Geoff Burkman
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Kettering
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Finding ourselves at the Keep once again one Friday night, sans Ron who has to deal with a real-life malfunctioning furnace, an out-of-town Jimmy, and Nathan opting for some sort of dungeon-crawling game (I think), the remaining Stooges enlist Matt once again for some schooling in the Level 2 expansion. No draft; we just deal out seven Minors apiece and get down to business. Our farmyard arrays are indicated with our first moves…

Round One/MIMI
Geoff (#5) – 3W(3)
Skyp (#6) – 2W(2)
Matt (#3) – CP(3fl)
Brian (#2) – FT(2W)
Geoff – HF(1f)
Skyp – 2C(2)
Matt – RSf
Brian – 2BR (1R/1S)
Geoff – DL(1f +1S)
Matt – 1C(1)
Brian – B&S (1s)

Without the distraction of Occupations, I see no reason to do anything but haul wood, and Skyp apparently feels likewise. Matt fuels up, Brian conserves an action for cheap wood, and I take the food freebie. Skyp snipes the clay, Matt thrifts, and Brian and I semi-thrift. Matt burns an action on a lone clay, a probable error, and Brian builds a cheap stable, a probable mistake given that he never puts it to good use.

Round Two/Sheep
Geoff – 1R(2)
Skyp – FT(2W)
Matt – 2C(2)
Brian – 3W(3)
Geoff – CW/Peat-Charcoal Kiln
Skyp – MIMI/Peat Barge
Matt – CP(3fl)
Brian – 2BR (1C/1S)
Geoff – RSf
Skyp – Fish(2f+2fl)
Matt – SP + 2f

With the button still in my possession, I happily take the stacked reed. Skyp specials wood, Matt boosts his clay holdings, Brian bumps his cordage, and I pay the vig to snap up the Kiln (subbing a wood for fuel, btw). Skyp gets out the Peat Barge, a nicely appointed alternate fuel source that serves him reasonably well. Matt fuels up again, Brian scavenges for resources, I thrift, Skyp exercises the Barge, and Matt swipes the button. He’s up to something, but it’s hard to tell what at this point.

Round Three/Fences
Matt – 2W(4)
Brian – MIMI/Museum of the Moors
Geoff – 1H
Skyp – 3W(3)
Matt – BM/Peat Moss
Brian – CP(3fl)
Geoff – RSf
Skyp – 2BR (1C/1R)
Matt – 1W(3)
Brian – DL(1f +1C)
Geoff – TP(3f)

Matt seizes prime lumber, Brian MIMIs the Museum, a nice move that turns out to not really help him all that much, and I pick up a horse to maximize the potential of my Kiln. Skyp hauls wood, and Matt specials the same Minor Skyp had in our previously documented 5-player session. Brian fuels up , I thrift again, as does Skyp, and Matt hauls more wood. Brian visits Day Laborer for cornerstone clay, and I play things safe by stuffing my larder. Surplus food will prove essential to my game plan.

Round Four/Sow & Bake
Matt – 2C(4)
Brian – 1R(2)
Geoff – CP(3+2fl)
Skyp – FT(2W)
Matt – RSf
Brian – MIMI/Forester’s Lodge
Geoff – BM/Oven Damper (3fl-2S)
Skyp – 1C(3)
Geoff – 2BR (1C/1S)
Skyp – 3W(3)
Geoff – SP + 2f

With Peat Moss active, Matt has every reason to spurn the reed, and does so in favor of cheap clay. Brian has no such qualms; the reed is his, and I quickly follow up with the first of three enhanced fuel-ups. Skyp specials wood, Matt thrifts, and Brian grabs his next targeted Major, from which he derives limited payoff. I blackmarket a variable payoff Minor from which I extract limited results, Skyp gloms more clay, I scavenge useful goods, Skyp hauls wood, and I retake the button for food and first dibs next Round, not that that’ll do me a whole lot of good.

