Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
Ohio
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This session report delineates the gang’s first 5-player Level 3 game of FotM, and our first game of the new year. The deal was comprised of seven Ocks, seven expansion Minors, and six regular Minors. Up to two of each card type could be held on first pass; thereafter up to one of each. We quickly discovered that passing around a mess of extra Minors was a fairly pointless exercise; much better to just let each player discard their excess. Jimmy got the turn start, thanks to his prior 3-player victory…

Round One/MIMI
Jimmy – Occ/Reed Collector (4R>
Ron – 4W(4)
Brian – 3W(3)
Skyp – Occ(-1f)/Wood Collector (5W>
Geoff – 3C(3)
Jimmy – CP(3fl)
Ron – 1R(1)SW
Brian – FT(2W)
Skyp – 1G
Geoff – SP + Private Forest (-2f +7W>
Jimmy – 1H-1f
Brian – Animals (1s+1f)
Jimmy – DL(2f)

Jimmy opens the proceedings with a nice, conservative Ock that obviates reed concerns for pretty much the rest of the game. Interestingly enough, it turns out to be the only Ock he plays. Ron and Brian strip wood from the board, followed by Skyp getting off to a rocky start by paying a premium for the Wood Collector’s bounty—not a good idea. I settle for clay, Jimmy stocks up on fuel, and Ron visits the variety shop. Brian scrounges for more wood, Skyp dallies with grain that he never uses properly, and I swipe the button, playing the Minor that tempts far more than it ever pays off. Jimmy acquires a horse, Brian grabs back-up food, as does Jimmy, and the game is thoroughly underway.

Round Two/Sow & Bake
Geoff – Occ/Perpetual Student
Jimmy – 4W(4)
Ron – 3C(3)
Brian – 1R(2)
Skyp – CP(3fl)
Geoff – FT(2W)
Jimmy – 1C(2)
Ron – 3W(3)
Brian – 1R(1)SW
Skyp – PF
Geoff – Occ(+2f)/Clay Mixer
Skyp – SP + Agricultural Implement

I throw all caution to the wind and decide to play an Ock I’ve never seen used before. It’s a decision I will regret. Jimmy stocks up on wood, Ron grabs clay, and Brian takes the stacked reed that, if I’d been thinking clearly, should have been mine. Skyp satisfies heating requirements, I nab a bit a wood, and Jimmy grabs some clay. Surprisingly, Ron bypasses thrifting to take more wood; Brian takes advantage of the oversight. Skyp plows, seemingly engaged in setting up a grain engine. I test out my lead Ock, and am serendipitously awarded the Clay Mixer, which I’d have probably been better off just leading off with in the first place. Skyp takes the button, playing a new Minor that he uses all of once, to no great effect.

Round Three/Sheep
Skyp – 4W(4)
Geoff – MIMI/Fp2
Jimmy – 3C(3)
Ron - Occ/Field Watchman
Brian – CP(3fl)
Skyp – FT(2W)
Geoff – SP + Peat Pellets> (3fl)
Jimmy – CW(CH4-1f/1fl)
Ron – 1G + PF
Brian – Occ(-1f)/Slaughterman °
Skyp – 1R(1)SW
Jimmy – 3W(3)
Brian – TP(3f)

Skyp hauls wood, I grab a cookery, Jimmy piles on clay, Ron seemingly embarks on a sowing strategy, and Brian marks time by fueling up. Skyp takes a modicum of wood, and I retake the button for a convenient fuel grab. Jimmy now cleverly coughs up for his own cookery, Ron breaks even on his Watchman, and Brian puts out the Ock that, unbeknownst to all, will eventually spell “Food Mart.” Skyp five`n’dimes, Jimmy snipes wood (thanks, dude!), and Brian refills his larder. No one has seriously screwed up yet, but just wait…

Round Four/Fences
Geoff – Occ(+2f)/Hedgekeeper
Jimmy – Sheep(2)burn2 °
Ron – MIMI/Clay Oven (5f)
Brian – Occ(-1f)/Dancer
Skyp – PF + CP(3fl)
Geoff – FT(2W)
Jimmy – BR(1) + x
Ron – CP(3fl –2f)
Brian – FT(2W –2f)
Skyp – SP + Peat Moss
Geoff – BM(Peat Iron –1fl)
Ron – BM(Wheel Barrow –2f/1fl)
Brian – 4W(4)
Geoff – 1C(2+2)
Ron – 3C(3)

I continue to dig my own grave with the Perp Student (shades of Judge Dredd!), and get lucky once again, though I’m unfortunately unable to put this third Ock to work for another seven Rounds. Not good. Jimmy burns the sheep I should have had, and Brian is now merely down one action vis-à-vis his initial Ock. Just wait. Ron, awash in wood, short-circuits his own strategy by picking up the Clay Oven and squandering his grain. If he wanted fuel so badly (as his next play reveals), he should have simply taken it while it was free, imnsho. Brian pops out another Ock that will serve him extremely well, Skyp gets his one return from his Minor, and I grab a little more cheap wood. Jimmy builds the first room of the game, little knowing how lucky he’s going to get. Ron, now addled by a food surfeit, pays out a 2food to save a 2Wood, a horrendous trade-off in anyone’s book. Surprisingly, Brian coughs up as well for spare wood, and I’m really not sure why he didn’t just buy a horse. Skyp now does what Skyp does best, which is to say he ignores the need to feed, opting for the button heist and a Minor that eases building rooms. In the hands of a truly skilled player, this irregular move might have paid off, but sadly, for Skyp, it’s a step into the abyss. Next, I waste time with a break-even Minor, though the move does force Ron to squander even more food to get out his Wheel Barrow. This move eventually nets him a 2W>1C/1S swap and four net fuel for the two food. I’m rapidly coming to believe that special actions are not worth paying extra food for except in fairly pressing circumstances, or unless the player already enjoys a strong food engine. Brian appropriates the unexpected 4Wood, I put an Ock to work on the wrong space, momentarily bedazzled by next Round’s potential 8Clay, and Ron snipes the remaining clay, rudely reawakening me to the realities of the game. You’d think I’d know better by now. All home, and Skyp not only loses his poor grain, he takes a Begging Card to boot. You’d think he’d know better by now, too.

