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Subject: MisterG vs. Ronbo: 2-Player Old School Sodbusting - Game Two rss

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Geoff Burkman
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Kettering
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Here we go again. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, deal, deal, drop, drop, and its back into the farmyard for the rematch…

Round One/Sow & Bake
Geoff – Occ/Clay Worker
Ron – 3W(3)
Geoff – 1C(1+1)
Ron – SP + Fishing Rod (-1W)

I open with another “standard” Ock, the esteemed Clay Worker. Ron takes the obvious wood, I set the Worker on clay, and Ron swipes the button to get out a favored Imp, which he uses all of twice. Eh, a wood for an eventual 3food beats nothing, but I’m thinking he should have utilized it a bit earlier (like next Round)...

Round Two/Fences
Ron – Occ/Clay Mixer
Geoff – 1R(2)
Ron – 1C(1+2)
Geoff – SP + Horse

Ron ocks the Clay Mixer (which I led off with last game, as Constant Reader may recall), and as tempted as I am to take clay again, I claim the reed. Ron, of course, gets immediate use from the Mixer, and I retake the button, playing a low-grade Imp since it’s about all I have available that’s worthwhile at the time.

Round Three/MIMI
Geoff – MIMI/Fp2
Ron – 3W(6)
Geoff – Fish(3f)
Ron – Occ(-1f)/Field Watchman

I buy my fireplace, Ron hauls timber (mistake?), and I clear the fishies faster than you can say, “broken Fishing Rod.” Nonplussed, Ron forks over the spare food to ock the powerful Field Watchman. “Uh-oh,” is about all I can think at the time…

Round Four/Sheep
Geoff – 1R(2)
Ron – DL(2f)
Geoff – 1C(2+1)
Ron – MIMI/Fp3

Seeing that I cannot in any way, shape, or form block Ron from feeding, I settle for more reed. Ron oddjobs, I restock clay, and Ron grabs his fireplace, well aware that I’ll be favoring lumber over food next Round.

Round Five/Family Growth + MI
Geoff – 3W(6) +1C
Ron – Sheep(2)burn2
Geoff – Occ(-1f)/Farm Steward
Ron – SP + Sack Cart (3G> -2W)

And he’s right; I claim the 6Wood and the clay bonus. Ron torches woolies, as expected, and I ock my first secret weapon, the happy Farm Steward (my next—i.e. first—Family Growth is available without room, and I still get to play a Minor; sweet!) Ron regains the button, and effects the wood-for-grain exchange with a handy Minor. This will have an unfortunate side effect, however…

Round Six/Renovation + MIMI
Ron – 1R(2)
Geoff – Ren>C + Fp2>CH4
Ron – Fish(3+1f)
Geoff – SP + Greenhouse° (-2W)

Unsurprisingly, Ron takes the reed. I activate the Steward by renovating and conveniently upgrading my cookery at the same time. Now Ron fishes. I retake the button to set up a downstream veggie supply (and assure myself supplies). Nonetheless, I have a distinct feeling I’ve somehow made a mistake…

Round Seven/Stone
Geoff – Sheep(2)burn2
Ron – BR(1) + x
Geoff – 3W(6) + 1C
Ron – FG + x

I stew mutton, Ron eagerly builds a room, and I realize that I can’t afford to add a worker. Ouch. It’s very tempting to add a worker and take a Begging Card (I’ve gotten away with such before), but common sense shoves vainglory into the back seat, and I settle for stacked timber and bonus clay; Ron chortles and hires on the new guy, sadly unable to add another Minor to his array. Fine, but he’s still gained an action on me.

Round Eight/Boar
Geoff – FG + Gypsy’s Crock (-2C)
Ron – 1S(2)
Geoff – 1C(4+1)
Ron – 1R(2)
Ron – SP + x

I commit a serious faux pas by immediately adding a worker (also playing the Crock, which will turn out to be quite worthy). Fortunately, Ron takes stone, and I quickly purloin the clay I should have taken off the bat. Ron swipes more reed, and then very inefficiently retakes the button with nothing to add, just to set up the 6Wood.

