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Topics - danisthirty

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1
Online Games and Competitions / European Team Championships
« on: October 09, 2020, 05:45:30 AM »
Hello!

In case anyone is unaware, I thought I'd take some time to share details of the European Team Championships that are taking place on BGA (http://www.boardgamearena.com) at the moment. I'm serving as the captain of the UK team, so obviously this is where my interest lies and is what I've written about below.

Firstly though, the European Team Championships is an online Carcassonne event being organised by Carcassonne.cat (http://www.carcassonne.cat). Each team consists of between 5 and 10 players (although you can only play 5 of them at once). Teams have been split into two groups and each group is playing a round robin so that every team plays a single match against every other team in their group, these have been split into rounds so that every team plays one match per week/ round (unless they are having a "sitting out" week in the case of groups with an odd number of teams). Each match consists of 5 duels, and is settled by whichever team wins 3 or more duels. Each duel is played between two players (one from each team) and is a simple "best of 3" games. Games are basegame only, and all 5 duels are scheduled to begin at the same time.



It's very nice to be in second place for now, but Russia and France play each other on Sunday so one of them will be pushing us down into third before the end of the round. There's also the fact that we haven't had our "sitting out" week yet, which will come in round 6 after we've played Spain and have just Russia to come (Ukraine and France also still have their sitting out weeks ahead of them).

Round 1:


The Netherlands are always a tough opponent for us with players like Bekse (former national champion) and humske (former world champion) who always seem to get the better of us, as was the case in this match. Jackface triumphed over Johnnoordwijk with relative ease (2 - 0), whereas my win over hulpspuppie was less clear-cut after I lost our first game by one point. Thankfully I was able to contain my opponent more effectively over the next two games and took the duel 2 - 1 as a result. Elsewhere, our team's newest player statmatt lost to Bekse in straight games while wallaceprime vs. Zwollywood and ted the notty bear vs. humske both went to third games. I was cautiously optimistic and watched both games very closely as a win in either would give us our third duel, and the match. But sadly it wasn't to be. wallaceprime played as well as always, but simply couldn't generate enough points with his last few tiles to outscore Zwollywood's powerful farms and... well, I'm not quite sure what happened in the other game. It all came down to a fight for the main farm in the end, and while it looked (to me) as though ted the notty bear drew the required tiles to win it outright, things didn't quite go according to plan and all was lost :(

Round 2:


The Ukrainian team have been a bit of a surprise to our group of this competition. I have a good record against Samuelsson so was fairly confident that this would be a duel in our favor but the other matches were hard to call. ted the notty bear and I were both successful, winning our duels in straight games. Revelations (@halfling) was unfortunate to have his debut game settled by Carcassonne.cat's unusual "starting player loses in the case of a tie" rule and went on to lose the second game by just 9 points. statmatt struggled to put anything past Lawyer too, losing their duel 2 - 0 and bringing the match score to 2 - 2. The final duel was being played between Han Shot First and Jubjic. I didn't watch it live, but it seems Jubjic won their first game fairly convincingly and was equally unrelenting in their second...

We tried to be optimistic about everything, but to have won just four duels from two matches wasn't where we wanted to be, and it wasn't the start we needed either. :-[ :(n)

Round 3:


This match taught me that while I thought I'd been helping the team by winning literally every duel I'd played in both the World Team Championships and now the European Team Championships up to this point, I'd actually been hindering them. Apparently, my less than impressive loss to Boulym inspired everyone else to win their duels and we took the match 4 - 1 as a result! This included a win for ted the notty bear against one of the highest-ranked (and current #1) player at BGA - "viv-" which was nothing short of incredible! :o I don't remember watching many of the other games as they were being played, which is most likely because I was too busy crying, or had gone canoeing, but there was much celebrating and mutual virtual back-patting as we finally took a long overdue "big point" for our first match win. :(y)

Round 4:


My first game with Antoniospqr1970 was a comfortable win after he allowed me to trap two of his meeples at a cost of one of my own, and then went on to invest three farmers in the main field (against my two - one of which never joined up). Since we each had another meeple locked up in another city, this meant he played most of the game with only one meeple at his disposal whereas I had three. This meant I could take more risks, and as a result I was able to build up a decent lead and take my own farm which was almost as valuable as the main one without ever feeling like I was in too much trouble.

Antoniospqr1970 was much more cautious in our second game and played far more safely. He got off to a great start with lots of short roads and built an early lead, whereas this time I seemed to be the one not managing my meeples very well. I wasn't at all confident that this was going to be another win after the first 20 or so tiles, but gradually I was able to start trapping his meeples while generating some points for myself and as we got towards the final 20 tiles or so it was too close to call. I thought it was over when my opponent drew the remaining ccff splitter and cut me out of his big city which was completed with the same tile, but I completed my half of the city a few turns later to pull things back a little. Towards the end I was able to block a bold attempt by Antoniospqr1970 to take the main farm outright, but he'd grown a 9-point farm elsewhere so I knew I was still in trouble despite this. Thankfully, I drew the final crrf tile towards the very end of the game, which I had been in desperate need of for most of the game! This allowed me to finish a worthwhile city and claim a road. And with my final tile of the game I finished another small city and farmed the other side, which all added to my winning score of just 7 points in a game that could very easily have gone either way at several points. With this, the duel was mine.

Having played both games in just half an hour, it was no surprise to see that the other four duels were still some way away from completion. However, I was slightly discouraged to see that the Italian players had won the first game in all four of them! I was starting to prepare myself for being on the receiving end of another crushing 2 - 3 defeat (or worse!) but thankfully wallaceprime and ted the notty bear both won their second games, whereas Jackface and statmatt lost theirs. The two deciding games were quite similar in nature and were won thanks to a large farm. wallaceprime's opponent had played tremendously but was a little too keen to put all of his eggs in one basket. On this occasion, that basket was a large but uncompleteable city which he controlled with 4 knights of his own against 3 of Chris'. The most valuable feature besides this was the main farm which was tied with two meeples each. However, Chris demonstrated a real masterclass in farming which enabled him to win the main farm outright with a third farmer. This was enough to take the game, and our second duel, which meant the match would be settled by ted the notty bear in his third game against Lorenzo79. Although he was some way behind on points when I started watching, it was clear that this game was all about the farm which ted was able to hang onto until the end of the game. It was an awesome moment, and for a second week in a row we could cheer and celebrate on our Facebook messenger chat group!

Full details of the competition can be found on Carcassonne.cat's website. Games can also be replayed/ watched through BGA and some are being streamed live either through meeplewizard's youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisInsaneTV) or on occasion through BGA TV (look for "boardgame arena" on Twitch). All in all, it's definitely taking Carcassonne as a spectator sport to a new level! :(y)

2
News and Events / The Book of Carcassonne: Strategy, Tips and Tactics
« on: July 01, 2020, 08:08:41 AM »
In August last year I received a PM from someone here to say that he was working on a book about Carcassonne, and to ask if I might be interested in collaborating with him on it. A Carcassonne strategy guide was something that I had been thinking about for years, but it wasn't until I was given this opportunity to work with an established author that I decided it was finally time to do something about it. I didn't have to think about his offer for very long, and responded to his message with a resounding "Yes!" the next day...

It's been a very eventful year (almost) since then, but we've persevered regardless of everything that 2020 has had to throw at us and I'm really excited not just by having my name on the front cover of a published book, but in terms of everything that we managed to cram into its 200+ pages!

 

For anyone who may be interested, here's a quick breakdown of the main areas the book focuses on:
  • How Carcassonne came to be, and the influence it has had over modern boardgaming
  • Competitive Carcassonne
  • Carcassonne Strategy: Basic and Advanced
  • Expert tips from 5 Carcassonne world champions
  • Carcassonne's 10 major/ boxed expansions - descriptions and tips
  • Timeline of Carcassonne spin-offs
  • An exclusive interview with Klaus-Jürgen Wrede about his feelings towards Carcassonne and how it has changed his life
Our hope is that we've included sufficient breadth and depth of detail as to ensure that the book appeals to new and long-standing Carcassonne fans alike, regardless of what specific areas they may be interested to read more about. It is now available through Amazon and costs a mere £7.95 so should be within most people's budgets.

If you do happen to buy a copy of the book and enjoy reading it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and encouraging your friends/ family/ colleagues/ random people in the street to buy a copy too! As always, I'm truly grateful for all the encouragement and support that I've received through the Carcassonne Central community with regards this project and I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks of the finished article, so please be kind ;)

3
News and Events / World Team Carcassonne Online Championship
« on: April 30, 2020, 07:05:56 AM »
This looks very interesting to me so thought I'd share it here in case anyone else wants to get involved...


"In recent weeks, different Catalan players have had the opportunity to play online against a team of the best Japanese players in Carcassonne. The experience has been so enriching that Carcassonne.cat has thought of encouraging this type of confrontation that began the Japanese team a few months ago.

And what better way to do it than in a global format and online, given the current context generated by Covid 19. Thus, although the individual world championship held every year in Essen has been canceled , we are in a good time to launch a new game mode that in the future can become a classic and official event, the World Team Carcassonne Online Championship.

In this first edition of the World Team Carcassonne Online Championship will be able to participate those countries or regions in which the game has been published in its official language presenting a single team. Players of these teams must have or create a profile on the online platform www.boardgamearena.com, where the competition will take place.

From Carcassonne.cat we want the largest possible number of teams to participate in this championship, for this reason we will contact international players. At the same time, we leave our contact email for those teams that we can not reach and also want to participate in the championship: carcassonnecat@gmail.com.

The championship will be divided into two phases. In the first there will be groups with different teams, where they will all play with each other. In the second, the semifinals and finals will be played between the best teams in each group. The number of rounds will depend on whether 2 or more groups are made."


