Jeff Hannes
United States
New Windsor
New York
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So having played through a complete and successful solo series of base Agricola, I really wanted to give the FotM solo game a try. Going in I had no idea how I'd handle a series (since there's no real guidance on that) but figured I'd worry about that later, and just concentrate on meeting the level 2 goal of 70 points.

My start card was #3 (O = Open, F = Forest, M = Moor, H = Hut)


And these were my minors (F and E FotM decks shuffled together, draw 10 drop 3):

Tinker catches my eye, and I figure the craft buildings will be worth getting anyway. But there's alot of work to be done before I get to that point (if I ever do). Other than MIMI first, I use a random round order (as evidenced by sheep showing up at the end of stage 1), and completely random specials order. For my notation, I track all resource expenditures and gains, as well as including the total at the end of each round and harvest (for my own auditing). I apologize in advance for the inconsistency (and complete drop-off) of the specials notation. If I do another one of these, I'll come up with something better. Anyhooo... And so we're off...

ROUND 1 (MIMI, Horse Coper)
* Day Laborer (+1 Stone, +1 Food)
* Horse Coper (-1 Food, +1 Horse)
* Plow Field
(1 Stone, 1 Horse, Fields: E)

Having never played solo FotM before, I'm not really sure which direction to go, but immediately I can see that always finding a way to use the special actions is going to be critical. So I Day Laborer to get the food I need to buy a horse (and therefore make use of the action) and also stone for the Peat-charcoal Kiln. I'm also quite intrigued by Fallow Fields so decide to start getting fields in play ASAP. (A pretty good strategy anyway in solo play.)

ROUND 2 (Sow & Bake, 4/5 SB CP)
* MIMI: Peat Charcoal-Kiln (-1 Stone)
* Cut Peat (+5 Fuel)
* Plow Field
(5 Fuel, 1 Horse, Fields: EE)

I consider using Slash & Burn to quickly get three fields out, but having no idea when Cut Peat will come up again, that seems the more pressing concern. I'm expecting to make good use of Black Market and Clandestine Work throughout the game, so I'll need the extra fuel. Plus, if I don't fuel up now, I might not be able to do so before harvest. Already, I can see that FotM Solo is quite a bit more challenging than the base game solo. The uncertainty of the order of the special actions doesn't let you plan as far in advance as you can in the base game, which I think is a good thing. Anyhoo, this round is straightforward. I grab the Kiln, fuel up, and plow a second field. As I watch another special action go away, I realize food is going to be at a serious premium this game...and without the 2 food from Day Laborer, even Stage 1 feeding could be tricky. Fortunately, I've got a plan...

ROUND 3 (Fences, 4 HF BM CW)
* Plow Field
* Black Market: Fallow Fields (-1 Fuel)
* Take Grain (+1 Grain)
(4 Fuel, 1 Grain, 1 Horse, Fields: 2F, 2F, 2F)

I plow my third field, and fortuitously have the Black Market available to fill those fields with 6 potential food. I also grab a grain for sowing next round.

ROUND 4 (Sheep, 4 Horse Coper, FT)
* Fell Trees (+2 Wood)
* Fishing (+4 Food)
* Sow & Bake (-1 Grain, +2 Food, +1 Grain Field)
(4 Fuel, 6 Food, 2 Wood, 1 Horse, Field: 3G, 2F, 2F)

The 2-food Hiring Fair would have been ideal here, since then I could have afforded to take a second grain but alas... I need to feed. So I Fell Trees for some wood and clear the fish pond for four of the six food I'll need. For my final two food, I sow my lone grain and reap some of the benefits of the Fallow Fields.

STAGE 1 HARVEST (+1 Grain, -6 Food, -2 Fuel)
(2 Fuel, 2 Wood, 1 Grain, 1 Horse, Fields: 2G, 2F, 2F)

Harvest is by the book, as my surplus fuel makes heating easy. I'm back down to 0 food and I can already tell keeping up is going to be a struggle. Growing quickly does NOT seem wise in this environment, especially since adding rooms to my home will increase my heating costs.

ROUND 5 (Renovation, 5 BM CW)
* Black Market: Stone Wagon (-1 Fuel, -2 Wood)
* Take Reed (+5 Reed)
* Take Clay (+5 Clay)
(1 Fuel, 5 Clay, 5 Reed, 1 Grain, 1 Horse, Fields: 2G, 2F, 2F)

I don't want to let a special go to waste, and Stone Wagon seems like it could be useful, so I cough up a fuel to get it into play. For the next harvest I'm already thinking sheep for food, so I grab Clay to allow a fireplace, and Reed to set up for building and renovating. At the time I'm thinking my standard solo double room-build plus an extra reed for my first renovation, but I quickly realize that's not exactly the wisest move. Plus, as my board stands right now, I only have one free spot to build a room until I can clear another swamp. As it turns out, that's probably a good thing...

