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Harvest Markers and how to use them

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Hi there.

Andrew aka @LeadDiceBeers recently mentioned a desire for a tactics article on Harvest markers on Twitter.

Now while I don't claim to be a leading authority on the subject, I have played Farmers exclusively since the WTC and been theorycrafting since their rules release.

I attended my first tournament with them on Saturday and placed 2nd with a 2-1 record, with my one loss coming against a score heavy Alchemists team that ended up 11-12.

With my dubious bragging out of the way, I am going to share some of my thoughts on Harvest Markers and their use in the game. I will concentrate on the models available in the first box plus Tater, due to his availability as a ltd. release.

To start things of, one should take a look at the models that deliver the Harvest Markers (Planters) and those who have an actual use for them in game (Reapers).

What we (should) know so far...

If we anticipate the Farmers to have an even access to Planter and Reaper models (6 a piece), we know the rules of every Planter available:

Grange (Captain), Peck (Mascot), Harrow, Jackstraw, Millstone, Ploughman.

These models can be divided into 3 categories with 2 representatives a piece: Automactic, Active, Reactive.

  • Automactic Planters (Grange and Millstone) can place 1 Harvest Marker without the need for any other ressources. In their case it is the Trait Planting Season. Grange of course is able to place up to three Harvest Markers with the use of his Legendary Huge Tracts of Lands.

  • Active Planters (Harrow and Jackstraw) have to spend Influence in order to use their Character Plays connected to their placement of Harvest Markers. With correct placement Harrow gets an Automatic element due to Look Busy. Semi-automatic if you will. Jackstraw also offers the only offensive option to place Harvest Markers. More on that later.

  • Reactive Planters (Peck and Ploughman) facilitate the placement made by other models (Fertile Soil) or only place a Harvest Marker under very specific circumstances (Fertilizer).

When it comes to Reapers, we again assume that Fallow makes it an even six:

Thresher (Captain), Buckwheat (Mascot), Bushel, Fallow, Tater, Windle.

These models can also be divided into different categories assuming Fallow follows the trend shown by the others. The categories are: Active and Active/Passive with three (?) representatives per category.

  • Active Reapers (Bushel, presumably Fallow, and Windle) gain a bonus, special ability or both by removing a nearby Harvest Marker from the Pitch (Big Breakfast and Cabbage Punt so far).

  • Active/Passive Reapers (Thresher, Buckwheat and Tater) either have access to a Character Play by removing a nearby Harvest Marker from the Pitch (Don't Fear The..., Carrot & Stick, Cropping) or gain a special ability or a Trait simply by being close to a Harvest Marker (Crow Scarer, Territorial, Fork Off!).

That's all very fascinating but where do babies Harvest Markers come from?

As mentioned in the beginning, this post will concentrate on box 1 + Tater so let's talk line ups. As a general rule of thumb you should aim for at least three Planters.

While Grange gives you one Marker every turn and three in his Legendary, Peck's Planter ability is, as mentioned, situational at best. Thus Harrow, Jackstraw or both should be added which leaves you with three options:

#1: Grange, Peck and Harrow, who give you an average of 2 Harvest Markers per turn. This can easily go up to all 5 in Grange's Legendary or with Harrow in Melee.

#2: Grange, Peck and Jackstraw, who give you an average of 3 Harvest Markers per turn.

Baring a Peck take out, this line up can only go above 3 once, in Grange's Legendary.

#3: Grange, Peck, Harrow and Jackstraw, who give you an average of 4 Harvest Markers per turn. As you can guess, with this line up you can easily manage to go up to 5 through a variety of means.

No matter the option chosen, you should aim for an average 3 Harvest Markers a turn.

Using these line ups leaves you with a maximum of three potential Reapers in your six. With the Union options of Grace or Benediction filling very useful roles for the Farmers, depending on your style of play, on average we are looking at two Reaper spots in your team.

The siblings (Bushel and Windle) are both Active Reapers, while Tater's Passive ability is arguably the one that sees the most mileage out of his two.

Therefore looking at our different options you generally place more Harvest Markers than you remove from the pitch.

And where do I put it?

Alex Botts already mentioned this in a Twitter conversation but there is generally no reason to place Harvest Markers in front of your line other than as bait, to set up some Jackstraw teleport shenanigans or the ocassional Crop Dusting take out.

In the majority of games I've played so far, I found that my opponent almost never went for the sprint removal of Harvest Markers other than the ones that had been placed very poorly by me.

Removal by charge also only happens when the opponent gets a valid angle to get to the target.

In games against models with control plays, make sure to place your Reapers in a way that doesn't leave them out of reach of the Harvest Markers that are supposed to feed their respective abilities.

Also remember that Harvest Markers are a good way to block repositions.

Other than that, just place them where they don't hinder your own movement or sneakily prepare a Jackstraw escape route for ball killing purposes.

To reap or not to reap...

The last thing to consider is when to reap your Harvest Markers for extra Influence.

While this is of course highly situational, my answer would be to always reap at least one.

On average your line ups will have 12 Infuence to start with which doesn't look bad on paper but those Farmers are a hungry bunch.

On the other hand, I found it to be ideal to start out with a Harvest Marker every turn.

Going back to my thought about how many Markers to place in a round, this leaves you with one to reap during a turn, one to reap in between and one to leave for the next round.

To be continued... if you guys want to

So there you have it. Maybe this sheds some light on the whole issue, maybe this is all super obvious and I wasted a lot of time (yours and mine) for which I am sorry.

If it is the former, than I certainly hope that you've enjoyed the read.

I would be grateful for any comments and/or constructive criticism to help me decide if I am to continue this thread with the release of the second box and any other further releases.

Until then thanks for reading.



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good break down of the team and the harvest mechanic. been playing farmers solidly since they came out so none of this is new to me but I agree with pretty much all of it. solid write up and handy for people getting started with farmers.

well done my good sir, well done!

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In my experience you definitely receive diminishing returns from your influence past 13-14. Sure you can get up to 15-16, but it generally does very little at that point, barring very specific situations. I do generally reap 2 to get up to 14 if I can without leaving Tater open to early turn abuse. Tater has the most effective countercharge in the game, so figuring out how to keep him live while he is not active, but full on influence when he is active is a key balancing point. Playing with GIC and having the option to put two markers out pre game is very strong as well, opening up more flexibility to use them as influence if the opportunity to cash in arises.

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