Sunday, August 14, 2016

Walnut Grove: Battle Reporting

I have no idea what turn or which game this is

First Battle: Too Many Resources

The starting turn there was an obvious choice: I added to my wood production. In Walnut Grove, you never want to get caught in the cold. Perhaps I felt the same terror a frontiersman might have faced seeing winter on the horizon and not having a few cords of split wood in reserve.
When time came to visit the clockwork village itself, I decided to invest in extra resources to cover future contingencies. Knowing milk as the lifeblood of this game, I stopped at the Post Office to get two cubes of the vital liquid. Winter passed uneventfully.
When spring came around again, I expanded into wheat. My single farm hard was a yellow worker, and he would eventually hit me hard for 2X wheat. It was only a matter of time.
I then used my 2 0-value copper coins to buy a house for my farm hand. Over the rest of the game, this would save me 7 cubes of wood, so it seemed like a good investment. Winter again passed without too much agony, even with an especially cold winter I only had to spend a single wheat and 2 wood.
Turn 3, I decided money needed to be made to replenish my coin supply. After adding to my waterfront, I generated some fish and some wheat. In town I only managed to sell 1 milk, but since there was a bonus on milk I earned 2 coins: both a copper and a gold! Winter again was pretty low-stress thanks to my farm hand and his snuggly warm house.
Turn 4, I hit the bonanza. Circle of Farm Management: the "play 2 tiles" card. I liked having lots of wood, so I used both tiles to expand wood production. During spring I generated 3 milk and 4 wood. In town I used my 2 fish to buy another yellow worker. Winter has the easiest of the game, with no wood being spent and only 1 wheat.
Turn 5, I thought I better start making some stone. I expanded stone production and made 3 stone, 2 wheat and 4 wood. My conservative movements in town had so far avoided the taxman, but I was finally foced to pass over that bitter rubicon and pay my 1 coin. I then sold 1 milk, 1 wood and 1 fish for a stack of coins.
Turn 6, I finally managed to make enough stone to build a Gateway, and decided to work on building out my wood production for extra Gateway points. The worst winter yet, having to pay 3 wood even with the hut. Also 2 fish and 2 wheat. These workers are hungry!
Turn 7, expanded stone (hey, wasn't I supposed to work on wood?). I was really flying around the board and ended up having to pay taxes again. Built safe improvement. Had another cruel winter where I spent 2 wheat, 2 fish and 3 wood keeping everybody happy.
Turn 8, added to my wood field, ensuring I would get a nice 5 point bonus from my Gateway. Sold 3 resources (with bonus) to net 4 coins (I had to return a couple 0-value coppers to the bag). Mediocre winter to send me off.

Final Points 26! The big difference made here was the Safe (I ended up getting 11 points with all my coins added together along with the Safe). Next in line was the Gateway, with 5 extra points thanks to my big wood field.

According to the Walnut Grove rules, I just barely won if playing a "beginner game". Looking back on my performance, I generated a LOT of resources, with the result being an enormous surplus still sitting in my fields. At the end of the game, resource cubes are worth absolutely nothing. This indicates a low efficiency, and I definitely want to improve that for the next game.

Something was happening here...
Game 2: I go deep off my A-game
Round 1: I used the same player board as the first time, so having some extra wheat was a must. Especially because my Wheel of Farm Management was reporting my yellow farmhand was planning an 2X devour action at the end of the round. To compensate for not generating very much wood, I decided to build a house again right away. Worked good last time!
Round 2, I expanded milk (didn't want to rely on any magic post office hand-outs!)and because it was the awesome 2 tile turn, I also expanded wood. I sold 2 resources for 2 coins.
Round 3, I expanded fish. I bought an extra yellow worker (for 2 fish).
Round 4, I expanded wood again. I built a barn to hold extra coins I hopefully would earn later in the game. I was forced to take a neighborly help token to pay my taxes.

Note: The fact that I had to borrow a coin from the bank to pay my taxes on the same turn I build a barn to hold more coins has me pretty flummoxed, good reader at home.

The only thing I remember about this game was a sense of frustration I had somehow closed off my main wheat field without noticing, forcing me to start on a fresh new wheat field and use two workers for wheat production on some turns. The only outside influence I can blame on my performance is the hour, it was getting pretty late and maybe my brain went into power-saving mode.

Let this be a lesson to you! Don't stay up all night playing Walnut Grove!

Now, back to the action.

Round 5, I increased wood production. While in town I managed to sell 3 resources for a 3 coin payout. I didn't write down what coins I got, I hope they were good! I did use one of those coins to help heat my housing structure.

Round 6, built a barn.

Round 7, sold 2 resources and managed to get a gold coin. Huzzah!

Round 8, paid taxes. Sold 2 resources and got 2 silver coins.

Final Points: 17. A terrible defeat, but I am consoled by 2 factors. First, it was a solo game. Second, my Walnut Grove alien family continues to live on, even if they aren't experiencing success by solo game metrics.
They are happy and humble!

Typing up this Battle Report has reinvigorated me to do yet another solo game. I deserve it. My blog deserves it. The aliens of Walnut Grove deserve it.

But I'll save that for tomorrow. Along with the Walnut Grove strategy insights I've been developing.

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