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Subject: Once more, with feeling: Solo E Series, Game 3 rss

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Chris F.
United States
Atlanta
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Game 1
Game 2
Game 3 - You are here.
Game 4
Game 5
Game 6
Game 7
Game 8

Here we are at Game 3. I’m hauling eleven food from Game 2, but more importantly I have a different way to look at the solo game thanks to smcmike (see his take on Game 1). My solo game farmers have always been early sowers - they have loved and relied on bread. This time around they eat by hiring a maid, pulling food from a well, and raising doves. No dove sandwiches for these folk – they won’t bake bread even once. Let’s see how it plays out*.
*I’m still working on tenses – it’s past for me, but I imagine it reads better if it’s written in present tense.

Held Occupations:

Chief: The venerable Chief. But he won’t hang with you unless you’ve got a posh crib.

Lord of the Manor: He’s not demanding, but he is convincing. His very presence says get your ducks in row.

New Occupations:

Maid: I used to kind of ignore “future food” cards, especially ones that made me do things earlier than I felt like doing them. Now I’m taking a closer look, wondering how early I could renovate to clay.

Stone Carrier: Stone can be a vp limitation in solo, so having someone around to carry extra is nice.

Mason: The Mason is nice, no doubt. The only trick is that if you’re planning on using him to go from 4 to 5 rooms (instead of from, say, 5 to 6), then you may have to renovate to stone quickly to make room for your last family member.

Master Builder: The Mason and the Master Builder probably hang out after work.

Dock Worker: This guy again. In solo, where no one is locking me out of any resource, the Dock Worker seems like a bad deal.

Minors:

Reed Pond: 3 reed and 1vp? I will dig myself a Reed Pond.

Lettuce Patch: I don’t usually see more than the 4vp worth of vegetables, but it’s a free vp if I can spare an action.

Building Material: Am I missing something? I guess it could be 1 extra wood, and wood is scarce, but I’d rather get several extra wood.

Turnwrest Plow: This saves 1 action, but it costs 3w. Where is the extra wood going to come from? Maybe I shouldn’t discount Building Material.

Dove Cote: With someone helping me carry stone, this should be easy to get out. Every now and then, I really like the name or concept of a card, and I try a little harder to get it out. In this case, I like both, and it happens to be a decent card – it’s like half of a Well.

Sack Cart: I like free grain, but if it comes down to this or Turnwrest Plow, I’m probably going with the latter. Grain can be sown and multiplied. Fields themselves cannot.

Basket: I’m usually waiting for wood to accumulate, so I don’t imagine having the luxury of leaving some of it behind. I would be more likely to play this if it had vp.

Plan:
Thinking about Lord of the Manor, I want four 1x1 pastures with four stables, allowing me to max out two animal types and keep the third type as a pet. I’m thinking about seven stone rooms (a fifth pasture is 2vp, where another stone room is 3vp), but I won’t be able to get to five rooms in clay, so (after Mason and Master Builder kick in) the seventh room would have to be added in stone. I can’t see ahead far enough to know if I’ll have the stone to build that last room, so I’ll build my farm like this:

sr|sr|sr|sr|x
sr|fs|fs|fi |fi

sr|fs|fs|fi |fi


The last space (x) can then be a stone room or a field, as the situation allows.

Key:
fm = family member
f = food; g = grain; v = vegetable
w = wood; c = clay; r = reed; s = stone
sh = sheep; wb = wild boar; ca = cattle
wr = wooden room; cr = clay room; sr = stone room
fi = field; fg = field grain; fv = field vegetable [2fg/2fg/1fv = 2 fields with 2 unharvested grain each and 1 field with 1 unharvested vegetable]
pa = pasture [2(1x3pa) 1(1x1pa fs) = 2 pastures, 1x3 each, without stables and 1 pasture, 1x1, with stable]
us = unfenced stable; fs = fenced stable
ac = animal capacity [1ac/1ac/4ac = 1 pet, 1 unfenced stable, and either a 1x2 pasture or a 1x1 pasture with a stable]
un = unused space; vp = victory point/bonus point

I’m still developing my notation, and feedback is welcome. Right now my goal is to provide enough information to allow a reader to follow the game without acting it out on a board. Another route would be to provide only the minimum information necessary (like Chess notation), expecting the reader to know the rules (I renovated my 4-room wooden hut, so it must’ve cost 4c 1r) and act out the game on a board (or have an immense memory and a fantastic ability to visualize). While this style of notation might be elegant, Agricola has quite a few more pieces and rules than Chess, so I’ll probably continue providing lots of information.

