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Subject: Did you really want to complete that farm? rss

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Merric Blackman
Australia
Waubra
Victoria
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This three-player game was Pat's first, but Sarah and I had played Agricola several times before. It was a strange game: Pat got the idea of building out his house very early in the piece and had four rooms almost before the first stage ended. Sarah and I took a lot longer to build our houses (the wood and reed kept disappearing, thanks to Pat!), and Sarah never actually built her third room!

Of course, the effect of this on Pat's farm was that he wasn't growing much on it! I took the early Fireplace and sheep, whilst Sarah was growing Grain.



Because we didn't have many family members for most of the game, it sped along extremely quickly. I was the only player to really go for a family; Pat had the rooms, but not the food. My special scoring card was the Braggart, so I went into Major Improvement mode, helped by an occupation that gave me food and wood whenever a baking improvement was built (including by myself).

As the game's end approached, I was the only one with five actions, and I took full advantage of them. However, my farm was still quite incomplete with seven empty squares! Pat was the only player to actually complete his farm, but his "farm goods" were poor.

Final Scoring:
Fields - Pat 3, Merric & Sarah 2
Pastures - Sarah & Pat 3, Merric 1
Grain - Sarah 3, Pat & Merric 2
Vegies - Merric 4, Sarah 2, Pat -1
Sheep: Sarah & Pat 2, Merric 1
Boar: Sarah & Pat 2, Merric 1
Cattle: Sarah 1, Merric & Pat -1
Unused: Pat 0, Sarah -4, Merric -7
Stables: 0
Clay House: Merric & Pat 4, Sarah 2
Family: Merric 15, Pat & Sarah 9
Cards: Merric 9, Sarah 3, Pat 1
Bonus: Merric 3

Final Scores:
Merric 35, Sarah 25, Pat 24.

A strange game indeed!
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Jason Gische
United States
San Carlos
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So Pat had 4 rooms before stage 2, and ended the game with only 3 family members? The entire point of getting the early house expansion is so that you can take the family growth asap and gain a turn advantage over your opponents. If you spend the effort building the rooms and then don't expand your family, you've basically wasted the beginning of the game by not helping your farm at all and getting no appreciable advantage to offset that behavior.

If Pat had taken the family growth on the first two turns after it appeared, he likely would have had an easy win. Not having food if a terrible excuse. It's relatively trivial for a new family member to use its action to feed itself, even if there's nothing better for it to do (which there generally should be, other than perhaps for the first harvest after the family growth.)
 
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Trent Hamm
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Huxley
Iowa
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I agree.

The question, for me, is this: is it appropriate to point such things out to a first-time player? That, if you take another family member, food problems will often solve themselves?
 
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Geoff Burkman
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Kettering
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I guess that depends on whether you're ruthlessly playing for a win or actually trying to bring someone over to the dark side.
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David Moffett
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trenttsd wrote:
I agree.

The question, for me, is this: is it appropriate to point such things out to a first-time player? That, if you take another family member, food problems will often solve themselves?


When teaching a new game I generally try to keep my mouth shut, excessive advice giving on the first game can make some players feel stupid or overwhelmed. I usually say something like "I'll tell you the basics, if you have additional questions on how something works, ask me, I won't tell you unless you want me to." the only time I really say anything without prompting is when they do something that breaks the rules.
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Brian Mc Cabe
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Arizona
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Pat sounds like he's a pretty quick study, having completed his entire farm in his first game.

The game can be pretty overwhelming the first time, and it sounds like that was his main focus. When he learns the cards and absorbs the ideas you've posted here, I think he'll give you and Sarah a run for your money.

Giving advice can depend on how it's presented. Without telling him his optimal moves, a little nudge in the right direction in explaining his various options can be done without talking down to him.

Very nice report, btw.

Brian
 
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