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In 3 player games (only played 4 player a couple times), as I see occupations and minor improvements get dealt out (draft mode), I never see any cards that make me think, "Hey, that would make animals a viable strategy to feed my family the whole game."

I end up only using animals for the first harvest or two to cook sheep because nothing makes them seem viable for the whole game. Is that just how it is? Are there more cards in 4 player that help this?

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Well, breeding animals should be enough to feed your family if you have a cooking hearth. Breeding Sheep gives you 2f per harvest, Boar give you 3f, and Cows give you 4f. That's 9f per harvest once you have them all going. The problem is having space for all of the animal types, then getting your hands on them.

One card that helps with both those aspects in 4-player is Animal Breeder. He allows you to buy animal pairs whenever you fence unused spaces. He is one of the best cards in the game, and I almost always pick him first in draft. If you fence early and fence often, you can get all animal types breeding very quickly.

There are generally more animal-based Occupations for 4+ players. For example, Cowherd and Swineherd (similar to 3+ player Sheep Farmer and Animal Dealer) let you take an additional animal when you use the appropriate action space. If you are using expansions there are even more. Dove Hunter from France Deck lets you turn 1 sheep into 4 food (or 1 cow into 6 food) every harvest.

These are just a few of my favorites for animal-based feeding. There are plenty of others, though.

  • Hmmm, that is a good point. I didn't think about just eating one animal of each type each harvest is enough food. Hmmmm. That makes those cards that let us get a boar/cow early quite valuable. I am tempted to accept this answer now, but I'm going to wait a day or two to see what others say. There may be other things I have not thought of yet :) – Jeff.Clark Jun 9 '16 at 18:02
  • Cowherd and Swineherd don't strictly require breeding. With Cowherd and a Hearth, you are guaranteed 8+ food every time you take the Cattle space. There's a lot of variations. Breeding animals is just good practice, though. It's free animals every harvest. – Solocutor Jun 9 '16 at 21:06
  • I played a couple games recently focusing on Animals, and I am also seeing there are more obscure cards that can make animals a valid way to feed, like the Loom and Fence Builder. I took starting player in round 1, snagged 2 clay in round 2. Purchased the Fireplace and made it clear I was cooking, used the Fencebuilder on the sheep action space, and was able to build fences whenever I wanted to accommodate sheep/boar/cows. Having the fence builder on the sheep, and taking sheep often, the Loom also gave me a fair amount of food each harvest. – Jeff.Clark Jun 10 '16 at 17:45

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