Round Five/Renovation + MIMI
Geoff – 2W(4)
Skyp – Ren>C + CH4
Matt – BR(2) + x
Brian – FT(2+1W)
Geoff – CP(3+2fl)
Skyp – Sheep(4)burn3
Matt – BM/Birthing House (-2C/1S) °
Brian – RSf
Geoff – Fish(3f)
Matt – 2BR (1R/1S)
Brian – MIMI/Basketmaker’s Workshop

Leading off with a 4Wood can feel pretty mundane, but it’s the best thing on the board that suits my purposes, so I take it. Skyp renovates, picking up a timely cookery, a good, strong move. Matt executes a well-planned double build, Brian earns a rebate on his Lodge, I stockpile fuel, and Skyp wisely lays in plenty of lamb, saving one to cancel the negative. Matt now forks over for a demonstrably strong Minor that swaps a rock and a 2Clay for two points and a nice 1f/1fl/1VP bonus every time you add a worker. Brian thrifts, I fish, Matt hits the flea market, and Brian picks up the first crafting Major. This will prove to be of more benefit to me than him.

Round Six/Family Growth + MI
Geoff – 3W(6)
Skyp – CP(3fl)
Matt – FT(2W)
Brian – BR(1) + x
Geoff – CW/Basket Stall
Skyp – 2C(4)
Matt – FG + Fuel Storage (2W/2fl>-1C/1R) °
Brian – SP + 2f
Geoff – RSf
Skyp – 1R(2)
Matt – 1W(3)

I can’t refuse the gift of a 6Wood, Skyp fuels up, Matt specials lumber, and Brian adds his first extension. I now quietly pay the vig for the key to the rest of my game, Skyp reloads clay, and Matt does the “forced” obvious, with a Minor that essentially trades a reed for a point and a clay for downstream wood and fuel. Brian swipes the button and bundled supplies, I opt for thrifting over the stacked reed Skyp commandeers, and Matt continues restocking his woodpile.

Round Seven/Stone
Brian – FG + Arid Pastures
Geoff – CP(3+2fl)
Skyp – FT(2W)
Matt – TP(4f)
Brian – Fish(2f)
Geoff – RSf
Skyp – 2W(4)
Matt – 2BR (1R/1S)
Geoff – BM/Alder Swamp (-2f)
Skyp – Fences (15)
Matt – Ren>C + Draughthorses
Geoff – 1C(3)
b-1sick

Brian almost reluctantly adds a worker, given his precarious food engine. I cut the last of my peat, and am now loaded to the rafters with fuel. Skyp specials wood, Matt pads his larder, and Brian hastily makes sure there’ll be no Begging Cards with his name on them. I thrift for the fourth of eight times total, Skyp hogs more wood, Matt flea markets, and I get out a Minor swap of food and fuel for reed. Since reed is a wild card resource for me, that seems like a reasonably good deal; Constant Reader may disagree. Skyp fences an irregular max pasture array, Matt upgrades his comfy hut, adding a Minor that proves itself a null play by game’s end, and I abscond with a serendipitous measure of clay. Seed, feed and breed, and Brian’s new hire falls ill for lack of heating. Bummer.

Round Eight/Vegetables
Brian – 3W(6)
Geoff – Ren>C + Well (5f>
Skyp – 2C(4)
Matt – CP(3fl)
Brian – FT(2+1W)
Geoff – CW/Fp2
Skyp – BR(1) + x
Matt – 2BR (1C/1S)
Brian – SP + 2f
Geoff – Sheep(3)burn3
Matt – FG + Agricultural Implement (-1W) °
Brian – Infirmary (1f)
Matt – 1G

Brian spends his Round stockpiling wood, stepping on the breaded button, and sending his newborn to the Infirmary. This is not an auspicious start for his midgame. I renovate, grab the Well and its food stores, buy a premium fireplace and fry hapless woolies. Skyp labors building another room, while Matt fuels up, hits the flea market, hires on another worker, adds a Minor that he’ll use quite effectively, and then picks up a grain almost as an afterthought. Hey, at least he didn’t take another solo clay…