ROUND 6 (Family Growth, 5 HF FT)
* Fell Trees (+2 Wood)
* Take Wood (+12 Wood)
* Build Rooms: +1 Room, +2 Stables (-9 Wood, -2 Reed)
(1 Fuel, 5 Wood, 5 Clay, 3 Reed, 1 Grain, 1 Horse, Fields: 2G, 2F, 2F)

Food is at a premium, but it's hard to pass up 2 wood, so I choose Fell Trees over Hiring Fair. I then grab a stack of wood and kick out a room and a pair of stables so I can start breeding horses.

ROUND 7 (Stone, 3 HC SB CP)
* Renovate: Fireplace (-3 Clay, -1 Reed, -2 Clay)
* Sheep: (+4 Sheep, -4 Sheep, +8 Food)
* Horse Coper (+1 Horse)
-2 Food to keep Card
(1 Fuel, 6 Food, 5 Wood, 2 Reed, 1 Grain, 2 Horse, Fields: 2G, 2F, 2F)

Looking over my stores and calculating the harvest, not to mention thoughts of building another room, I realize that now might be a good time to renovate. The -1 fuel cost will save me a wood in the harvest, plus I really can't see supporting more than three family members any time soon. The renovation also lets me pick up the fireplace, which then allows me to grab and slaughter a stack of sheep. Finally, I grab a horse so I can breed this harvest, and cough up two food to keep the card. I'm letting all these special actions discard, and being able to at least grab an extra horse or two toward the end of the game seems to make this a particularly good card to keep.

At this point I realize I've probably just broken the rules; I guess the normal rules apply and I can't take my special action last, which means I'd have to do it before grabbing sheep, which means I wouldn't have the two food available to keep the special in play. I think. Oh well... It's my first game, it seems a minor indiscretion, and I want to get a feel for what this saving special actions mechanic is all about. Since this is a learning game I let it slide, and promise myself I'll do it right next time. Of course, it's probably all a moot point anyway, since I'd have been better off keeping the next special action instead, and that I COULD have done legally.

STAGE 2 HARVEST (-1 Fuel, -1 Wood, -6 Food, +1 Grain, +1 Horse)
(4 Wood, 2 Reed, 2 Grain, 3 Horse, Fields: 1G, 2F, 2F)

With only 1 fuel I'm forced to give up a wood, but on the plus side I get a baby horse. Now to just find some room for the next one in the next harvest...

ROUND 8 (Vegetable, 3-player FT HF BM CW)
* Hiring Fair (+2 Food)
* Family Growth: Barge (- 3 Wood)
* Day Laborer (+1 Food, +1 Stone, +1 Clay)
(3 Food, 1 Wood, 1 Clay, 2 Reed, 1 Stone, 2 Grain, 3 Horse, Fields: 1G, 2F, 2F)

I still have no food engine in place, so I take the Hiring Fair to help out, especially since I'm growing in a non-Harvest round. With Family Growth I get the Barge out... perhaps a bit later than I'd wanted, but it's 3 wood for 3 food and 3 fuel, still a decent trade-off since I don't really have any other minors worth playing. At this point I have visions of getting all sorts of major improvements in play (especially one of the craft ones) so I take Day Laborer to get the goods I need to build the Museum of the Moors.

ROUND 9 (Boars, 2 FT SB CP) +1 Fuel
* Cut Peat (+5 Fuel)
* Stable & Bake: (-1 Wood, -1 Grain, +2 Food)
* MIMI: Museum of the Moors (-1 Stone, -1 Clay, -1 Reed)
* Fishing (+5 Food)
(6 Fuel, 10 Food, 1 Reed, 1 Grain, 3 Horses, Fields: 1G, 2F, 2F)

I grab a stack of fuel for the harvest, and consider what to do about my upcoming horse. I could get an improvement to cook one, so I have room for a baby, but that seems a waste. So instead I use the oft-forgotten family space, stable + bake, to add some more horse lodgings and turn a grain into a couple food with the Fireplace. Perhaps not the best conversion, but I don't see an oven in my future any time soon, and I need food. Finally, I fish again to fulfill my requirements.

