Ridere, ludere, hoc est vivere.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Worker placement gold standard - another Agricola session

It seems that I can never talk about worker-placement games without comparing them to Agricola (designer Uwe Rosenberg, artist Klemens Franz, publisher Z-Man), which I guess was my first introduction to the genre and the one nearest to my gaming heart.  It has become the standard against which I measure all other worker-placement games.  Tonight, Kathy and I decided to drag it to the table again, and this old favorite still satisfies as much as it ever did.

We played it straight this time (no Farmers of the Moor expansion), with the Complex ('K') Deck, and without a draft - whatever cards we were dealt, we kept.  And it might be that without the draft, Kathy was the victim of some poor card luck.  She didn't like some of what she had, although she certainly put several cards to good use.  Her Animal Tamer kept a different animal in each room of her house, which relieved her of the need to build fences for pastures.  Her Liquid Manure in combination with the Acreage allowed her to sow and reap just a silly amount of grain, from which her Schnapps Distillery generated a steady food supply.  She grabbed "Plow and/or Sow" on all of the last three rounds, so that she finished the game with six vegetables and 16 grain.  An embarrassment of excess.  Never mind making Schnapps; she could have been feeding her family raw grain at the end.
Kathy's farm at end-game, with just a ridiculous amount of grain.  Not shown are the well, fireplace, and minor improvements.

As it happens, though, I had a decent point machine of my own, based strangely enough on not having too many animals.  I had a Sawhorse that made it easy to build fences and stables.  I added a Horse, which gave bonus points if I was missing a category of animals (like sheep), and I had an Organic Farmer, which gave me points for having pastures with much more room for animals than I had.  That combination led to a total of five bonus points at the end.  With the Clay Worker, I accumulated enough extra clay to build a Cooking Hearth early in the game, which meant that I could cook the animals and make room in my pastures for the Organic Farmer.  I also got the Stone Oven, so that I could bake bread for plenty of food as well.  Finally, the Wet Nurse made it possible for me to build a larger family earlier - always a goal of mine in this game.
My boar are all crowded into one fenced stable, so that the "free-range cattle" have plenty of room for the Organic Farmer to earn bonus points.

So in the end, I won this evening by four points - a narrow victory considering how many cards I got into play.  We do love this game and will continue to go back to it on a regular basis.