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For an action space which states:

After A, also B

such as:

After Family Growth, also 1 minor Improvement

Does it mean that I must do both Family Growth and Minor Improvement?

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up vote 15 down vote accepted

No,

The first part is mandatory, the second optional.

The Rules for Family growth (page 5) state:

Players must have room for offspring in their home before they can use this action – that is, they must have more rooms in their home than they have Family members. After taking Family growth, the player may choose to purchase a Minor Improvement

Note that in general, a player must be able to use an action to be allowed to place a worker on it. (page 3),

A Family member may never occupy an Action space without performing its action.

Therefore you cannot place a worker there just to block another player.

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3  
This is a general principle in Agricola, stated on p3 of the rules. You may not put a family member token on an action without taking that action. When the action says "do X", you must do X; when it says "do X or do Y", you must do either X or Y (but not both); however, when it says "after X, also Y", you must do X, but then you can choose to do Y but aren't required to. This principle probably made the action syntax simpler and more concise (for the purposes of printing on cards), but it also lead to a bit of incongruity in the syntax. – Viktor Haag Apr 4 '11 at 18:31
    
@ViktorHaag - Note: I'm pretty certain that you're allowed to put a token on any space, including a 'after/also' space, and simply not perform the first action (and not perform any action at all). For example if you wanted to prevent your opponent from taking that space. – dwjohnston Feb 17 at 0:44
    
@dwjohnston - updated my answer with the full rules quotes. – Pat Ludwig Feb 17 at 1:17
    
@PatLudwig Huh, TIL. – dwjohnston Feb 17 at 1:18

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