There’s only one way to find out how an add-on deck like “The Legen*dairy Forest Deck” will affect an otherwise straightforward economic engine game like Agricola, and that’s to actually play the thing. So, we did. Standard base game, deal ten drop three draft, and a well-shuffled F-deck. Let’s see what happens…
Round One/Sow & Bake
Brian – Occ/Thatcher
Geoff – 3W(3) + Camelot
Ron – 1BR(1S)
Brian – 1R(1)
Geoff – SP + House Goat
Ron – DL(2f)
Brian, in ocking the reed-saving Thatcher, opts for the traditional route instead of traipsing out into the forest, and it’s a decision that will take only moments for him to rue. I bravely snag the wood, and am rewarded with Camelot: a free room and extra animal storage. Sweet! That’s at least three actions I don’t have to expend to prep for growth! Ron stumbles with a piece of rock that he won’t use for six Rounds, Brian spikes the reed,* and I happily swipe the button to install the Minor food machine in my hut; with Camelot in play, I don’t even have the worry of where to keep animals. Ron glumly settles for a bite of food.
*A perfectly reasonable move given his play of the Thatcher.
Geoff – Occ/Fisherman
Ron – 2W(4) + Meeting a Witch*
*Brian – 3W(3) + Boar King> (PF)
Geoff – 1C(2)
Ron – 1C(2)
Brian – Fish(2f)
Pleased as punch with my first F-deck draw, I go ahead and get out the Fisherman, an Ock that will once again prove its general lack of worthiness as anything beyond a prerequisite for Minors. Ron girds his loins and hauls lumber, and in return for his daring, meets a Witch (said witch grants the player three opportunities to rearrange the top three cards of the deck, a very nice little power to have in ths whacked-out version of the game). He uses one of his scrye markers to prep for Brian’s possible wood haul. Brian takes the bait, ending up with a visit from the Boar King, and a plowed field. The deck gets reshuffled, which Ron immediately forgets, he and I clear clay (a probable mistake on Ron’s part), and Brian rudely spikes the pond, but that’s just the kind of guy he is.*
*Personally, I think both he and Ron are already on tilt, thanks to Camelot.
Geoff – Occ(-1f)/Charcoal Burner°
Ron – 1R(2)
Brian – 1BR(1S)
Geoff – SP + Sawhorse (-2W)
Ron – 3W(3) + All your wood…(-)
Brian – PF
I pop a second Ock, which will pay out as expected (5W/5f), but is as much intended to fulfill pre-reqs for the Minor I get out in Round Seven as anything else. Ron snags reed, Brian grabs an expensive rock for reasons that will shortly be made clear, and I nail down the button to play the always-handy Sawhorse. Ron steels his nerve again and hauls the lumber, then draws just about the worst card in the F-deck.* Before he can have a heart attack, the Ugoi rule that this card has no effect if the player doesn’t actually have any sown fields. Panting, Ron retrieves the 6Wood he’s thrown across the table. Brian restores the peace with a simple plowing action.
*I trust an attentive Constant Reader has noticed the horrendous error Ron has committed at this point.
Geoff – MIMI/Fp2°
Ron – Occ/Plowman (3PF> -3f>
Brian – SP + Axe
Geoff – Fish(2+2f)
Ron – 1C(2)
Brian – 2W(4) + Land of Milk & Honey
I turn the Burner on by acquiring a cookery, Ron follows with an Ock that—finally—will break him of his fixation with it, and Brian retakes the button, unlimbering the deadly Axe. I secure first (and only) use of the Fisherman, Ron doubles his clay reserves, and Brian takes the plunge, hauls the 4Wood, and activates the first action space card we see out of the F-deck. We will end up probably misplaying it, though to no great significance.* Harvest is mundane.
*The card offers a 10food for the sacrifice of the worker placed there, but its text and the rule sheet do not specify whether that worker is lost immediately or not until the return-home phase. In this game, we go with the former.