Round Five/Family Growth
Skyp – BR(1) + 1s
Geoff – 1R(3)
Jimmy – FG + Nosebag
Ron – 3W(6 +1fl)
Brian – SP + Turnwrest Plow
Skyp – FG
Geoff – CP(3fl)
Jimmy – FT(2W)
Ron – 4W(4 +1fl)
Brian – 3C(3)
Geoff – CW(Fp>C –1f/1fl)
Jimmy – Fish(5f)
Geoff – 1R(2)SW

Family Growth pops early, and Skyp rightly builds his first room, but stumbles with only one stable, leaving him without capacity to breed animals, which is really the only reason to build early stables at all. I hurriedly gather in the reed, no dummy I. Jimmy takes the “forced” growth and gets out a nice Minor that nets him three points for a food, an excellent bargain by anyone’s count. Ron happily commandeers the 6Wood and the return of his fuel investment in the Wheel Barrow. Brian swipes the button for the first time, getting out his plow, a slim boon that he doesn’t use for another six Rounds, but nonetheless serves to help him play a later Minor. Skyp adds a worker, I increase fuel reserves, Jimmy nabs more wood, and Ron further amortizes the costs of his Wheel Barrow. Brian picks up clay, I borrow a trick from Jimmy’s playbook, coughing hard to swap my fireplace for the available Cookhouse, Jimmy clears the fishing hole, and I pay a first visit to the thrift store. Sadly, this will later entice me into a poorly considered double build, but I don’t realize that at the moment.

Round Six/Stone
Brian – BR(1) + 1s
Skyp – 3C(3)
Geoff – 4W(4)
Jimmy – 3W(3)
Ron – FT(2W)
Brian – CP(3fl)
Skyp – TP(3f)
Geoff – SP + Pelts
Jimmy – 1R(1)SW
Ron – Animals(1s +1f)
Brian – FG + Birthing House
Skyp – MIMI/Furnace (2fl)
Jimmy – BM(Horse Trough –1fl)
Ron – Occ(-1f)/Brushwood Collector
Jimmy – 1H-1f
Jimmy – Sheep(2)burn2 °

My dreams of early renovation evaporate with the appearance of stone. Brian builds his first room, duplicating Skyp’s stable misplay. Skyp draws down major clay, which leads me to my next mistake as I amass wood for a double build. Jimmy takes wood as well, Ron clears a Forest, and Brian fuels up again. Fearful, Skyp gathers food instead of grabbing a fireplace. At least his heating worries are pretty much over. I swipe the button to gets Pelts into play, Jimmy thrifts, Ron grabs a doomed wooly, Brian takes on his first new hire, with a decent little Minor to boot. Skyp MIMIs a reduction in heating costs, while Jimmy gets a nice start on assembling an army of horses. Ron ocks away reed concerns, and Jimmy ends the Round with a second horse and a load of fresh mutton. Brian’s Slaughterman is just beginning to get warmed up…

Round Seven/Renovation + MIMI
Geoff – BR(2) + x
Jimmy – CP(3fl)
Ron – 1G + PF
Brian – TP(1+3f)
Skyp – 4W(4)
Geoff – HF(1f)
Jimmy – 3W(3)
Ron – S&B(5f)
Brian – SP + Carp Pond (3f>
Skyp – Fish(2f)
Geoff – Animals(1boar/burn1) °
Jimmy – Fences(9)
Brian – 3C(3)
Skyp – DL(2f)
Jimmy – 1H-1f
Jimmy – 1C(3)

I now make my second major error by building two rooms instead of a single room and two stables; this greedhead decision will come back to haunt me soon enough. Jimmy restocks fuel, Ron works his Watchman, Brian exercises the Dancer, and Skyp wastes time on wood instead of picking up a fireplace; his next two moves are forced food grabs. That would have been true even with a fireplace, but at least he’d have been entering the midgame in better shape. (Look at his lines for Round Six, and imagine how things could have gone if he’d taken the sheep first, then clay, and then built a cookery. Ouch!) I cover bases with a visit to the Fair, Jimmy snags more wood, and Ron bakes himself to safety (but whatever happened to the sowing strategy?) Brian nails down the button to play another decent-though-unremarkable Minor, Skyp fishes, and I fry up a boar to make ends meet. Jimmy fences a pair of pastures, Brian scoops clay, and Skyp avoids another Begging Card. Jimmy closes out the Stage with another horse and more clay. He likes being a rancher, I can tell. All feed and heat without problem. We draw the curtain on Act One, moving on to the core of things in Act Two: Midgame.

Round Eight/Boar
Brian – 1R(2)SW
Skyp – 1S(3)
Geoff – CP(3fl)
Jimmy – 4W(4)
Ron – BR(2) + x
Brian – TP(1+3f)
Skyp – MIMI/Fp2
Geoff – FG + Lawn Turf> (5fl)
Jimmy – FT(2W)
Ron – FG
Brian – Ren>C + Horse Slaughterhouse
Skyp – 3C(3)
Geoff – Sheep(2)burn2 °
Jimmy – 1G +1H
Jimmy – SB(PF-2f)
Jimmy – PF

Faced with alluringly cheap stone, Brian wisely loots the thrift shop instead; his plans call for reed. Skyp’s resolve is not as great; he claims the rocks. I fuelishly (sorry) cut peat instead of felling trees, a small but telling miscalculation. Jimmy starts rebuilding wood stores, Ron pounds out two rooms, and Brian dances. Skyp now picks up the fireplace he should have had several Rounds back. I add my own “forced” new hire, playing the hot Minor I should have known I had when I cut peat. Ah, well, water under the bridge. Jimmy carves up another bit of acreage, Ron takes bare bones growth, and Brian bumps to clay, picking up a cheap Major in the process. Skyp follows his bliss with a clay heist, I swiftly immolate the hapless woolies, and Jimmy enjoys free rein with a grain/horse grab and a pair of fields. Something tells me he’s getting ready to rock.