Full details can be found at the website here: http://www.carcassonne.cat/2020/04/28/world-team-carcassonne-online-championship/

4
General / Carcassonne FAQ
« on: April 29, 2020, 03:48:49 PM »
Carcassonne FAQ

I've written this FAQ as a means for answering a number of common questions relating to Carcassonne and the significant place that it holds in the rich history of modern boardgaming. Its purpose is not to offer any particular guidance relating to Carcassonne's increasingly complex labyrinth of rules, and as such I would recommend that those with questions relating to these check Carcassonne Central's excellent wiki (http://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/Main_Page) or ask directly on the Carcassonne Central forums if an answer can't be found elsewhere.

I'm hoping that anybody who wishes to add their own questions (with or without answers) will post them below so that the main post can be updated and may in time become a useful resource for newer players. Over the course of the week that I spent writing it, the FAQ approximately doubled in size as questions were shared with me or occurred off the back of other questions that I'd tried to answer. In this sense it may never be considered "complete" since there will always be new questions. Even now there are at least two questions I still need to answer and add, but I had to start somewhere so here it is!

I hope it's useful and/ or interesting to everyone. Enjoy!


#0: Index

#1: What is the connection between Carcassonne the place and Carcassonne the boardgame?
#2: I've heard that Carcassonne was the first game to use "Meeples". Is this true?
#3: Why don't my Carcassonne tiles look the same as my friend's tiles?
#4: What is the best number of players to play Carcassonne?
#5: Why does the player that goes last always get to place one tile less than the other players? Is this fair?
#6: Is it against Carcassonne's rules to create a gap/ hole in the landscape?
#7: Are players allowed to team up or make special deals between themselves?
#8: What happens if I draw a tile but can only place it somewhere that benefits my opponent?
#9: How do I get my meeples back if they get stuck or I run out?
#10: What happens if I run out of space on my table or want to place a tile that doesn't fit on the table?
#11: Is there too much luck in Carcassonne?
#12: What is "Tile Counting"?
#13: What house/ unofficial rules are commonly played?
#14: What apps exist for Carcassonne?
#15: Where can Carcassonne be played online?
#16: What's a good score to aim for in Carcassonne?
#17: How can I improve my chances of winning at Carcassonne?
#18: Where do the best Carcassonne players in the world come from?
#19: Which are the best expansions for Carcassonne?
#20: How many officially recognised expansions are there for Carcassonne?
#21: Which is the best spin-off game for Carcassonne?
#22: Where can I find more detailed information about Carcassonne's expansions and rules?
#23: Why are there so many different versions of the Carcassonne basegame?
#24: Where can I buy Carcassonne stuff from?
#25: What are the rarest/ most valuable Carcassonne items, and why are they so expensive?


#1: What is the connection between Carcassonne the place and Carcassonne the boardgame?

Klaus-Jürgen Wrede was visiting the area of Carcassonne in Southern France when he first came up with the ideas and core-mechanics behind his best-selling boardgame. Although he hadn't gone there planning to create a game (he was actually researching a book he had published in 2015: "The Secret of the Ghent Altarpiece") he was inspired by the landscape and sought to create a game where players were able to recreate it for themselves. This said, the theme no longer fits as tightly as it once did following the release of subsequent expansions that bring German, Dutch, Belgian and Japanese buildings to the familiar French landscape!


#2: I've heard that Carcassonne was the first game to use "Meeples". Is this true?

The answer to this question is yes and no. It's yes in that Carcassonne was the first boardgame to use the wooden tokens that millions of people around the world would instantly recognise today as "meeples". These were designed for Carcassonne by Bernd Brunnhofer of Hans im Glück (HiG) who originally published Carcassonne in Germany and who still "own" it today some 20 years later. However, they were never referred to as meeples by HiG and it wasn't until an American boardgamer named Alison Hansel first referred to them as meeples (a contraction of "my people") in 2000 that the term started to become more commonly known and used around the world.


#3: Why don't my Carcassonne tiles look the same as my friend's tiles?

In 2014, Hans im Glück decided to reboot the Carcassonne series with new artwork illustrated by Anne Pätzke rather than Doris Matthäus who had been Carcassonne's much-loved illustrator up until that point. A lot of die-hard Carcassonne fans were initially reluctant to rebuild their Carcassonne collections in the new art, and some were put off the game altogether when brand new expansions started to appear exclusively for the new art edition (besides Abbots). However, official advice from HiG and their international partners has always been that the different art styles remain compatible and can be mixed together as the "C" logo on the backs of the tiles is consistent. Not everyone is convinced by this, but new players certainly seem to be enjoying the new version just as much as those of us who first fell in love with Doris' original artwork ever did.

Apart from the art style, the most significant difference between the two versions of the game is that the new art version includes "gardens" on some of the tiles which score in the same way as cloisters. These are a special new feature that can only be claimed by a player's "Abbot" figure which were the first new-art exclusive expansion that has always been included with copies of the new-art basegame.

You may also notice that even when using multiple expansions belonging to the same artwork version, the shades of green used to represent fields doesn't always match very well between the different expansions and the tiles of the basic game. This isn't by design and is more to do with various subtle inconsistencies between artists, printers and publishers that either weren't picked up until it was too late, or were picked up but weren't deemed important enough to warrant a reprint. It seems to upset some people more than others, but it certainly doesn't affect my enjoyment of the game personally.


#4: What is the best number of players to play Carcassonne?

The basegame includes five sets of meeples and a sixth is added with the first expansion: "Inns & Cathedrals". However, while full sets of Carcassonne meeples (including all the extra pieces that come with the various expansions) can now be bought in 20+ different colours, this isn't to say that Carcassonne should be played with 20 players! Although it can be played with larger groups, the downtime between turns can become significant when you start to go above four players, especially if one or more of those players tend to overthink their turns. The other downside is that since you have fewer turns in larger groups, your influence over the game also diminishes to the point that luck can become too much of a factor for some players.

Competitive Carcassonne players would view it as a strictly two-player game. While some tournament organisers still insist on including three or four-player rounds as part of their national competitions before proceeding to a knock-out stage between the players with the most points at the end of these rounds, this is not a popular format among Carcassonne players themselves. My personal belief is that Carcassonne can be enjoyed with any number of players (even solo), but any games I play against two or more opponents are usually taken far less seriously than the head to head games I play.


#5: Why does the player that goes last always get to place one tile less than the other players? Is this fair?

This has always been a strange quirk of Carcassonne that I've never really understood. Considering that the basegame consists of 72 tiles, which can be divided equally between two, three or four players, it just seems odd to have the game played with 71 tiles (once the start tile has been removed) as this is a prime number i.e. it won't divide equally between any number of players other than 1 and 71. This bothers me more than it seems to bother most people.

In terms of the starting player having an advantage, I have always felt that this was the case. Not only does the starting player go into the game with a 31% chance of drawing a tile featuring a city cap that can be used against the start tile to get a four-point head start, but the starting player also gets to place one tile more than their opponent. It isn't rare that games can be won or lost over a matter of one or two points, and while it isn't always necessarily the starting player who wins on these occasions, it doesn't seem unfair to suggest that the outcomes of many such closely-fought games could have been different if the second player had been given the opportunity to place the same number of tiles as the starting player.

EDIT:
Although it's not common, I have known competitions where the advantage of being the starting player is balanced out by a tie-breaker stating that in the event of a draw, the player that went first loses.


#6: Is it against Carcassonne's rules to create a gap/ hole in the landscape?

In short, there are no tile placement rules provided that roads, cities and fields are always matched against roads, cities and fields respectively for every tile that the tile being placed is directly adjacent to. Not in the basic game anyway. This means that gaps can, and often do form quite naturally, but it's also common to see holes created deliberately either to trap meeples in any features that border the hole, or to prevent a meeple belonging to one player joining to a feature belonging to their opponent. This isn't always good for the aesthetic of the landscape, but is entirely in keeping with the rules.


#7: Are players allowed to team up or make special deals between themselves?

There are no rules suggesting that players shouldn't (or should) team up in games of Carcassonne so it certainly isn't forbidden. In games with three or four players, it often makes sense for two or more players to work together if a feature they're sharing can give them a lead over any players that aren't included in this. However, it's also entirely within the rules for one of those previously co-operative players to swoop in at the last minute with an extra meeple to win the feature outright, so be careful who you trust!

With regards to "special deals" being made between players during games of Carcassonne, this is not something that the rules cover. While it will be to the detriment of the game, especially for players who aren't involved in any such teamwork, every player's decision regarding where they place their tile is 100% theirs and isn't bound to whatever they may have agreed to earlier in the game in exchange for another player using one of their tiles to benefit them. It can be similarly frustrating when certain players try to influence the decisions of other players to subtly benefit themselves, but these all come from the social aspects that are common to many boardgames and which aren't addressed by Carcassonne in particular.


#8: What happens if I draw a tile but can only place it somewhere that benefits my opponent?

Carcassonne's rules state that if the drawn tile cannot be placed then it is discarded. Some people prefer to put unplaceable tiles back into the tile bag rather than let it go to waste, but this is classed as a "house rule" which is unofficial (see #13). But in any case, if your tile CAN be placed then it MUST be placed even if it helps your opponent more than it helps you. Tiles to look out for that are often unplaceable include those with road or city on all four sides, but it's usually only if they're drawn early on that they might be eliminated as the number of potential locations will increase as the landscape expands throughout the game.

In the event that a drawn tile cannot be placed and is discarded, the player who drew the tile draws a replacement tile and takes their turn as normal with that tile instead.


#9: How do I get my meeples back if they get stuck or I run out?

Certain expansions such as The Festival, The Tower and Crop Circles (to name but a few – there are plenty of others) introduce new mechanics to the game that can be exploited to recover meeples from the landscape and get them back into your hand for deployment elsewhere. However, in the basic game meeples remain on whichever feature they were used to claim until that feature is completed. If the feature can't be completed then the meeple will remain where it is until the end of the game. This can be especially frustrating for novice players but is an important tactic employed by more experienced players to limit their opponent's scoring opportunities and give themselves an advantage. This is why it's also important to learn how best to minimise the risk of your meeples becoming trapped, to recognise when they are being threatened and to defend them wherever possible.


