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Carc Central Community => General => Topic started by: whaleyland on January 30, 2015, 01:42:24 PM

Title: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: whaleyland on January 30, 2015, 01:42:24 PM
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE ROBBERS

Each week, a specific element from an expansion is chosen for deeper discussion. This is an opportunity for you, Carcassonne's biggest English-language fans, to discuss strategies and problems you have encountered through the years regarding specific expansion elements. All forms of critique – from the most joyous to the most scathing – are encouraged.

This week's element is THE ROBBERS. This element is famous for how incorrectly named it is; the Robber does not steal, it mooches! The Robber enters play when a Robber-bedecked tile is drawn and placed, and, just to keep things fair, the next player in turn order who does not have a Robber on the scoreboard also gets to place one down. The player placing the Robber gets to choose any of the available scoring meeples on the scoreboard and places the Robber beside it. That meeple is now the target of this so-called theft, even though no points will actually be stolen; when the meeple scores, the Robber player receives half those points (rounded up). It's pretty straight-forward.

The Robber was the sixth and final one of the Carcassonne Minis and, in my opinion, it was one of the least interesting. It provides an excellent opportunity to earn some easy points, but it requires a lot of figure tracking on the scoreboard and in a six-player game , that scoreboard gets cluttered up something fierce. And the points are often not that significant. If a player meeple is being tracked by a Robber, the best technique to get rid of it is to complete a two-point road. The Robber will earn one point and be returned to its owner. Problem solved. Sure, sometimes a wonderful coup will earn the player a windfall, but those opportunities are rare and when they do happen, it is usually because the scoring player was being reckless or lazy. In short, the Robber should never earn more than a few points, which kind of makes the entire concept of the Robber wasted. Discuss your relationship with The Robber, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week: The Bazaars   :o :o
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: DLloyd09 on January 30, 2015, 02:09:01 PM
I've only played it twice, but I think the robbers get a lot of somewhat-undeserved hate. I think the mere threat of a robber on the board can force players to make sometimes questionable plays, just to score their opponent's robber at 1 or 2, but those plays are often wasteful and the tile used to score something tiny could be better played elsewhere. The player getting robbed thus has to have a mediocre turn, while the players not under the threat of being robbed can make more aggressive or profitable plays without the threat of having their pockets picked.

So it's not so much about the points, I think, but about the strategy mucking-up, that makes the robbers fairly interesting to me. I've got a feeling though that I might be the only person with something somewhat nice to say.
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: Paul on January 30, 2015, 04:29:08 PM
Reason we avoid the Robbers in my group is mostly because it takes away the attention from the main board with the tiles.
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: Carcking on January 30, 2015, 09:43:44 PM
We've played with it a couple times. That was basically to try it out when we purchased it to say we did. None of my group cares much for it because it is distracting. But to DL's point I think it did affect decisions being made on the board. If a player was sitting on a 20 point city awaiting one tile, and he then just drew it, he would be affected - torn between "wasting" it somewhere else, or giving the opponent 10 points. For that reason we found ourselves trying to shuck the Robber with 2 point roads or cities. That's about the extend of the strategy I think - trying to affect game play and the decisions of others.
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: Hyperion on January 31, 2015, 11:17:18 AM
I've only played it once and didn't really care for it. The scoreboard felt cluttered and it was a little difficult to keep track of what was happening and who was scoring what.
It did alter tile placements though and I was completing other players features to gain points, or to give other players a smaller bonus
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: obervet on February 02, 2015, 08:29:52 AM
We played it once, and it didn't make the cut for future considerations. The expansion was obviously an attempt to make the scoring track a part of the overall playing surface, but we found that it just detracted from building the landscape (the more interesting part of the game) without adding enough in return. I don't think I've ever played a game of anything where I've said "Wow, I wish I got to interact more with the scoreboard."

Plus, from the perspective of putting together the CAR, some of the timing rules are a mess and are beyond what the base rules of Carcassonne are capable of handling. THAT'S something that C 2.0 could have improved -- timing rules that were more concrete -- but instead they simplified the rules and terminology even more, making some things more ambiguous. [/rant] [/thread derail]
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: Christopher on February 28, 2016, 03:13:27 AM
I think the expansion was an interesting idea, but ended up falling a little flat. As has been said, it just distracts from the playing area.

