From comments and such on here and boardgamegeek.com, quickly building rooms and getting family growth seems to be just about the most important early part of Agricola. The hard part is balancing getting rooms and family growth with feeding the family.
In context of a 3 player game (no +2 of any resource you want, only +1), my other two friends and I will fight tooth and nail over reed to get those rooms out. It is to the point that there is almost never 2 reed on the reed space. If there is one reed on the action space we will not let the starting player get that two reed for that advantage, so one of us non starting players will take the single reed.
In general, we all seem to do OK as far as points go, but I am wondering if anyone can weigh in on their thoughts as to how efficient this is? Is it worth it to take a single reed twice for that first room (or even second)?
Sometimes this is easier if someone has a card that provides reed somehow, or a reduced need for reed, but there are times when none of those cards come out.
As a bonus/addon question, is it worth it to build all 5 rooms as fast as possible, or build 4 and use family growth even without room. This should be in context of both situations of having cards that give bonus points for 5 rooms, and not having those cards.
EDIT: It seems my friends and I were playing wrong. When I learned a couple years ago, I was taught when grain was harvested, we take all 3 grain from the field at the harvest. AND, when animals bred, 2 sheep ( for example ) would make 1 more sheep, 4 sheep would make 2 more, 6 would make 3, etc...
With that being said, other actions have quite a bit more value than they did with our erroneous rules, so reed is no where NEAR of a prominent bottleneck as it was before. For instance, we now value taking that extra turn to get out the Seasonal Worker and use the Day Laborer action space more frequently.
I suppose the abstract question still exists, "Is early family growth worth taking a couple inefficient turns to get early."