Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
Ohio
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Level 3 game, 10/7/7 draft, drop three Ocks, pick any mix of seven old and/or new Minors. Brian gets the nod thanks to a prior 3-player win (which may well get a future session report as illustration of the use and misuse of the Wood Distributor, among other highlights), and we’re under way…

Round One/MIMI
Brian (#5) – Occ/Seasonal Worker
Ron (#9) – 3W(3)
Geoff (#1) – SB(PF)
Brian – HF(2f)
Ron – SP + Stone Wagon
Geoff – Occ(-2f)/Market Crier
Brian – DL(2f +1G)
Geoff – 1G +1G/1V (1G>b.r.)

Brian, under the influence of playing his absolutely favorite layout of Moor and Forest tiles…whistle…opens with an Ock that he puts to prompt use and then sadly ignores for the remainder of the game. As Constant Reader knows, this is generally not a good approach to playing Agricola. Ron hauls wood, which actually surprises me in light of his known tendency to aggressively pursue Special actions; I thought for sure he’d visit the Fair. I have to assume he has his eye on the button. No matter; I stumble somewhat myself by using the poor man’s plow instead of properly jumping the 2food, which Brian quickly does. Ron indeed swipes the button and turns Day Laborer into a stone source, which can be very handy in a session of “FotM.” I intend to pursue my own goals aggressively, too, and part with the 2food to get out a communal Ock that’s key to those plans. Brian sets his Worker to task for the only time, and I put mine to work for the first of three times. Ron and Brian get to share the wealth, but so far I’m the one who’s developing the means to exploit it.

Round Two/Sow & Bake
Ron – 1R(2)
Geoff – 2W(4)
Brian – Occ(-1f)/Academic
Ron – FT(2W)
Geoff – SB(PF)
Brian – FT(2W) –2f
Ron – 1C(2)
Geoff – SP + Crooked Plow
Brian – MIMI/Bookshelf

Ron claims stacked reed as expected, I take stacked wood (also as expected, but I do have very specific and immediate intentions for it), and Brian plays a second Ock that plainly signals his possession of a 3-Ock Minor that he’s itching to activate. Ron scrabbles more lumber, I happily swap another Forest tile for a field, and Brian tithes heavily for a 2Wood of his own. This is terribly inefficient play, btw, unless the player has genuinely surplus food stores. Ron preps for a cookery, I nab the button to gain the use of the early game plow, relieved when Brian ignores spiking the 3Wood in favor of turning ocking into a potent food source. Now we know why he coughed so hard for the timber. This may or may not be trouble…

Round Three/Sheep
Geoff – 3W(6)
Brian – 1C(3)
Ron – HF(2f)
Geoff – CP(3fl)
Brian – Occ(+2f)/Stonecutter
Ron – 2W(2)
Geoff – Fish (3f)
Ron – DL(2f +1S)

I stock up on construction essentials, Brian hauls clay, and this time Ron visits the Fair. I fuel up, and Brian unleashes the Stonecutter, the Ock I would have played first, had it been me. Ron grabs another jot of wood, I refill my larder (much relieved that Ron didn’t), and Ron day labors to grab a stone. Note that if Ron had foregone the 2Wood in favor of Day Laborer, he could have had the P-C Kiln via MIMI as his final play of the Round. The storm gathers…

Round Four/Fences
Geoff – 1R(2)
Brian – CP(3fl)
Ron – HF(2f)
Geoff – S&B (2Gf)
Brian – MIMI/Peat-Charcoal Kiln
Ron – CP(3fl) –2f
Brian – SP + River Clay
Ron – Occ/Wet Nurse
Ron – BR(1) +x +(FG –1f)

I take the vital reed, Brian fuels up, and Ron snacks. I complete my Stage One objective of sowing two grain fields. Meanwhile, Brian snags a “free” Kiln, Ron ponies up to fuel up, and Brian retakes the button, adding a clay bonus to future fishing expeditions. Note that had Brian snagged the Kiln with his first worker, he most likely could have Cut Peat on his next move, yielding an extra fuel, unless I blocked him (unlikely) or if Ron went for Cut Peat first ahead of the Hiring Fair (also unlikely). Ron unlimbers his big gun, the pernicious Wet Nurse, and promptly puts her on task as he builds his first extension and pays for immediate growth. Brian and I regard this with trepidation, to say the least. Harvest is by the book.

