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Subject: First time playing FotM - new game, same outcome rss

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Mike R
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My good friend Randy was lucky enough to go to the Australian Game Expo, a big convention in the nation's capital. As well as having a great time and winning the Carcassonne tournament (and a ticket to Essen), he picked up a copy of Farmers of the Moor for me.

I'd been after FotM for a while, but didn't want to pay $75 for it (the going rate here in small town Australia). He found a dealer having a sale, and snapped it up on my behalf for $42. Thanks pal.

I picked it up from him yesterday, and broke it open this morning. I had some idea on the extra stuff it brings to the base game, thanks largely to Mister G's excellent session reports. Horses, more improvements, heating, speacial actions... sounds like a lot of extra things to have to think about. I skimmed the rules, set it up and my wife Brittany and I gave it a try.

We decided to jump right in with a level 3 play - old and new minor improvements, and occupations. We'd played plenty of the basic game, and I figured we could handle it. As it was our first play, I decided to record the moves and write up a session report - who knows, maybe other Agricola players yet to take the FotM plunge might find it useful.

We dealt out the cards - 4 old minors (discard 1), 6 new minors from the E deck (dump 2) and 10 occs (flick 3). I didn't have much to work with I thought - my occs and old minors were so-so at best, although I did have the Conservator. I admit I didn't really know enough about the new minors though, to know if I had a pair of deuces or a full house - I had Nosebag, Peat Sled, Peat Ash Fertiliser and Hardware Store.

Anyhow... I explain the new rules as best I can to Brittany, and away we go.

Rd 1. MIMI
B Occ - Dancer
M 3W
B SP + Thicket
M FT
M HF
M DL

Round 1, and Brittany gets out a pretty useful Occ - the Dancer. I snap up the wood, and Brittany makes sure she keeps start player and plays Thicket (2 extra forest tiles). That looks OK, if she can get the right number of special actions. I take advantage of the special actions, and lop some wood, and take a visit to the Fair for a footlong. Brittany looks at me as the application of special actions sinks in... I figure there might be some competition there next round. I end with a trip to DL, as there didn't seem anything much better.

Rd 2. Sow & Bake
B 2R
M Occ - Seasonal Worker
B FT
M Horse Coper
B 3W
M DL + 1G

Brittany takes the doubled reed, and I play an occ I quite like, the Seasonal Worker. I usually take grains and veges a number of times during the game anyway, so the 2 food each time is a bonus. Brittany cuts down some lumber, while I go buy a horse for a food. More wood for Brittany, and I end, again, with DL - this time served with fries.

Rd 3. Sheep
B Clay (3)
M Cut Peat
B 3W
M HF
M Occ - Woodcutter
M SP + Weekly Market (1G -> 1V)

The clay goes, and I bide time cutting peat. More wood for Brittany, and I decide to help myself to another food from the fair. I play a 2nd occ - the Woodcutter. With extra wood now in the game, maybe this was a poor play... I think it gave me an extra 4 or 5 wood over the game, so not a horrible play I guess. I decide I've had enough of going 2nd, and nab the button, upgrading my grain to veg. No real reason, except I had nothing better to play.

Rd 4. Fences
M 3W (+1)
B CP
M HF
B Fish (4F)
M 2R
B SP + Farm Extension

I'm a firm believer that if you play an occ, use the occ. So I chop wood. Brittany gathers fuel for the long winter night ahead, and I can't help myself, and take a free food. Brittany fishes, I take the 2 reed I need for a build, and Brittany takes back the button and plays Farm Extension. She now has two extra squares on her board - time will tell if it pays off for her (I have a hard enough time filling 15 squares).

Rd 5. Family Growth
B BR +1S
M Slash & Burn
B HF
M SP + Peat Sled
B FG + Tool Shed
M Fences (6)

D'oh, there's early FG. Brittany builds a room and a stable in preparation, while I turn a forest tile into something usable. Before growing, Brittany stops off at the fair for a late night snack, and I take the button with the Peat Sled, and place four fuel markers on round 9. Hunger satisfied, Brittany grows the family and gets out a minor from the new deck, and I build a 2 square paddock. Tool shed looks pretty decent - allows both CP and FT with one action.

Rd 6. Stone
M 6W (+1)
B CP + Slash
M Sheep (4)
B SP + Clay Roof
B HF
B Occ - Clay Delivery Man
B Fish (4)

Here's the game, right here. Round six, everything to play for. I have the resources to build and grow... but it's a stronger man than I who can resist 7W in a two player game. So I delay the build and grab it. Brittany cuts peat and lops wood, showing the strength of the tool shed. With four sheep on the board, I decide to herd them my way. Brittany takes back the button and gets out the Clay Roof, another strong improvement.After a quick stop for snacks, she plays another great occ - the Clay Deliveryman. She ends the round with another food haul, courtesy of the Dancer.