#10: What happens if I run out of space on my table or want to place a tile that doesn't fit on the table?

There aren't any official rules covering what to do if you run out of space so it's up to you how you deal with it. You may be able to shift the landscape back towards the middle of the table to free up space closer to the edges, but this can be impractical especially for larger games. In the event that you decide to do this, it's worth taking a few quick photos before you move anything so that you can make sure everything is back where it's supposed to be before play resumes. Depending how this goes though, you might want to play on the floor next time!

EDIT:
Meepledrone has reminded me of some rules clarifications from Georg Wild of HiG in 2013. Surprisingly, he stated that according to Carcassonne's official rules tiles should not be shifted as the start tile must be placed in the centre of the table and any such shifting would displace it from here. However, if you do happen to have another table of appropriate height lying around then you ARE allowed to add this and continue the game onto it provided that everything stays in place. He goes on to say that while technically playing Carcassonne on the floor isn't in keeping with the game's official rules (since the start tile can't be placed in the middle of the table) this is still acceptable if you haven't got a table and don't try to place tiles under sofas, cabinets or shelves. His full list of clarifications can be found here: http://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/Base_game#Use_of_a_Table


#11: Is there too much luck in Carcassonne?

There is certainly an element of luck to Carcassonne; it would be remiss of me to suggest otherwise. But generally, people are quick to dismiss things that they see as being heavily luck-based without taking the time to get to know them. These same people don't like losing, and it's easy for a weak player to blame their defeat on bad luck simply because they're unaware of what measures their opponent took to maximise their chances of victory.

You win at Carcassonne by scoring more points than your opponent. This is achieved by generating as many points for yourself as possible, whilst simultaneously trying to limit your opponent's scoring opportunities either by anticipating their most valuable features and sharing them, or by trapping their meeples in features that will never be complete. After just a few games, novice players might have become quite good at building their own score while leaving their opponent to build theirs and hoping for the best, but these types of games are very different to the ones played between experienced players who know when to build or expand and when (and how) to threaten, attack, trap or defend.

If I had to sum it up in just three words, I'd say Carcassonne is a game of decisions, priorities and pressure. If you make good decisions, prioritise correctly and can keep your opponent under pressure then the "luck" will (almost) always be on your side!


#12: What is "Tile Counting"?

"Tile Counting" is an umbrella term covering a range of skills that can be used to a player's advantage in games of Carcassonne. While most intermediate players will be sufficiently familiar with the tiles to tell you how many of each type of tile appear in the basic game, this knowledge alone isn't especially helpful during a game unless combined with a mental record of which tiles have already been placed in order to deduce which tiles are left in the bag/ stack.

During untimed games, players who meticulously check the entire landscape before committing to their next turn can be difficult to bear which is why thinking time is limited in most competition games. Even so, many top players are so proficient in their tile counting that they will know exactly what's left at any point during a game almost instinctively and can use this to their advantage. For example, they might not waste a meeple on a particular city if they already know that that the tiles required to complete it have already been placed elsewhere.


#13: What house/ unofficial rules are commonly played?

I've listed the Carcassonne house-rules that I'm aware of below, but this should not be considered exhaustive or complete by any means! Please let me know if you play any rules variations that you'd like me to share here:

- Pre-drawing
Rather than waiting for the player immediately before you to complete their turn before drawing your tile, pre-drawing your tile for your next turn in advance can speed up the game for everyone as it affords you extra thinking time while the other players are taking their turns. This is generally quite commonly accepted/ played, even at the world championships, but It's important not to reveal your tile before your turn as this knowledge may influence how other players would choose to place their tile.

- Return unplaceable tiles
Instead of discarding drawn tiles that can't be placed (see #8), simply return the tile to the bag that you drew it from so that it may be drawn again later when perhaps there are opportunities within the landscape for it to be placed without leaving it out.

- Three-tile variant
Some players prefer to play with three tiles in their hand and draw back up to three at the end of their turn. Obviously this gives more tile placement options with each turn and some suggest that it also reduces the impact of luck (which I struggle to agree with). I'm not a fan of this particular variant as I don't feel like it's entirely in keeping with the spirit of the game, but that's just my opinion. I am however confident that Klaus-Jürgen Wrede would say that if the game is more enjoyable for you to play in this way then you should do it!

- Starting player plays the start tile
To get around Carcassonne's awkward 71-tile issue (see #5), some players like to play that the first player places the starting tile and may place a meeple on it in the same way as they would any other tile (this is instead of the start tile already being on the table before the starting player draws and places their tile). The advantage of this is that every player gets to place the same number of tiles (depending on the number of players of course) and the possibility of the starting player grabbing an easy four-point head start on their first turn is also removed.

- Table edge auto-completion
Although it isn't commonly played as far as I'm aware, I've known some people play that if a feature on a tile borders the edge of the table then it is considered complete where no further tile could be placed (without falling onto the floor). This is instead of shifting the tiles back towards the middle of the table as the game spreads out (see #10) but is easily exploited and can lead to some unusual landscapes where players deliberately extend their features towards the edge of the table so as to complete them as quickly as possible.


#14: What apps exist for Carcassonne?

There are currently official Carcassonne apps for both Android and iOS devices provided by Asmodee Digital. While the Asmodee app has been around on Android for a little while now, it is only within the last couple of months that it has replaced the previous version of the iOS app by The Coding Monkeys. Some good news here is that The Coding Monkeys' version of the iOS app will continue to run in parallel to the new and (in my opinion) inferior version although it has now been removed from the App Store and consequently isn't available to new customers.

If you search for Carcassonne on either Android or iOS devices you will find various unlicensed copies of Carcassonne as well as companion apps such as score trackers so be careful what you download!


#15: Where can Carcassonne be played online?

The Android/ iOS apps for Carcassonne (see #14) support online play and can be used to play against friends and randomly selected opponents alike. However, there are also downloadable implementations of Carcassonne and websites that offer the ability to play Carcassonne online against live opponents. I've listed some of these websites below:

- BoardGameArena (http://www.boardgamearena.com)
- Yucata.de (https://www.yucata.de/en)
- Your Turn My Turn (https://www.yourturnmyturn.com)
- Brettspielwelt (https://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele)

Most of these websites are free, although you may find certain features are limited unless you upgrade to a paid account as is the case with BoardGameArena.

Alternatively, JCloisterZone (https://jcloisterzone.com/en/) is Java-based which means it runs on many different platforms including PCs and Macs. It's free to download, offers an unrivalled range of expansions and features surprisingly tough AI/ computer opponents. It probably isn't quite as polished as some of Carcassonne's other implementations but the interface is perfectly usable and has been used to play hundreds if not thousands of online games between members of Carcassonne Central for over half a decade.


#16: What's a good score to aim for in Carcassonne?

It's a mistake to assume that your final score is any kind of indication of how good you are as a player. Because your score isn't a personal constant, it's the result of many factors of which certainly include but are by no means limited to your particular skill level.

For one thing is the number of players. Your score in a four-player game won't typically be as high as you might usually expect to score in a two-player game for example. But the strength of your opponents is also significant in that you wouldn't expect to be able to score as many points against an experienced player as you might against someone who has only just started playing the game. Strong players will look to frustrate you and try to keep your score down so that they don't have to work so hard to generate points for themselves in order to win the game. It doesn't matter if they win the game with 50 points or with 150 points; a win is still a win!

It's also worth remembering that every game of Carcassonne is different and is influenced uniquely by the order of the tiles and the decisions that each player (not just you) makes along the way. A consequence of this is that some games typically tend to yield more points than others. Maybe the game included the completion of one or two big, shared cities or an especially valuable farm, or maybe the tiles were scattered and completed features were few and far between. A score of 50 points in a game like this might be the victorious result of a hard-fought battle between two expert players.

I'll leave you with one final thought. A year or two before I started regularly participating in the UK Carcassonne championships, the competition was run in a subtly different way one year that turned out to be quite significant. Three preliminary rounds of four-player games were held, as had been the case in previous years, but the ranking at the end of these three rounds was ordered by each player's total score across their three games. In this respect, competitive play was out the window as coming last with 80 points was far better than winning with 50 points. The results were a little chaotic as most players started co-operating simply to generate as many points as possible for themselves in order to increase their chances of finishing higher up the ranking. This was not something that the organisers repeated!


#17: How can I improve my chances of winning at Carcassonne?

A colleague once bet me £5 that he could beat me at Carcassonne after another colleague mentioned to him that I was obsessed with the game. Afterwards, I found out that he thought he could beat me because he'd Googled "how to win at Carcassonne" which clearly wasn't sufficient to protect his £5 in this case. No amount of research can fast-track you through your first thousand or so games towards becoming a great player; as with most games, sports and other disciplines, the key to success is to just keep playing/ practicing...

At first you may find it useful to play on apps or websites (see #14 and #15) against AI/ computer opponents if you struggle to find real people who will play as often as you'd like. I still play at least two or three games against the Witch or The Count on the old iOS app every day! You will eventually reach a point where familiar AI opponents no longer pose any kind of challenge though, which suggests that you've probably learnt as much as you're going to learn from them and that it's time to up your game! Again, you can make use of apps and/ or websites to find suitable opponents online, and play as often as you can. When you lose, think about why you lost and what you could have done differently that might have changed the outcome as there's always something to learn from every defeat. Don't be afraid to lose either; it's as necessary as it is inevitable if you're constantly pushing yourself to improve. This is something I struggle with personally as I don't always take it very well when my opponent scores more than I do, but my games in the old days against the likes of Jéré, Leven, Merlin_89 and MrNumbers have certainly helped me to get used to it!