Let’s get to it!

Round 0
[Game 2 Bonus Food (+11f)]
[Game 1 Occupation: Chief]
[Game 2 Occupation: Lord of the Manor]
Personal Supply: 11f
Other Stats: 2fm/2wr/1ac/13un

Round 1
Sow +/ Bake
- Occupation: Maid (-1f)
- Starting Player +/ Minor: Reed Pond (3 occs) (future reed) Three reed will get me through one room and a renovation, and I have other playable minors for family growth.
Personal Supply: 10f
Other Stats: 2fm/2wr/1ac/13un

Round 2
[+1r (Reed Pond)]
Sheep Nice.
- Occupation: Stone Carrier (-1f)
- Starting Player +/ Minor: Lettuce Patch (3 occs) I struggled with what to do here. I have food from Game 2, so DL is less attractive, but none of the resources are built up and I can’t play more than one occupation per round. I’m still left with three decent minors to play with family growth. I’m apparently calling Building Material decent now because I think I’ll need the extra wood.
Personal Supply: 9f/1r
Other Stats: 2fm/2wr/1ac/13un/Lettuce Patch

Round 3
[+1r (Reed Pond)]
Fences
- Occupation: Mason (-1f)
- Wood (+6w)
Personal Supply: 8f/6w/2r
Other Stats: 2fm/2wr/1ac/13un/Lettuce Patch

Round 4
[+1r (Reed Pond)]
Major / Minor
- Room(s) +/ Stable(s): Room(s) (-5w -2r +1wr)
- Occupation: Master Builder (-1f)

Harvest:
Field: ()
Feed: (-6f)
Breed: ()
Personal Supply: 1f/1w/1r
Other Stats: 2fm/3wr/1ac/12un/Lettuce Patch

Round 5
Stone I notice that because I built a room quickly, and because of Maid, I care more about the order of the Stage 2 cards.
- Clay (+5c) This gives me renovation and a Fireplace.
- Fishing (+5f) I thought about stone because the more I take it, the more I get from Stone Carrier. If I wait one more round, however, I have enough stone for the well.
Personal Supply: 6f/1w/5c/1r
Other Stats: 2fm/3wr/1ac/12un/Lettuce Patch

Round 6
Renovation + Major / Minor
- Stone (+2s +1s (Stone Carrier))
- Renovation (-3c -1r -3wr +3cr) (future food (Maid)) + Major: Well (-1w -3s) (future food) What happened to the Fireplace? Between Round 5 fishing, Maid, and Well, I won’t need to cook sheep for now.
Personal Supply: 6f/2c
Other Stats: 2fm/3cr/1ac/12un/Lettuce Patch

Round 7
[+2f (Maid, Well)]
Family Growth + Minor
- Reed (+7r)
- Family Growth (+1fm) + Minor: Building Material (free) (+1w) It’s worth noting that because I didn’t play Fireplace, taking clay here instead of wood doesn’t get me a clay room any faster - I’ll have five clay next round anyway. The wood will set me up for Turnwrest Plow.

Harvest:
Field: ()
Feed: (-7f)
Breed: ()
Personal Supply: 1f/1w/2c/7r
Other Stats: 3fm/3cr/1ac/12un/Lettuce Patch

Round 8
[+2f (Maid, Well)]
Vegetable
- Wood (+10w)
- Clay (+3c)
- Room(s): (-5c -2r +1cr) + Stable(s): (-8w +4us) I wanted to get these out in case I don’t build that last room.
Personal Supply: 3f/3w/5r
Other Stats: 3fm/4cr/4us/5(1ac)/7un/Lettuce Patch

Round 9
[+2f (Maid, Well)]
Wild Boar
- Family Growth (+1fm) + Minor: Turnwrest Plow (-3w)
- Fishing (+4f)
- Day Laborer (+2f)
Eight tasty sheep! Where’s that Fireplace?