Brian – 3W(6) + Werewolf^
Geoff – Sheep(3)burn2
Ron – Occ(-1f)/Seasonal Worker
Brian – DL(2f)
Geoff – 1C(3)
Ron – BR(1) + x
^Geoff – Occ(-2f)/Field Watchman –1sh
Brian takes the Tiger 6Wood by the tail (sorry), and garners himself a severe case of lycanthropy. I immediately sequester a wooly, slaughtering its siblings, and Ron plays an Ock that he’ll overuse, sorry to say. Brian resupplies, thumbing his nose in Ron’s direction, and I happily grab some clay. Ron adds the room that could (and probably should) have been Brian’s, who is otherwise in the throes of transformation. His Werewolf makes short work of my wooly, and I use the resultant action to cough hard for my third Ock. I won’t do any better than break even on it (if that), but that’s okay, because now I’ve got the Ocks in play that I’ll need for a key Minor I’ll get plenty of use from.
Round Six/Family Growth + MI
Brian – SP + Turnwrest Plow (-3W)
Geoff – FG + Gypsy Crock (-1C)
Ron – 1R(3)
Brian – BR(1) + 2s
Geoff – 1G + PF
Ron – DL(2f +1G)
Brian steps on the button, playing a Plow he doesn’t use for six Rounds, and I quickly take the growth, swapping a clay for what turns out to be a stunning 1food. Ron confiscates the reed, Brian puts up a room and breeding stables, and I get the Watchman in gear. Ron puts his Worker to task, and Brian’s Werewolf remains dormant; its prey is non-existent.*
*That, and there’s no full moon.
Round Seven/Renovation + MIMI
Brian – Fish(3f)
Geoff – 2W(6) + Boar King> (PF)
Ron – FG + Fish Trap (-1W)
Brian – Sheep(2)
Geoff – SP + Wood Cart (-3W)
Ron – MIMI/Clay Oven° (5f)
*^Brian – 3W(6) –1sh + Feral Child~
~Brian – DL(2f)
Brian finds himself in a bind: if he adds a worker, then if Ron or I clear the fish pond, he’ll take a Begging Card. Of course, he can visit the Land of Milk & Honey after growing, and avoid the shortage, but then Ron would suss him on growth. Brian plays it safe and fishes. I grab the 6Wood and up pops the Boar King again. Fine by me. Ron adds a worker and a Minor he uses once. Brian corrals woolies for his bestial side. Relieved it’s still available, I retake the button to activate a boost in further wood acquisition, justifying my otherwise somewhat mediocre Ock production. Ron fires up the Clay Oven, and then Brian’s Werewolf rends another wooly, letting him pick up the hapless 6Wood along with an ill-timed Feral Child. With a scowl, he sends the brat off to feed itself and vanish back into the woods. Harvest is again unremarkable, and we move into the midgame with Ron trailing the pack by a few actions.*
*And once more, I trust Constant Reader has noticed Ron’s continued inattention to a particular card he owns.
Round Eight/Vegetables Ron – (PF-1f)
Geoff – 1R(2)
Ron – 1C(4)
Brian – Occ(-1f)/Market Woman
Geoff – BR(1) + (1s)
Ron – DL(2f +1G)
Brian – FG + Spit Roast (-1W)
Geoff – 3W(3+2) + Meeting a Unicorn, Pt.2 (FG w/o –3VP)
Ron – MIMI/CH4°
^Brian – 1C(3) –1sh
After Ron pays the Plowman, I grab reed for a room, Ron pounces on the clay, and Brian springs for the trusty Market Woman. I knock out a room (picking up my pre-paid stable), Ron reloads his oven, and Brian takes his first growth, adding a Minor from which he gains little. I roll up my sleeves, wait to see if Ron has anything to say,* carefully cart the wood, and am blessed, sort of, with an instantaneous new hire. I like going into the Forest. Ron buys the treasured hearth; he’ll use it all of once, at game’s end. Brian’s shapeshifter ravages his last wooly; he nabs clay in recompense.
*About—well, you know, don’t you, Constant Reader? Shhh! Don’t say anything!
