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Topics - Decar

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Anything Else / The legend about ancient laptop
« on: December 23, 2017, 02:52:01 AM »
Great little collect vincon!  Are you a DOTA player too?

I am! But the comic is a present for my best friend who is also an avid Dota 2 Player.

A nice gift for your friend, hope he doesn't see this  C:-)  C:-)
I'd like to try DOTA, I was a big WCIII fan - but my laptop is now incapable of running Chrome in a stable fashion, so I doubt it could handle anything like this  :'(

Other Games / Ginkgopolis
« on: December 21, 2017, 07:44:05 AM »
Ginkgopolis is a wonderful card and tile-laying game from the French designers at Pearl Games.  Most of the people who play it seems to really enjoy it and regard it very highly.  So, I thought I would try and track down a copy, which proved somewhat difficult.  Nothing like a challenge to get me started.  I was very lucky and able to get a copy in a shop in Belgium and as far as I could tell, the last retail copy of the game in Europe (excluding St Helena)!

Image Courtesy of BGG

The theme is a little unusual, so I'll start with the mechanics. At its core ginkgopolis is an area majority, city-building game.  Both players take it in turns to choose an action from a hand of cards, which will ultimately benefit them.  There are essentially 3 actions the cards can provide:

1) Use of Building (which will generate you a type of resource)
2) Build a Tile on the outskirts of the city (which also allows you to use adjacent buildings)
3) Build a Tile on top of another tile (which allows you to claim passive bonus and claim ownership)

During a round of play, a player will draw a new card from a communal deck, before selecting their action.  The deck comprises of cards for each building in the city, and one card for each area than can be expanded into (labelled A-I).

At the start of the game each player is allocated some passive bonuses, which grants the player a bonus every time they play one of the aforementioned actions.  These initial cards also provide starting resources.  Passive Bonuses collected later in the game can also also allow you to score different points at the end of the game.

Image Courtesy of BGG

As I started to mention, the theme is a little weird.  It's set in a sort of post-apocalyptic enviro-renaissance where you humble town-folk decide to build their buildings within/around Ginkgo trees.  Ginkgo trees are kinda interesting because they're the missing link between conifers and seed-bearing trees as well as living for epochs and being particularly hardy, even surviving fires; which is a claim most trees don't get the brag about.  It has to be said that if trees had pubs, ginkgo trees would be that old-hard as nails bloke who'd tell you about that one-time when something unbelievable happened without relying on exaggeration.  But knowing that isn't going to help you win.  The theme is lightly pasted over the top of this strategic tile placement game and provides an opportunity to share some very colourful and downright user-friendly artwork.

Let's get the the crux of the game.  It's a score the most point afair and there are only a couple of ways to score points (ginkgo leaves).
1) You claim the majority of a single area/colour on the board
2) You score each time a bonus ability happens
3) You are paid points when another tile is built on top of yours.

In order to build tiles, you need resources.  These are the little blocks that get placed on each building.  The number of blocks you require are based on the level of the building; the taller it gets the more expensive it is to build.  You'll also need a collection of  tiles to build.  The tiles come in 3 sets Red/Yellow/Blue and each of these has a primary function (Using a Building).  Red tiles give you resources to build things, Blue tiles allow you to draw more tiles into your collection, and Yellow tiles simply give you more ginkgo points.  Each of the buildings in the set are numbered 1-21.  If you need to build a lower value tile on top of a higher value card, you need to pay the difference in resources as extra when building them.

Image Courtesy of BGG

Tiles are pulled from a communal deck and hidden behind your screen; you can only build buildings you have, which makes tiles a resource.

Hopefully, you've got a sense of how closely interlinked all of the components are, if you do one thing, another thing is effected.  There's a subtle balance unfolding on each turn.  Speaking of component quality, they're all top-notch.  It's what I've come to expect to be honest, so although, there is nothing outstanding, the tiles are chunky, the cards are good.  I really like the ginkgo point tokens and the other wooden bits and bobs.  That shouldn't be confused with the artwork.  There is tons of it, and it's all stylistic and clean.  Each player gets a player screen, though I'm not sure why, you can count the number of resource tokens a player has; it does provide an excuse for different artwork produced on each of them. It also acts as a handy reference to the actions you can perform.

