Agricola solo series is all about your occupations. Often I have a great card that will help my current game, but I am always thinking about what is the long term significance of keeping it forever. I've found the biggest problem with solo series games is the lack of wood. Without a fence builder or extra wood card, you will never be able to build 15 fences and 4 stables (which you need to keep the max number of animals).
Ideally, these are the best categories of cards I've found so far:
- Tutor (played first) - worth up to 6 bonus points
- Lord of the Manor - worth up to 8 bonus points
- Church Warden - worth 3 bonus points and gives 4 free wood to start the game
- Merchant (critical to give opportunity to play as many improvements as possible)
- Either Hedgekeeper, fence deliveryman, forester, or some other sort of extra wood, extra free fences, or free stables card
- At least 1 card giving additional actions (like Adoptive Parents, which gives an extra 3 actions throughout the course of the game for the low cost of 3 food)
- 1 card that provides either extra goods (like pieceworker) or extra plowed fields (like field watchman) or extra goods on your fields (like fieldsman). These cards save actions which I consider to be the most valuable currency in the game
- Extra stone is very very helpful through stone carrier or similar
- Extra clay is very helpful or a card that makes all clay improvements and rooms cheaper (like clay mixer, clay deliveryman, or bricklayer)
As you can see I'm listing 9 categories, and we only get 7 so you can't obviously do EVERYTHING and you may get improvements that take the place of these occupations from time to time.