Harvest:
Field: ()
Feed: (-10f)
Breed: ()
Personal Supply: 1f/5r
Other Stats: 4fm/4cr/4us/5(1ac)/7un/Lettuce Patch

Round 10
[+2f (Maid, Well)]
Cattle Good…
- Clay (+2c)
- Vegetable (+1v)
- Grain (+1g)
- Plow (+1fi) For some reason I envisioned plowing one field and then three later, so that’s what I did. Inconsequential.
Personal Supply: 3f/1g/1v/2c/5r
Other Stats: 4fm/4cr/1fi/4us/5(1ac)/6un/Lettuce Patch

Round 11
[+2f (Maid, Well)]
Stone
- Stone (+5s +1s (Stone Carrier)) Waited a round to get stone for Dovecote.
- Renovation (-1r -4s -4cr +4sr) [+1 sr (Mason)] [+1sr (Master Builder)]
+ Major: Fireplace (-2c)
- Family Growth(+1fm) + Minor: Dovecote (-2s)
- Sheep (+10sh)
[Cook (-6sh +12f)]

Harvest:
Field: ()
Feed: (-13f)
Breed: (+1sh)
Personal Supply: 4f/1g/1v/4r/4sh
Other Stats: 5fm/6sr/1fi/4us/5(1ac)/4un/Lettuce Patch

Here I do some math and see that a seventh stone room would require four actions (Stone, Stone, Reed, Room(s)) for only one extra vp (compared to plowing the last space). Then I realize that without sowing one more time, I’ll stall at six grain, which will cost me two vp (one for the missing grain, one for Lord of the Manor). So I’m definitely going to plow and sow in Round 14. Since I won’t be adding a room, let’s see what I can do while I wait for fence wood.

Round 12
[+2f (Maid, Dovecote)]
Family Growth w/o Space
- Reed (+5r)
- Stone (+2s +1s (Stone Carrier))
- Major: Basketmaker’s Workshop (-2r -2s) I’m excited about this play because it’s classic Agricola: I feed myself and score vp at once. I’m moving from liking to loving this card, especially in solo. Even if you add five rooms the hard way and do both renovations, you still have two reed for the BMW (and there seem to be few minors that compete for reed). More often, though, there’s plenty of reed in the endgame to eat and score vp. I haven’t yet tried getting this out early.
- Grain (+1g)
- Vegetable (+1v)
Personal Supply: 6f/2g/2v/7r/1s/5sh
Other Stats: 5fm/6sr/1fi/4us/5(1ac)/4un/Lettuce Patch

Round 13
[+2f (Maid, Dovecote)]
Plow +/ Sow
- Vegetable (+1v) I was planning on my usual four vegetables when I read the Lettuce Patch card again. By planting some lettuce I have my food taken care of, so I can focus on vp.
- Plow (+1fi +2fi (Turnwrest Plow)) + Sow (-2g -3v +3fg +3fg +2fv +2fv +2fv)
- Clay (+3c)
- Stone (+2s +1s (Stone Carrier))
- Major: Stone Oven (-1c -3s)

Harvest:
[Cook (-3sh +6f)]
[Basketmaker’s Workshop (-1r +3f)]
Field: (-2fg -3fv +2g +3v) [Cook (-1v +4f (Lettuce Patch))]
Feed: (-15f)
Breed: (+1sh)
Personal Supply: 6f/2g/2v/2c/1s/3sh
Other Stats: 5fm/6sr/4fi/2(2fg)/3(1fv)/4us/5(1ac)/1un/Lettuce Patch