Round Nine/Vegetables
Brian – 3W(6)
Skyp – Boar(2)burn2 °
Geoff – Animals(1boar/burn1) °
Jimmy – 1V
Ron – CP(3fl +1C)
Brian – CP(3fl –2f)
Skyp – DL(2f)
Geoff – 1R(4)
Jimmy – 1G + 1H
Ron – 4W(4 + 1fl)
Skyp – Occ(-1f)/Wood Carver
Geoff – FT(2W)
Jimmy – S&B(1Vf/1Gf + 3f)
Ron – MIMI/Fp3
Brian – 1R(1)SW
Geoff – FG + x
Ron – Fish(2f)
Brian – 1H –1f/burn1
Brian – TP(1+3f)

Brian begins accumulating wood for fences. Then, much to my regret, Skyp fricassees the boar. I follow that with a tactical error by burning a “stockyards” pig instead of just taking a veggie (same food value, and I would have impinged on Jimmy’s designs). Jimmy quickly snaps up the veggie, Ron fuels, as does Brian (expensively). Skyp grabs another dribble of food, I clear the reed (visions of the ubiquitous Workshop dancing in my head), and Jimmy uses his Horse Trough again. Ron hauls wood, Skyp miscues with a near-useless Ock that he taps all of three times (assuming that he remembered each time, and I can’t say that he did), and I clear another Forest tile. Jimmy engages in some farming, Ron picks up the tardiest cookery I’ve ever seen him buy, and Brian thrifts. I add another worker, Ron grabs sushi, and Brian restocks his larder with a quick trip to Arby’s (sorry, bad joke, I know) and more dancing. Jimmy burns a veggie and a 3Wood to feed and heat; Ron torches a wooly ° and takes a dreaded Begging Card. This will not be one of his better games; that much is certain.

Round Ten/Cattle
Brian – 3C(6)
Skyp – 4W(4)
Geoff – 1C(3+2)
Jimmy – SB(PF)
Ron – FT(2W)
Brian – BR(1) + x
Skyp – MIMI/Stove Oven
Geoff – Ren>C + Heating Stove
Jimmy – 3W(3)
Ron – 1G + PF
Brian – FG (1f+1fl+1VP) + Fallow Land
Skyp – 1R(1)SW
Geoff – SP + Clay Hut Extension>
Jimmy – 1V
Ron – FG
Geoff – Cattle(1)burn1 °
Jimmy – PF
Ron – 1S(2)

Brian bench presses a ton of clay, Skyp errantly takes wood instead of loading up for his pending oven, and I clear the rest of the clay from the board. Jimmy swaps a Forest for a field; Ron does likewise for wood. Brian adds a room, Skyp buys the oven he never uses, and I upgrade my hut, eliminating any further heating woes with the conveniently available Heating Stove. Jimmy swipes wood, Ron exercises his Watchman, and Brian takes on a fourth well-supplied worker, along with an eventual 3food Minor. Get it where ya can; get it where ya can. Skyp thrifts for reasons known only to him. I retake the button to add a cheap room, Jimmy gathers seeds, and Ron adds a worker, knowing I will if he doesn’t. I charbroil beef (scoring my first Pelts bonus), Jimmy plows, and Ron nabs a dollop of stone.

Round Eleven/Stone
Geoff – Boar(2)burn2 °
Jimmy – CP(3fl)
Ron – Sheep(3)burn3 °
Brian – FT(2W)
Skyp – 1R(2)
Geoff – Cattle(1)burn1 °
Jimmy – 1V
Ron – 4W(4 +1fl)
Brian – 1R(1)SW
Skyp – Animals(1sheep/burn1 +1f) °
Geoff – 1H –1f
Jimmy – S&B(2Vf + 3f)
Ron – 1G + PF
Brian – PF + 2PF
Skyp – Fish(2f)
Geoff – Fences(3+3)
Jimmy – BR(0) + 3s
Ron – MIMI/Joinery
Brian – Occ(-1f)/Mason *
Geoff – FG + x
Brian – 3W(3)

Food’s food, and since I have every intention of adding a fifth dude this Round, I roast piggies without hesitation. Besides, it’s two more pelts. Jimmy clears his last Moor, Ron gorges on lamb stew, Brian plays lumberjack, and Skyp confiscates the reed. I snipe cattle again, more magic beans for Jimmy, Ron hauls wood and fuel, and it’s Brian’s turn to thrift. While Skyp finishes out the Round scrambling for food, the rest of us start picking up points. I nab a nag, fence a generous pasture for it, and hire on my final worker. Jimmy farms furiously, sprinkling a trio of stables across his homestead. Ron keeps his Watchman busy, and snags the unloved Joinery to relatively good effect. Brian unleashes his plow, guarantees himself an extra stone room, and gathers more fencing materials (coincidentally denying me a 6Wood next Round, the dirty, rotten scoundrel! Jimmy parts with a vedge and gains a horse, Ron sacrifices the wood he just picked up, and poor Skyp takes another Begging Card. Such are the vicissitudes of harvest time…

Round Twelve/Plow & Sow
Geoff – 3C(6+2)
Jimmy – P&S(PF + 1Vf/1Gf)
Ron – 1S(2)
Brian – 1S(2)
Skyp – 1R(1)SW
Geoff – 4W(4)
Jimmy – 3W(3)
Ron – CP(3fl + 1S)
Brian – FT(2W)
Skyp – SP + Reed Hut
Geoff – Cattle(1)burn1 °
Jimmy – (burn1boar) ° 1H –1f
Ron – 1V
Brian – Ren>S + x *
Skyp – TP(3f)
Geoff – Fences(1+3)
Jimmy – 1G + 1H
Ron – MIMI/Well (2f>
Brian – Occ(-1f)/Master Builder
Skyp – Animals (1sheep/burn1 +1f) °
Geoff – BR(1) + 2s
Ron – S&B (1Vf/2Gf)
Brian – FG (1f +1fl +1VP) +x

