone fishing at 2f and taking one sheep just to feed? I'm surprised you didn't blast your competition away. Perhaps their hands help supplement their scores.
 
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Eugene van der Pijll
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mattgoh88 wrote:
I'm surprised you didn't blast your competition away.

I think that's a bit harsh.

My opponents in this match were about average, I think, and made some mistakes that cost them the match. But I'm not claiming to be much better than that, and also made a big mistake...

In the next round, I played against the winner of table 2. Wait for that report; it contains some excelent plays, I think.
 
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Craig Liken
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pijll wrote:
mattgoh88 wrote:
I'm surprised you didn't blast your competition away.

I think that's a bit harsh.

My opponents in this match were about average, I think, and made some mistakes that cost them the match. But I'm not claiming to be much better than that, and also made a big mistake...

In the next round, I played against the winner of table 2. Wait for that report; it contains some excelent plays, I think.


Yes I thought that comment was a bit harsh myself. Maybe nerves played a part for all players given there was something actually on the game.

Also it is possible that the players were unused to 3 player games, which are usually notable for the relative scarcity of reed.

This is also a game that can bite you if you aren't quite on to it. I played a 2-player the other night where I played two occupations early - got myself into all sorts of food problems and never really recovered. Scraped to 27 points, but lost by 20. This is despite having just under 30 games experience, which you would have thought would be enough to aviod the sort of mess I got myself into.
 
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Tim Condit
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mattgoh88 wrote:
Really, anyone who lets reed gather up to 3 by stage 5 in a 3er, ought to get shot.


Not trying to insult or cut anyone down with my comments, but I have to agree with Matts assessment 100%. Letting the reed get up to 3 is just poor play. And 2 fish and 1 sheep to feed? Wow.

 
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Mike T
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Speaking as an expert in making mistakes, this game has its share. The 3r availability is really just a symptom of M's extremely late build (which is never actually used!). The late build may be a symptom of M's early fencing. Eu's failure to notice the Conservator is understandable, but a mistake nonetheless.

 
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Marcel Van Assen
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Eugene, join the club! In my last play last week in a game of three players, I counted on fencing in the last round. I had 12 wood, and thought, I have two spots to choose from. But one of my oponents, who was starting player, first built few fences just to screw me. Well, I took three stone and prepared for renovation & fences. Then the same player renovated using that spot, leaving me without any meadows and some empty spots, and missing the bonus you get when having no minus points :-(

Fortunately, I still won the game with 44 points :-)

In the near future, however, I am not anymore so much relying on building fences in the last turn...

Wow, a real dutch championship... Thanks for the info Eugene! Good luck with your progression in the championship.

Comment related to some of your comments: I often take starting player in round 1 to collect 2 reed in round 2.
 
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Enhac Adira
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I have a question: In case of tie, how to determine the winner in a championship?

Thank you.
 
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