Round Nine/Boar
Brian – 1S(3)
Geoff – RSf
Skyp – Fish(2f +2fl)
Matt – PF + FT(2W)
Brian – CP(3fl)
Geoff – CW/Village Church (2f – 2W/3R/1S)
Skyp – FG + Peat Iron (-1W)
Matt – 2C(2)
Brian – 1R(3)
Geoff – FT(2W+1R) –2f
Matt – MIMI/Clay Oven (5f)
Brian – 1G
Geoff – 2W(4)
Matt – SP + 1f

Brian takes the best bargain on the board, I grab my best bargain, and Skyp gets his (of course, Skyp almost always “gets his” when farming, but that’s a different story altogether). Matt civilizes more of his farmyard, Brian fuels up, and I pay full freight for stewardship of the Village Church, thanks in no small part to the powerful Basket Stall. It feels like the watershed move of my game, even in retrospect. Skyp adds his first hire and a Minor swap of a wood for bonus fuel over the remaining four harvests. Matt nabs critical clay, Brian claims the reed, and I stall with an expensive special. Matt builds an oven, firing it right up, Brian blocks the instant reload, and I snipe the larger woodpile just before Matt reclaims the button. Skyp parts with his wooly, Brian a reed, while I pitch a fuel for the first of four bonus points from my Church. Nice. I don’t know why, but I’m reminded by this of an old joke involving tithing to God, which I may or may not relate at the end of this report. At any rate, onward…

Round Ten/Stone
Matt – 3W(6)
Brian – SB(PF)
Geoff – CW/Furnace (2fl –2R)
Skyp – 1G
Matt – Fences (13)
Brian – 1C(3)
Geoff – FT(2W+1R)
Skyp – Boar(2)
Matt – Sheep(2)
Brian – Ren>C +Moor Enclosures
Geoff – 1V
Skyp – PF
Matt – TP(3f)
Brian – 1W(4)
Geoff – RSf

Matt can no more resist the Circean call of a 6Wood than any other Agriconaut, and falls upon it with alacrity. Brian converts a field, and I quickly use my magic beans wild card reed to build the Furnace. Sweet: more fuel and no more heating requirements! Skyp sidetracks for grain, Matt fences, holding a bit of wood in reserve for fuel, Brian preps for renovation, and I extract more benefit from the Swamp. Skyp and Matt clear animals, Brian upgrades, annexing several squares of unclaimed moorland, and I cancel a negative. Skyp plows, Matt tops off supplies, Brian gathers lumber, and I happily thrift.

Round Eleven/Cattle
Matt – PF + 1H
Brian – 2C(4)
Geoff – SP(PF)
Skyp – 1V
Matt – 1G
Brian – MIMI/Stone Oven (4f)
Geoff – CW/Fp2>Cookhouse
Skyp – S&B (1Vf +3f)
Matt – B&S (5f +1s)
Brian – 2W(4)
Geoff – Fences (15)
Skyp – SP + 2f
Matt – 3W(3)
Geoff – FT(2W+1R) –2f
Geoff – RSf

Matt implements a double negative erasure, Brian stockpiles clay, I convert a first field, and then Skyp and Matt gather up seedlings. Brian picks up the other oven (but never manages to use it again), and I pay the toll to upgrade my cookery at long last. Skyp farms, as does Matt, Brian hauls wood, and I max out my pastures, hoping to get into some animal husbandry. Skyp nabs the button, Matt spikes the wood, and I swap off spare food for a bit of wood and another reed, thrifting on top of that. Only then do I realize that I’ve managed to use all three special action cards this Round. At harvest, Brian gives up reed and wood to maintain his household, and I slough off a fuel for another sacred bonus point.

Round Twelve/Family Growth w/o
Skyp – 1H
Matt – Cattle(2)
Brian – Boar(2)
Geoff – BM/Butcher’s Block (-1W)
Skyp – Fish(3f +2fl)
Matt – 1G
Brian – CP(3fl)
Geoff – FG w/o
Skyp – Sheep(2)
Matt – 1V
Brian – 1R(3)
Geoff – RSf
Skyp – PF
Matt – S&B (1Gf/1Vf)
Brian – Fences(15)

Skyp squanders his opening move on horseflesh instead of the cattle that Matt swiftly corrals. Brian sets up boar breeding, and then I play an oddball Minor that swaps a wood for a point and forces all opposing players to burn off an animal: Brian’s breeding pair evaporates, along with Skyp’s recent piglet and one of Matt’s woolies. Skyp works the Barge again, Matt preps for farming, Brian fuels up, and I take the growth that everyone has been studiously ignoring. Skyp herds woolies, Matt carries on carrying on, Brian swipes coveted reed, and so I thrift once more. Skyp cancels his field negative, Matt farms, and Brian gets fences up and pastures maxed.