As we move into the endgame, relative positions are becoming apparent, and I, for one, am not feeling too comfortable about my situation. I haul in monster clay, prepping to build another room. Jimmy farms, keeping everyone else from doing the same. Ron and Brian swipe stone, Skyp thrifts, and then the rest of the wood is vacuumed from the board past a refueling Ron. Skyp claims the button to bring out a now nearly-ineffective Reed Hut; he’s only about eight Rounds or so too late (given the game record, he could have had this baby out by Round Four or even Three, when it would have made a serious difference). I burn the beef, Jimmy scorches bacon to buy another horse, Ron grabs a veggie, and Brian upgrades to stone, which gives him the Mason’s extension. Skyp scrounges, I fence again (just to be a pain), Jimmy claims his last Horse Trough bonus, and Ron builds the Well. Brian ocks another “free” room, Skyp continues foraging, and I add another room and two more stables. At least I’m not going down totally in flames. Ron squeaks into “that other farming spot,” and Brian takes a last enhanced growth, caring not a whit that he has no Minor left to add (he tried to play the Register of Craftsmen, btw, when he renovated, but we had to point out he didn’t have the two necessary Majors in play to qualify)

Round Thirteen/Family Growth w/o
Skyp – CP(3fl)
Geoff – Boar(2)
Jimmy – FG w/o
Ron – 3C(3)
Brian – FT(2W)
Skyp – Occ(-1f)/Merchant
Geoff – Sheep(2)burn1 °
Jimmy – 4W(4)
Ron – Ren>C + Fp3>CH5
Brian – Fences(15)
Skyp – SP + Riding Plow
Geoff – 1H –1f
Jimmy – Cattle(1)burn1 °
Ron – 1G + PF
Brian – 1V
Skyp – Animals(1sheep/burn1 +1f) °
Geoff – 1R(1)SW
Ron – S&B(5f)
Brian – TP(1+3f)
Skyp – PF + 2PF
Geoff – 1C(3+2)
Brian – P&S(1Vf)
Geoff – DL(2f)
Brian – 3W(3)

Skyp grabs fuel, making Slash & Burn pricey, but no one really cares. I think long and hard about fencing again, just to make everyone else except Jimmy sweat bullets, but in the end, I realize that the move would only be kingmaking nonsense, so I herd the pigs. Jimmy takes the quick growth Skyp should have taken to get his Reed Hut dude into his house and on the scoreboard, Ron hauls in the clay he desperately needs for renovation, Brian clears another field, and Skyp burns an action in a misguided effort to get his Plow out. The sheep are mine, Jimmy takes lumber, and Ron manages to renovate, but wastes his side action with a cookery upgrade that gains him nothing. Brian now slaps down maximum pastures, filling his farmyard. Skyp (who is eager for game’s end, I suspect) camps on the button to get out his superfluous plow (hint to Skyp: one wood grab, one useless Ock to qualify the Minor play, and a PF to wrap it all up in a neat bow = PF + PF + SB(PF)). I pile on clay (got my use out of the Clay Mixer, if nothing else), Brian wastes time on a 1-point sow action, I scrounge needed supplies, and Brian snipes the 3Wood, which he probably should have left to tempt Ron. Ah, well, spilt milk. Jimmy parts with a measly grain, Ron a 1Wood, Brian a 3Wood, and me? Two boar up in flames ° as Jimmy and I each add a horse to our holdings. Time to “git ‘er done!”

Round Fourteen/Renovation + Fences
Skyp – Fences(10)
Geoff – BR(1) + 2s
Jimmy – FG w/o
Ron – P&S(PF + 1Vf/2Gf)
Brian – 1G
Skyp – Cattle(1)
Geoff – PF
Jimmy – S&B(1Vf/2Gf)
Ron – 4W(4 +1fl)
Brian – Boar(1)
Skyp – Fish(3f)
Geoff – Animals(1boar/burn1) °
Jimmy – FT(2W)
Ron – 1V
Brian – 1H –1f
Skyp – DL(2f)
Geoff – SB(PF)
Jimmy – Sheep(2)
Ron – Occ(-1f)/Mendicant
Brian – TP(1+3f)
Geoff – Occ(+1f)/Clay Plasterer
Jimmy – Ren>C + Fences(4)
Brian – 1S(2)
Geoff – MIMI/Peat-Charcoal Kiln
Brian – CW(Museum of the Moors –1f/1fl)
Brian – x

Skyp wisely—if futily—fences. I quickly pop out a seventh clay room and another pair of stables, Jimmy adds his last dude, and Ron farms for all he’s worth. Brian wipes away a negative, and so, briefly, does Skyp. I plow a field, fingers crossed, Jimmy interdicts last access to farming, and Ron grabs a last chunk of wood for heating and the Joinery bonus. Another negative down for Brian, food for Skyp and me, and a last dribble of wood for Jimmy. Ron swipes a veggie to suss Skyp and me, Brian saddles up, and Skyp manages to grab a final iota of desperately needed food. Pleased as punch, I squeak out another field; thank Ceres for special actions! Jimmy cancels a negative, Ron closes out his game with the Mendicant, and Brian dances one last time. I put out a random Ock for the food benefit, Jimmy renovates, fencing off a few more spaces, and Brian hauls in a few rocks. I pre-empt MIMI to grab a point, but Brian simply utilizes Clandestine Work to grab the Major I just revealed. His last move is null and void, just as mine one in our previous 3-player match-up. How bizarre. All home and housebound; Jimmy fries triple veggies to feed, along with a 2Wood for heat, Ron drops a 2Wood and takes another Mendicant-neutralized Begging Card, Skyp burns his lone steer °, and I regretfully torch my horses.° Brian accepts the two extra food in the spirit in which they’re given, and it’s time to tally things up.

