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Subject: Family Growth Strategy rss

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Glenn Massey
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For 5-player game, I am curious what round to aim for 3rd peep, 4th peep and 5th peep. Has anyone analyzed the database to see when winners typically have grown their families? I have played a couple of games recently where I have been fortunate enough to grow to 4 players by round 8 or so (with Lover or Wet Nurse or Farm Steward, for example). But, resources/valuable spaces can be scarce at that stage, so is it worth it? would it be better to wait a couple of rounds and conserve resources?
 
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Angelos Lampridis
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There is only one strategy. as quick as you can!!!! dont care about the food. you will find it.
 
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Dave Eisen
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vradipous1 wrote:
There is only one strategy. as quick as you can!!!! dont care about the food. you will find it.


Or if you don't, you'll lose anyway. Growing your family aggressively is the only viable way to play Agricola.
 
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J
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Hehe I remember playing once with a friend of mine who was a lot less experienced than I was. He knew the game but he did not focus enough on growing his family and I was able to block him for several turns by taking reed.

Later on after the game ended he said something along the lines of "well I usually play the 'grow your family strategy' but this time..."

Now he is a very experienced Power Grid player. I told him that to me what he said was no different than someone saying to him "Well I usually play the 'buy Power Plant' strategy but this time..." you get the picture. I think that did a good job at driving the point home.
 
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Derakon Derakon
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You can certainly win without growing your family -- there's a 28-action win on these forums where someone took advantage of an extremely efficient combination to build a gigantic stone house and only grew his family in the last round for the 3VP/family member bonus. But such wins tend to be rare and heavily card-reliant.

Generally, being a turn or three "late" to grow your family is not a game-ender, as long as the actions you took instead were good ones. For example, if player A rushes to build his family as fast as possible, and then has to waste actions on scrambling for food, then he hasn't gained all that much compared to player B, who has a nicely-set-up food engine that requires minimal maintenance. Of course, ideally you grow early and have a food engine ready to go.
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Matt Shields
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Captain1957 wrote:
But, resources/valuable spaces can be scarce at that stage, so is it worth it? would it be better to wait a couple of rounds and conserve resources?


No. With very very rare exceptions, it is always better to grow first. Even if your new family member does nothing but take Day Laborer every turn, you're still better off than before.

Once you've played enough, you'll begin to recognize the exceptions to the rule, and you'll know when to slow down on growth. But until then, just grow. I only hold off on growing if it's going to force me to take a begging card, and occasionally I grow anyway.

This is the reason that cards like Lover are so dominating (i.e. broken). They let you do the most important thing in the game very quickly.
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Glenn Massey
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Thanks everyone, for your thoughts. I have a follow up strategy question. As I ssem to be getting the hang of the "early game" strategies of growing the family and getting a food engine going, what are the key mid- and late-game strategies, or is it completely dependent upon your cards?
 
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Derakon Derakon
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Once you've done your first family growth, things tend to diversify, since you now have a large number of goals to pursue -- solidifying your food engine if you haven't already, getting another room for a fourth family member, getting fields with crops in the ground, making room for animals, renovating your house, and buying pointed Majors are all solid goals to go for, and it's hard to say which one should happen first without knowing what the current situation is.

Your cards may push you in a specific direction, but IMO the game at this stage is mostly about identifying your needs and finding opportunities on the board that capitalize on those needs.

Your ultimate goal should be to end the game with no remaining food or building resources, which is a good sign that you didn't waste much if any time.
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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Derakon wrote:
Your ultimate goal should be to end the game with no remaining food or building resources


Well, there are exceptions to this of course. If you have the pottery and there is a stack of clay which no one wanted, it can be worth several points to end with a lot of clay. But yes, in general, you are correct.
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