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Topics - danisthirty

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1
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 ;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 :'(

2
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:-)

3
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:-)

4
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:-)

5
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:-)

6
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:-)

7
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / 2019 Basegame League - Round 2
« on: January 30, 2019, 02:40:09 PM »
Round 2



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).

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 10th Feb). If we finish earlier than this, we will of course move on to Round 3 without any further ado!

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:-)

8
News and Events / UK Carcassonne Championships 2019
« on: January 23, 2019, 01:14:06 AM »
Yo yo.

Exciting news! This years UK Carcassonne championships will be held in Birmingham (at the UK Games Expo) on Saturday 1st June. The format has been changed such that the initial rounds of 4-player games are being ditched in favour of a purely head-to-head format that is better aligned with many other national championships and indeed the world championships. There are 64 places, and tickets cost £7 each meaning it would cost you £448 to buy them all and guarantee yourself the title.

There is also a purely 4-player competition running on Friday 31st May. Tickets for this also cost £7 but there are only 48 seats available.

Plus of course, no expansions (including Abbots) will be used in either competition.

- Carcassonne UK Championships
- Carcassonne (4 Player)

9
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / 2019 Basegame League - Round 1
« on: January 21, 2019, 05:09:36 AM »
Round 1



The full list of all fixtures for Rounds 1 to 11 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).

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 Feb). If we finish earlier than this, we will of course move on to Round 2 without any further ado!

I will send PMs to every pairing to ease you into the competition, but probably won't be doing this for future rounds.

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
Leagues (including expansion leagues) / 2019 Basegame League
« on: January 18, 2019, 06:38:09 AM »
2019 Basegame League

I've put together this little guide to how the 2019 basegame league will run for everyone who will be taking part in it, along with a set of handy links at the bottom. Please read and make sure you understand this before the league begins! :)

I intend for the fixtures list for Round 1 to be announced shortly so that we're ready to begin at the start of next week. Good luck everyone!

How do we play each other?

Matches should be played online using the latest version of JCloisterZone (currently 4.3.0). Please ensure you have downloaded this and can run it on your chosen device well in advance of the start of the competition. Technical advice, general guidance and practice opponents can all be found on the Carcassonne Central Slack channel (see link at the bottom of this post). Or by posting here of course, but it's recommended and helpful to be available on Slack if possible.

How are games/ matches arranged?

Everyone taking part in the competition will play one match against everyone else. A match consists of two games; a home game and an away game. In your home game you will place the first tile, and in your away game your opponent will place the first tile. The start player can be determined within JCloisterZone on the pre-game screen where you choose your meeples. As long as the "Randomize Seating Order" checkbox is NOT checked, the starting player will be the first to choose their meeple colour and will have a "1" next to their chosen meeple.

Furthermore, the tournament will be organised into a series of rounds, with each player participating in one match per round against a specified opponent. The fixture list (who needs to play who) will be announced in a new thread at the start of each round, and the league table will be updated to reflect the current scores at the end of the round before moving on to the next. Each round will end when all of the fixtures for that round have been played, but it is hoped and anticipated that no round should last any longer than two weeks. Please be as active as possible in arranging your matches, as nobody else will do this for you!

How is the league ranked?

For each match, League Points will be awarded depending on the result of the two games that the match consists of. Each game is worth 1 point to the winner and 0 points to the loser. If a game is a tie, both players take 0.5 points regardless of who started. Therefore, matches will typically be scored 2 - 0 if two games are won by the same player or 1 - 1 if each player wins a game. However 1.5 - 0.5 is also a potential outcome in the case of one tied game, as is 1 - 1 in the unlikely event that both games are tied!

Points Difference (PD) will also be recorded and used as a tie-breaker. Your PD for any individual game is the difference between the winning score and the losing score and will be positive (if you won the game) or negative (if you lost the game) or zero (if the game was a tie). So, if you lost your first game by 23 points but then won the second game by 17 points your overall PD for the match would be -6. Conversely, your opponent's PD would be +6.

