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What is the best way to feed your people, and why do you consider it such?

I constantly go back and forth between A) placing a person in the Field to move my food marker up B) trying to grab up all the Food Civilization Cards I can, and C) placing people in the Hunt space to generate food with a dice roll -or- Does it make any sense feeding your people by using resources other than Food?

I generally play a 3 or 4 player game.

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    There's a quite a bit out there about the strategy that says "don't". The points you stand to gain by ignoring the fight for food is often more than the 10 point penalty you will pay. Especially because it eliminates the main downside of trying to rush additional workers right away. Of course, if everyone is playing with that strategy, then making a timely food buy might help you come out on top. – bwarner Feb 15 '16 at 19:04
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    I think it's better to think in terms of die roll equivalents. Taking food civilization cards only makes sense if the price you are paying for them is reasonable. A single worker is worth 3.5 die points and wood is worth 3 die points, so placing a worker to take a food civilization card costs (at least) 6.5 9.5, 12.5, or 15.5 die points which is 3.25, 4.75, 6.25, or 7.75 points of food. Of course, the food cards have end of game points as well, but this indicates that at the level of food, they are usually a net loss of value. – Gabriel C. Drummond-Cole Feb 16 '16 at 0:58
  • That said, it only makes sense to eat other resources as a last resort or near the end of the game because you lose die roll equivalent value on their use. – Gabriel C. Drummond-Cole Feb 16 '16 at 0:59
  • @GabrielC.Drummond-Cole I like your calcs on the food civ card costs. As far as eating other resources I fully see your point on a one to one comparison so to speak. However, I often wonder whether splitting my people off to get food from, say...wood is that straightforward. Because if I roll for wood and have a remainder of 2 would it have been better to have had the extra person on wood and gotten at least 1 more wood (possibly 3 more)? I'm not great at statistics so proving it one way or another is beyond me, but the feeling always nags at me that it could be. – Martin Fawls Feb 16 '16 at 2:26
  • Of course if you're talking about gold, the difference between 5 and 6 is pretty bad, and if you're tight on resources or food you need for the turn's actions or close to the end of the game, you want to be more careful about your choices. Calculating the statistics isn't so bad in any particular situation but the details depend heavily on the situation---how risk-averse do you want to be, what are your priorities, precisely how much food/wood do you think you want, etc... By "as a last resort"I just meant that if you know you need food you should try to get it by hunting and not from wood. – Gabriel C. Drummond-Cole Feb 16 '16 at 9:40
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It is in fact a strong strategy to simply never feed your people. This is because unlike some other games, the penalty for not feeding is exactly the same whether you are just 1 food short, or if you feed no people at all.

If you take the mating hut every chance you get, then you will have 10 workers, and without ever sending them to hunt for food or go to the field hut, you will be getting way more resources (and blocking more resource spots) than other players. With this, you can get more huts and more boats.

You will be receiving -10 points per turn, but you will more than make that up with your extra resources, boats, and huts. Also, you prioritize boats that give bonus for people and huts, as you should have more of those than anything.

The most important parts of this strategy are to get to 10 workers as fast as you can, and to keep the game going as long as you can. The turns until you get 10 workers will be really bad, and you'll have negative points for a while. Because of this, a shorter game is bad for you. So you want to block huts from piles that are running low, and not buy them.

A note on tools: Once you have 10 workers, it is often worth it to take the tool hut when it is available. This is not a necessary part of the strategy, but it can increase bonus points from boats, while also blocking other players and giving you even more resources.

  • @Gendolkari I like this answer! I was looking for something along these lines...hadn't thought of this at all. I will have to try it in a game soon and see how it goes. I never thought of the possibility of running negative points temporarily. – Martin Fawls Feb 24 '16 at 2:59
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The best way to feed your people, is to make sure you have just enough food.

Sure you can feed them other resources, but those resources will cost you at least 50% more (in terms of dice eyes). It's a lot easier to just get the food out.

Food is a means to an end, it won't score you any points. As the game develops, you can see where your chances of scoring big points are. Use this focus to determine how to get your food. If you get farmer (civilization) cards it makes sense to focus on getting high on the food track. In my experience, this can lead to having lots of excess food at the end of the game, which feels like a wasteful investment.

I've also won games without focusing on the food track, instead focusing on getting more people and sending them out to hunt. Again, if you overdo this you will run out of food.

All in all, there is no undisputed best solution, without considering the cards on the table and the choices of your fellow players.

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    I think you are undervaluing the choice of intentionally running out of food. Say you have 8 workers and no farming. It will take 16 pips of hunting to feed them, or roughly 5 workers. Since you only lose 10 points by not feeding, you're better off using those workers for resources where they will earn 17.5 points. You also eliminate the possibility of a bad roll meaning you lose the points and still can't feed. – bwarner Feb 18 '16 at 14:26
  • @bwarner very good point! I've never done this but I'll certainly try it out next time I get the chance. – freekvd Feb 18 '16 at 14:33
  • @bwarner Amen to that, I too will be trying this...but freekvd you're right about the feeling of wasted effort when I have excess food at the end of a game. – Martin Fawls Feb 24 '16 at 3:03

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