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. In sessions of Farmers on the Moor, special actions are counted as Primary actions, with their subtotal indicated in parentheses. 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 – 49 (4 Occ, 4/2)(33/0)(4)(52(11)/6/8)(0.942)(54)
Jimmy – 44 (1 Occ, 2/1)(34/0)(1)(52(14)/5/3)(0.846)(45)
Geoff - 36 (4 Occ, 6/3)(16/13)(5)(53(11)/8/5)(0.679)(51)
Ron – 32 (3 Occ, 1/4)(34/0)(0)(44(6)/2/12)(0.727)(42)
Skyp – 13 (3 Occ, 4/3)(17/8)(4)(43(3)/5/5)(0.302)(39)

Player Fields Pastures Grain Veg Sheep Boar Cattle/Horses Unused Stables House Peeps Pts Bonus
Brian 3(2) 4(4) 1(1) 2(2) 1(1) 1(1) 0(-1/1) 0(0) 1(1) 6S(12) 5(15) (8) (2)
Jimmy 5(4) 3(3) 8(4) 2(2) 1(1) 0(-1) 0(-1/12) 2(-2) 3(3) 3C(3) 5(15) (1) (0)
Geoff 2(1) 2(2) 0(-1) 0(-1) 1(1) 0(-1) 0(-1/-1) 0(0) 4(4) 7C(7) 5(15) (4) (7)
Ron 6(4) 0(-1) 8(4) 3(3) 0(-1) 0(-1) 0(-1/-1) 2(-2) 0(0) 4C(4) 4(12) (9) (3)
Skyp 5(4) 3(3) 0(-1) 0(-1) 0(-1) 0(-1) 1(1/-1) 0(0) 1(1) 3W(0) 3(9) (6) (-6)


So, what to say about this one? Again, the stats would seem to indicate that special actions must be actively utilized in order to do well; note that both Ron and Skyp failed to put them to great use. Wood remains an important keystone of successful play, as Skyp’s deficit would seem to attest. Play order remains somewhat relevant as well; note that Ron had a mere single Round of 1st or 2nd position, having never taken the button himself and Jimmy never retaking it after Round One. Still, Skyp and I had the bulk of turn order advantage (Geoff: nine 1st or 2nd plays, Skyp: eight), and it didn’t seem to do us much good, while Brian had only four and still won the game.

Regardless, both Jimmy and Brian played solid, efficient games. Jimmy’s horse strategy paid off nicely, in part because no one else paid much attention to equine issues. He also carefully built a nice food engine that really paid off in the mid/endgame; note how parsimonious his use of food was. Brian’s campaign keyed on the incredible payoff of the Slaughterman, thanks to a game in which animals were cooked with abandon; by my count he derived an amazing 22food from this one Ock, the bulk of which accrued after Round Eight! That and the 15food he gained from the Dancer meant that he never had to pick up a cookery—outstanding!

My own mediocre showing, I think, was a result of experimenting with the Perpetual Student, which proved itself to be a less-than-stellar Occupation. I was extremely lucky to have two decent Ocks selected in the early going, and would have undoubtedly been better off simply playing them normally. The 5food net I derived from the Student wasn’t worth the critical early action. I certainly learned a lesson there.

Ron’s equally mediocre results were most likely the result of A) ignoring the advantages of special action plays, and B) not using the Field Watchman properly. Had Ron gotten several fields sown by the end of Stage Two, thus getting a solid grain engine going, his Clay Oven (and eventual standard cookery) would have been much more productive.

As for Skyp, well, we love him like a brother. He may be the black sheep of our gaming crew, but he’s still our sheep.
As always, thanks for reading and any comments that may be forthcoming. Next report: sooner or later.
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Tom Dickson
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Those scores seem a bit low. I'm going to have to read this carefully to see what happened.
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Trey Alsup
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Studio City
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Initial observations:

This game feels like the "first game" that it is. Your group probably collectively undervalued major improvements and horses.

Your group might have collectively overvalued early occs (from playing games with fewer players?) and burning animals (which played into the slaughterman's hands). Breeding animals sometimes felt like a sucker's play in the original game but with the added dynamic of horses really pays off in the expansion- in addition food engines directly convert to more actions in the expansion. Its odd to see a game where only a single player scores horses at the end. Our games have generally resulted in 3 players with 6+ points from horses.

Seven clays rooms? I don't get that- even less so with the expansion (heating costs). That's a ton of resources that could have been better converted to points via improvements.

The scores probably feel low as most players really failed to get a solid food engine going which cuts down on their ability to go crazy with special actions.

Thanks for the write-up!
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MisterG wrote:
Skyp now does what Skyp does best, which is to say he ignores the need to feed, opting for the button heist and a Minor that eases building rooms. In the hands of a truly skilled player, this irregular move might have paid off, but sadly, for Skyp, it’s a step into the abyss.

Another example of trying to accomplish what I think is a good play but not watching my stores.
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MisterG wrote:

As for Skyp, well, we love him like a brother. He may be the black sheep of our gaming crew, but he’s still our sheep. :D

Aww, gee, thanks, Geoff. I'm touched!
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We used to say that about one of the more distant cousins at holiday family gatherings, except we pronounced it "tetched." devil
 
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bombcar wrote:
Those scores seem a bit low. I'm going to have to read this carefully to see what happened.


Any conclusions yet?
 
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treyalsup wrote:
Initial observations:

This game feels like the "first game" that it is. Your group probably collectively undervalued major improvements and horses.


No doubt, especially the horses, which we pretty much left to Jimmy. I tried, late game, but had to consign them to the glue factory to feed my family. And I'd given them all names and everything...soblue

Quote:
Your group might have collectively overvalued early occs (from playing games with fewer players?)...


Not so much fewer players as just being under the influence of the standard game. Jimmy's play of the Reed Collector was, I thought, completely sensible. He might have missed a bet by not sniping the 2Reed in Round Two, but otherwise was on the money. Ron's Field Watchman was an acceptable play as well, I think, but then he didn't exploit the advantage properly by setting up a proper grain engine. Brian's Slaughterman was reasonably well-timed, though he might have successfully delayed the Dancer a turn or two (and thus his Plow, which he didn't use for another six Rounds) and gotten away with it.

Paying a food premium for the Wood Collector was probably not a great idea; Skyp could have waited on that one, and maybe gotten a grain engine going. My play of the Perpetual Student was, as admitted, patently looking for trouble; I just wanted to see what it could do, and found out (to my regret): not much! As mentioned in the commentary, I'd have been much better off just cranking out the Clay Mixer at the top of Round Two and proceeding from there.