Geoff – Sheep(2)burn2 +1f
*Ron – 2W(4) + Lady of the Sea, Pt.2 (SP)
Brian – 1V + 2G
Geoff – 1G + PF
Ron – Occ(-1f)/Ratcatcher
Brian – MIMI/Fp3°
Geoff – S&B (2Gf)
Ron – DL(2f +1V)
Brian – Fish(2f)
Geoff – 3W(3+2) + Noblesse Oblige (1G/1V)
First things first; I torch the woolies, gaining first (and only) return on my Crock. Ron wakes up, realizes the utility of the Witch, uses a second scrye marker to reset the top of the F-deck, and hauls lumber to give himself the magic button. Brian puts the Market Woman to task, I break even on the Watchman, and Ron smacks down the evil Ratcatcher. Brian snags a cookery, and I quickly put my grain into the ground. Ron visits the DL, Brian feebly fishes, and after a brief moment of polite waiting, I haul timber and draw another Forest card; the nice lady gives me a grain and veggie since I have none in my supply. With no animals on the board, Brian’s hairy friend is silent. All three of us cook a veggie at harvest; as well, I slough a grain and Brian two of them.
Ron – 1S(3)
Brian – Boar(2)burn1
Geoff – LoM&H (10f)
Ron – DL(2f +1G)
Brian – 1V + 2G
Geoff – FG + Crooked Plow (-3W)
Ron – MIMI/Stone Oven° (9f)
Geoff – 1R(2)
^Brian – S&B (1Gf/1Vf) –1b
Ron hauls the budget rocks, Brian torments the pigs, saving one for the lycanthrope, and I send a dude to the Land of Milk & Honey. Ron and Brian keep their respective Ocks busy, and (still misplaying LoM&H),* I hire on a replacement worker and activate my plow. Ron fires up the second oven, I nab reed, and Brian’s Werewolf gives him the time to sow fields while it savages his boar. Dudes home, and the action count stands at: Ron – 23, Brian – 25, and Geoff – 26. Despite all the weirdness, it still feels like it’s anybody’s game.
*It makes no real sense for the dude to disappear immediately, even if that’s what the text of the card implies, but what we know? It’s our first time, after all.
Round Eleven/Cattle Ron – (PF-1f)
Ron – 3W(6) + All your wood… (-)
Brian – LoM&H (10f)
Geoff – Cattle(1)
Ron – Occ(-1f)/Fence Overseer
Brian – FG + x
Geoff – 2W(4+2) + French Castle (3S/3f)
Ron – BR(1) + 1s + (Fences(4)-1f)
Brian – Sheep(2)
Geoff – 1C(3)
Geoff – Ren>C + Well (3f>
^Brian – 1R(1) –1b
Well, we can’t say he wasn’t warned; after paying the Plowman for another field, Ron jumps the 6Wood and draws a card, utterly oblivious to his final scrye marker. Surprise, surprise, it’s that card again, and rather than hear Ron scream, Brian and I reaffirm that the card is null and void without sown fields. Peace restored, Brian ships a dude off to the Land of Milk & Honey for beaucoup supplies, and I corral the cow.* Ron ocks some conditional wood reserves, Brian rehires his third dude, while I clear the remaining timber from the board, and am rewarded with a 3S/3f (pardon the pun) windfall (for which I’ll suffer no penalty, thanks to the current turn order). Nice. Ron builds his fourth room, plus stable, plus Overseer bonus. Brian herds woolies for the beast, and I gather clay, renovate, and seize the Well. Brian’s demonic self rips apart his piggy, for which he compensates himself with a solo reed. The full moon falls below the horizon, and harvest-time is otherwise uneventful.
*I have dim thoughts of using the Yoke, not realizing it will soon be rendered superfluous.