The league will be ranked primarily by League Points, and then PD where League Points are tied between two or more players.

Posting Scores

It has become a Carcassonne Central tradition that the victorious player will usually post screenshots of the final scores and end-game landscape back to the forums, along with a short writeup of the game(s). However, it doesn't really matter who posts what as long as the final scores breakdown from both games are posted. So please ensure that either you or your opponent will take responsibility for this once your match has been completed (which will also include pausing to screenshot the scores from the first game before the second game begins).

Anything else?

- JCloisterZone (external link): Downloading this is a good place to start if you haven't already downloaded it.

- JCloisterZone FAQ: Carcassonne Central hosts the official JCloisterZone FAQ which I inadvertently put together some years ago as a guide for people taking part in CarcC tournaments. If you have any questions or difficulties related to starting an internet-based game through JCloisterZone you might find the answer here.

- Slack: "Boardgaming chat/ banter/ tomfoolery/ nonsense with intelligent, fun people" might sound like the sort of thing you'd have to call a premium-rate phone number for. But not anymore! Slack is a great way of connecting with others, and is very handy for chatting in person rather than via emails/ private message to arrange mutually convenient times to play matches.

- The Unwritten Rules: This is recommended reading for anyone taking part in any of CarcC's online tournaments. Most of it boils down to courtesy and common sense, but it's written down because sometimes common sense isn't as common as we'd like it to be...

- 2017 Basegame League: The 2017 basegame league followed a similar structure to that which I've proposed above for the 2019 league. If there's anything you're not sure about, you might find some helpful examples/ information within this post or any of those which it links to.

11
News and Events / 2019 Basegame League?
« on: December 20, 2018, 05:47:05 AM »
I have a proposal to make. Not the sort of proposal I made in 2007 while up a tree somewhere in Sutton Coldfield either, this time it's serious (and doesn't involve a ring).

One of the things that a lot of people enjoy about Carcassonne are the expansions. Indeed, some people rarely play it at all without them. However, there are also those among us who like to play Carcassonne in its purest form; head to head, with 71 tiles waiting to be drawn and placed. No inns, cathedrals, traders, builders, princesses, dragons, towers, abbeys or mayors. Just you and your wits, and a handful of meeples at your disposal.

Many of us are already enjoying the divisional league for which we have TheSteveAllen to thank, but I've also seen comments (and know of others) who would appreciate the opportunity to take part in an online competition that doesn't include expansions of any sort. So with this in mind, allow me to float the idea of a 2019 Basegame League...

The league would operate in the same way as the 2017 Basegame League (and the 2014 league before that) where everyone played two games against everyone else (a home game where they got to place the first tile and an away game where they didn't) over a series of rounds. League points are awarded depending on the outcome of the games (2pts for 2 wins, 1pt for a win and a loss, 0pts for 2 losses) with PD (points differential) serving as tie-breaker. For more details, you should visit the full rules of the 2017 league (although I'm not sure whether it would be better to pace it in the same way as we did last time, or allocate a set period of time and let everyone play all their matches in that time - please let me know if you have any thoughts on this, especially if you took part in the 2017 league).

This is in no way guaranteed to be taking place yet, but I'm keen to see who might be interested in taking part, so please let me know below if you think you'd like a place, or if you have any questions about how it might run. The only complication I can foresee at present is that many of us are already taking part in The Steve's divisional league, but I see no reason why participation in both should be frowned upon if anyone has any doubts over that.

Please let me know your thoughts! ;)

12
Quizzes, Puzzles and Challenges / Carcassonne Central: Advent Quiz MMXVIII
« on: November 29, 2018, 04:31:40 AM »
I’m not normally someone who says "Yikes", but December is now just two days away. Yikes! :o

One of my favourite December traditions is the Carcassonne Central Advent Quiz which is now in its fourth year (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)! It’s a great opportunity to review what’s happened over the course of the year within our little community, and to test your knowledge of who said what (or at least your ability to use the Search feature anyway).

My hope is that it will be more fun than opening a new window on your advent calendar each day anyway (although probably not as tasty as eating the little chocolate that was behind it)...