Quote:
...and burning animals (which played into the slaughterman's hands).


Yes, this was simply serendipitous for Brian. I note that I was the one who provided him most of that bonus food, and in great part because I was busy exploiting the Pelts bonus.

Quote:
Breeding animals sometimes felt like a sucker's play in the original game but with the added dynamic of horses really pays off in the expansion- in addition food engines directly convert to more actions in the expansion. Its odd to see a game where only a single player scores horses at the end. Our games have generally resulted in 3 players with 6+ points from horses.


No doubt. I know my crew (with the exception of Jimmy) hasn't really grokked the utility of horses yet. We will.

Quote:
Seven clays rooms? I don't get that- even less so with the expansion (heating costs). That's a ton of resources that could have been better converted to points via improvements.


Very possible, though please note that I was enamored with the Pelts bonus, and by the time I got to the fifth room (Round Ten), I already had the Heating Stove in my possession, thus obviating any significant need for fuel.

Quote:
The scores probably feel low as most players really failed to get a solid food engine going which cuts down on their ability to go crazy with special actions.


Yes. This is a mechanic that we still have to explore in depth.

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Thanks for the write-up!


Welcome! Thanks for reading and commenting!
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Again, a great session report.

Are you guys ever in the DC area? I'd love to play a few with your crew.
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Another nice report.

We just played for the first time with the expansion (no occs, five players).

Ironically, the player who won (fifty-seven points) didn't like it much.
That may have had to do with the four-hour playing time, though.
He's an excellent player in all the games he plays, and fully utilized the special actions to their maximum extent time after time.

He had a fully realized farm with tons of grain and animals both. He also knows the card combos (in this case, only improvements) and gets maximum usage out of those, as well.

My only saving grace (my usual point total of under twenty) is that I was able to avoid the stereotype of the player to the left of the worse player winning. It was unintentional, but I did thwart the player to my left quite a few times. Purely coincidental, though, as I just needed what I took.

I quite like the expansion. But I'm the kind of guy who will stop doing something once he gets too good at it. Losing all the time will always bring about that one time where everything will fall perfectly into place and I'll finish . . . next to last.

I really like these reports of yours that reflect excellent players doing the suboptimal thing. It becomes too mechanical and less of a game when everyone does the perfect thing everytime.

Keep 'em comin'.

Brian
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Geoff thanks for the detailed reply! One of the reasons that Agricola is such a great game is that the value of actions is actually somewhat dependent on group-think. Different groups value different actions, er, differently and that creates unique "economies." In any case its always interesting to see how other groups play to gain insights as to the weaknesses in my own group's group-think. So see my comments as the perspective of a group that has settled on some different valuations than your group. My group tends to be very wood-crazy and the expansion hasn't really changed that.

MisterG wrote:
Not so much fewer players as just being under the influence of the standard game. Jimmy's play of the Reed Collector was, I thought, completely sensible. He might have missed a bet by not sniping the 2Reed in Round Two, but otherwise was on the money. Ron's Field Watchman was an acceptable play as well, I think, but then he didn't exploit the advantage properly by setting up a proper grain engine. Brian's Slaughterman was reasonably well-timed, though he might have successfully delayed the Dancer a turn or two (and thus his Plow, which he didn't use for another six Rounds) and gotten away with it.

Paying a food premium for the Wood Collector was probably not a great idea; Skyp could have waited on that one, and maybe gotten a grain engine going. My play of the Perpetual Student was, as admitted, patently looking for trouble; I just wanted to see what it could do, and found out (to my regret): not much! As mentioned in the commentary, I'd have been much better off just cranking out the Clay Mixer at the top of Round Two and proceeding from there.


I don't question the occupations that were played. I question WHEN they were played. Three out of the four first rounds, a player took an occupation as a first action. Frankly, you are the main offender here. Twice you took Starting Player in order to take an occupation as a first action. This is very expensive in terms of opportunity costs since you are passing on better actions (imo) and taking the button for the right to pass on better actions. I think this put you in a big hole.

Contrast this to the way the game winner(Brian) valued occupations. He played two to great effect early in the game and used the 10th and 4th actions of a round respectively to get them out. That's a value gap between his game and your game that's going to be hard to make up. I note also you took starting player in round four despite holding second position. This is generally a low reward play imo. I think this kind of move makes sense when you KNOW that the first pick of the next round is key- like FG w/o room, etc. but this tends to be a late game choice. Looking at your first four rounds, you grabbed resources all of one time. All those occupations and improvements are going to have a hard time making up for this deficit.

I know our group values the RSW space much higher than your group. This space has increased value in the expansion since it sets up early renovation and cheap major improvements so well.

I think its safe to say pelts took a hit with the expansion. Yes it generated bonus points for you but at very high cost in terms of resources and actions. Points from rooms are now really outclassed by other options in the expansion. I think targeting a 4 round clay or stone house and ending the game with 5 family members is close to ideal. That said, I love early clay renovation with the expansion especially when coupled with a cheap major.

I look forward to your next report. I may attempt to log my next play (which could be awhile) but I find the format and comments you use to be very helpful.
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deifeln wrote:
Again, a great session report.

Are you guys ever in the DC area? I'd love to play a few with your crew.


Sorry to say, no, but if it ever happens, Nick, you can bet I will be dropping you a geekmail. Likewise, if you ever by some chance find yourself in the Dayton area, do not hesitate to get in touch.
 
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apatheticexecutioner wrote:
Another nice report.


Thanks!

Quote:
Ironically, the player who won (fifty-seven points) didn't like it much.


Oh, man, don't you just hate that?

Quote:
That may have had to do with the four-hour playing time, though.
He's an excellent player in all the games he plays, and fully utilized the special actions to their maximum extent time after time...He had a fully realized farm with tons of grain and animals both. He also knows the card combos (in this case, only improvements) and gets maximum usage out of those, as well.


Your playing time will undoubtedly lessen as everyone gets used to the new dynamic of the game.