Round Five/Family Growth
Brian – 3W(6)
Ron – MIMI/Fp2
Geoff – HF(2f)
Brian – SB(PF)
Ron – Sheep(3)burn3
Geoff – BR(1) + x
Brian – SP + Stone Cart (5S>
Ron – CP(3fl) –2f
Geoff – FG + Potato Dibber
Ron – 1C(3)

Brian knows he needs to get cracking on a new room, not that he’d turn his nose up at a 6Wood anyway. Ron buys a fireplace, I scarf up lunch, and Brian converts another field. Ron lays in lamb steaks, I build a room (sans stable, as I have other uses for the spare timber), and Brian steps on the button to swap off a 2Wood for a downstream 5Stone, a reasonable exchange. Ron pays the vig to fuel up, I add a worker and boost future veggie production (which will turn out to be unnecessary), and Ron spikes the clay because…well, just because. I suspect Constant Reader pretty much knows why.

Round Six/Renovation + MIMI
Brian – 1R(2)
Ron – 2W(6)
Geoff – 1C(3)
Brian – FT(2W)
Ron – SB(PF)
Geoff – PF + 2PF
Brian – MIMI/Clay Oven (5f)
Ron – Occ(-1f)/Clay Deliveryman (8C>
Geoff – 1G +1G/1V (1G>b.r.)
Ron – Occ(-2f)/Plowman

Brian claims essential reed, Ron hauls in prime lumber, and I grab clay, prepping my food engine. Brian and Ron specialize, and I put my plow to reasonably timely use. Brian fires up the Clay Oven, Ron ocks himself a ton of clay, the Crier sings for all of us again, and Ron unwittingly shoots himself in the foot with a tardy Ock that ends up generating one very expensive field. Ouch! The action count stands at Ron – 20 and Brian/Geoff – 17, but that Ock is going to catch up to the Ronbo, mark my words…

Round Seven/Stone
Brian – BR(1) + 1s
Ron – 3W(6)
Geoff – CW/Fp3
Brian – CP(3+1fl)
Ron – Fish (4f)
Geoff – S&B (1Gf/2Vf3 + 6f)
Brian – FG + Baker’s Kitchen (10f)
Ron – SP + Barge (4fl/3f>
Geoff – Occ(-1f)/Baker
Geoff – CP(3fl) –2f
Geoff – MIMI/Fp3>CH4)

Brian gets his room and a stable built, Ron does what Ron does best, and I nab a costly, but oh-so-convenient fireplace. Brian fuels up, Ron restocks supplies, and I sow two swollen veggie fields and a grain field, baking a boatload of cookies as well. Brian adds a new hire and fires up a fully functional Kitchen; sadly, he never uses it again. Ron reclaims the button, putting out a reasonably useful Minor, and I have the run of the board. I activate the Baker, pay the vig to fuel up, and with little better to do, MIMI a cookery upgrade. At harvest, I bake another trio of grain, just because I can. Food is now the very least of my worries.

Round Eight/Boar
Ron – 1R(2)
Geoff – 1S(2)
Brian – Occ(+2f)/Wood Carver
Ron – Sheep(3)burn3
Geoff – BM/Nosebag
Brian – 2W(4)
Ron – FT(2W) –2f
Geoff – CP(3fl)
Brian – 1H –2f
Ron – BR(1) + x +(FG –1f)
Geoff – 1C(3)
Brian – Fish(1f +2C)
Geoff – 1G +1G/1V/1H (1G>b.r.)

