Ramping up my reviewing.
Happily playing games for many, many years.
I played this game of Farmers of the Moor with Rich (red) and Troy (white); I played green as usual. After dealing our our hand of Minor Improvements (from the E deck), I noticed an interesting set of cards. However, the problem with any interesting set of cards is that they start to distract you from the game at hand. Using a die to determine who was going first, we discovered that Rich would be first player... and I'd be last for the initial turn.
As expected, I was frozen out of the initial selection of special action cards, so I started to work on my grain strategy. First player traded back and forth as the game proceeded, and Troy grabbed all the clay he could, something that was troubling to me as it meant that getting the Fireplace or Cooking Hearth was going to be problematic.
Rich cut peat like a madman and only then bought the Peat-Charcoal Burner: perhaps not the best order of actions, but it did keep it out of my hands! We found as the game proceeded that taking the special action cards to build improvements was very important... if one had the fuel and food to do so, that is!
By the end of the first stage, I'd played two minor improvements: the Peat Barge and Peat Fertilizer. Troy had yet to enter the improvement market, but he had the clay to do what he wanted.
My next trick was to play the Peat Roof and expand my house twice; Rich also expanded his house, although he didn't get an extra family member before I did. I was too late to gain the two-clay Fireplace, Rich took it first, so instead I took the Clay Oven, all the better to feed my family. Troy plowed a lot of fields (well, he converted trees into fields), but he hadn't the grain to sow them - yet!
For once, I managed to play the Well relatively early and gained the full benefit from the extra food. My biggest problem was that I wasn't taking enough resources: I'd always put it off too long and Troy and Rich would take advantage. Both Troy and Rich went into building lots of fences, and Troy also got the Cooking Hearth. There wasn't that much in the way of animals on our farms yet, but that would change!
I improved my food situation with Fallow Fields, gaining six food from that trick (which very much impressed Troy), and I also played the Furnace, all the better to heat my five-room wooden house. Whilst I now had the family members and their extra actions, I think both Rich and Troy were doing a lot better at actually building their farms: Troy's was now almost complete, with a lot of very nice animals and fields.
Rich's also had the fields and animals, although he still had a number of unused spaces. I was going to be getting a lot of points from my improvements, but would they be enough if my farm was inferior?
The second last phase, and I finally got something to cook vegies and animals: the Cookhouse. I also built some fences, but I didn't have the animals yet: I really should have taken some more horses, but I kept thinking other actions would be better. My mistake. I also completely mucked up the end of the turn: I had four clay and three stone: not enough at the beginning of the next turn to take the renovation action which I desperately needed!
Rich went a-plowing, and Troy just kept putting more animals in his pastures. He wasn't wasting time playing improvements, and he had a great-looking farm. He also took his fourth family member now.
The final turn saw both Rich and Troy improve their houses to clay and stone respectively, leaving me unable too and in a bind: I was able to get some sheep and boar - quite a good number of both - but I was faced with the very real possibility of not being able to heat my entire house. So, I finessed the last couple of actions so that I built two Major Improvements back-to-back: the Stone Oven, followed by the Heating Stove. The one fuel I had remaining was enough to heat the house, and the extra VPs were appreciated. Rich built a Basketweaver and took another family member... and the game was over. All that was left was the scoring.
Troy 48 (4 fields, 3 pastures, 4 grain, 4 vegies, 2 sheep, 2 boar, 1 cattle, 7 horses, 2 stables, 6 house, 12 family, 1 cards)
Merric 43 (4 fields, 3 pastures, 3 grain, 1 vegies, 2 sheep, 2 boar, -1 cattle, 1 horses, 15 family, 13 cards)
Rich 35 (4 fields, 4 pastures, 2 grain, 1 vegies, -1 sheep, 3 boar, 3 cattle, -1 horses, -2 unused, 3 stables, 3 house, 12 family, 4 cards)
Troy had won the game - and he'd done so without playing a permanent Minor Improvement card (there was one card that gave fuel and converted moor to field that was being passed around - it went around the table twice!) I'd lost it through my house and lack of horses, both elements I could have avoided if I'd planned better.
Rich was very happy with his game; one of his highest scores (if not his highest) at Agricola: he's getting a lot better - and he'd been winning other games we've been playing recently.
This was an excellent game and greatly enjoyable. I hope it's not too long before I can have another game of Agricola with Troy!