Round Thirteen/Plow & Sow
Skyp – 1H
Matt – PF + SB(PF)
Brian – P&S (PF)
Geoff – CW/Riding Stables (-2W/2R)
Skyp – 3W(6)
Matt – 1G
Brian – 1S(4)
Geoff – FG w/o
Skyp – BR(0) +3s
Matt – B&S (5f +1s)
Brian – Ren>S + Heating Stove
Geoff – SP + 2f
Skyp – TP(3f)
Matt – DL (1f +1W)
Geoff – 1H –2f
Geoff – 1S(4)

Skyp again spurns growth, opting for horse breeding. Matt doubles his fields, Brian erases his field negative, and I swipe the Riding Stables. Skyp hauls the 6Wood, Matt reloads his oven, and Brian preps for renovation. Bemused, I take the waiting extra hire. Skyp builds a trio of stables, Matt fires up his oven, and Brian does the do, snapping up the fuel-saving Major. I retake the button, Skyp and Matt grab supplies, and I finish off the penultimate Round with an expensive horse and the other stone cache for final renovation. Matt drops a 2Wood, Brian a reed, and I lose my veggie at harvest. Will my hoard of card points compensate for the excessive negatives I’m going to have? Well, let’s find out…

Round Fourteen/Renovation + Fences
Geoff – 2W(6)
Skyp – P&S (PF +2Vf)
Matt – Boar(2)
Brian – Cattle(2)
Geoff – PF
Skyp – 1G
Matt – RSf
Brian – 1H
Geoff – Ren>S + Joinery
Skyp – Fish(2f +2fl)
Matt – S&B (1Vf +5f)
Brian – HF(1f)
Geoff – SB(PF)
Matt – 1W(4)
Brian – DL(1f +1R)
Geoff – Sheep(2)burn1
Brian – 1R(2)

Without hesitation, I take the wood. Skyp farms for four points, Matt and Brian corral three points each, and I plow away my field negative. Skyp cancels a negative, Matt dithers at the thrift store—a near-useless move—and Brian erases the equine negative. I make my last big play picking up the Joinery as I upgrade my humble two-room abode. Skyp closes his game out with a last supply run, Matt farms and gathers wood to burn, Brian hustles supplies, and I plow a last field and erase a final negative. Seed, feed and breed: Skyp burns an immortal boar, Matt parts with wood, grain, and veggie, Brian eats a reed, and I sadly torch two horses and a wood to fulfill my obligations. Still, I have enough fuel left for two more bonus points, one from the Church and one from the Riding Stables. It’s time to add 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.

Geoff – 46 (0 Occ, 3/8)(29/0)(5)(52(21)/2/6)(0.885)(45)
Matt – 42 (0 Occ, 5/1)(28/6)(4)(48(6*)/6/4)(0.875)(42) * plus three piggybacked specials
Skyp – 35 (0 Occ, 2/1)(24/0)(2)(39(6)/4/4)(0.897)(31)
Brian – 32 (0 Occ, 2/5)(23/2)(3)(44(9)/3/3)(0.727)(33)

Player Fields Pastures Grain Veg Sheep Boar Cattle Unused Stables House Peeps Pts Bonus
Geoff 3(2) 4(4) 0(-1) 0(-1) 1(1) 0(-1) 0(-1+1) 4(-4) 0(0) 2S(4) 4(12) (22) (8)
Matt 4(3) 3(3) 1(1) 2(2) 4(2) 3(2) 4(3+1) 0(0) 2(2) 4C(4) 4(12) (5) (2)
Skyp 3(2) 4(4) 1(1) 4(4) 4(2) 3(2) 0(-1+4) 0(0) 3(3) 3C(3) 3(9) (2) (0)
Brian 2(1) 4(4) 0(-1) 0(-1) 0(-1) 1(1) 2(2+1) 3(-3) 1(1) 3S(6) 3(9) (11) (2)