However...

I think it can also be used well. In a medium sized game, with not loads else going on, it's not too tricky to remember the robbers and while it detracts from the playing area, it adds a completely new interaction to the game. I wouldn't add just the Robbers to the base game and expect miracles, but with some other interesting tiles to maintain focus on the playing area, the addition of robbers can be quite interesting. Couple it with The Mage and Witch or Cathedrals to give big scoring features.

Playing your robber on the player working on the biggest feature essentially threatens them and changes their play. Tiles are wasted on scoring rubbish, or if you're lucky, you can finish their feature yourself to score big points! Or, just stick it on the lead player to wind them up.

We tried playing once where after your robber was deployed to the board, it stayed there. So if you scored points from someone, their counter would move on but yours would stay where it was, and you hoped that another player would happen to land on it. Then you robbed points from them too! If you drew a robber tile, you got to move your robber. It made them a bit more dynamic! Another thing we tried was to change the 'mooching' to proper robbing so that if you robbed someone, you each got half of the points for the feature! This is completely asynchronous with the game of Carcassonne, which has always worked on the principle of the owning player/s getting all of the points. Sharing a feature with another player gives both players full points, whereas in this game feature points could be divided. This variation was brilliant fun, if not good for the social interaction between players (and I'm being delicate here).

A problem I have with the Robbers is combining it with the Messages. Maybe this is just me, but I always thought that as the minis were released as a set (sort of) they were meant to be played together. Perhaps I am wrong, and the idea is to add one or two minis to your game, but play with both the Messages and the Robbers together and the former cancels the latter out. When a player has two scoring counters, if a robber is on one, he merely has to choose the move the other when scoring any significant amount of points, completely negating any strategy of the robbing player. It makes trying to rob someone a bit pointless. That, and the score board becomes completely unmanageable.
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: Decar on February 28, 2016, 03:48:49 AM
I'm not a fan of the meeple for Robbers and Messengers, they are very very similar- one's fat and the other has a small hat and I can't thematically see why either of those things makes it clear.

I always wonder if it should be possible to rob yourself; because there's corruption in the guilds of Carcassonne of course! Rather than another player scoring a little road to lose the robber and make them worthless, you can plan your own feature to complete and score 1.5x points.  This means you can focus on completing a big features for points rather than a 3-4point road.
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: Christopher on February 28, 2016, 05:11:38 AM
I always wonder if it should be possible to rob yourself; because there's corruption in the guilds of Carcassonne of course! Rather than another player scoring a little road to lose the robber and make them worthless, you can plan your own feature to complete and score 1.5x points.  This means you can focus on completing a big features for points rather than a 3-4point road.

That's a good idea. Like castling your own feature to score it twice. It would allow someone to score reasonable points from a robber. We also give more power to the robbing player. If multiple features are scored on a single turn, the completing player is supposed to choose the order they are scored in. We play that the robbing player chooses the feature he is robbing. With all of the official rules, it's too easy for the active player to negate the effect of the robber.
Title: Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
Post by: Christopher on May 18, 2017, 08:05:10 AM
Howdy.

My best girl and I have recently added the Robbers, and she really enjoyed it. Not so much for stealing a large number of points, as this didn't really happen, but as a method of delaying the completion of a feature. As DLloyd suggested, if you draw the tile which finishes your enormous feature, but you've got a robber on you, you might place the tile elsewhere.

We also played with the Robbers and Messages, and this was infuriating. As I said in my previous post, playing with both means the woman follower (who we've renamed 'the messenger,' to avoid sexism) completely negates the robber. We're going to try a variation next time, which is that if you're marking a player's follower with your robber, you score their next points regardless of which follower they move.

For example, if Red has his robber on yellow's messenger, and yellow moves her normal counting follower, Red still robs half the points and has his robber removed. This essentially just returns the robber expansion to its normal rules.