Rd 7. Renovate
B Clay (4)
M Slash & Burn
B HF
M 3W (+1)
B Occ - Hedge Keeper
M BR + 2S
B Fish (4F)

Brittany picks up another large load of clay, while I turn another forest into a field. She retaliates with yet another visit to the fair, and I pick up more wood. Brittany then shows me why wood isn't a concern for her, with the Hedge Keeper. Man, she had good cards this game. I finally build a room (and two stables), and again, Brittany ends the turn with another food grab. We've been playing the Dancer in with the two player occs, but I'm starting to think it's too strong...

Rd 8. Vegetables
B Slash & Burn, & FT
M Reed (4)
B 3W
M HF
B Fence (6)
M FG = Helpful Neighbours (1W -> 1S)
B Fish (4F)

Brittany makes good use of her tool shed, and I take the stacked reed. Wood for her, I snack, and she gets out a paddock. I finally grow my first dude, way late, and Brittany fishes for yet more food. I resist taking the Dancer from her right now, and silently pledge he's danced his last waltz at this table.

Rd 9. Boar
B Sheep (3)
M FT
B Occ - Greengrocer
M Clay (2)
B Horse Coper
M Stone (4)
B Ren -> Clay + Cooking Hearth
M - MIMI FP2

Brittany decides the time is ripe for ranching, and I generate more wood. She then plays athe Greengrocer, which undoubtedly will be handy in the end game. I snap up 2 clay, thinking I'll use Clandestine Work to snaffle the cheap fireplace... but Brittany scuttles those plans wih a visit to the horse dealer. So I haul stone instead, she renovates to clay and buys a hearth, and I get the cheap fireplace the old fashioned way and roast up some mutton, big time. I pick up my 4 fuel this turn, so the harvest is no problem for either of us and on we go.

Rd 10. Stone
B 6W
M Slash & Burn
B Fence (9)
M HF
B Boars (2)
M DL + 1V
M BR
M FG + Nosebag

Brittany helps herself to the stacked wood, while I clear more trees for a field. She fences a large number of squares thanks to the Hedge Keeper, and I dally at the fair. The boars are hers, and with my three actions I day labour for 2F and a veg, build a room, and grow. I get out what looks to be a handy Nosebag.

Rd 11. Cattle
B FT
M Occ - Conservator
B 1G + 1V
M Sow & Bake (2V)
B Fish (4F)
M Horse Coper
M Ren -> Stone + Cookhouse
M DL +1V

I catch up a bit this round I think. After Brittany lops wood, I play a great occ, the Conservator. With stone in hand, I'm coming home with a wet sail. She picks up a grain and matching carrot, while I plant my carrots firmly in the ground. Another fish stop for her, and I grab a horse from the Coper, do my renovation to stone and upgrade my fireplace for a Cookhouse. This is the first play of a new major improvement - we'd managed to avoid them up till now (possible the lack of stone in a 2p game had something to do with it), but now I take the plunge. Harvest time, noone has any problem and we go to the home stretch.

Rd 12. Family Growth w/o Room
B FG w/o
M Cut Peat
B 6W
M Cattle (2) burn 1H, 1C
B HF
M Sheep(3)
B Stone(3)
M PF
M DL +1V

Family Growth arrives, and Britany jumps on it. I cut some fuel, while Brittany takes the wood. As soon as she does, I realise that would have been a much better play - even if I use 2W for fuel, I'm well ahead of the game. I think I'm a very petty man. If someone else has a great play (in this case, the tool shed giving Brittany combined actions on the FT & CP), my urge to prevent it is enormous - I'll take it even if there are better plays for me elsewhere on the board. Ah well. After that gaff, I pick up two cows - then realise I don't have room for them and have to butcher. So I turn a cow and a horse into steak. Brittany snacks on fairy floss (do you guys call it that? No, you don't - it's cotton candy in the States), I grab three sheep and Brittany matches them in stone. I plow and visit the DL for food and a veg and the round is done. I'm getting great value out of the Seasonal Worker - I love that guy.

Rd 13. Plow & Sow
B FG w/o
M Slash & Burn
B P&S
M 3W (+1)
B Horse Coper
M Fence
B Stables(3)
M Boar(3)
B Fish (4F)
M 1G (+ 1H)

I forgot to take SP last turn, so Britany gets to grow instead of me. I create a new field instead, cursing all the while, and Brittany plows a field and sows for all she's worth. I collect sticks, Brittany buys a horse, and I fence a new pasture. She now throws out three stables, a strong play that increases her capacity by a goodly amount. I herd the pigs, Brittany fishes and I day labour for the food and a grain. All done, harvest is easy and on we go.