Here’s a quick recap/ update of the rules for anyone who hasn’t taken part in one of our previous quizzes:

- Between the 1st and 24th December I will post a single question each day (at a random time), to which the answer will be the name of a member of our community here at CarcC. Going on previous experience, it seems likely that most questions will be fairly easy for most people to answer (I'm the one posing them after all :P), but I won't ever ask anything that a quick and/ or cunning search of the forums won't reveal.

- When you know the answer, don't post it on this thread! :-X Because then everyone will know, and we don't want that. Instead, send me a PM including the question number and your answer for that day. I won't respond to your PM (please don't be offended), but if you get the answer correct you will win one or more quiz points depending on how many others have answered it correctly before you: 3 points for the first person to provide a correct answer, 2 points to the second and 1 point for anyone else who answers correctly. C:-)

Based on feedback from last year I am extending the range of points on offer this year as follows:

1st correct answer5 points
2nd correct answer4 points
3rd correct answer3 points
4th correct answer2 points
All subsequent correct answers   1 point

- There's no cut-off date for any particular questions so don't despair if you miss any. You can even answer all 24 questions on Christmas eve if you want, but don't expect to score big overall...

- Once Christmas and boxing day are behind us, I will post the correct answers – one at a time – along with who won the big points (or indeed any points) and total scores per participant. This is where it gets really fun! :o :(y)

- The overall winner will be the person with the most points at the end of the quiz, but there is likely to be a small prize for everyone who answers all questions regardless of whether they manage to answer any of them correctly. Last year I gave away something very special indeed, and I'm hoping to think of something even more specialer between now and the end of the quiz. But obviously it will be a surprise. O:-)

Since I still haven't posted the prizes from last year I don't want to get myself even further into debt here, so this year will be for fun and bragging rights only.

Any questions, please ask now. Otherwise, you can expect question 1 of 24 sometime on Saturday! O0

13
General / Let the Madness Commence (again)
« on: October 25, 2018, 02:24:55 AM »
A small gift from our man in Essen...


14
News and Events / Secret Santa 2018
« on: October 17, 2018, 03:10:49 AM »
Yo dudes.

At around about this time last year, a few of us (12?) decided to participate in a Carcassonne Central Secret Santa. It was indeed deeply secret and santariffic, and I personally enjoyed it not just for the excitement of knowing that I had a Christmas present from a fellow CarcC member to unwrap on Christmas morning, but from the knowledge that someone somewhere else in the world had something from me to unwrap too!

More details can be found on last years thread.

So, my question to you all is this: is anyone interested in doing a Secret Santa again this year? Gifts would be predominantly home-made and Carcassonne-themed, and would have to be ready for sending on or around the 1st December to avoid the disappointment of someone not having something to open on Christmas morning. This is currently 45 days away, which is just over 6 weeks to get something sorted. So if you're interested, post below:

15
General / Collaborative Carcassonne
« on: September 26, 2018, 07:33:58 AM »
Ladies and gentlemen, this is your invitation to take part in a unique Carcassonne experience as a community, where we will share our thoughts/ experience on what best to do with each tile that we get to place in a 4-player game of Carcassonne with no expansions. :blue-meeple: :green-meeple: :red-meeple: :yellow-meeple:

All you need to do is follow this thread and contribute with your thoughts on what you'd do if you were in the position that we find ourselves in with each tile that we get to place. I'll track scores and will post what our opponents do with each update of the developing landscape, with the intention of collectively outwitting them all to win the game! ;)

My hope is that it will be something a bit fun that we can all contribute towards and potentially learn from by understanding the thought processes going on inside the heads of others when we're all faced with the same decisions to make. If we can't agree on what best to do with our turn then we'll settle it through a vote, but I'm looking forward to seeing how things turn out and considering different options to those that I'd normally consider when playing by myself.

Please ask if you have any questions. Otherwise you can expect a screenshot of the starting position to be posted here very soon, so have your thinking caps at the ready! C:-) :(y)

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