Ron takes the reed, no surprise there, and I co-opt the stone. Brian gets out the Wood Carver, enjoying a food boost and an eventual 5Wood discount, Ron pillages woolies, and I play what turns out to be a minimally useful Nosebag. Brian hauls wood, Ron coughs hard for a few sticks, and I fuel up again. Brian buys a palomino, Ron extends his hut, putting the Wet Nurse to work once more, and I claim clay for pending renovation. Brian fishes for clay, and I put the Crier to task for the last time, breaking “even” on the Nosebag. Wahoo!

Round Nine/Vegetables
Ron – Boar(2)burn2
Geoff – 3W(6)
Brian – FT(2W)
Ron – CP(3fl)
Geoff – 1C(3)
Brian – SP + Flatboat (3fl/2H>
Ron – CW/Clay Oven (5f) –2f
Geoff – Occ(-1f)/Wood Collector (5W>
Brian – Occ(+1f)/Stable Master
Ron – 1V
Brian – CP(3fl) –2f
Ron – DL(2f +1S)
Brian – 2W(2)
Ron – MIMI/Furnace (2fl)

Ron cooks piggies for minimal return, I gratefully swoop down upon the 6Wood, and Brian specializes a 2Wood. Ron fuels up, I swipe another pile of clay, and Brian retakes the button to play a somewhat marginalized Flatboat. Ron greases greedy palms for the Clay Oven, a questionable acquisition in spite of the momentary functionality (he never bakes again). I put the Wood Collector in play, but more so to pad my Ock count than anything else. Brian ocks as well, to limited effect, Ron snags rutabaga, and Brian coughs hard for fuel. Ron earns another payoff from the Stone Wagon, Brian nips a bit of wood, and Ron buys the Furnace. I bake two more grain for dinner; Ron sloughs one off as well.

Round Ten/Stone
Brian – 1R(2)
Ron – 1S(2)
Geoff – Occ(-1f)/Thatcher
Brian – BR(1) + x
Ron – CW/Pottery
Geoff – SP + Quarry
Brian – FG + Fish Trap
Ron – SB(PF)
Geoff – BM/Plowhorse Market –2f
Ron – PF
Geoff – SB(PF) –2f
Ron – S&B (2Gf/1Vf)
Geoff – DL(2f +3S)
Ron – Occ(-2f)/Fence Overseer

Brian’s round is pretty straightforward: he commandeers precious reed, builds a room and adds a worker and a run-of-the-mill Minor that nets him a 3food for a wood. Meanwhile, Ron nabs stone, then the Pottery, converts a third field and sows his wild oats and turnips, and polishing things off with a reliable fencing Ock. Me? I drop down a fourth Ock to facilitate eventual renovation, swipe the button to set up a prime stone source, burn excess food and fuel for a toothless Minor, cough hard for another field, and then load up on stone. Brian is suddenly under the gun; the action count is now Ron – 39, Geoff – 35, and Brian – 32.

Round Eleven/Cattle
Geoff – 3W(6)
Brian – MIMI/Well (3f>
Ron – Sheep(3)burn3
Geoff – Ren>C + Village Church (2f)
Brian – Occ(+2f)/Greengrocer
Ron – 1H
Geoff – CW/Forester’s Lodge –2f
Brian – Fish (2+1f +2C)
Ron – BR(0) +1s +(Fences(4) –1f)
Geoff – SB(PF) –2f
Brian – Occ(+1f)/Merchant
Ron – Boar(2)
Geoff – S&B (3Gf/1Vf3)
Ron – SP + Clay Pit

I restock wood supplies, Brian claims the Well (question for Constant Reader: should he have waited?), and Ron gorges on mutton. I promptly upgrade my hut and assume title to the Church, Brian plays what will turn out to be a mediocre Ock, and Ron claims his first horse. I pay the vig for the Lodge, Brian fishes for effect, and Ron puts the Overseer to work. I convert a pricey field, Brian ocks again, Ron herds boar, and I farm with a vengeance, now the proud steward of more grain and veggies than I know what to do with. Ron claims the button, activating a Minor clay source. Ron and I burn wood for heating, and Ron sloughs off a rutabaga to feed. Animals breed, and I forget to burn off a wood for a bonus point from the Church. “Oops!” giggles the endgame demon…