Round Nine/Vegetables
Ron – 3W(6)
Geoff – Boar(2)burn2 +1f
Ron – Sheep(2)burn2
Geoff – Fish(3f)
Ron – BR(1) + x
Geoff – SP + Stable>

It’s a rare stack of cords that’ll escape Ron’s attention, and this isn’t one of them. I counter with first payback for the Crock as I stew the porkers. Ron torches woolies, I empty the pond, Ron confidently builds another room, and I take the button for the last time, passing along the cheap stable.

Round Ten/Stone °G (1V –1f)
Geoff – Occ(-1f)/Chamberlain
Ron – 1S(2)
Geoff – 1R(2)
Ron – FG + Tavern (-2W/2S)
Geoff – BR(1) + 3s
Ron – SP + x

After I pay for my waiting rutabaga, it’s time for secret weapon #2, the dastardly and rightfully feared Chamberlain. Panicked, Ron hauls rocks. I take reed, and Ron adds another dude with the wherewithal to open the Tavern, and after I build a clay room and the rest of my stables, Ron wavers…and then reclaims the button, sans Minor, again! Extraordinary…

Round Eleven/Cattle
Ron – 3W(6)
Geoff – Boar(2)burn2 +1f
Ron – Sheep(2)burn1
Geoff – P&S (PF + 1Vf)
Ron – MIMI/Joinery
Geoff – FG w/o
Ron – 1G + PF

Ron hogs the wood; I more than happily fry the bacon. Ron abuses woolies, I farm early, the Joinery gets the Ron imprint, and I take growth. Suddenly, Ron decides to put the Watchman to work, and I realize that the action advantage he has over me isn’t quite as bad as I thought it was. Ron loses the other wooly, the grain and a wood at harvest, unaware that I still have a card or two up my proverbial sleeve…

Round Twelve/Plow & Sow
Ron – 1G + PF
Geoff – Cattle(2)burn2 + 1f
Ron – 1S(3)
Geoff – 1C(4+1)
Ron – P&S (PF + 3Gf)
Geoff – Occ(-1f)/Pieceworker
Ron – MIMI/Well (2f>
Geoff – FG w/o

Ron opens the Twelfth with what I believe may have been a crucial error, setting the Watchman to task again instead of taking the clay, or for that matter, swiping the cattle that I promptly claim to provide for the upcoming harvest. He gets another chance, but opts for the stone, and I can’t afford to give him any more leeway; I haul the clay. His only hope of renovation now will be either a last Round clay heist or possession of the Conservator. Ron farms mightily, and I find myself bringing out the Pieceworker once again (funny how shuffling works, isn’t it?). Ron builds the Well, and I take on my last worker. I’m still down two actions, but somehow it’s not worrying me any more.

Round Thirteen/Family Growth w/o °G (1V-1f)
Ron – 3W(6)
Geoff – 1S(3+1-1f)
Ron – Fish(4+2f)
Geoff – 1G +1G –1f
Ron – Fences(8)
Geoff – PF
Ron – Boar(2)
Geoff – P&S (PF + 2Gf)
Geoff – BR(1) + x

I buy up my second Greenhouse veggie, and Ron grabs the 6Wood for fencing. I piecework the stone, assuring renovation, while Ron raids the fish pond for the second and last time. I piecework grain, Ron fences a 2x2 pasture, and I plow to cancel the negative. Ron herds pigs, and I counter with effective farming and a fourth room. Ron sloughs off a grain at harvest; I burn a veggie.

Round Fourteen/Renovation + Fences
Ron – 1V
Geoff – P&S (PF + 2Vf)
Ron – 1G + PF
Geoff – Occ(-1G)/Mason*
Ron – Sheep(3)burn2
Geoff – Cattle(2)
Ron – FG w/o
Geoff – 3W(3) + 1C
Geoff – Ren>S + Fences(6) + *BR(1)

Bereft of food, Ron’s trapped between the devil and the briny blue; he opts to eliminate the veggie negative. I quickly farm, maxing veggies, Ron works the Watchman a last, futile time, and I ock my final secret weapon (paying with a handy grain), a free room once I renovate to stone. Ron torches woolies save one, I herd doomed cattle, and Ron adds a last Family Member. I leisurely double my timber, renovate and fence a 2x1 pasture, and slide a fifth stone room into position. Ron burns a replaceable pig and two grain; I slough a superfluous grain and grill up a mess of steak with a last application of the Gypsy’s Crock. The only question is whether Ron’s card points will be enough to surmount my 10-point house…

