I suggested drafting the occupation and minor improvement cards this time round. While it did take some extra time, it was quite entertaining being able to choose the cards we preferred.
We opted for a simple draft where we would take a predetermined number of cards and pass the rest of the hand to the person on the left, and this continued till each one ended up with 7 cards of each type.
We started with the occupation cards and selected 1-2-2-2 cards respectively. I was pleased to get the 'Lover' occupation which allowed me to acquire an added family member for 4 food without needing to build extra rooms. Little did I know that Van got herself the 'Wet Nurse' card (extra family member each time a room is built) and that would prove significant in the result of the game.
I managed to use the Lover card early and got myself up to 3 family members by round 3, but Van wasn't far behind. Before I knew it, she managed to build up to 5 rooms and increased her family size likewise to 5.
She eventually took the win with 47 points, playing her hand brilliantly.
Van's farm - Score also helped by 4 points from the Well and the max. wood bonus for her Joinery
I ended up with 44 points, surprised that I got as close to her as I did. My whole game was based on the 'Constable' occupation Mun played early on which awarded 5 bonus points to any player who ended the game with no negative points. I was the only who achieved it and that aided my score despite a failure to expand my house.
We moved on to Glory to Rome where I ended the game by taking the last in-town site. The scores were 24-14-11 to I, Van and Mun respectively. I chanced upon the prowess of the Scriptorium which allowed me to complete any structure with just 1 marble. This led to a spree of completed structures once I got my hands on a couple of purple cards with the help of a Temple structure which increased my max. hand size to 9. A large part of my scoring thus came from the influence gained through completed structures.
The last game of the day was Stone Age. It seems that we haven't been able to move away from these few games for the last few sessions. Whether this is due to the merit of the games themselves or just us jumping on the bandwagon of the cult of the new, that remains to be seen.
I decided to be adventurous and attempted a starvation strategy. This strategy is actually feasible here as compared to Agricola as the penalty of 10 points is consistent regardless the number of food short. I also realized that it was unwise to starve my workers too early and basically only started doing so when I got to 9-10 workers.
I was fortunate to get 3 out of the 4 worker multipliers including the 2 doubles and took a close one from Mun by a single point! The final scores were 228-227-216 to I, Mun and Van respectively.
While successful this time around, I can see how difficult it would be to attempt this strategy once your opponents get a whiff of it. Any failure to obtain majority of the worker multiplier cards would spell disaster and access to them can be easily blocked in a 3-4 player game. Other strategies would allow greater diverisfication unlike the starvation strategy which somehow feels like 'putting all your eggs in one basket'. It was nonetheless an experience attempting it.