Image Courtesy of BGG

I can't get over just how much art there is in this game.  A lot of games try to make up for lack of content with some nice-shiny artwork.  This isn't the case here, the game could stand on its own and I doubt I'd like it any less if it was drawn in crayon.  The art is a perfect compliment to the solid design.

If you've read my other reviews you'll know I'm a fan of abstract games, and part of that is enjoying games that have high levels of interaction.  Ginkgopolis manges to double-tick the player-interaction check-box for me.  The most significant way of scoring points is by having the majority of resources blocks in a given area of tiles of the same colour.  So an essential mechanic is trying to decide if I should build a tile to increase ownership or build a tile to break large areas apart.  As with most games, it's usually the ability to do two things with a single move that makes it a strong one.  The number of options available is quite astounding, though it's usually quick easy to determine the most valuable moves in a single turn.  Building tiles isn't particularly simple though, if there is a square of contention, building on top of another tile can easily provide points to your opponent.

But it doesn't stop there though, a more trivial game would have left the player interaction there, but instead, Ginkgopolis does a little bit more.  Do you remember that deck of cards you had with all those available options you had?  Well you're going to draft it.  That's right: after each turn you swap cards with an opponent and have the opportunity to make the most of their hand, that is before you have to give it back.

The only negative experience I've had about the game was the rulebook, but I can't explain why.  It's very clear, as far as I can tell all the corners are covered neatly.  All the actions are explained and there are several examples to clarify points of confusion.  I wondered if there were perhaps some transliteration issues, it's almost too sterile.  I think the issue may be to do with the layering of the rules.

But that's the fundamentally brilliant thing about Ginkgopolis, all the parts are glued together; and each of the parts are streamlined. Tiles effect resources, resources effect which cards you play, the cards you play effect which tiles you have, everything just moves along.  'Interwoven' is probably the right word to use.  The rulebook certainly doesn't fail, but having read it, and having explained it to my wife, it feels like we're about to play a complex game; but it truly isn't.  Ginkgopolis only lasts 35-50 minutes and it certainly doesn't overstay its welcome.  The number of actions at any one time is quite limited; the hard bit to explain is how all the parts affect each other.  To express the rules simply: you're going to have a hand of cards, you need to pick one and if that's what you want to do.

Strategy is difficult; to truly master this game is going to take some serious forethought and commitment.  But thankfully, it's extremely light to play.  As I started to explain, each of the tiles in front of you, will have an action card associated with it.  During a round of play, in theory you know which cards are going to come up.  And you can be relatively sure you know you'll get a chance to play it, though it's never certain.  What I like is there are more than one way to score points.  Investment is key, building lots of low-level early buildings will provide you with points in the mid-end game.  But your economy of resources will be tight.  It's possible to acquire a lot of cards which generate you points every time you play certain actions.  You could make lots of small coloured areas, or make giant ones.  It's great to see that each strategy is carefully tied to the core mechanic.

I managed to snap a couple of pictures of our first game:

As you can see, my wife managed to claim a very very large area of yellow, which took up most of our board.  Only 5-6 points separated us at the end and for the last 2-3 turns of the game we were juggling our actions to get our final Coup De Grâce (an apt phrase to use for a French game  ^-^ ).  During our first game, we were a little unsure of a couple of things, but after 4-5 short turns we got into the swing of it.  We both really enjoyed our time playing it.  If anything we thought the game was a bit short, thankfully it turns out there was a whole 2nd phase we both missed out on!

The End game is interesting, the game can end once a player has placed all 25 of the resource blocks onto the city, or it can end when no more tiles can be drawn from the communal deck.  However, the first time this happens, players may return tiles from their behind their screen to the communal deck in order to score points; which is another winning strategy!