Every time your opponent places a tile that doesn't make sense to you, pretend that you're in their position and ask yourself why you might have done that. What are they hoping to accomplish and what tiles might they need to do so? It's hard to stop someone from achieving something if you don't know what it is they're trying to achieve so take the time to establish your priorities. Don't underestimate how worthwhile a process this can be as it can be a significant advantage to you if you learn to understand your opponent's thought process and can work out how to use it against them. This is often easier to do in person as you can read your opponent's body language too, so don't be afraid to enter tournaments or competitions even if you don't feel ready for them. Every UK championship I've played in has been a great opportunity to play, learn and to become friends with some wonderful people.

Finally, unless it's something that you're already doing, tile-counting (see #12) and trapping (see #9) are key skills that you will need to develop over time if you want to be able to compete with strong players. The better you are at using your knowledge of the tiles to your advantage and your opponent's disadvantage, the more your chances of winning will improve. Good luck, and enjoy the journey!


#18: Where do the best Carcassonne players in the world come from?

Carcassonne's first five world champions were all from Germany with Ralph Querfurth taking the title on four of those occasions and Sebastian Trunz taking the other. In fact, in 2008 both Germans placed within the top three so it's fair to say that Germany has produced some truly world-class players! However, since Els Bulten won the world championships for the Netherlands in 2011 only two countries have claimed the top spot more than once. For Greece this was Panteli Litsardopoulos in 2013 and 2015, and for Japan it was Takafumi Mochiduki in 2014 and Genro Fujimoto in 2018. Other world champions have hailed from the Czech Republic (2012), Russia (2016), Poland (2017) and Romania (2019):

2006Ralph QuerfurthGermany
2007Sebastian TrunzGermany
2008Ralph QuerfurthGermany
2009Ralph QuerfurthGermany
2010Ralph QuerfurthGermany
2011Els BultenNetherlands
2012Martin MojzisCzech Republic
2013Panteli LitsardopoulosGreece
2014Takafumi MochidukiJapan
2015Panteli Litsardopoulos    Greece
2016Vladimir KovalevRussia
2017Tomasz PreussPoland
2018Genro FujimotoJapan
2019    Marian CurcanRomania

So while it's clear that the best Carcassonne players came from Germany in Carcassonne's early days, it does appear that the rest of the world has caught up somewhat now and that, in theory, the next world champion could come from anywhere!


#19: Which are the best expansions for Carcassonne?

With so many expansions available for Carcassonne it's hard to know where to begin if you're looking to reach beyond the basic game for the first time, and it's easy to be overwhelmed by what's available!

Assuming that you've already discovered The River and The Abbots (which are included with the basegame), a good way to start expanding your games is via the first two major expansions; "Inns & Cathedrals" and "Traders & Builders". These can be played either individually or together and bring a great selection of interesting tiles that can be used either to build points for yourself, or to thwart your opponents. Plus they bring a selection of new types of meeple to give you more options during the game. The rules are easy to understand, and considering how mixed reviews can be for some Carcassonne expansions, very few people have anything bad to say about either of these expansions.

If you're already familiar with these expansions and feel ready to move on again, your choice should be guided mostly by what elements of Carcassonne you enjoy most. If you enjoy the cut-throat aggression and want more "take that" in your games then either the third ("The Princess & The Dragon") or fourth ("The Tower") expansions may be good choices for you. The fifth ("Abbey & Mayor"), sixth ("Count, King & Robber") and eighth ("Bridges, Castles & Bazaars") expansions bring a wide variety of new components to the game which all add to the depth of strategy in slightly different ways. For example, Barns (exp. #5) significantly change how farms/ fields work, the King & Robber Baron tiles (exp. #6) add extra bonus points and Abbeys (exp. #5) and Bridges (exp. #8) bring new ways to help complete awkward features or get your meeples onto those valuable farms. On the other hand, if you prefer to keep things friendly and enjoy closing your opponent's features for them, The Count (exp. #6) may be perfect for you. Not to forget the unique tile configurations and push-your-luck mechanic of "Hills & Sheep", or the high-scoring shenanigans of "Under The Big Top" (the ninth and tenth major expansions respectively).

Ultimately, there's something for everyone so it's worth thinking about who you are before you make your decision, and to try before you buy wherever possible.


#20: How many officially recognised expansions are there for Carcassonne?

This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, to the point that there probably isn't even an answer that won't be disputed and argued about between the many Carcassonne enthusiasts to whom this seems to matter. How can there not be an answer to such a straightforward question? Consider the following list and tell me how many expansions you see:

- The Count
- Cult Places/ Shrines
- King & Robber Baron
- River 2
- Count, King & Robber

Some would see five as these can be viewed as five unique expansions, but others may see just one as all of the first four expansions are included together to form the fifth. But let's also remember that in the same year, Cult Places/ Shrines were later available as a promo with a special edition of Spielbox dedicated to Hans im Glück, then as part of Rio Grande Games' "Cult, Siege & Creativity" boxed mini-expansion which also added a sixth tile. And what's more, all three versions of this expansion had different watermarks! So it's somewhere between one and seven, until you also consider that the "City of Carcassonne" from The Count is available either as a set of 12 numbered tiles, as one 3 x 4 tile or as two 2 x 3 tiles for the new art edition. It goes on like this.

So we're still no closer to answering the question, and I've only briefly touched on the whole ugly area of watermarks and all the spanners these have thrown into the works over the years. For the sake of getting an answer though, which may or may not be correct, I went to the very knowledgeable Hector Madrona (AKA Meepledrone) who knows far more about these things than I do. His opinion is below:

Old artwork edition: 44
Major: 10 (9 major + Wheel of Fortune)
Minor: 34 (including La Porxada and counting Monasteries in the Netherlands & Belgium only once)

New artwork edition: 35
Major: 9 (numbered expansions go up to 10 but 7 is missing as The Catapult was never released for the new artwork edition)
Minor: 26 (including each of the Spiel promo tiles separately)

This brings the total number of expansions across the entire Carcassonne series to... 79. So there we go. Happy now? No, I thought not. Just please, don't even get me started on the spin-offs...


#21: Which is the best spin-off game for Carcassonne?

This is a lot like asking whether cheeseburgers are better than pizza. Sometimes you want a cheeseburger, other times you want a pizza; you can't really compare them directly. This said, certain spin-off games are better for certain purposes which could be relevant. I have recommended Kids of Carcassonne/ My First Carcassonne (it's the same game) to a lot of people with young kids who are starting to show an interest in boardgaming. While it may be perfect for people in this position, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else unless I really didn't like them.

Most of the spin-off games have a particular focus or appeal, which in many cases is designed to combat specific complaints that people have made about the basic game. Carcassonne: The Castle for example is a popular spin-off that is strictly 2-player only making it a good choice for couples. Carcassonne: South Seas meanwhile is one of the only spin-offs not to include a scoretrack which makes it very difficult to determine who is actually winning until the game is finished and scores are counted up. Then of course there's Carcassonne: Star Wars edition which can be played in teams and involves dice-rolling "battles" to determine ownership of planets (cloisters).

I wouldn't say that any of the spin-offs are more popular than the basic game, but few are especially unpopular either. Games like Carcassonne: The Discovery and Carcassonne: New World may be more easily forgotten than others but everything from "Hunters & Gatherers" (2002) right up to "Safari" (2018) has something to offer and is worth trying out if you ever have the chance.


#22: Where can I find more detailed information about Carcassonne's expansions and rules?

Considering the number of expansions that now exist for Carcassonne, the state of the "official" rules has become rather confusing where rules from various expansions overlap or occasionally even seem to contradict each other. With the old art version, Hans im Glück attempted to bring clarity to any specific examples that were brought to their attention but these clarifications occasionally made things even more complicated in ways that weren't immediately anticipated. As did the mere existence of expansions like Halflings and German Castles which required players to treat these half/ double sized tiles in the same way as any other tile!

Despite incredible efforts over a number of years to keep all of Carcassonne's official rulings, special cases and footnotes together in a single document, this increasing confusion has meant that Carcassonne Central's "Complete Annotated Rules" (CAR) document hasn't now been updated since May 2015 and as such is considered obsolete for the purposes of many newer players. HiG meanwhile have started using a disclaimer on all newly released expansions stating that they are for use with the basic game only, and any other expansions are included at the player's own risk. In other words, they're leaving it up to the players themselves to decide what to do if any awkward situations arise. So that's super.

Thankfully, a group of Carcassonne Central regulars were determined not to let the CAR go to waste and successfully brought it back to life in the form of a wiki. The wiki features detailed information about every expansion including tiles, rules and more general things such as Carcassonne's history and timeline of releases. It can even generate a customised turn sequence breakdown based on whichever expansions you select, thus providing an ideal companion to help you to play your games correctly regardless of which expansions you include.

The wiki can be found here: http://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/Main_Page and is considered recommended reading for any aspiring Carcassonne enthusiast!


#23: Why are there so many different versions of the Carcassonne basegame?

If you're in the business of publishing and selling games, how do you make people re-buy games they already own? Simple! By repackaging your game as a "limited edition" with a brand new expansion or combination of expansions. Big Boxes aside, Hans im Glück have produced at least five such versions of their basic game: with Traders & Builders in 2004 (tin box), with Princess & Dragon in 2006, with Crop Circles in 2009, with special meeples and The Festival in 2011 (meeple-shaped box), and with Count, King & Robber and Die Belagerers in 2013 (tin box). At time of release, Crop Circles, The Festival and Die Belagerers were brand new expansions that weren't available in any way other than through these special boxes.

There have also been six different "Big Box" versions of Carcassonne released so far; five for the old art version, one for the new (although some might say it's more like seven if you class the 2003 "Limited Edition" gold box as Big Box 0 but that's a matter of opinion). These represent great starting points for new players who want to kickstart their Carcassonne collection with a good selection of expansions for a reasonable price. However, Big Boxes 5 and 6 have both contained exclusive content that remains unavailable outside of these Big Box editions. In the case of BB5 this is literally just a couple of modified tiles from the River expansion, but even this was enough for some enthusiasts to declare it a brand new expansion and as such River 3/ 1b was born. But with BB6, seven of the eleven included expansions remain unavailable for the new art version unless through purchase of this box. Frustratingly, these aren't even new expansions and are merely reprints of the mini boxed expansions that were available for the old art version of Carcassonne in 2012. Being a Carcassonne completionist is expensive!