Round Twelve/Plow & Sow
Ron – 1C(4)
Brian – P&S (PF +2PF +2Gf/1Vf)
Geoff – PF + 2PF
Ron – 1S(3)
Brian – BR(1) + x
Geoff – MIMI/Joinery
Ron – FG + Reed Pond (2R>
Geoff – 3W(3+2) + FOUS
^Brian – Boar(2) –1sh
Ron opens the endgame with an impulsive clay heist that will prove futile despite the purity of his intentions. Brian promptly puts his Plow into operation and farms, and I likewise exercise my Plow and put an end to that business for the Round. Ron hauls stone, Brian exerts pressure with another room, I grab the Joinery, and Ron adds a fourth dude while he can, playing a nice pointed Minor to boot. I again haul wood, ending up with a 5Wood profit from the Cart, and this time I’m presented with Fences of Unusual Size, a bizarre wood-saver. Brian’s furry friend tears a wooly to ribbons, allowing Brian to corral the boar. Will the horrors never end?
Round Thirteen/Family Growth w/o
Ron – FG w/o
Brian – 2W(4) + Dragon’s Lair
Geoff – P&S (PF + 4Gf/1Vf)
Ron – Cattle(2)
Brian – Fences (10)
Geoff – 1S(3)
Ron – DL(2f+1V)
Brian – FG + Animal Feed
Geoff – 1V
Ron – Fish(4+1f)
Geoff – 1S(1)
^Brian – Sheep(2) –1b
Ron does the obvious, Brian discovers a choice mystical action space upon which, sadly, none of us dares venture to exploit, and my farm suddenly blossoms. Ron herds the kine, Brian knocks out a desperate 2x3 pasture, and I requisition marble for my imminent palatial hovel. Ron oddjobs for pumpkin seed, Brian adds another mouth to feed and a Minor the Ugoi have rarely, if ever, seen played. I snag another veggie, Ron flounders a bit (sorry), and I snag a last, critical rock. The Werewolf enables a boar-sheep swap for Brian, the only thing out of the ordinary harvest-wise is I snack on a wood. Uno mas…
Round Fourteen/Renovation + Fences Ron – (PF-1f)
Ron – P&S (PF + 1Vf)
Brian – 1C(3)
Geoff – Ren>S + Fences (4+8)
Ron – BR(0) + 1s + (Fences(3) –1f)
Brian – 1C(2)
Geoff – S&B (2Vf + 14f)
Ron – 3W(6) + Hermit
Brian – Ren>C + Fp3>CH5 (b1b)
Geoff – SP + Strawberry Patch
Ron – MIMI/Basketmaker’s Workshop
Brian – Sheep(1)
Geoff – FG w/o
Ron – Fences (7)
^Brian – Boar(2)burn1 –1sh
Ron interdicts Plow`n’Sow, not that Brian or I much care (since that aspect of our farms s pretty much finished), and why he failed to renovate is beyond me. Brian bravely hauls clay, while I renovate and max out pastures in a 2x2 array (the confluence of Sawhorse and FOUS is a bit awkward to work out, and I’m uncertain I did it properly). Ron weakly whips the Overseer to further effort, Brian tops off clay, and I indulge myself in a frenzy of sowing and superfluous baking.* Ron hauls lumber, forgetting for the last time to utilize his remaining scrye marker (Brian and I have remained mum), and draws the meaningless Hermit. Brian upgrades hut and cookery, and roasts pork loin, I sloppily block SP instead of MIMI—not that it matters--to score a last Minor, and Ron picks up the Workshop. Brian shepherds the last lamb as propitiation to the wolf gods, bypassing the game’s last worker which I, of course, hire on, and Ron completes his pastures. The Werewolf roams, a wooly meets its fate, and Brian snags the piggies for food and negative erasure. Ron parts with a veggie and a cow at harvest; all else is normal. Score’em up…
*How many times do you get the chance to bake seven grain at once, even if you’re only getting a 2food per?
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 – 47 (3 Occ, 6/3)(22/16)(5)(41(1)/10/15)(1.146)(40°) ° +6f from House Goat
Brian – 33 (2 Occ, 4/1)(23/6)(4)(41(6)/7/3)(0.805)(37)
Ron – 31 (4 Occ, 2/3)(23/0)(5)(38/6/8)(0.816)(46)
F-deck draws: Ron – 5, Brian – 5, Geoff – 6 Everyone pretty much got their fair share. Forest deck effects are not counted as Secondary or Tertiary actions.
