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For Christmas, I received Agricola - The Goodies. It's a fun expansion that provides new themed farm boards, shaped resources and animals, stickers for your people, and four interesting decks of cards. One of the decks is called the X-Deck, and adds random events that trigger when you take stone. Here's one of them:

Carbonite Cousin

The family member taking this Action is frozen in Carbonite. He will be rescued during the Returning Home phase 3 rounds from now. At that time, place a Claim marker on any Action space of your choice. At the beginning of the following round, put the Family member on that Action space and carry out the action before the starting player takes his or her first action.

I have three questions.

  1. Does my Carbonite Cousin need feeding each harvest that he's not in my house?
  2. Does he still take up a space in the house (e.g. for family growth)?
  3. If the game ends before he is rescued, what is his status? Does he still count towards my people score at the end?
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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes to all three.

There would have to be exceptions listed on the card, or in the rules insert to do otherwise. There are none.

We can make assumptions based on what we "know" being frozen in carbonite means, however the current game rules do not support that.

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Unless the text given above is only partial, it sounds as if the Carbonite-encased cousin would still take actions while frozen! Can this really be true? If so, it's like no Carbonite I've ever encountered before... –  thesunneversets Dec 29 '10 at 3:49
    
@thesunneversets, the way I read the card text, it sounds like he's stuck and can't come home (hence the need to be rescued). If he never comes home, he can't take actions, right? Also, I think you can make a semi-logical case for "Yes to all three" points, but it might be interesting to see how "No" to any of them plays out. –  Kristo Dec 29 '10 at 4:10
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@kristo: We can assume he's stuck, because that's obviously what Carbonite does to you, but if so we might as well also assume that he doesn't need feeding, because that's also the nature of the Carbonite beast. I haven't gotten The Goodies yet, but it does seem a lot sillier than "proper" Agricola, perhaps even to the extent of the exact interpretation of the rules being arguable. My initial impulse is that the Cousin would take up space and count as a person, but not need feeding, just because of the precedent set by Han Solo, but it's totally a gut reaction! –  thesunneversets Dec 29 '10 at 4:20
    
@thesunneversets - Yes, that's the full card text (you can see all the cards in a JPG on the BBG link). And yes, the Han Solo precedent is why I thought it was an interesting question... ;) –  ire_and_curses Dec 29 '10 at 4:31
    
All the discussion about possible alternatives has led me to conclude that this is the best answer. Anyone who's seen Empire Strikes Back knows what being frozen in carbonite means, but trying to reconcile the rules with that is just too much work for one card. –  Kristo Dec 30 '10 at 21:01
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1 Does my Carbonite Cousin need feeding each harvest that he's not in my house?

No. He's frozen in carbonite. As Threepio says "He should be quite well-protected -- if he survives the freezing process, that is."

2 Does he still take up a space in the house (e.g. for family growth)?

No. As Han Solo said, the point is: "To freeze a being solid, then hang him on a wall like some trophy?". Wall art doesn't need a bedroom.

3 If the game ends before he is rescued, what is his status? Does he still count towards my people score at the end?

No, as Leia says: "He's trapped in that thing forever unless somebody releases him."

See the Wookiepedia for more information.

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Very good! I particularly like the use of quotes as evidence. ;) –  ire_and_curses Dec 29 '10 at 16:26
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I would agree with your sensible arguments, but (2) really does open a can of worms when the Carbonite Cousin returns to a house that has no space for him, that I can't get my head around... –  thesunneversets Dec 29 '10 at 19:10
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@thesunneversets, you could play it like Family Growth without space. Two kids can share a room in that case. The x-deck shakes things up so much that I think such a house rule would be reasonable. –  Kristo Dec 30 '10 at 20:57
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I know The Goodies is "just a bit of fun" compared to, say, Farmers of the Moor, but I simply can't believe that Carbonite Cousin is meant to work as per the phrasing above. Losing a family member FOR THREE ROUNDS - four rounds, if the initial action taken stopped the family member from doing something actually useful - is in no way compensated for by a one-shot Taster-type action four rounds later.

Full disclosure: I don't actually own The Goodies yet. Am I missing a whole bunch of new rules that would help this card make any kind of sense in terms of the Agricola rules?

If not, here's how I would make this card remotely playable. Obviously, none of your Family Members are "cousins". The first two are man and wife, the others are their children, and marryin' cousins may be legal in some parts, but not in my neck of the woods. Ergo, the Carbonite Cousin cannot be an actual family member. I would rule that the Carbonite Cousin be represented by a Guest Token, that is rescued three turns later and carries out an action out of gratitude the turn after that, as per the card.

This eliminates any worries about whether the Cousin needs feeding and accommodating, whether he scores points at the end of the game, and whether he has to go to the Infirmary if his carbonite prison is not heated for a turn. Even more pertinently, it turns the card into something that might be playable by someone other than a total Star Wars obsessive!

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You really aren't going to like some of the other cards in the X-Deck! Rebel - The family member taking this action is not available for the rest of the game. It still requires housing and food. It is worth 5VP though. Carbontite Cousin is worth 3. –  Pat Ludwig Dec 29 '10 at 19:32
    
Aha, 3 extra victory points does go some way towards offsetting the hassle of being encased in Carbonite... still doesn't seem enough though. If this is a risk of taking Stone with the Goodies in play I think I'd be avoiding those spaces quite strenuously... :D –  thesunneversets Dec 30 '10 at 0:16
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