19 Dec 2008. I took this photo of Agricola because I had the Maypole minor improvement in play. See the fence standing upright in the upper right corner. You can build the Maypole in the early game, and if you manage to not knock it over by game end, you earn 2 bonus points. Maypole is in the Z deck, and many cards in this deck are quite humourous or quirky.
The Occupations and Minor and Major Improvements I had played in this game. I usually have a habit of putting my house on the lower left corner of my board, fields on the top row starting from the upper right corner, and pastures occupying two rows starting from the lower right corner. In this game because I had the Planter Box in play, I had my fields next to my house, so that when I sowed, I received extra grain / vegetables.
The Maypole, and the sheep looking at it in awe. Or maybe they were just hoping it doesn't topple over.
20 Dec 2008. When we set up the game, we build little stacks like these, so that when at the start of each round, we can conveniently pick up a stack to refill the board quickly.
25 Dec 2008. Through the Ages. Michelle's red empire. Technologically very advanced, and she played many tech cards, even though she didn't intend to build anything on them. Because she had Einstein as her leader, every tech card played gave 3VP.
Michelle had 5 wonders. Only two leaders though. Somehow in this game the leaders didn't show up in a timely manner and we both didn't have any Age I or Age II leaders.
My wonders. Fast Food Chains gave me 21VPs. I used the Colossus and Taj Mahal to give me an early culture lead. Ocean Service Liner saved me lot of time and effort on my farms. I used to think it's not a very good wonder, but now I appreciate its power. Nowadays I usually prefer other Age A leaders over Hammurabi, however I didn't have much choice, and decided to go with him. Thankfully the game turned out to be quite peaceful, and the events turned out to be not too bad. Not having an Age I leader was also partially because I didn't want to let Hammurabi go so early, which would mean one less civil action. I still managed to get Game Designer, which gave me lots of points. Michelle had planned up front to deny that from me, but he appeared in the last spot of the card row when it was my turn, so Michelle couldn't stop me from picking him up.
I had 3 Computers, which were an absolute killer because I had Game Designer. 9VPs per turn (although it also meant 3 science points less per turn). Because of the Ocean Service Liner wonder, my farms stayed at the oldest technology. I only had enough food production to feed my people. I used the Ocean Service Liner to grow my population. I had originally planned to have 3 Movies to be my killer VP generator, but since Game Designer appeared at a convenient time, I switched strategy to go for Computers.
Michelle (red) was militarily stronger, and also more advanced in science. But I was a culture powerhouse.
27 Dec 2008. Chee Seng was in town, and Sui Jye and Jing Yi also came to play. We played Hansa. Chee Seng was absolutely enjoying himself, but Sui Jye was confused and stressed out. But it in the Jing Yi was the winner, by a big margin.
In the Year of the Dragon. Chee Seng, Sui Jye, Jing Yi, Simon (visiting KL for 1 week+).
This was still in the early game.
My palaces and my people, still at an early stage of the game. I had prepared enough food to feed my people, and I had planned to use the two scholars to score points big time. Everything was looking rosy. At least that was what I thought.
... and I ended the game with this. It was a painful painful painful game for me, in the second half. I decided early to not bother with fighting for positioning on the initiative track. That was a very bad mistake, and I think it was especially so because it was a 5-player game. For many rounds, I did not have $3 to spare and was forced to choose the last action which noone wanted. That's how I ended up with 3 sacks of rice. Those were not surplus after the famines. I was forced to collect them after the famines had already passed. I had to fire people because I couldn't afford to pay income tax. Some people had to be "retired" when the plague came and I didn't have enough doctors. My palaces crumbled because there weren't enough staff for maintenance. All hell broke loose and I could only pray for the game to end sooner. So it was quite fitting that I was left with one old monk.
Big correction: (thanks to Heng for pointing out) You can skip choosing an action and collect $3 instead. That would have made one hell of a difference for me, although I would probably still come in dead last, or second last. But I would not have suffered that much from the income tax.