Round Twelve/Plow & Sow
Ron – 1R(2)
Geoff – P&S (PF +2Gf/2Vf3)
Brian – 2W(6)
Ron – FT(2W)
Geoff – FT(2+2W) –2f
Brian – PF
Ron – 1S(3)
Geoff – Fences(11)
Brian – MIMI/Clay Stall + Horse Slaughterhouse –1f
Ron – BR(0) + 1s +(Fences(3) –1f)
Geoff – 1H
Ron – Cattle(2)
Geoff – DL(2f +3S)

Ron grabs essential reed and I immediately plant another cornucopia. Brian hauls wood, Ron and I have a logging contest (I win), and Brian plows away a critical negative. Ron grabs the stone pile, I fence a 3-pasture 2x2 array, and Brian works a nice payoff from the Merchant. Ron takes another shot with the Overseer, I corral a horse, Ron erases another negative, and I plunder my proprietary stone hoard. I will renovate come heck or high water…

Round Thirteen/Family Growth w/o
Ron – FG w/o
Geoff – 1S(3)
Brian – 3W(6)
Ron – P&S (PF +1Gf/1Vf)
Geoff – 1C(4)
Brian – 1R(1) +1f
Ron – DL(2f +1S/3C)
Geoff – CW/Stone Oven (8f)
Brian – Ren>C + Heating Stove
Ron – SP + Chimney Hood (5f-1C)
Geoff – 1H
Brian – Fish(2+1f +2C)
Geoff – Boar(2)

All of us are by now well aware of the value of “FG w/o,” regardless of when it turns up; Ron takes it without hesitation, completing his roster. Now, as much as I’d like to block Ron from “Plow & Sow,” I can’t because I have no empty farmyard spaces to plow and all eight of my fields are sown. When’s the last time my fellow Agriconoids™ had that problem? I swipe the stone, Brian (who has no real reason to similarly block Ron) claims the 6Wood, and Ron does his farming thing unimpeded. I restock clay to provide payment for any of several remaining Majors, Brian snags critical reed, and Ron does major thrifting at Day Laborer. I pony up to specialize the Stone Oven, firing it up on both cylinders. Food? What, me worry? Brian renovates and grabs a relevant Major, Ron steps on the button for a Minor food jolt, and I happily take another horse. Brian fishes, and I erase another animal negative. Ron and I burn wood for heating, with Ron sloughing off a clay and a grain to feed. Again, I have no spare fuel for the tithing bonus point. Nature takes its course, and we move into the final paroxysms of farming.

Round Fourteen/Renovation + Fences
Ron – 2W(4)
Geoff – Ren>S + Fences(1)
Brian – Fences(14+1 –2C)
Ron – CW/Joinery
Geoff – Cattle(2)
Brian – SB(PF)
Ron – (b1b) BR(0) + 1s +(Fences(3) –1f)
Geoff – (b2b) 1H
Brian – 1G +1V
Ron – Sheep(3)
Geoff – CW/CH4>Cookhouse –2f
Brian – S&B (2Gf/1Vf)
Ron – P&S (PF +2Vf)
Geoff – FG w/o
Brian – Fish (1+1f +2C)
Ron – Ren>C + Museum of the Moors

Ron hauls a last load of lumber, and I take no chances; I upgrade to stone and drop down my last fence. Brian follows suit by fencing a full array of pastures, using the Wood Carver and several clay (cf. the Ceramic Stall) to do so. Ron wisely claims another Major via Clandestine Work, I erase the cattle negative, and Brian clears another field. Ron fries a piggy to pay for a final Overseer gambit, and I torch a pair of porkers myself to make room for another horse. Brian breaks even on his Greengrocer, Ron herds terrified woolies, and I cough deep to upgrade my cookery for a point. Brian sows with abandon, although I’m dismayed that he doesn’t block Ron from the better spot to do that. I take the amazingly still available worker; hey, who am I to argue? Brian gathers a final shot of food and clay, and Ron renovates with a sigh of relief, snagging the Museum (the latest I’ve ever seen it taken). Brian is forced to burn off two horses to feed, I part with a wood for heating, and Ron sacrifices several animals, a clay and a 2Wood to feed and heat. I miss out one last time on the Church bonus point, wondering if any of those misfires will cost me the game.