Bits & Pieces
Skyp’s 1st Place efficiency ratio simply can’t compensate for lack of actions taken, particularly the special actions. His Achilles Heel remains failure to pursue growth.
My domination of special actions clearly won the game, near as I can tell, as I play as many as my three opponents combined, not counting the three piggybacks Matt manages with the Agricultural Implement, and end up owning as many Majors as my opponents combined. This more than made up for placing dead last in actions taken by Family Members! The lesson is apparent: use special actions to the very best of your ability, or lose the game. I’m becoming more and more convinced of the unforgiving nature of the expansion in this regard, regardless of the level being played.
Interesting that in this game, the closest correlation is between food expenditures and final scores.
I used Clandestine Work an amazing seven times and put all three of my Minors in play via the Black Market. I didn’t add a worker until Round Twelve, and even then only virtue of opposition oversight. Had Matt foregone the cattle, he might have been able to squeak out the win…
…which leads me to further props for the noob; Matt has definitely taken to this particular worker placement game like..well, pick your favorite worn-out simile. I won’t be surprised to see him manage a win or two not too much further down the road.
Okay, so here's the stupid joke, and I'll do my best to keep it non-demoninational, so to speak. Three holy men are chatting amongst themselves one day, and the topic turns to how they apportion the offerings they take in each week at their respective houses of worship. The first ecclesiastic tells his companions, "I draw a line on the floor. Then I toss the offerings into the air above it. Whatever lands on the far side goes to God, and I keep whatever lands on my side." The second cleric says, "I do something like that, too. I draws a big circle around myself and throw the weekly take into the air. Whatever lands outside the circle goes to God; whatever stays inside I keep." The third shaman nodded sagely, replying,"I try to keep things simple. I simply throw everything into the air. What God wants He'll take, and I keep the rest."whistle

Thanks for reading; as always, I hope Constant Reader got something out of it. Next report: a 2-player Level 2 contest wherein I get my comeuppance.
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Brian Bastage
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.....And this evening, the actor portraying Skyp will be Brian.......



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Geoff Burkman
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As a footnote, I should mention that, furnace problem dealt with, Ron showed up toward the end of this game, and we managed to knock off a 5-player "regular" game of Agricola before being booted out into the cold. No record-keeping, of course, in order to cut the time, but I took a 43-point win with a Charcoal Burner/Clay Distributor/Cook/Hobby Farmer/Gardner line-up in combination with the Lettuce Patch, obtaining the bulk of my food via the inexhaustible veggie machine I was able to set up. Matt had a little difficulty readapting, scoring a mere 28 to finish fourth.

The less said about Brian's Skyp's score, the better. whistle
 
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Mike T
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I bet "Clay Distributor" is an interesting card!

I can report my first successful use of a "Buyer" card, in which I laid the Wood Buyer in Round 2 and bought wood every time it was taken for the rest of the game. Also, the Spinney. And a Wood Cart. And Wood Deliveryman. Almost certainly the most lumber I've ever acquired.
 
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Geoff Burkman
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smcmike wrote:
I bet "Clay Distributor" is an interesting card!

I can report my first successful use of a "Buyer" card, in which I laid the Wood Buyer in Round 2 and bought wood every time it was taken for the rest of the game. Also, the Spinney. And a Wood Cart. And Wood Deliveryman. Almost certainly the most lumber I've ever acquired.


Oops! I meant Clay Deliveryman, of course. Thanks for keeping me on my toes.
 
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Brian Mc Cabe
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The expansion looks like it's generating some very close games, and that the players that are further behind are scoring better.

Very nice report.

Brian
 
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Geoff Burkman
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apatheticexecutioner wrote:
The expansion looks like it's generating some very close games, and that the players that are further behind are scoring better.

Very nice report.

Brian


Thanks, Brian. It's my observation at the moment that the "FotM" expansion adds, on average, up to ten points per player, regardless of which Level is being played.
 
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