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One of the swingier cards in the Agricola X-Deck is "Mind the Jets!". Players lucky enough to have renovated to a Clay house get their dwelling hardened to Stone by the jets of the alien spacecraft... but players whose houses are still made of Wood watch them burn down to the ground.

It didn't seem problematic to us having two families without a roof over their heads - obviously there wasn't going to be much Family Growth in our game's future! However, our issue lay in interpreting the text on the card which states that homeless players may "renovate" back to a 2-room Wooden hut for 2 Wood and 1 Reed.

Does this action require a family member to visit the Renovate space to get their house back? The card's use of inverted commas implied to us that this was not a normal Renovation, so we ruled that getting a 2-room Wooden house back was a free action, to anyone with the required Goods in their supply.

And then, another issue arose, which was that I had an Occupation in play, the Wood Carver, that allowed me to pay 1 less Wood once per turn for a room, improvement, fence or stable. I ended up paying 1 Wood and 1 Reed to get my house back, but now I'm feeling a bit nervous that I can't have it both ways. Either the post-Mind-the-Jets action is a real renovation or it isn't. Can something like the Wood Carver really provide a discount for rebuilding an incinerated wooden house if we have ruled that to be a special, unique and exceptional free action?

(Bonus question: is it possible that I'm taking Agricola: The Goodies a little bit too seriously? Surely not!)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

From the rules posted here:

If your home is destroyed, its spaces count as “unused” and your family sleeps under the stars until it is rebuilt. You must take a Renovate action to renovate to a new Wooden hut.)

I'd say that it's not a free action. I don't have an official ruling on Wood Carver, but I'd say that it would apply.

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Hmm, yes, if it costs a Renovate action then the Wood Carver's discount would certainly apply, I'd have thought. I do think that forcing the player to take an additional Renovate action on top of all their other problems - especially if other lucky players are now living in free Stone buildings - is adding grievous insult to injury! But maybe that's just the way the X-Deck rolls... –  thesunneversets Jul 6 '11 at 0:04
    
That may indeed be how the deck rolls - I'm pretty sure that this card in particular is the one that made my wife hate the X-Deck. She prefers the family version without the minor improvements and occupations anyhow, and having her house burn down (and I think mine actually go to stone) really ticked her off. –  Andy Tinkham Jul 6 '11 at 19:10
    
Mm, my wife and I are enjoying the X-Deck so far but it's extremely swingy - the effects can really turn the game around, and not always in the favour of the person taking the stone (or else it would be an easy choice). Family version Agricola is such a finely balanced game that a deck that throws in even more wild randomness (than even the most broken Occupation cards!) definitely feels a bit contrary to the spirit of things. –  thesunneversets Jul 6 '11 at 19:18
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