Rd 14. Renovate & fence
B P&S
M 3W (+1)
B FT
M Fence(4)
B Cattle(2)
M Horse Coper
B 1G +1V
M Sow & Bake
B Stone(5)
M PF
B Ren -> Stone + Clay Oven (1G -> 5F)

Brittany gets out another field and plants some crops, while I gather wood. She cuts down timber, I fence another pasture and she grabs the cows before I can. I visit the Horse Coper, a mistake as I had forgotten about my nosebag - I could have had a grain, and a free horse instead. Brittany takes the grain spot with a free veg, I sow about 5 vegetable fields, and she gathers stone. With nothing else to do I fill the last empty square on my farm with a field, and Brittany renovates to stone, gets the clay oven and bakes a grain. Everyone home, the game is done and I know I'm done too, it's just a matter of by how much. Harvest time... and I find I only have one fuel marker, and no wood. D'oh! The Moors finally shows it's teeth! I put a dude in the infirmary and he'll only score 1 point.

B F(4) P(4) G(1) V(4) Sheep(3) Boar(2) Cattle(2) Horses(4) Unused(-2) Stable(4) Rooms(6) People(15) Bonus(6) = 53
M F(4) P(4) G(1) V(4) Sheep(4) Boar(2) Cattle(1) Horses(3) Unused(0) Stable(1) Rooms(8) People(10) Bonus(2) = 44

A solid win to Brittany. Did she grasp the inticacies of the Moors faster than I? Did she see the new strategies needed faster than I did? People may think so... but (without sounding TOO churlish) I put her win down to stronger cards. That Tool Shed was a great card, giving her several free actions. Combined with Thicket, she generated a lot of extra wood, and her Clay Roof/Clay Deliveryman combo was a strong one. Hedge Keeper always, always gets his points back, and the Grocer makes sowing easy. But the card that was my undoing was the Dancer. Four food, four food, four food... lordy. Although I got great benefit from the Seasonal Worker and Conservator, I felt the rest of my cards were pretty crappy. I could have done better with the Nosebag I guess.

And I'm wondering if I made a mistake building a fourth wood room? I renovated to stone the next round so heating wise it didn't really cost me much, but pehaps I would have been better using the wood to fence with and increasing my animal capacity. I could then manouvre for SP in round 12 and get the jump in the end game.... who knows. Well, probably I do.

My farm:



And Brittany's farm:



Thanks for reading, any comments or questions welcome!

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Adam Hoffman
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Why do you play with Dancer as a 2p occupation?
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Mike R
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r0gershrubber wrote:
Why do you play with Dancer as a 2p occupation?


Since getting Agricola a year ago, my wife and I have played over 100 games, all two-player. A short while ago we wanted to add a little variety to the mix, so we added a few (maybe 4 or 5) 3+ occupations to the 2 player decks. I picked out a few that I thought would be OK for 2 players, and Dancer was one of them.

It has added some variety, which has been great. But with the new expansion I think we'll take the extra occs out again. There's enough new stuff going on and the regular occs will do just fine.

Regards

Mike
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Geoff Burkman
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Great report, Mike, and thanks for the nod. I really, really like the combination of commentary (which was quite good, btw) and pics; it really rounds out "the rest of the story." My crew's never tried putting 3+/4+ Ocks into 2-player games (not that we play many of those), or 4+ into 3-player games (which we've played many more of, but never seen the need to enhance).

You're a fortunate soul to have such a gaming wife! And she's lucky to have a guy willing to document her ability to kick his boo-tay!
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Mike R
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Thanks Geoff. I took out the extra occs last night and we played another game... and she beat me again, 59-54. Ican't blame the cards this time though; I had the Wet Nurse and a couple of other strong plays.

Although I'm wondering if the Wet Nurse's strength is toned down in FotM? In the base game I'd usually build as early as possible to 4 or 5 rooms, depending on what cards I had to facilitate rooms. With FotM, I find I'm building rooms more slowly and so far have stopped at 4, and 3 rooms total. In last night's game I probably should have built a fourth room early, and worn the extra heating cost with some wood.

Ah well... I'm still waiting for my first FotM win, but it'll come... and when it does, I'll be sure to write it up. I'm wondering though if documenting the moves is giving me a handicap - I know I win about 50% of the time, but whenever I decide to write up a game, I invariably lose.

Regards

Mike
 
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mdr003 wrote:
r0gershrubber wrote:
Why do you play with Dancer as a 2p occupation?


Since getting Agricola a year ago, my wife and I have played over 100 games, all two-player. A short while ago we wanted to add a little variety to the mix, so we added a few (maybe 4 or 5) 3+ occupations to the 2 player decks. I picked out a few that I thought would be OK for 2 players, and Dancer was one of them.

It has added some variety, which has been great. But with the new expansion I think we'll take the extra occs out again. There's enough new stuff going on and the regular occs will do just fine.

Regards

Mike


I think part of the reason Dancer is a 4+ Occupation (instead of a 1+) is because of increased competition for the TP space (there's still only 1). On top of that, with the juicy Fishing enhancements in Moors I think using the Dancer in 2p and applying it to the Fishing space is a mistake. It's a very bad block...
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Mike R
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Very true, JB. It only took one play of FotM to see that Dancer in 2P is broken. Even without any minor improvements adding value.

From now on, it's 1+ occs only, at least until we have a good understanding of the FotM mechanics.
 
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