Finally is Wheel of Fortune. This is a bit of a weird one as it doesn't really fit the mould as either a major or a minor expansion, and is just as much a spin-off/ stand alone game as it is anything else. This has only ever been available either with the basegame, or through Big Box 5 which includes a slightly modified set of tiles. My favourite thing about this expansion (or whatever it is) in particular though is the inclusion, with German versions, of a romantic novel written by Helene Luise Köppel. Named after the expansion, this undoubtedly provides players with an ideal companion to the game to be read between turns against players who like to make sure they've considered all of their options very thoroughly!


#24: Where can I buy Carcassonne stuff from?

Unless you're lucky enough to live near to a particularly good boardgame shop, eventually you'll need to look online when it comes to expanding your Carcassonne collection. You can generally buy the new-art basegame and most of the major expansions for it from Amazon or various online retailers at mostly sensible prices. Old-art tiles are now in very short supply though, and are stocked so scarcely that your best bet will probably be to visit eBay for a second-hand copy. Sometimes, it's also worth visiting German eBay (www.ebay.de) even if you don't live in Germany or speak German. Google translate can do a pretty good job of helping you to navigate your way around, and most sellers are prepared to ship internationally if you message them (albeit for a slightly increased fee). Rarer items seem to become available here far more often than they do on any other eBay sites and the prices expected are often more realistic so it's worth checking here at least weekly if you're looking for something in particular.

The best place to buy many of the less well-known items for Carcassonne is via Hans im Glück's online web-shop: Cundco (www.cundco.de). Cundco sells various games (including some non-Carcassonne games), Carcassonne spin-offs, expansions, mini-expansions, promos and other rarities such as coasters, blank tiles, meeple sets in unique colours, meeple-shaped keyrings, magnets, candles, luggage-tags and even cookie cutters! They also offer a handy tile-replacement service which can be used to replace lost or damage tiles from any of their games for around half a Euro per tile. Their prices are mostly very reasonable, although shipping costs can be prohibitive to the point that you might not want to order any more frequently than you have to.

Around half a dozen different expansions have been released as special promos for either Spielbox (https://nostheide.de/webshop3/index.php?language=en) or Spiel Doch! magazines, so it's worth keeping an eye on both of these for news of any upcoming editions that will include new content you'll want to be able to get your hands on while stock is still available


#25: What are the rarest/ most valuable Carcassonne items, and why are they so expensive?

Because of its age, there are certain old and rare editions of Carcassonne and its many expansions that tend to fetch higher prices than you'd normally expect to see boardgames selling for on eBay. Certain expansions such as the first few that came with Spielbox magazines were only released as part of relatively small print-runs and so are still highly sought-after now simply because they're rare and hard to find.

It may seem strange but it's worth remembering that a lot of Carcassonne enthusiasts are as much about collecting Carcassonne as they are playing it, and as such it isn't uncommon for some of these collectors to seek early or misprinted versions of certain expansions that they may already own several versions of without ever having played any of them!

I've listed below a dozen or so of the rarest/ most valuable Carcassonne items that I'm aware of, along with an indication of the kind of price I can last remember seeing them going for where possible. This list almost certainly isn't complete or exhaustive, and the prices I'm suggesting may have changed significantly since I last saw them for sale, but I hope it's of interest all the same:

- 70-point scoretrack (2000)
This was available only with the first edition of the basegame as it was quickly replaced with a 50-point scoretrack in subsequent reprints. It's hard to price as I don't see them very often but I'd be surprised to see a first edition box including this scoretrack go for anything less than around £70.

- Le Sac (2002)
This was first given away to Carcassonne players in 2002 as a fix for the mismatched backs of the tiles of the basic game and the first expansion which could be used to tell them apart when placed in stacks on the table. A similar tile bag now comes bundled with Carcassonne's second expansion or can be bought directly through Cundco (see #24) for significantly less than the €165 that was being charged for the only Le Sac I could find online presently.

- The River: Copy Protection edition (2002)
This was a special version of Carcassonne's River expansion that came with an early PC version of the boardgame published in Germany by KOCH Media. By way of copy protection, the 12 tiles have a series of codes printed on their backs which would presumably have been referenced by the program to ensure that you had the tiles to hand and thus that you were entitled to play it. This method was especially common among PC games in the mid-90s that usually required you to enter a word from a specific page/ line/ position of the game's instruction manual.

- Cathars/ Tunnels/ Plague (2004/ 09/ 10)
Spielbox (see #24) have released various items for Carcassonne over the years but these three seem to be the ones that people are most keen to get their hands on, especially if the original magazine is also included along with the expansion. Amazingly, Spielbox will discover boxes full of these in their warehouse every now and again and will sell them online at face value. Inevitably these soon turn up on eBay with prices settling between £50 and £100 per item depending on which edition of the magazine it is (and consequently which expansion is included).

- La Porxada (2010)
This was given away at Jugar X Jugar (a games festival in Spain) in 2010 as a sticker that had to be stuck onto a Carcassonne tile before it could be played. Since then it has somehow achieved semi-official status despite never having been released by Hans im Glück and is sought after by many. I can't quite imagine how much certain collectors would be willing to pay for an original Porxada sticker, or even how many of them still exist, but home-made replicas and reprints are typically quite cheap depending on the quality of the print.

- Crop Circles/ Die Belagerers (2010/ 13)
Both of these are expansions that were first released with special editions of the basegame (see #23). They were then released separately from the basegame through Cundco but sold out quickly and are now very difficult to find. For a short time in 2016, Crop Circles could be bought for a few Euros through abuse of Cundco's Tile Replacement service but they soon wised-up to this and stopped people from buying it this way.

- Black and Purple Teachers (2011?)
The School expansion consists of just two tiles and a special translucent meeple that plays the role of the "teacher". Evidently these teacher meeples had always been available in six different colours although blue, red, green and yellow teacher meeples were so much more common that most people assumed these were the only colours available. In 2015 however, Carcassonne Central suddenly discovered the existence of teacher meeples in black and purple and there ensued a desperate scramble as everyone tried to secure themselves these unexpectedly precious items. These never appear on the market anymore, and since I know the person who seems to have bought up most of the remaining few, that isn't likely to change any time soon.

- Misprinted Gingerbread Man (2012)
This popular mini-expansion for the Carcassonne: Winter Edition spin-off brings six new tiles to the game along with a little wooden figure who gives away a lot of points to players with meeples he shares cities with. However, the first edition of this expansion included a misprinted tile which is a duplicate of another tile meaning that while six tiles are included, one is included twice and another is missing! This was quickly fixed and a corrected version was released soon afterwards, but the earlier misprinted edition remains something for Carcassonne completionists to mercilessly hunt down regardless.

- Russian Promo Tiles (2013/ 16)
The first half of this set of four promo tiles were created by Hobby World (Carcassonne's Russian publishers) and given away to participants of the Russian Carcassonne championships in 2013. Two more tiles were added to the set three years later, and were quick to find a place among Carcassonne's most highly sought-after items. Within the last two or three years, even sets of just the two more recent tiles have been offered for around £100.

- Darmstadt (2014)
This 3-tile expansion was released not by Hans im Glück, but under license from HiG which made it difficult to get hold of unless you happened to be at the Essen festival in 2014. Despite this, it was unpopular even among those lucky enough to get hold of it owing mostly to the somewhat lacklustre artwork and uninspiring rules. However, this hasn't stopped it from becoming a must-have expansion for many and as such is still being actively sought after by collectors.

- Spiel Promo Tiles (2014 – 2019)
In 2014 Hans im Glück printed a special promo tile to be given away with any purchases from their stall at the Essen festival, and have done the same thing every year since. Although they typically also make them available with Cundco orders for a very limited time towards the end of November, I've seen the 2014 and 2015 tiles sell for as much as £80 (each) on eBay in recent years.

- Saint Nicholas scoretrack (2016)
This was a special version of the new-art scoretrack featuring two stickers and a set of rules allowing players to be granted extra turns under specific circumstances relating to the spaces with the stickers on them. It sold out quickly as there were only 150 to begin with, but I haven't seen any for sale since so it's difficult to estimate the kind of price one of these might sell for now.

- The Markets of Leipzig (2017)
This was initially released as a boxed mini-expansion and was only available from the "modell hobby spiel" fair in Leipzig in 2017. While the expansion itself consisted of just four double-sized tiles and a set of rules, the box also included a 2-tile mini-expansion for Carcassonne: Amazonas, a set of 13 differently coloured meeples and a signed certificate of authenticity as numbers were limited to just 600. Shortly after the fair, a shrink-wrapped tilesheet version of this expansion (including the 2 Amazonas tiles) was released to Carcassonne's international fanbase through Cundco, but it was the limited-edition boxed version that most collectors were after, preferably with as low a number on the certificate as possible!

- Carcassonne in medieval book design (2018)
Although it wasn't what many of us were expecting, certainly in terms of price, Carcassonne's "ultimate" edition came in the form of this book-box painstakingly handmade over a 55-step process using only old handicraft techniques and natural materials. Other than the box itself, there were no exclusives to be found here which made it hard to justify the €649 price tag despite being limited to just 100 units (including 20 that were reserved for staff at Hans im Glück), and as such it is currently still available through Cundco (here: https://cundco.de/fanartikel/241/limitierte-sonderedition-carcassonne-im-mittelalterlichen-buch-design?c=17).