Quote:
My only saving grace (my usual point total of under twenty) is that I was able to avoid the stereotype of the player to the left of the worse player winning. It was unintentional, but I did thwart the player to my left quite a few times. Purely coincidental, though, as I just needed what I took.


Interesting comment. I've noticed (primarily in retrospect) that there can be an element of kingmaking in Agricola, but I've never really felt that downstream players gain significant advantage from upstream mistakes, at least not consistently, and definitely not to the degree that such things happen in games like Puerto Rico, where that paradigm is much more apparent.

Admittedly, though, I've lost count of the number of times that one of our crew will wince when the guy immediately to their right takes the one action they've been actively praying wouldn't be taken.

Quote:
I quite like the expansion. But I'm the kind of guy who will stop doing something once he gets too good at it. Losing all the time will always bring about that one time where everything will fall perfectly into place and I'll finish . . . next to last.


I feel your pain. You're right, though; it's a great expansion, very well thought out and implemented.

Quote:
I really like these reports of yours that reflect excellent players doing the suboptimal thing. It becomes too mechanical and less of a game when everyone does the perfect thing everytime.

Keep 'em comin'.

Brian


Will do, and thanks for the comments. I don't know that any of us are "excellent players" (well, okay, maybe me...), but we are all definitely fairly expert at suboptimal play!
 
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treyalsup wrote:
Geoff thanks for the detailed reply! One of the reasons that Agricola is such a great game is that the value of actions is actually somewhat dependent on group-think. Different groups value different actions, er, differently and that creates unique "economies." In any case its always interesting to see how other groups play to gain insights as to the weaknesses in my own group's group-think. So see my comments as the perspective of a group that has settled on some different valuations than your group. My group tends to be very wood-crazy and the expansion hasn't really changed that.


I've never really pondered much on the influence of group-think, and appreciate the mention of it. I think you're absolutely right about it.

Quote:
I don't question the occupations that were played. I question WHEN they were played. Three out of the four first rounds, a player took an occupation as a first action. Frankly, you are the main offender here. Twice you took Starting Player in order to take an occupation as a first action. This is very expensive in terms of opportunity costs since you are passing on better actions (imo) and taking the button for the right to pass on better actions. I think this put you in a big hole.


I'm forced to agree with you, at least in this instance. I was very focused on getting that stupid Perpetual Student out, to see what utility he might have. Not enough, obviously, even with the good luck I had when I put him to the test. I should have settled for the Clay Mixer and been done with it. Even better, I might have taken the stacked reed at the top of Round Two and then worried about other things. At least in both cases of taking the button, I had a decent Minor to play, for what that was worth. Playing another Ock at the top of Round Four, though, instead of torching the woolies, was definitely a mistake.

Quote:
Contrast this to the way the game winner(Brian) valued occupations. He played two to great effect early in the game and used the 10th and 4th actions of a round respectively to get them out. That's a value gap between his game and your game that's going to be hard to make up.


Yep, I can't argue that one at all, except to note that it all keyed on playing that stupid Perpetual Student. Ah, excuses, excuses...

Quote:
I note also you took starting player in round four despite holding second position. This is generally a low reward play imo. I think this kind of move makes sense when you KNOW that the first pick of the next round is key- like FG w/o room, etc. but this tends to be a late game choice.


I assume you meant Round Three. As mentioned, I think the true mistake here was leading off with another Ock in Round Four instead of grabbing the sheep, but otherwise I think the fuel from Peat Pellets was worthwhile (and Jimmy never could put it to use). Beyond that, I agree with your assessment.

Quote:
Looking at your first four rounds, you grabbed resources all of one time. All those occupations and improvements are going to have a hard time making up for this deficit.


blush

Quote:
I know our group values the RSW space much higher than your group. This space has increased value in the expansion since it sets up early renovation and cheap major improvements so well.


I dunno, Trey, take another look at the record; we only passed on 1R(1)SW three times, one of which was the very last Round of the game, and the other two instances were immediately followed up with a 1R(2)SW play the next Round. I'd have to say that my crew likes thrifting just fine.

Quote:
I think its safe to say pelts took a hit with the expansion. Yes it generated bonus points for you but at very high cost in terms of resources and actions.


Agreed.

Quote:
Points from rooms are now really outclassed by other options in the expansion. I think targeting a 4 round clay or stone house and ending the game with 5 family members is close to ideal. That said, I love early clay renovation with the expansion especially when coupled with a cheap major.


Also agreed. One thing I've realized is the near-futility of effecting a double build; it appears to be an exercise in frustration.

Quote:
I look forward to your next report. I may attempt to log my next play (which could be awhile) but I find the format and comments you use to be very helpful.


Thanks, and I look forward to it. Meanwhile, just wait until you get to witness the mistakes of our next game, a 3-player game in which the winning score was a mere 41!
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It's interesting that people feel that a double build is counter-productive. I'm admittedly not much of a player, but it seems that, logically, since the consensus is that more actions is better, saving one or two with multi-builds would be one of the more optimal moves.

After the game, though, my group, said it wasn't my shining moment, so it sounds pretty universal.

Brian
 
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apatheticexecutioner wrote:
It's interesting that people feel that a double build is counter-productive. I'm admittedly not much of a player, but it seems that, logically, since the consensus is that more actions is better, saving one or two with multi-builds would be one of the more optimal moves.

After the game, though, my group, said it wasn't my shining moment, so it sounds pretty universal.

Brian


It's that cursed heating requirement that lessens the effectiveness of a double build. I won't claim it should never be done, but any player considering it should carefully evaluate how it will affect their future fuel requirements. Increasing one's heating bill by 33% is rarely a good idea unless you know exactly how you're going to deal with that (either by sacrificing otherwise useful wood, say, or by quickly renovating to reduce the bill).

Personally, I've become much less interested in purposefully trying for a double build, regardless of which version of the game is being played. Yes, it saves a build action, but many times you'll find yourself unable to capitalize on the earlier Family Growth opportunity anyway, as well as having removed a potential blocking play from your repertoire. Now, when faced with the potential opportunity to double build, I try to be much more careful about evaluating the efficacy of the move.
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Yo guys, interesting discussions going on in this thread!

