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Messages - jazbang

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News and Events / Re: National Carcassonne Championships in 2017
« on: June 06, 2017, 07:53:27 AM »
There's no great secret, I practice 4 player games on the app against the 3 toughest computer opponents, and if I can't do anything nice to myself - I do something horrible to somebody else.

I think the other player in the final's name was Ven.

News and Events / Re: National Carcassonne Championships in 2017
« on: June 05, 2017, 07:11:44 AM »

Numbers slightly down on previous years at the UK championships, could be due to there being more tournaments going on at the same sort of time - I know of a couple of previous Carcassonne entrants who were off doing Catan or Ticket To Ride instead. Don't think they used to be at the same time. Dan notable by his absence, as was Andrew who won last year.

Anyway, I reckon there were 43 entrants, same format as previous years - admin side of it seemed much better organised this year. Personally, I was a losing semi finallist - I'd got a 1st, a joint 1st and a 2nd in the 4 player games, which was enough to be seeded 2 for the knock-outs, I won the quarter final mainly thanks to drawing ALL of the cloisters, and managing to complete 5 of them, but was ultimately beaten in my next game by an 18 year old called Julia 114-107.  I don't know who won the final, because I sulked off to the main trade hall. :)

Delighted to hear that I lost to the eventual winner!  A thoroughly nice bloke he was too. Well done Andrew.

Having romped to victory in the early stages only to crash out in the quarter finals - I can finally claim to be a true British sportsperson.

It was great to see some familiar faces (including Dan) as well as new ones, really enjoyed it.

"May the tiles ever fall in your favour"


After fluking my way to the UK championship title, I found myself at Spiel on Sunday taking part in the 10th World Championships.  Here's what I remember...

On arriving at the tournament area, I saw a photo being taken of half a dozen competitors waving their national flags, and a guy who looked like a cross between an older Agent Cooper and Chris Noth.  Turns out it was Klause Jurgen Wrede and all the previous world champions who'd also qualified for today's event.  So much for hoping that everyone else was going to be a first-timer.

Here's a weird thing - for years every time I check into a hotel and they tell me the room number, I always say 'Hey! My lucky number!' - whatever the number is.  On this trip it was 115, and my travelling companion (who also happened to be my Dad) pointed out that the sum of the digits was 7.

In the first round, I was drawn to play first on Table 7. OMG IT'S AN OMEN

My opponent was Nicolas from Chile. It was also his first time, and in him I sensed a kindred spirit.  Our hands were both shaking as we started to pick up tiles, and on more than one occasion I forgot to hit the chess clock timer.

The game seemed to hinge on whether I could join up 2 fields, creating one worth 24 points that I would win 3-2. I managed to get the piece I needed (a straight road, so the most common tile) and I won the game (albeit by slightly more than 24).

This meant that in the second round, I'd be playing against someone who'd also won their first game. I was drawn to play first on.... Table 7. CUE TWILIGHT ZONE MUSIC

My second round opponent was the confident Olli from Finland. Carcassonne wasn't really his game, he casually mentioned, and he'd won his opening round 'easily'.

In almost an exact copy of my first game, it all came down to whether I could connect up 2 fields, to create a big one worth 30 points by 4 meeples to 3. The piece required was the one remaining Cloister plus road. Had Olli drawn it, he would have taken the field, and the game. But I did. It was enough of a points swing to give me victory.

"It was a coin toss on that tile" Olli would say afterwards. Repeatedly.

So all of a sudden, I was 2 and 0. Maybe I was the Carcassonne savant that I always secretly hoped I would be?

In Round 3, I was drawn to play second on Table 1 - one of the 'televised tables'. Although it's not necessarily true, I'm interpreting that to mean that after the second game of the tournament I was ranked no. 2. In the World.  When recounting this story in future, I think this is when I'll stop.

My opponent was Daniel from Hong Kong.  I'd met him a couple of hours earlier when we arrived - he was the only competitor to say 'Hello'.  Incredibly friendly, and fun to be around, Daniel had brought a customised giant sized meeple with him.

"You can't just put that on the board and claim victory" I said

He laughed. Thankfully he saw it was a joke.