5
General / Carcassonne Cartoon Competition...
« on: April 09, 2020, 03:38:14 AM »
...well, it's not really a competition as such, I just wanted to provide a catchy title! ;)

There are lots of quirky little aspects to Carcassonne that many of us here know and love, and plenty of in-jokes which have all become a part of Carcassonne’s rich and wonderful culture. While I’m not an artistic person, I wanted to celebrate this in a slightly different way by creating my own little Carcassonne-themed cartoon:


:blue-meeple: :'(

It might not be very funny, but hopefully it is at least something that we can all relate to, especially those among us who are horrible enough to appreciate a good old-fashioned meeple trapping like this! >:D :(y)

I’m sharing my cartoon in the hope that others might enjoy trying the same (and sharing their efforts here of course) as it was actually quite good fun and felt like a worthwhile way of spending some of the extra time that many people around the world have got on their hands at the moment. If the end result is that we create a gallery of cartoons between us then it will have been time well spent, especially if our efforts help bring a smile to the faces of those who need it most at this difficult time.

So, what have you got?! C:-)

6
Upcoming Scheduled Games / Keep Calm and Play Carcassonne
« on: March 23, 2020, 04:24:27 AM »
Hello all.

In light of the fact that many of us are socially distancing ourselves at the moment, and consequently cutting back on the kind of social interactions that we normal get through boardgaming, I wanted to float the idea of bringing back our Weekly Online Game (see here for more detail about of what I'm talking about).

The games would be played using JCloisterZone (download from here) which is free and offers a wide variety of expansions. I think it would also be useful to have a live chat/ conference ongoing elsewhere that people can drop in/ out of as they like. There are lots of possibilities here, but I'll share details once a solution has been decided.

The purpose of these games would be threefold:
  • For a bit of friendly company and light-hearted banter (without leaving the house) :(y)
  • To have some fun in the process :(y)
  • To play some Carcassonne! :(y) :(y)
I'm looking to schedule a once or twice a week online Carcassonne evening for anyone who wants to participate, or more regularly if necessary. You don't need to be an expert player as these games are all about providing some fun and company for anyone who feels like they could use some... which has got to be pretty much everyone given the current global situation!

I'm hoping this will get a good response, so please post here a) if you're interested and b) what days/ times suit you best for a game. As I say, we don't have to limit ourselves to one slot per week, but lets take a consensus to establish when would be most possible/ useful for most people.

Looking forward to catching up with you! :) :(y)

7
General / Carcassonne: Online Gaming Options
« on: March 18, 2020, 02:34:19 AM »
Hey everyone.

For obvious reasons, I'm seeing a lot of talk on the BGG Facebook page about what options exist for playing various boardgames online at the moment. It's hard to think of a time within living memory when the existence of such things has ever been so important to boardgamers all around the world who are finding themselves increasingly isolated or cut-off from a hobby they normally enjoy so much :(

With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to put together a list of places where Carcassonne can be played online without leaving your house. Some of these will be more obvious than others, but an up-to-date list could prove valuable to many Carcassonne fans so I thought I'd attempt to put something together to get the ball rolling, and will leave the rest to you guys if I've forgotten anything!



:blue-meeple: Apps: :blue-meeple:

- For Apple users there is the ever-popular iOS Carcassonne app by The Coding Monkeys which was recently withdrawn :(. Despite this, if you already own it it is still possible to play against friends online, local games against a range of AI opponents or to enjoy a "Quick Game" against a random opponent. If you don't own this, I'm told it has been replaced by the iOS version of the Android app (below) although I couldn't find this in the App Store...

- There is of course also the Android app by Asmodee Digital, the catchily titled "Carcassonne: Official Board Game - Tiles & Tactics" which is currently available to all Android users through the Play Store. You can play against friends, random opponents and also AI (although the AI seems rather stupid).



:green-meeple: Websites: :green-meeple:

- Boardgame Arena (http://www.boardgamearena.com) is one of the best known boardgaming websites and is somewhere I visit daily. It has tens of thousands of users (including several former Carcassonne world champions), frequent competitions and tournaments, and offers a range of hundreds of games that can be played against others. The service has struggled somewhat recently due to the sudden spike in people wanting to play boardgames online, but it's well supported for something that is free to join. It's also possible to become a premium member for a monthly fee of around £3 if you want to help support the service.

- Yucata.de (https://www.yucata.de/en) doesn't appear to offer classic Carcassonne, but I've certainly played South Seas here and it also offers Hunters & Gatherers. In fact, back in the day, Hounk organised a South Seas tournament here which was great fun! I don't know it well, but it's well worth a look...

- Your Turn My Turn (https://www.yourturnmyturn.com) lists "Carcassonne" among its available titles, but this implementation of Carcassonne is actually Carcassonne: The Castle (not that this is a problem necessarily). I've never tried it, but perhaps someone can fill me in on their experience of it here if they have?

- Brettspielwelt (https://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele) is somewhere else I've rarely visited but which offers Carcassonne along with any of the first three expansions (Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders and Princess & Dragon). As above, please post below if you have any experience of this site.



:red-meeple: Others: :red-meeple:

- JCloisterZone (http://www.jcloisterzone.com/en) remains one of my favourite implementations of Carcassonne of all time, and is what we used to use for our tournaments here at CarcC. Its best points are that it's completely free, it features dozens of expansions, the AI opponents are surprisingly good and it's maintained by a member of our community here: farin. As long as you're running Java (also free: https://www.java.com/en/download) it's easy to download and install, and can be used to play against online opponents.



Hopefully this post will be of use to anyone who is stuck at home, looking for somewhere to play Carcassonne. Please feel free to add your thoughts/ comments about anything that's already listed if you've used them before, or post any links to anything new below if you're aware of anything I've missed.

Stay well. Stay safe. And enjoy your (online) gaming!

8
General / The best thing about Carcassonne is...
« on: June 27, 2019, 02:58:27 AM »
The best thing about Carcassonne is:


- Building meeple pyramids in between turns

- Watching my opponent drawing all of the tiles I desperately need

- Posting a photo of my river placement on BGG to ask if it's valid

- "Thinking" for 5 minutes before doing something exceptionally obvious

- Noticing that I have a meeple sat in a complete cloister still on the board and not remembering whether or not I've already scored it

- Knowing I could have won if only my opponent had drawn my last tile and I'd drawn theirs


Any other suggestions? :))

9
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / Basegame League - Round 8
« on: June 19, 2019, 07:55:18 AM »
Round 8



The full list of all fixtures for Rounds 1 to 11 (including results from previous rounds) can be found here: http://tournamentscheduler.net/schedule/NzAwODE4MjQzNg (but please don't play any of your opponents from any future rounds yet as we're going to take it one round at a time). :(y)

Please play your matches as soon as you can!

Good luck to everyone; and when you do get round to playing your match please don't forget to post the results and any screenshots you have here on this post! Thanks C:-)

10
News and Events / UK Carcassonne Championships 2019
« on: June 05, 2019, 03:37:46 PM »
For those who didn't already know, last Saturday I travelled up to Birmingham to the UK Games Expo to participate in the UK Carcassonne championships.

For the first time, the UK's annual Carcassonne championships were based purely on a head-to-head/ 2-player format rather than on a mixture of 4-player games followed by a 4/ 8/ 16 player head-to-head knockout as has been seen in previous years. It followed a Swiss-style scoring format which meant that players were drawn against other players with a similar win/loss ratio, but no player should play the same opponent more than once. For most of the afternoon and early evening there were a total of 36 participants playing new-art Carcassonne with zero expansions (no river, no abbots, nothing else) simultaneously across 18 tables, along with umpires from Mind Sports Olympiad to keep scores and generally run the tournament. This is how I got on...


(left: tables waiting to be played at, middle: the tournament schedule, right: the rules)


Game 1: Dabrowka Bamber - WIN :(y)

Although I've never played either of them head to head, I knew of Nicholas Bamber (@asparagus) and his daughter Julia who got knocked out in the semi-finals last year, the same as I did, and who reached the finals the year before that. So I know that the Bambers are to be feared in the world of Carcassonne and was immediately wary of my opponent before we'd even started playing! However, after we'd opened a brand new Carcassonne set between us and had punched out all the tiles, this turned out to be a far more peaceful game than I was expecting. I was somewhat more aggressive than my opponent, but she didn't always respond when I pressured her by attacking some of her features, and this gave me some good chances to trap several of her meeples in the early stages of our game thanks to some favourable tile draws. It was clear that she was frustrated with how the game was going, but this frustration seemed especially painful towards the end of the game where her shortage of meeples meant she missed some easy points and couldn't fight back where I continued to apply pressure and challenged her for some of the farms.

Overall, she seemed very smart and made some great decisions during the game, but perhaps wasn't used to playing aggressively and this venture into unfamiliar territory meant she didn't always know how to respond to some of the positions I was forcing her into. As a result of this, I won the game by a margin of something like 20 points but would still maintain that the Bamber sisters are to Carcassonne what the Mitchell brothers are to Albert Square...


Game 2: Andrew Page (UK champion 2016) - WIN :(y)

I'd been chatting to Andrew (@torminalis) before the competition had started as we'd played a few online games together back in 2016 before he went off to represent the UK at the world championships. I wasn't sure if he'd remember me after I had the pleasure of meeting him in person when @Decar and I visited Essen that year, but apparently he had. He said he hoped we'd get to play in person, whereas I kind of hoped we didn't as I was secretly wishing for an easy ride at least as far as the semi-finals. This isn't what I got!

As our game started, Andrew completed a quick city and placed an early farmer which all helped to establish a very strong opening position for him. However, I quickly caught up thanks to my drawing of all three of the cfcf (split) tiles in quick succession, taking four points for a small city with each one of them! I also farmed here, and on an adjacent farm to strengthen my claim to what looked like it would become something worth fighting for. Andrew fought back and I added a third farmer, and later a fourth to secure the farm overall. Meanwhile I had trapped one of his cloisters and had fought to share a secondary farm with him even though this meant deploying my last meeple (something I'm always very reluctant to do).