Player Fields Pastures Grain Veg Sheep Boar Cattle Unused Stables House Peeps Pts Bonus
Geoff 7(4) 4(4) 8(4) 5(4) 0(-1) 0(-1) 1(1) 1(-1) 1(1) 3S(6) 5(15) (8) (3)
Brian 5(4) 1(1) 8(4) 3(3) 4(2) 1(1) 0(-1) 0(0) 2(2) 4C(4) 4(12) (1) (0)
Ron 4(3) 4(4) 0(-1) 1(1) 0(-1) 0(-1) 3(2) 2(-2) 2(2) 4W(0) 5(15) (9) (0)
Bits & Pieces
There’s little question left in the Ugoi’s minds (such as they are) that the F-deck is, shall we say, destabilizing. Introducing such a random element into the game really plays heck with planning, greatly taxing the players’ adaptive abilities. It should be noted, however, that the underlying structure of the game is unaffected. The basic principles of play remain the same.
Ron’s failure to pay attention to his scrye markers led to any number of disappointments, but I would argue that it was his core play that ultimately led to his poor showing. His opening gambits were weak: the Plowman is simply not a strong lead Ock unless its owner is willing to put it to good use pursuing a sowing strategy, which Ron didn’t do, despite the added assistance of the Seasonal Worker.
My Fisherman proved to be pretty much a wash, although it did distract the opposition from clay, allowing me to ultimately get the first cookery and extract good use from the Burner. Ron probably should have grabbed the button in Round Three instead of the reed, setting himself up for first fireplace and stronger sowing options.
We definitely misplayed the Land of Milk & Honey; it seems pretty obvious that the relevant worker shouldn’t be removed until the return-home phase, since otherwise this would allow multiply players to use the space.
I’m hard pressed to decide if the Werewolf is a good card to have. Our interpretation of its use feels correct, for what that’s worth, but losing an animal each Round for a spare, late action seems fairly problematic. It garnered Brian an unexpected 6Wood in Round Seven, for instance (in a sense, a swap of a potential 2food for the 6Wood, which is okay, but hardly outstanding), even if he then got slapped in the head with an ill-timed Feral Child.
I’ll leave the commentary at that, so as not to dissuade Constant Reader from any observations he or she may have. Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed, and the next (and last) report in this neck of the Agricola woods will be a 2-player Level 3 “FotM/TtS” game with the Forest deck as icing. It was a bit crazy, as you might expect, but entertaining nonetheless. I’ll most likely post it on this board instead of the “FotM” board.
Meanwhile, the Ugoi played a 5-player F-deck game shortly after the one chronicled in this report, in which—once again—Ron suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or lack thereof. Men in Tights* made an early appearance and robbed him of a prior RSf move, then turned up again later and robbed him again. He was on tilt by the end of Stage One, and pretty much gave up, ending with a score of 22. Meanwhile, the rest of us
soldiered plowed on. I drew great cards whenever I took wood, finishing the game with seven maxed-out categories (not counting family members) and a score of 56, and wondering how I would have done with the Braggart and Lord of the Manor at my command. Jimmy and Amanda tied at 49, and Brian trailed with 38. Despite the inherent chaos of the 5-player game anyway, it was made readily apparent that the F-deck only increases that chaos. To repeat what should already be common knowledge: using the F-deck can be “fun,” (depending on your mindset), but pretty much takes the air out of any sort of competitive approach to the game.
*Man, I just want to know what idiot came up with that fool idea for a card! Oh, wait…
Cool report. I can't wait until we get the L*F Deck next week (since the F Deck is part of FotM) and play it once and never play with it again.
Oops. Thanks for pointing out my mistaken reference; I guess it really should be abbreviated as the LF-deck, or the L*F-deck, since there's already technically an F-deck in the expansion.
Alright, now go 'way, kid, y' bother me...