I have only played the multi-person FotM game for five times. In the last two 4-person games the winner tends to score in the fifties (53 and 59). I suspect that these are normal scores since there are so many ways to obtain additional games compared to the basic Agricola game.

I think that the cheap and vary valuable additional major improvements are in general better investments than building additional rooms.

Can you imagine a player building a STONE room in FotM without any card that makes the cost less expensive? Five stone and two reed... for merely three points (two for the room, one for the unused space) ...

I wonder that perhaps the major improvments in FotM are often a bit too powerful compared to the other ways to invest your resources. Do you agree on this guys & girls?
 
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apatheticexecutioner wrote:
It's interesting that people feel that a double build is counter-productive. I'm admittedly not much of a player, but it seems that, logically, since the consensus is that more actions is better, saving one or two with multi-builds would be one of the more optimal moves.

After the game, though, my group, said it wasn't my shining moment, so it sounds pretty universal.

Brian


I have nothing against double builds. I suspect you need substantial card help to pull it off (setting up a round 5 FG). I wouldn't pass on a room build, waiting for a double build, if FG is an action available. My point is just that building rooms as a source of points is outclassed by other options in the expansion. Without some point generating occ or minor, you should generally build as few rooms as you need to to get to 5 family members.

My point on the RSW space ("thrifting") is not that your group doesn't take it. They do. I just suspect that they tend to take it too late in the round. In other words, if I were magically inserted into your gaming group, I suspect I would end up taking this action often as it would be available to me at a point in many rounds when I would consider it the best option available to me.
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treyalsup wrote:
... My point is just that building rooms as a source of points is outclassed by other options in the expansion. Without some point generating occ or minor, you should generally build as few rooms as you need to to get to 5 family members.


I agree with this, by and large, regardless of which version of Agricola is being played. Room builds, in general, are an inefficient way to score points.

Quote:
My point on the RSW space ("thrifting") is not that your group doesn't take it. They do. I just suspect that they tend to take it too late in the round. In other words, if I were magically inserted into your gaming group, I suspect I would end up taking this action often as it would be available to me at a point in many rounds when I would consider it the best option available to me.


Hmmm. Interesting. I may have to go back and check all my old session reports to see if this observation holds water. Thank you for bringing it up, Trey.
 
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Geoff

I did consider the extra fuel cost, but a quick renovate to clay before the next harvest saves one of the two and basically becomes the same thing as a single-wood addition without renovating, not to mention the extra rooms being required for growth.

I usually shoot for a five-room stone house, which is an additional five points over clay. The last game, I may have had the occ that allowed me to jump directly from wood to stone, so that was a time-saver, too.

I suppose if I were to replace one of the rooms, a stabled pasture would be the way to go, if one could manage to make up the single lost-point differential with animals.

In the past, I've seen it mentioned that an early renovation to clay and then adding clay rooms later isn't a good idea. Does that philosophy change with the need to heat and the lower heating cost with clay?

Brian



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apatheticexecutioner wrote:
...In the past, I've seen it mentioned that an early renovation to clay and then adding clay rooms later isn't a good idea. Does that philosophy change with the need to heat and the lower heating cost with clay?


Hi, Brian. The answer to that one depends on a few things.

A) How many people are playing? This will affect the relative availability of clay, 2-player games only offer a 7Clay per player--ouch! 3-player bumps that to 9+Clay per player, 4-player puts it to 10+, and 5-player 11+. In addition, the family version increases these numbers somewhat, by virtue of the altered nature of Day Laborer. Thus, the more players there are, the more I'm willing to try for an early renovation and then building clay rooms for further expansion. Regardless, unless there are extenuating circumstances, I almost always want my first room build to be wood.

B) What sort of card support is available? Obviously, if you've got some strong clay cards, it behooves you to take advantage of them, if possible. Removing yourself from the wood rat race (or, for that matter, the clay rat race) is always nice. There's nothing I like better than pursuing an avenue that no one else is interested in.

C) Now, that said, in the expansion, there is obviously a benefit to earlier-than-normal renovation, in order to conserve fuel/wood. Renovation to clay by the end of Stage Two, for instance, will save a 5fuel, not at all inconsiderable.

Quote:
I usually shoot for a five-room stone house, which is an additional five points over clay. The last game, I may have had the occ that allowed me to jump directly from wood to stone, so that was a time-saver, too.


The good ol' Conservator, gotta love that one, though obviously it's much more useful in 4- and 5-player games with their greatly increased availability of stone. Only drawback: one less MIMI to piggyback, though in the expansion this is of lesser concern, given the access to Clandestine Work. The only other drawback, if it is one, is that you take yourself out of the endgame renovation struggle, which is actually probably a good thing, since it will free you up to do other business.

I'll be honest, though, I rarely aim for a 5-room hut any more. If it happens, it happens, but I never plan for it. If I shoot for anything, it's that stereotypical 5-field, 4-pasture, 4-room array, and I'm always trying to get first crack at that family growth without. I usually only try for 5+ rooms if I have the right card support. (And pay no attention to that man behind the curtain who just posted a session report in which he built a 7-room clay hut!)

edit: removed superfluous quote box
 
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I aim for a three-room house, and only aim for an additional room if I can get it easily, that is, without spending unnecessary actions or when having a card that makes building rooms cheaper. Building room is expensive. In my opinion, the only gain of building a fourth room is to expand your family to 4 members early. Building a fourth room late in the game is usually a waste of resources - investing in Majors is usually superior.
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Agreed, and even more so in the expansion. I'm not as impressed as others seem to be about more Majors being available, since A) most of them are buried under the old Majors and aren't likely to be available until midgame or later, and B) stone is no more readily available than in the regular game, which leaves many of the Majors, new or old, just as tough to acquire as before. I definitely need to play more 4- and 5-player games, though.

But, anyway, yes. As the common wisdom states, getting your third Person is far more important than getting the fourth one, and I suspect this is even more true in the FotM version, since everyone is potentially padded with special actions each Round.

I look forward to beating the expansion to death as much as my crew and I have beaten the regular game ragged.
 
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