It's a big big shame that Ginkgopolis isn't in print.  I know lots of people talk about games that deserve reprints, but this one really does need to be.  It feels like an unpredictable blend of 7 Wonders with Quadropolis.  You're building an engine to provide you with more options, but you're both working together to create a cityscape in front of you.  I say it's unpredictable because much like the rulebook, it's a hard game to explain; on paper, it sounds crazy.  I know I've not done it justice, it's a game that unfolds as you experience it; you appreciate what a fine balance of mechanics it truly is.

25 thumbs up from us  :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y) :(y)

Some good news is you can play Ginkgopolis online: Those crafty people at boiteajeux have made it possible:

Leagues (including expansion leagues) / CCL - Carcassonne Central Ladder
« on: December 20, 2017, 04:59:09 AM »
About 2 years ago I started an auto-magic Ladder that allowed people to sign up and challenge players on a Ladder System.

It was only for playing the Base Game, but if it proves popular, I can create different Leagues for people to join.

You can sign up here

I've going to be shuffling the ladder and resetting the scores after New Year, but if you want to familiarise yourself  with how it works, you can read the information and sign up now.

One of the issues with the ladder was the Administration Script needed to be executed daily.  I've not got that running as a cron-job, so at midnight UCT, the server executes the script and shuffles all the players who haven't played their games.

Each game has 7 days to play + 1 day of grace.  It periodically sends emails of challenges and reminders to schedule games.  It also keeps track of all the games and points scored.

If you had an account previously it still works, but let me know if you're no longer interested...I'll remove your account (or put you on a break).


News and Events / 2017 - Seasonal Shenanigans
« on: December 16, 2017, 06:48:38 AM »
Seasons greetings everyone!
I can now say it's official Christmas in our household because the 3-top festive criteria have been met:
  • I've eaten a mince pie
  • I've listened to Slade
  • I've seen the Coca-cola advert on TV (holidays are coming....)

While we're at home enjoying the festivities with family, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to start some shenanigans.
 An opportunity to share your family traditions and some photographs.  There's also a chance for me to raid my cupboards (which is becoming increasingly difficult) for some contest prizes  or maybe some forum merits ;)

Here's what I'd like to know:

1) What are your Top Festive Criteria (like I listed above)?
2) Share a photograph of where you most frequently play board games
3) Share a photograph of your favourite Carcassonne Tile and Meeple
4) Share a photograph of you playing a board game with the the people you play with the most
5) Share a photograph of you playing your favourite boardgame in action
6) Share a photograph of a festive meeple
7) Share a photograph of where you read Carcassonne Central the most

:red-meeple: :red-meeple:MERRY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL :red-meeple: :red-meeple:

Anything Else / $$$$ + shipping in Cobol
« on: November 27, 2017, 03:32:28 AM »
The most desirable tiles are the siege tiles from Cathars, CS&C, and besiegers.   The mechanic has been implemented 3 times and all three of the expansions are $$$$$.

All three expansions for 5$!  :o :o :(y)

Official Rules / River Rules in 2.0
« on: October 27, 2017, 09:46:41 AM »
Someone on BGG just notified me of this:

The interaction of the River with the Farms are not defined in Carcassonne 2.0.

The rules mention: "The fields of Carcassonne are divided by roads and cities."

There is no mention of Rivers.  Nor does it mention that the Field is contiguous!

Also the rules state:

"You may place meeples along the river following the normal rules"

I'm not sure what it means to play a meeple :'along the river' - I usually place them on features on the tiles, not actually IN the river!

Other Games / Tokyo Highway
« on: October 08, 2017, 09:50:21 AM »
I've had a couple of games of Tokyo Highway and thought I would share some of my thoughts.

The game is very simple and takes about 20-minutes to explain and about 2-minutes to explain the rules.

