Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Fairly Sordid Tale of Johan the Hedge Keeper

As John the Meat-Seller got a bit boring, I dumped him after seven games and started a new solitaire Agricola campaign. I now have lots of games of Agricola under my belt, and find the campaign mode more relaxing than my "must get 60 points" target. Johan is using the E-deck still - I'll get to K and I and Z and X later. Maybe not X. I'll play that with the kid. Anyway, one thing Johan realises is that it's not necessary to max out everything if he can make equivalent or better points by doing something else.

Well, that's his excuse for being so lazy in the first game. Of course, feeding your family is worth the most points, but it also requires a huge number of actions, so it's the activity most ripe for optimisation. That's why Johan learned to brew beer. He figured beer made him fat, it would make his babies fat as well. So Johan started his career as a master brewer. He later became a conservator (renovate straight from wood to stone). That caused a problem, in that if he wasn't going to have a clay house at any stage, he couldn't use clay to add a room to it. Consequently Johan used all of his wood adding rooms to the house. When the Chief's Daughter came to stay, and mentioned flirtatiously how she liked stone houses, Johan couldn't get the place renovated fast enough. Then he realised he had no fences, and hardly any animals, and that in fact the rest of the farm looked like it was run by a family of drunken fat slobs. That's when Johan hit upon the idea of becoming a hedge keeper. Just in time, the hedges grew, the animals were herded in, and Johan scored 59 points compared to a target of 50.

Johan then decided to change his ways. Abandoning his family, and eloping with the chief's daughter to another village, Johan presented himself as an itinerant hedge keeper. However, passing the window of the general store, Johan spied a baker's oven and decided it was the finest thing he ever had seen. Johan then resolved to become a baker. Living from his savings, Johan worked hard in the fields growing grain while the chief's daughter went fishing. Soon he was able to build a clay oven and purchase the oven upgrade kit from the general store to build his baker's oven. With his elite baker training, Johan was able to bake 2 grain to 5 food each in the harvest phase, and the family had as much bread as they could eat.

Of course, they had nothing else. When the children were old enough they asked "Mummy, are we vegetarians?" to which she answered "No darlings, Daddy just refuses to cook meat in his oven. Why don't you run down to the shop and get a kebab?" As before, Johan just couldn't find time to get around to the fences, and didn't get any animals until round 13. That was just in time to max out points for boars, and of course there were flocks of sheep. Johan never did quite finish the fencing, and ended up with 3 pastures, but one of them held 14 sheep. Having built a pottery and a basketmaker's workshop, Johan scored 63 points compared to a target of 55.

Johan noticed the chief's daughter was looking older and worse for wear. He wondered if the next village needed a baker.

To be continued...

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