Round 14
[+2f (Maid, Dovecote)]
Renovation + Fences
- Wood (+12w)
- Fences (-12w -4us +4(1x1pa fs))
- Plow (+1fi) + Sow (-1g +3fg)
[Cook (-2sh +4f)]
- Wild Boar (+6wb)
- Cattle (+5ca)

Harvest:
Field: (-3fg -3fv +3g +3v)
Feed: (-15f)
Breed: (+1wb +1ca)
Personal Supply: 4g/5v/2c/5r/1s/1sh/7wb/6ca
Other Stats: 5fm/6sr/5fi/2fg/2(1fg)/4fs/1ac/4(4ac)/Lettuce Patch

Final board layout:

sr|sr|sr|sr|fi
sr|fs|fs|fi |fi

sr|fs|fs|fi |fi


Score
Fields: 5 = 4vp
Pastures: 4 = 4vp
Grain: 8 = 4vp
Vegetables: 4 = 4vp
Sheep: 1 = 1vp
Wild Boar: 7 = 4vp
Cattle: 6 = 4vp
Unused Spaces: 0
Fenced Stables: 4 = 4vp
Clay Rooms: 0
Stone Rooms: 6 = 12vp
Family Members: 5 = 15vp
Points for Cards: 14vp (Reed Pond 1vp, Lettuce Patch 1vp, Well 4vp, Fireplace 1vp, Dovecote 2vp, Basketmaker’s Workshop 2vp, Stone Oven 3vp)
Bonus Points: 16vp (Chief 6vp, Lord of the Manor 7vp, Basketmaker’s Workshop 3vp)

Total: 86vp (target 59vp)

Bonus Food for Game 4: 13
Held Occupation: Mason
There were several decent occs this time (4s from Stone Carrier, 6f from Maid), but these don’t touch the Mason.

It’s pretty clear that I approached the game differently this time, applying what I learned from the Game 1 comments. Here are a few things:
- Food can come from other places than baking and cooking. I knew this, of course, but I wasn’t taking it very seriously. Though I play the Well in nearly every solo game, this might’ve been the first time I’ve gotten all five food from it. I may not be able to eat through occs and imps alone, but those little food sources add up, and this time they helped me not eat victory points.
- Early occupations can be very powerful. I knew this too, but I never dreamed of four occs in four rounds. Before, I figured I needed to start developing my farm, so I only put out one or two occs when there was time between early plowing and sowing. I’m still getting a grasp on this strategy, but the basic idea is to spend 4-6 rounds setting up, then developing the farm in the mid- and late game.
- It goes without saying, but employing either of these strategies still depends on the cards.

Suggestions and comments are quite welcome, and if you see any accounting errors, please let me know.

Thanks for reading and thanks to Play Agricola for allowing me to link to their card scans!

Chris
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Benjamin Kerenza
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ldsdbomber wrote:
youve listed 7 occs and minors, but are you not supposed to draw 1 less occ each round to compensate for having them in play from previous rounds, i.e. you should have 2 occs in play and only 5 in hand


He has only drawn an extra 5 if you look at the notation he is applying the round 0 where he plays the saved occupations for free effectively. So the seven in hand at the beginning consist of the two from game 1 and game 2 and five new drawn ones.
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Lukas E.
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The "- Plow +/ Sow: Plow (+1fi) Sow (-2g -2v +3fg +3fg +2fv +2fv)" in Round 12 should be deleted since you obviously take 6 actions and the Plow+/Sow action-field enters game not until Round 13, where you reran the whole action slightly modified.
I think it's a relict of your considerations there...
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Chris F.
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ldsdbomber wrote:
youve listed 7 occs and minors, but are you not supposed to draw 1 less occ each round to compensate for having them in play from previous rounds, i.e. you should have 2 occs in play and only 5 in hand

Thanks - it ought to be clearer. Fixed.

lueg wrote:
The "- Plow +/ Sow: Plow (+1fi) Sow (-2g -2v +3fg +3fg +2fv +2fv)" in Round 12 should be deleted since you obviously take 6 actions...)

You are quite right! I edited Game 2 into Game 3 and this was left over. Fixed.

Thanks for reading everybody!
 
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