There were a couple of things about this game that stuck out for me, most of which I discussed with Andrew afterwards. The first was a mistake Andrew made which added his second farmer onto the main farm which I controlled. This meant his joined farmer became worthless as he was outfarmed, and it also added two cities to the main farm which hadn't previously been on it. The other thing he did, which surprised and delighted me, was that he completed a city we were sharing when I had no meeples to play with. This added three points to the value of my farm, but critically it gave me back a meeple which kept me in the game! This was especially important as I had placed a lot of farmers, but also had one guy stuck on a road and another in a city where Andrew had expertly pointed my road into my city to slow me down. This happened at a time when there were still plenty of ccrr and cccr tiles left in the deck, and any of them would have helped. But frustratingly enough, I couldn't seem to draw anything useful and my two meeples sat there poking their tongues out at me for most of the game until I eventually drew a cccr tile and got one back off the road. I never did complete the city though... :(

This game was closer than the last (I think), but the farmers ended up proving worthy of my investment and pushed the final scores in my favour.


Game 3: Richard Gough (UK champion 2012/13) – WIN :) :(y)

Richard (@Riker) is another good friend of mine, and someone who takes his Carcassonne very seriously. But this is to be expected of someone who has won the title twice within the last seven years, and we've played each other enough via JCloisterZone for me to know that I was in for yet another very tough match...

This game got off to a somewhat disastrous start for me. I was playing fairly safely, or so I thought, until the cccc tile put in an early appearance for Richard. As you'd expect, he used this to his advantage and over the course of the next four or five turns had trapped two of my meeples; one in a city, and one on an adjacent road for a grand total of around nine points between them. Obviously this came as a bit of a blow, especially for it to happen so early in the game, but it did at least inspire me to fight back and attempt to do the same to him even though I knew he would be guarding himself against this very closely. But luck was on my side in this respect as Richard struggled to draw a useful tile to complete a small city he had started as I very gradually shut him down before finally killing off his city completely. Elsewhere he had anticipated where the main farm would be and claimed it in three separate places. I decided not to challenge him for this farm, mostly because my two trapped meeples meant I didn't really have the resources to do so. However, I did enjoy robbing him of a dozen or so points by merging all of his farms into one which ended up being worth a grand total of 18 points.

Elsewhere in the game I seemed to manage to complete cities just as they were threatened, took a little farm of my own and also risked a cloister which all helped to keep my score going in the right direction even though my meeple shortage made it feel like I was always on the back foot. Richard took risks too though, and about halfway through the game claimed one of two adjacent cities that had somehow been growing in value over the course of the game. I had also thought about claiming it earlier in the game, but again, the points on offer weren't worth one of my few remaining meeples. So it didn't entirely surprise me that Richard claimed it, but the alarm bells didn't start to ring too loudly until he joined his city to the adjacent city and I realised that it wasn't completely out of the question that he might actually complete it! This was a scary moment, but I did what I needed to do to limit his chances of completing it even though this meant foregoing easy points elsewhere. Richard congratulated me on this at the time, but it was thanks to luck elsewhere that narrowly prevented him from completing it and winning the game in the end.

When we totalled up our scores we saw that somehow I'd scraped a win in this game, albeit by my smallest margin so far. This game really took its toll on me though, so I was glad of a short break afterwards even though we missed most of it purely because our game seemed to take far longer to play than most of the others. Three wins from three games though! I was feeling pretty pleased with myself at this point, and was beginning to wonder who might spoil the party considering the strength of the field I'd already fought my way through!


(left: I took this photo of my game with Richard before we moved the tiles back towards the middle of the table, just look at those poor trapped meeples! right: standings at end of round 3)


Game 4: Ven Gee Lim (UK champion 2017) - WIN :D :(y)

Ven Gee is another player who I have a lot of history with. We first played in the consolation game for 3rd/4th in the 2015 competition and he thrashed me rather decisively then. We next played in Round 1 of the 2018 competition where I recognised him as the previous year's champion but didn't mention it as we were playing a 4-player game and it didn't seem fair to bring it up in front of other players who might use this as a reason to target him. Anyway, I managed to secure a win in that game by placing the final tile of the game – a cccr – such that it handed control of a city that had been shared between him and another player, to the other player, robbing him of around 15 points. It felt terrible at the time, but we laugh about it now and as a consequence have played dozens of head to head games via the iOS app since. I knew before the competition had even started that if things went well for me I would end up playing Ven Gee at some point and it would be 50/50 whether things continued to go well after that. Both of us were unbeaten at this point, but obviously this was about to change...

Ven Gee drew a couple of early cloisters and took a risk on claiming them. I couldn't let this go unchallenged, and although he recognised where I was threatening him he never seemed to draw anything that could be used to defend himself whereas I always seemed to get what I needed to kill him off. I trapped both of his cloisters and got another meeple on an adjacent road. I said sorry each time I completed a trap, but we both knew that in reality this wasn't the case at all and that I was having a little party inside my head each time I did it! The other thing that played significantly to my favour in this game was that we both had two meeples each invested in a city that, whilst unlikely to complete, was very valuable. When I managed to get a third meeple into this city, and claimed a small but growable farm at around the same time, things were looking up for me, but the game certainly wasn't over as Ven Gee was able to generate a lot of points, mostly from short roads, to keep his score ticking over. And despite my control of the big city, this was only just enough to balance out his three trapped meeples and I couldn't easily expand it without presenting him with an opportunity to get a third meeple of his own into it.

A couple of little cities generated just enough points to give me the lead in a game where Ven Gee had proved just how dangerous he can be even with three trapped meeples. I was glad to have this game over and done with though, and dreaded to think who my next opponent might be, assuming there was someone besides myself who had managed to get this far without being beaten.


(left: Ven Gee and I delighted to be playing in person again after so many games played on the iOS app, right: things were just starting to go my way (but I didn't want to show it)!


Game 5: Roma Attenborough - WIN ;D :(y)

Roma's is a name that I'm familiar with, but only from having read through results of UK championships from previous years (notably in 2018 when she finished the 4-player stage within the top 16 but couldn't continue to the knock-out stage, so the 17th ranked player [me!] qualified in her place). All things considered, I knew that she wasn't unfamiliar with finishing near the top even if she hadn't previously won the title (that I'm aware of). But our game was a strange one. Strange to the point that it almost felt out of place at this stage of the competition purely based on how quickly she played. I like to think that I'm capable of playing just as quickly as anyone else when it comes to speed Carcassonne, but in this case I felt a bit like she wasn't fully considering all of her opportunities in sufficient depth and I had to pull myself back from the brink of doing the same purely for the sake of responding to her as quickly as she seemed to be responding to me.

Weirdly, this was a game with no farmers at all until the last 12 or so tiles. Instead, the main focus of the game for me had been another huge but uncompleteable city. I challenged it in several places but it wasn't until she started trying to make my life difficult in this respect that I actually seemed to draw exactly what I needed (in most cases a 3-sided city tile of some description) to merge onto it and ultimately take overall control of it. I managed to kill off one or two of her meeples elsewhere but struggled in this respect too as she was equally difficult to pin down, and my putting pressure on her seemed to help her to draw whatever she needed to escape me!

I'd gradually built up a worthwhile lead throughout the game, but towards the end Roma had freed up sufficient meeples to claim some of the available farms which she scored well from. This, combined with her somewhat fortunate completion of a valuable city with just 4 or 5 tiles left to be placed meant that she finished just three points behind me when everything had been taken into account. But despite it being my narrowest win of the competition so far, it was a game that I felt I deserved to have won even moreso than most of the others that had led up to it. My opponent was very polite about it, but didn't want to hang around for a chat afterwards and headed off while I sat back to watch Ven Gee finish off another comfortable win at the table next to me.


(left: the atmosphere at the top 3 tables was pretty intense, right: 100% focused on my game against Roma


Game 6, SEMI-FINAL: Michal Frys (UK champion 2007?) - WIN 8) :(y)

The tournament was organised such that everyone played five games and then the four with the most wins went through into a semi-final, and the winners of each semi-final played each other in the final. With five wins from five games I was pretty confident I'd qualified for a semi-final, and remember joking with someone that I didn't know what more I could have done to have improved my chances of doing so if I hadn't made it! My unbeaten record meant that I was the top seed though, and consequently that I was drawn against the bottom seed – Michal Frys. I didn't know Michal, but Ven Gee had played him earlier and had warned me that he was a strong player, who was also a previous winner of the UK championship although I didn't catch when he'd won it. In any case, he had been there with his young daughter for at least five or six hours by this point and I was in awe of the fact that she would just sit quietly and entertain herself while her dad got on with his Carcassonne games. This, along with his thick German accent, made him someone to be feared just as much as anything else did.


(above: semi-final fixtures)

This game played out in the same way as most of my previous ones seemed to have done. My focus early on in the game was to trap Michal wherever possible without risking too many of my own meeples in the process. He saw this coming of course, and in most cases defended himself where he was able to. As a result of this kind of play though, we ended up growing a fairly hefty city between us which included two of his meeples against just one of mine. It didn't seem likely that it would complete, but it was certainly a big concern to me until I had an opportunity to equalise it with him. Despite this though, at about halfway through the game it started to become obvious from my opponent's body language that he felt he was losing control of the game even while I was of the opinion that things could have gone either way. As it happened, Michal's instinct was probably more accurate in this case as things really did start to go my way in the second half of the game. I equalised our big city with a second meeple, and then took it outright with a third! I also got a second farmer onto a farm we'd previously been sharing, and with the last tile of the game did the same on another farm. I can't remember what the final scores were, but they weren't close; I may even have lapped him on the scoretrack. Sometimes that's just the way it goes though, and I didn't feel too bad about it as I've been on the receiving end plenty of times myself. This said, one thing I didn't have any previous experience of was about to change, as this victory had booked me a place in the final against either Aleksejs Peguseve (multiple winner of the Latvian Carcassonne championship and good friend of @MrNumbers) or Ven Gee Lim who I'd already beaten in Round 4. I couldn't decide who I'd rather play in the final, but I didn't have to think about it for long as the two semi-finals finished at around the same time...