Just before we started, Thomas, one of the event organisers, noticing me on the top table made a comment about how unusual it was to see the British entrant doing so well. 

"Well, you've just jinxed that" I joked.

Daniel won by 10 points, although that score flattered me somewhat. It's amazing how you remember the details of your victories better than those of your defeats.

So my chances of remaining unbeaten had gone, but my aim had always been to first of all, avoid dead last - secondly, to try and win 3 out of 6.

Game 4, and the last one before lunch saw me drawn to go second on Table 5 against Cheng from Taipei. This was the most exciting, and for me, enjoyable, game - with our points tallies reasonably close throughout.

When it came to tallying up, even though I won the big field (worth 24) by 3 meeples to 1, Cheng had managed to get 3 incomplete cloisters worth 23, which meant that he won by 115-110.  In hindsight, I think this was the crucial game - because I'd invested so much energy into winning, and it hadn't come off.

At lunch I ascertained that even a 4-2 record probably wasn't going to be enough to progress, but I'd been delighted to hear that Daniel was 4 for 4. I decided I'd support him in the final stages, and at least I'd be able to say I got beat by the champ.

After lunch I was down on Table 8 against Timofei from Estonia. He played excellently, and me - not so much, I don't like going 'all in', but I found myself there with many tiles to go, with a road that I just couldn't finish. I doubt it would have made much difference though, he won by 20-30 points.

In my last game, with one last chance to finish 3 and 3, I was drawn against Martin from the Czech Republic - a former World Champion. I think on realising this, combined with my own mental exhaustion, I wasn't really at the races and he was easily able to block 2 of my meeples in, and then we played out his inevitable win.

So I finished 2 and 4. But how had Daniel done? Heartbreakingly, he'd been defeated in both his post-lunch games, so he'd be missing out on the semis.

The semis saw three former World Champions, Panteli from Greece, Els from the Netherlands (who'd just played out the tournaments only tied game) and Takafumi from Japan (last year's champ).  The fourth spot was taken by a rookie! Humberto from Brazil - a nation that had never entered before, he'd finished 5 and 1, clearly by playing crowd-pleasing samba Carcassonne.

I didn't stay for the semis (I went to get a copy of Pandemic Legacy), but my Dad and I came back for the final to find it was a repeat of the 2014 final between Panteli and Takafumi (Els won the third place play-off).  In a tense game, where the lead went back and forth (but that didn't take as long as I'd thought) Panteli with the last tile was able to win a field and take the crown that had looked for a long while like it was going to remain in Japan.

Panteli finished the tournament with 7 wins out of 8, and no defeats - so it's hard to argue with that.

World Cup of Carcassonne Central / Re: 2015 World Cup - Group A
« on: October 07, 2015, 12:01:07 PM »
Done. Piklach won.

World Cup of Carcassonne Central / Re: 2015 World Cup - Group A
« on: September 30, 2015, 09:26:06 AM »
Sorry - been working.

Let me know when's good for the final group game.

Upcoming Scheduled Games / Re: WANTED: Opponents
« on: August 31, 2015, 12:05:58 PM »

Thanks for the heads-up, depending on my schedule I'll try and make it along to Rugby.

Sorry for not replying sooner, I've been away - but I'm back now until Essen, so I've got to get my practice in!

Are there any spaces available?

If so, I'm in.  Finally got the software working!

Upcoming Scheduled Games / WANTED: Opponents
« on: June 07, 2015, 01:22:21 AM »

My name's James, and I recently won the UK Carcassonne Championship.  Full details of my not-at-all-lucky win can be found on this thread.

The upshot of all this nonsense is that I'll be off to Essen in October to represent the UK, and I desperately want to not come last.

With this in mind, I'm looking for opponents to play one-on-one base game Carcassonne (like they do in the Worlds), who can beat me and then tell me where I've gone wrong. The thinking being that this will force me to improve, and you'll get to tell everyone that you beat the UK Champion, so really you should have the trophy after all.

I'm Birmingham based, but often travel around the country with work.  I'm also on the iPhone app under username 'jamesecook'.