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 – 37 (5 Occ, 4/1)(15/1)(7)(39/9/15)(0.949)(49)
Ron – 32 (2 Occ, 3/3)(27/0)(7)(39/4/6)(0.821)(41)

Player Fields Pastures Grain Veg Sheep Boar Cattle Unused Stables House Peeps Pts Bonus
Geoff 4(3) 1(1) 4(2) 4(4) 0(-1) 0(-1) 0(-1) 0(0) 0(0) 5S(10) 5(15) (3) (2)
Ron 4(3) 1(1) 8(4) 1(1) 1(1) 3(2) 0(-1) 3(-3) 0(0) 4W(0) 5(15) (9) (0)


Bits & Pieces
Ron’s close-but-no-cigar finish can be traced directly several glaring inefficiencies: 1) the premature play of the Field Watchman, which was then left idle for eight Rounds; 2) two button heists with nothing to show for the effort; and 3) poor utilization of the Clay Mixer, which nicely enabled his acquisition of a fireplace, but then got ignored for the rest of the game. I suspect the Sack Cart also figured into the equation, in that the simple visual reminder of plentiful downstream grain dissuaded Ron from putting the Watchman to timely use. On that count, only he could say for sure...
My own play was definitely structured around two key Ocks: the Farm Steward and the Chamberlain. The Steward enabled me to reduce wood consumption, freeing me to conduct another effective clay strategy, while the Chamberlain did exactly what it does best, providing the opportunity for extra actions of a critical nature at the point I needed them most.
I don’t mean to downplay the Clay Worker, however. It gave me the edge in picking up the early fireplace and provided the necessary clay for my first expansion. The Mason, however, was little more than insurance.
Constant Reader will note that wood domination is no guarantee

Thanks again for reading, and happy gaming to all. Next report: an "FotM" session in which common knowledge proves it isn't...
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Mike Young
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Sterling
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So why didn't you take FG in round six? Afraid Ron would swipe all the sheep?
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Mike T
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Interesting use of Farm Steward. Were I you, I would have built a wooden room in Round 5, grown in Round 6, and used Farm Steward for my 4th peep soon thereafter.
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Nice read. :)
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James R
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Hi Mr G, long time reader, first time commenter. Just wanted to mention that when I first started playing, reading your guys reports certainly helped me figure out a lot of Agricola tactics and they're obviously enjoyable reads to boot.

Like Mike, my first instinct was to build in round 5 instead of farm steward, and use that for a fourth growth in stage 3. However I wondered if Ron could block food to prevent you growing anyway?

Assuming you build instead of renovate as your second action and all else is the same in round 5. If Ron takes reed round 6 then you can fish and grow fairly confidently only needing 2 food in the next round for harvest (by my calculations)

If Ron fishes instead then you seem kind of stuck as getting food to cover growth will certainly be inefficient (at least!). But you could probably take reed and stop Ron growing here for a few rounds. Then starting player and gypsy's crock, followed sheep and grow in the 7th should work. Ron could spike the sheep in round 6 though so maybe my analysis breaks down here.

Anyway, just some thoughts.

Thanks for the, always enjoyable, write-ups.
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Mike T
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I think you have it exactly right James. Even if Ron spiked sheep (a super-inefficient move), Geoff could take DL with his last action in 6 and be able to grow in 7.
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Geoff Burkman
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smcmike wrote:
Interesting use of Farm Steward. Were I you, I would have built a wooden room in Round 5, grown in Round 6, and used Farm Steward for my 4th peep soon thereafter.


Good point, Mike, and I thought about it, but couldn't predict whether Ron would go all out to squeeze my food supplies. I'm pretty sure that you and James are right, though. Good eye, guys!
 
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Geoff Burkman
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Buggy wrote:
So why didn't you take FG in round six? Afraid Ron would swipe all the sheep?


And they say there aren't any chickens in Agricola....whistle
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