(above: six games, six wins and one game to go)


Game 7, FINAL: – Ven Gee Lim (again!) - LOSS :'( :(n)

This game started off quite nicely for me with a tidy 8-point city to get myself started on the scoretrack. Ven Gee's tiles weren't quite as straight forward as mine but he did draw a cloister, which he claimed, and started a road nearby too. I wasn't going to change a tactic that had been so successful for me so far, and immediately started creating opportunities to trap Ven Gee wherever I could. The tiles had other ideas this time though, and Ven Gee wasn't so easily trapped. I seemed to draw a lot of road junctions in the early part of the game, and used these to generate quick points here and there rather than risk leaving a meeple down for too long in case it became trapped. However, I did notice that all four of the frrr tiles had gone out early which was hard to miss as I drew all of them! After some deliberating over it, I used this knowledge to my advantage and made two frrr gaps: one next to Ven Gee's cloister and the other at the end of his road. This made me happy, but not for long as the battle was being fought on several fronts by this point and a dangerous city was starting to grow to my right (left in the photo below).

What started out as a quick 6-point city for Ven Gee became something more significant when I was forced to drop the cccc tile onto it as there was nowhere else for it to go. I then fought to tie the city, but Ven Gee responded by attacking back to keep it 2 – 1 in his favour. Reluctant to give up, I managed to position a 2nd meeple adjacent to it, and Ven Gee did the same opposite mine by two tiles with a 3rd meeple of his own! This was crazily risky, especially for someone with 2 trapped meeples, but it turned out to be an all or nothing risk that was worth taking. As I tried to ensure that the city remained incomplete, he placed two straight roads along the back side of the city which meant the city could now be completed either by two cccf or two ccff tiles back to back. Both of which were plentiful. What's more, my chances of cutting his third meeple out of it were no better than his chances of cutting my second meeple out of it and were somewhat remote anyway as they depended on drawing one of the two ccff splitters. I knew at that moment that my chances of winning the tournament were very suddenly in serious trouble.

Ven Gee drew the first of the four cccf tiles and placed it to join his 3rd meeple into the city. I wasn't sure if this was the best way to go about completing it as he might have enjoyed better odds if he'd tried it with ccff tiles as he was more likely to draw two of those. But it was done, and all he needed now to complete the city with a majority of three knights against my two was one of the remaining three cccf tiles. Surely it was only a matter of time before this happened, but it was by no means a certainty and I started to wonder if maybe my bacon could be saved when I drew the next cccf tile which I used to join him in a new city that he had started creating earlier. He was however out of meeples at this point so put no small amount of effort into completing this city without any input from me, purely to get his meeple back. This didn't take him long and he was back on his feet again in no time.

Do you remember where I wrote that I'd apologised to Ven Gen when trapping his meeples in our Round 4 match, despite the little parties that were kicking off inside my head every time I did it? Ven Gee apologised with his next tile, a cccf that completed his city for 28-points, whilst simultaneously launching what must have been the party of the century inside his head at the same time! I felt a bit sick as I knew there could be no coming back from this, but I was kind of pleased for Ven Gee too as he certainly wasn't undeserving of another UK Carcassonne championship title to go with his win from two years earlier. We continued with the game, and placed a few farmers here and there whenever it seemed to make sense, but the thrill and the excitement was mostly gone and the game suddenly felt very different to both of us despite everything that had happened before his epic city had totally changed the game for both of us.

As the game started to run out of tiles, Ven Gee was able to rob me of a few farmer points while generating 8 points for himself from a fffr cloister that merged two of my farms together. He also had a couple of small cities on a farm that he'd claimed when he completed his big city, and had been extending his uncompletable road whenever he couldn't think of anything better to do with some of the road tiles he drew. Meanwhile, I had a small city on the go, which Ven Gee had dumped the final cccf onto just to rub salt into the wound. However, I soon realised that there were sufficient tiles left to complete this city if I drew exactly what I needed with the last few tiles. Although I was pretty sure I'd lost the game, a small win like this, coupled with the extra points it might bring for one of my farmers gave me something to hang on to for a short time. Ven Gee drew both of the tiles I needed to finish my city, and I decided never to play Carcassonne again. Not until my next game anyway... ;)


(left: the game was lost but I wasn't prepared to give it up, right: the new UK Carcassonne champion and I had a laugh about the long pause in our earlier game where we were both waiting for each other to place a tile)


(left: the final landscape showing Ven Gee's 28-point city on the left and my previously finishable but unfinished city on the right, right: it's official, I lost by 16 points!)


In my first year of university, the guy who lived opposite me in our halls of residence had a poster on the outside of his door that said "Second place is first loser". I don't know why that's stuck with me for the last 20+ years but for some reason it has. However, despite getting beaten in the final I certainly didn't feel like a loser. Ven Gee was incredibly gracious about his victory and when all the interested parties came over to investigate the result of our game he was quick to explain how it had all come down to luck whereas I was less convinced that this was the case and felt more like he'd taken a series of carefully calculated risks that had paid off big time. The guys from Mind Sports Olympiad (the event organisers) did a quick presentation in front of the remaining Carcassonne players, which included me being congratulated (as runner-up) on my impressive winning streak. Then Ven Gee was presented with his trophy and we both posed for some photos.

Of course I was disappointed not to have won. I would LOVE to represent the UK at the World Carcassonne championships one year and this is the closest I've gotten to doing so in five years of trying. But it wasn't to be. There's always next year though, and if not then, the year after that. I still felt very proud of what I'd achieved, and it's hard to feel disappointed when you feel as proud as I did! I'd proven that I was someone to watch out for; a force to be reckoned with! And it was weird going over to the computers every now and again and seeing my name at the top of the list, feeling people glancing at me as though I was a retired TV actor who had just popped into McDonalds for a large quarter pounder with cheese meal. It was a glimpse into the world of Carcassonne royalty, just for a moment, and I enjoyed shaking hands with so many people and being patted on the back from all directions even if I didn't necessarily feel like I'd earned it.

Something else that made all the difference to me was all the support I got from various members of our community here at Carcassonne Central. I really can't tell you what a difference it made to know that so many people were "in my corner" and I'm very grateful for all the messages I received via Slack and Facebook etc. both before and after the competition. Someone else I really can't finish this off without thanking is Rich (@Rich_The_Fish) who discretely checked up on me throughout the day to take photos (most of the ones above are his), and even before that had scoped out the tournament area to let me know where it was before I'd got there and even bought me a few backup cans of Pepsi Max in case I was running low on my much-needed energy source for stressful games of Carcassonne! So, a huge thanks to everyone who wished me well, supported me and congratulated/ commiserated with me afterwards. I couldn't have gotten as far as I got without you!


(left: Ven Gee and I with the tournament organiser from MSO, right: something I didn't take home with me :'(

11
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / Basegame League - Round 7
« on: May 16, 2019, 02:30:25 AM »
Round 7



The full list of all fixtures for Rounds 1 to 11 (including results from previous rounds) can be found here: http://tournamentscheduler.net/schedule/NzAwODE4MjQzNg (but please don't play any of your opponents from any future rounds yet as we're going to take it one round at a time). :(y)

Please play your matches as soon as you can!

Good luck to everyone; and when you do get round to playing your match please don't forget to post the results and any screenshots you have here on this post! Thanks C:-)

12
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / Basegame League - Round 6
« on: April 26, 2019, 03:00:50 AM »
Round 6



The full list of all fixtures for Rounds 1 to 11 (including results from previous rounds) can be found here: http://tournamentscheduler.net/schedule/NzAwODE4MjQzNg (but please don't play any of your opponents from any future rounds yet as we're going to take it one round at a time). :(y)

Please play your matches as soon as you can!

Good luck to everyone; and when you do get round to playing your match please don't forget to post the results and any screenshots you have here on this post! Thanks C:-)

13
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / Basegame League - Round 5
« on: March 26, 2019, 04:38:28 PM »
Round 5



The full list of all fixtures for Rounds 1 to 11 (including results from previous rounds) can be found here: http://tournamentscheduler.net/schedule/NzAwODE4MjQzNg (but please don't play any of your opponents from any future rounds yet as we're going to take it one round at a time). :(y)

Another slowish round to complete, so sorry about that. But we're all still here which is what really matters, and I'm sure most of us are ready and raring to get stuck into this new round! You know the drill by now... let's go!

Good luck to everyone; and when you do get round to playing your match please don't forget to post the results and any screenshots you have here on this post! Thanks C:-)

14
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / Basegame League - Round 4
« on: March 07, 2019, 02:48:17 PM »
Round 4



The full list of all fixtures for Rounds 1 to 11 (including results from previous rounds) can be found here: http://tournamentscheduler.net/schedule/NzAwODE4MjQzNg (but please don't play any of your opponents from any future rounds yet as we're going to take it one round at a time). :(y)

As you will have noticed, Round 3 was subject to some delays and while I don't want to hurry anyone I do ask that you look to play your games for this round at your earliest convenience so that we might be ready to move on to the next round by the end of next week (Sunday 17th March). Nobody's going to get left behind if we go over this date, but please try not to let this be you anyway!

Good luck to everyone; and when you do get round to playing your match please don't forget to post the results and any screenshots you have here on this post! Thanks C:-)

15
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / Basegame League - Round 3
« on: February 18, 2019, 03:01:29 PM »
Round 3



The full list of all fixtures for Rounds 1 to 11 (including results from previous rounds) can be found here: http://tournamentscheduler.net/schedule/NzAwODE4MjQzNg (but please don't play any of your opponents from any future rounds yet as we're going to take it one round at a time). :(y)

Please aim to play your match as soon as you're able to, but let's aim to have the round wrapped-up before the end of next week (Sunday 3rd March). If we finish earlier than this, we will of course move on to Round 4 as soon as we're able!

Good luck to everyone; and when you do get round to playing your match please don't forget to post the results and any screenshots you have here on this post! Thanks C:-)

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