STAGE 3 HARVEST (-2 Fuel, -9 Food, +1 Grain, +1 Horse)
(4 Fuel, 1 Food, 1 Reed, 2 Grain, 4 Horses, Fields: E, 2F, 2F)

Another harvest, another horse. I'm glad I only have a three-room house (at this point I'm pretty much committed to not building another room), and that flock of horses seriously needs a pasture to graze in.

ROUND 10 (Stone, 2 HC HF BM CW) +1 Food
* Take Vegetable (+1 Vegetable)
* Sow & Bake (-2 Grain, -1 Vegetable, +4 Food)
* Day Laborer (+2 Stone, +1 Food)
(4 Fuel, 7 Food, 1 Reed, 2 Stone, 4 Horses, Fields: 3G, 3G, 2V)

I've still got four food waiting for me on my Fallow fields, so I take a Vegetable and then sow it along with both my grain. Still single-mindedly committed to getting a craft building in play, I Day Laborer for a couple stone and a food. I choose not to use a special action this turn... why I'm really not sure. I guess because I wanted to maybe keep the card? This was probably a big mistake though. I could have grabbed the Cooking Hearth this turn, which would have given me a different special action next turn and... well, there's no telling how it all might have turned out. Note to self... ALWAYS use your special actions.

ROUND 11 (Cattle, HC HF BM CW) +1 Fuel
* Take Wood (+10 Wood)
* Fences (2x2 Pasture, -8 Wood)
* Clandestine Work: Cooking Hearth (-1 Food, -1 Fuel)
* Take Boar (+3 Boar, -2 Boar, +6 Food)
(4 Fuel, 12 Food, 2 Wood, 1 Reed, 2 Stone, 1 Boar, 4 Horses, Fields: 3G, 3G, 2V)

It's time to give those horses some room to run free, so I take the wood and pop out a nice big pasture. I'll split it into four pastures towards the end of the game, when I'm ready to grab more animals, but for now, the 64-capacity pasture should alleviate any concerns of foals running away. I give up a food and a fuel to upgrade to the Cooking Hearth (something I should have done the previous turn) and make some bacon to put myself in line for the harvest/

STAGE 4 HARVEST (-2 Fuel, -9 Food, +2 Grain, +1 Vegetable, +1 Horse)
(2 Fuel, 3 Food, 2 Wood, 1 Reed, 2 Stone, 2 Grain, 1 Vegetable, 1 Boar, 5 Horses, Fields: 2G, 2G, 1V)

ROUND 12 (FG w/o) + 1 Food
* Cut Peat (+5 Fuel)
* Family Growth w/o
* Take Stone (+6 Stone)
* MIMI: Well (-2 Stone, -1 Wood)
(7 Fuel, 4 Food, 1 Wood, 1 Reed, 6 Stone, 2 Grain, 1 Vegetable, 1 Boar, 5 Horses, Fields: 2G, 2G, 1V)

I clean up my last moor tile, take the requisite family growth without room, a big stack of stone and build the Well. Not so efficient to build the Well with just two rounds left, but the points are totally worth it, not to mention the points beneath it in the form of the Village Church.

ROUND 13 (Plow & Sow) + 1 Food, +1 Fuel
* Family Growth w/o
* Plow & Sow (+1 Field, -1 Vegetable)
* Day Laborer (+1 Wood, +1 Stone, +1 Food)
* Clandestine Work: Village Church (-1 Food, -1 Fuel, -4 Stone, -2 Wood, +2 Food)
-2 Food to keep card
* Sheep (+5 Sheep, -4 Sheep, +8 Food)
Cook 1 boar for +3 food.
(7 Fuel, 16 Food, 1 Reed, 3 Stone, 2 Grain, 1 Sheep, 5 Horses, Fields: 2G, 2G, 1V, 2V)

I grow again figuring it'll be worth it, and I'll worry about food problems later. At this point I calculate my round 14 actions... I'll need wood to finish off my pastures, a renovate to upgrade to stone (and enable said fencing) and three actions to fill out animals. Only... I need to eat. Ok, I'll take the sheep now and figure out what to do with that final action next round when I get to it. Back to the current round... I plow and sow, a play good for 3 points, Day Laborer for the goods I need for the Village Church, and build said church. I figure I'll find a use for the special next turn, so after some debate, I cough up the two food to keep it in play. Finally, I make some lamb chops to feed my very full house. Sadly, there's no room for a piggy and a sheep to co-habitat in my overstuffed three-room house, so I add some bacon bits to the chops for flavoring and adopt the spare sheep as a replacement pet for poor Porky.