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 – 55 (4 Occ, 5/4)(24/7)(3)(55(18)/7/9)(1.000)(54)
Ron – 53 (4 Occ, 4/6*)(27/10)(6)(59(14)/7/13)(0.898)(70)
Brian – 42 (7 Occ, 6/6*)(30/4)(5)(49(10)/7/24)(0.857)(54) *Clay Oven purchased twice

Player Fields Pastures Grain Veg Sheep Boar Cattle Unused Stables House Peeps Pts Bonus
Geoff 8(4) 4(4) 12(4) 11(4) 0(-1) 1(1) 2(2+6) 0(0) 0(0) 3S(6) 4(12) (13) (0)
Ron 6(4) 3(3) 7(3) 5(4) 3(1) 3(2) 3(2+1) 2(-2) 3(3) 4C(4) 5(15) (13) (0)
Brian 3(2) 4(4) 6(3) 2(2) 0(-1) 0(-1) 0(-1+3) 2(-2) 1(1) 4C(4) 4(12) (15) (1)


Bits & Pieces
Constant Reader will notice that Ron could have had an extra point by burning off a veggie in final harvest, thus sparing a pointy-headed wooly. This, I believe, is a function of Ron’s strong tendency to focus on animals as a food source. Ron also ignored horses until quite late in the game; this may or may not have been a mistake given his storage situation. Still, his second place finish could well be attributed to equine weakness.
My opinion is that Brian should have played the Stonecutter first, thus giving him an immediate crack at the Kiln and increased fueling ability. As well, he should have snagged a nag earlier than Round Eight. Still, he played reasonably well, given the cards he decided to try to combo. If nothing else, his results cast some light on the utility (or lack thereof) of too many Ocks.
I made errors myself, of course. The Nosebag was a greed move; I should have simply taken a horse. The Potato Dibber turned out to be extraneous, since I never really needed to cook veggies; my surpluses were little more than just that. Likewise, the Plowhorse Market did me no good, since I never plowed. Even the Forester’s Lodge was a bit of a miscue, as it just opened up the Museum to an opponent’s depredations.

As always, hope you enjoyed the read and maybe gleaned something that’ll help you improve your game, and as always, bric-a-brac welcomed. Next report: yes, but that’ll depend on my workload. Happy gaming to all!

edit: just tidying up...
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Marcel Van Assen
Netherlands
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Ha Geoff,

Thanks for your report, an exciting game indeed.

I agree with you - playing the Stonecutter as his first Occ was probably his best choice. In my review of all Occs for FotM (to be posted within two weeks) the Stonecutter is a 5 star card. Last week I won a game mainly because of the Stonecutter. I played it in first round and immediatedly purchased the Kiln for free. Buying mayors using the Stonecutter and renovating to a stone house can save you more than five stone and gives lots of points and food (from the mayors).

Happy gaming to all FotM fans
Marcel
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Geoff Burkman
United States
Kettering
Ohio
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Hi, Marcel, and you're welcome. Yeah, I've seen the Stonecutter work its way up to as much as an 8Stone (maybe more) in FotM games. The Ugoi are seriously considering banning it from FotM games; it's just that strong.

What I liked most about this session was that I was able to overcome a significant action deficit to nail down the win, and it was obviously touch and go from the start. There were a few early Rounds in which I could have been seriously hurt, had either Ron or Brian had the leeway to do so (cf. Round Four), but I was fairly certain they wouldn't, and my risk-taking paid off.

I'm very much looking forward to your Ocks review...
 
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