PS Also, where can I get Union Jack meeples?

Here is the final - with meeples removed (apart from John's yellow ones in the mega-city).

The tile on the far bottom left was the crucial one, which didn't get drawn until the final turn - and by me.


My name's James, incredibly I won the tournament at UKGamesExpo.  Thanks to Dan for giving me the heads up about this forum.

I only started playing Carcassonne two years ago - in fact it was at Expo in 2013 (my first) that one of the PlayTest guys - Dave - suggested it'd be something I'd like. I bought a copy of the base game almost immediately (because I trust Dave) and, what do you know, he was right.

I enjoyed playing the game over the following 12 months with my wife (who usually beats me) (at Carcassonne) and my Dad (who doesn't), and I introduced it to some non-gaming friends, who all seemed to like it. I also wasted hours and hours playing on the iPhone app - and then at last year's Expo I entered the tournament expecting to come last, but having a lovely day - and in the interest of full disclosure, to try and get a story out of it for a show I was writing about board games that I eventually took to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014, also the Leicester Comedy Festival earlier this year and then finally, at UK Games Expo this weekend just gone.

In that tournament, I managed to win 2 out of 3 'group' games, but came 4th in the other - so I ended up on the second table, where I came second.   So I was wrong about coming last, but right about having a lovely day - and a solid five minute 'bit'.

It was great fun - so I was eager to enter again this year.

This report will smack of false modesty, so I will say this - I reckon I'm a pretty good Carcassonne player. BUT I got a stupid amount of luck in the tournament yesterday...

Game 1. I won by 3 points.
Game 2. I won by 1 point.

Game 3. I came second. A long way behind the winner, and the only reason I beat the 3rd and 4th place players was that it was advantageous for the eventual winner to share a large city with me early on - essentially relegating the other 2 players to 3rd and 4th, while giving herself a massive lead.

After that - I was ranked #1, and went into the semis, expecting to be found out.

When the player who'd won game 3 saw that I was on the top table (and she wasn't), an understandable look of confusion was on her face.

In the semi-final, it was fairly even and it all came down to whether my opponent could draw the tile which would connect 2 fields, giving him the win.  No such tile emerged in the final 3 or 4 turns - so we scored the game and it transpired that I had sneaked a victory. By 2 points.  3 wins, total net margin of victory: 6.  Including Game 3 (when I'd come second) I was going into the final with a 'negative' points difference.

The other finalist, John (who I believe is a previous winner), had won his semi-final by a considerably higher margin  - and with way more points, so SURELY, I thought, this was when I'd get found out.


Quite early on in the game, a large city started to emerge - in which John went 2 - 1 up (in terms of meeples in the city), then I managed to pull it back to 2-2 as the city expanded.

He added a third, but I had position two more in adjacent tiles - all I needed was for the right tiles to emerge - before too long they did, and I was 4-3 up.

The city was now over 15 tiles big, and with only two incomplete parts of the wall.  Over a couple of turns, John managed to position two extra meeples around one incomplete section, and was waiting on a tile with 3 city sides and one field side - which he drew THE VERY NEXT TURN. 

He was now 5-4 up in the city, and needed only to close one wall to take 58 points!

There were around a dozen tiles left at this stage, I tried to position a meeple adjacent, but the tiles weren't coming for me - so instead I took my one remaining meeple (we were sharing a field AND a smaller incomplete city elsewhere) and tried taking as many 'bits and bobs' points as I could. 

Thanks to a couple of easy-to-complete cloisters, I'd accrued a lead of around 30 points - so the game all hinged on whether John could draw the tile he needed to complete the mega-city.  Had he done so he would have won, if not - the city would be worth only 28, and probably not enough for him to take the lead. Probably.

It came down to the final two tiles.  John had first pick, and it wasn't the one he wanted.  I took the remaining tile which would have won John the game - but also helped me complete an 8 point city - so in the end I won by 9.

But it was all on that last tile.

John was incredibly gracious in 'defeat' (although second in the tournament is till pretty good!) - as indeed was everyone else, and friendly and warm too.

So I'm off to Essen then, and I may even get another show out of it.

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