STAGE 5 HARVEST (-2 Fuel, -13 Food, +2 Grain, +2 Vegetable, +1 Horse, -1 Fuel, +1 Bonus Point, Fields: 1G, 1G, E, 1V)
(4 Fuel, 3 Food, 1 Reed, 3 Stone, 4 Grain, 2 Vegetable, 1 Sheep, 6 Horses, Fields: 1G, 1G, E, 1V)

ROUND 14 (Renovate w/Fences) +2 Food
* Take Wood (+6 Wood)
* Renovate w/Fences: Turn 2x2 into 4 1x1 (-3 Stone, -1 Reed, -4 Wood)
* Take Cattle (+4 Cattle)
* Take Boar (+3 Boar)
Cook 2 Cattle, 1 Boar (-1 Boar, -2 Cattle, +11 Food)
* Horse Coper (-1 Food, +1 Horse)
* Plow & Sow (+1 Field, -1 Grain, -1 Vegetable, Fields; 1G, 1G, 3G, 1V, 2V)
(4 Fuel, 15 Food, 2 Wood, 3 Grain, 1 Vegetable, 1 Sheep, 2 Boar, 2 Cattle, 7 Horses, Fields: 1G, 1G, 3G, 1V, 2V)

Final round, I take wood and renovate and fence as planned, and then grab the waiting herds of cattle and boar. With no building resources, I use the special to add yet another Horse, and finally Plow & Sow to great effect (+1 VP for the field, +1 VP for the grain bump, +1 VP for the veggie bump, +1 VP for using my last open space).

STAGE 6 HARVEST (-1 Wood, -15 Food, +3 Grain, +2 Vegetable, +1 Cattle, +1 Horse, -1 Fuel, +1 VP)
(3 Fuel, 6 Grain, 3 Vegetable, 1 Sheep, 2 Boar, 3 Cattle, 8 Horses, Fields: E, E, 2G, E, 1V)

Fields (x5): 4
Pastures (x4): 4
Grain (x8): 4
Vegetable (x4): 4
Sheep (x1): 1
Boar (x2): 1
Cattle (x3): 2
Horses (x8): 8
Fenced Stables (x3): 3
Unused (0): 0
Workers (5): 15
Stone House (3): 6
Cards (Peat-Charcoal Kiln [1], Stone Wagon [1], Cooking Hearth [1], Well [4], Village Church [4], Museum of the Moors [3]) 14
Bonus Points (Village Church [2], Peat-charcoal Kiln [1]): 3


And.... I fell one short of the goal. And with three food to spare, because really 2 pigs does me no good. If I could just have scrounged up ONE food from somewhere else, I could have kept a fourth cattle and hit the magical mark of 70. Ah well... for my first solo FotM I can't really complain, especially since early on I had no idea what I was going or what direction I was heading. I realize now I put way too much emphasis on trying to get a craft building into play (which never actually happened) and should have picked up an oven at some point. Weird game all around... on the final round there were stacks of 9 clay and 9 reed which I never made use of. Seriously... I couldn't have bought Pottery or Basketmaker's Workshop at SOME point? Answer: I almost certainly could have, and if I went back and re-evaluated some late-game decisions, I'm sure I could have found time to take the reed, some more stone, and get the Workshop into play for a cool 5 points.

So for now I'll take the satisfaction of knowing that I was close, and if I'd just seen the bigger picture I easily could have made my goal, and I will plan to try, try again...

Overall I enjoy the FotM solo game quite a bit. The added dimensions of the game -- heating, board layout, special actions -- seems like they'll cause quite a bit more variance from game to game, unlike the regular solo play, where the variance is driven entirely by the cards you draw. Also, having played a basic solo series to its 8-game conclusion, by the end I was able to buy almost every major in sight. With FotM, that seems unlikely, which means even the later games in the series should be more interesting.

Oh, and how will I handle series progression? See my thoughts on that here...

Adapting the "solo series" idea for use with FOTM
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Geoff Burkman
United States
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Nice report, and yes, you broke the rules. There is a card that allows doing that (Taps), although you need two Improvements in play to activate it.
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Dan Hiebert
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thx for the report.. i've just started tackling single player level 2.. 69 pts is amazing for your first crack at it.. my first try at FOTM i scored zero haha... my old school expand and FG asap approach and two full-family infirmary trips sunk me, but i just had to finish and see the effect.. once i hit 70 points i'll try your ideas for a progression game..

i'm still trying to wrap my head around the strategy involved in the special action cards, like the benefit of passing on a really good card to guarantee it's the last card and playable for the last 4 rounds of the game.. like you said, never skip a special action card.. getting ahead in the fuel department is key for putting all those minors in play..
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