It's a 2-player abstract dexterity game.  Your job is to build the Tokyo Highway and you do that by placing blocks and laying roads between them.  If you lay our round above or below your opponent's road (which you've not scored before) you're able to balance a car, somewhat precariously onto the road.  The first player to get rid of their 10 cards is the winner.  When building a road you much increment or decrement the height of the previous column; unless you use a junction which breaks this rule.  You have 3 junctions available to you and each junction allows you to split your road too.

That's pretty much it, there's some simple corner-cases you need to cover, but I'll leave those for you to find out.  The rule book is bilingual the English is excellent, the rules are very clear.

Initially, I thought this game would essentially be broken.  You see the game is about building triangles, and placing them in such a way that you go under or over another triangle's hypotenuse.  Shouldn't it be the case that the first, or second player has some advantage from the outset?  Well quite possibly.  The pure-mathematician in me keeps telling me this, but then reality sets in.

Here's a list of those things that seem to quite happily mess up your perfect play:

  • Start Positions can very easily make your opponent...just out of reach, undoing the player advantage
  • You only have so many blocks and roads, if you run lose
  • You're able to position your cars defensively making it harder to go over the top
  • If you use a junction the roads can be too steep and the cars fall off
  • If you drop a component and knock your opponent's pieces off, there's a massive penalty!

To put it simply, Tokyo Highway is a hot-mess.  The placement of towers is chaotic, the nudging of components and trixy play can make the difference of those 2-3mm of clearance you need.  Most of the game is heuristic, letting you find ways to bend the strict rules in place.  The game feels a bit like two snakes intertwining, both trying to get on top of one another.  Each turn the spiral-dance continues.  Do you spend a turn looping around in an attempt to flank them; or do you attempt to play symmetrically, blocking each of your opponent's moves; but risk being left behind.

I do think some things are missing though.  For example, I think the game would benefit from a formal start.  I think each player could place their first tower within 1-road length of a central-jack or pillar for example.  This would allow players to prepare to entangle, and I think certain games or players may benefit from tweaking these rules.

There's plenty of opportunity to add expansions to this game too.  For example, leaving a few items out on the table to weave between could add some variance.  Some wooden blocks for this would have been nice.  I'll use some from Catacombs when the Kickstarter finally arrives.  But a remote-control seems to suffice.

I'm not sure how long the game will remain fresh.  Like most abstracts eventually certain strategies prevail, especially when playing with the same small audience.  Given the dextrous nature of the game, this makes it highly unusual to me.  It's a bit like a physical chess, but no-where near as complex.

There is little to no theme in this game, the excuse for building our structures is pretty weak.  For a start there doesn't seem to be any planning permission!  It doesn't bother me though, the mechanics are solid enough to not really require such a necessity.

Components are pretty simple.  High quality painted wooden cylinders, sticks and neat little cars.  I particularly like the tiny twisers each player is given to carefully place their cars on the road without disrupting the highway.

I took some photos to share:

Japan is doing a great job inventing some pretty novel and fresh games.  The industry is just sprouting there and games like Tokyo Highway are accessible to the English-speaking market because the rules are simple (and translated well).  It's a great opportunity to see what Japanese boardgame developers are thinking about.

The downside is cost.  The delivery of Tokyo Highway will prevent this game from spreading to the west due to it's high price tag.  I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy for around £30, but BGG is currently selling at $50 + shipping.  The game is expensive for what it is, I think this will block a lot of people from even bothering with it.  Thankfully, I have no self control  :(y)

I'd recommend the game to anyone who likes head-to-head abstracts and needs a short game they can challenge each other quickly with.

General / Completionist Poll #13 - Die Hard Edition
« on: October 06, 2017, 05:50:44 AM »
Last year, we ran a series of Polls to determine what most people desire to collect the most for their Carcassonne collection.  We also had a thread of favouritism polls comparing different editions and other Carcassonne components.

The Index is here

It's been a good few months since we have a jolly good polling here on Carcassonne Central, and this morning over on the slack channel I remembered there's a raft of Carcassonne Material that only a truly devote collector would evening considering picking up.

I think this poll separates the collector-gods from the mere mortals.  It will possibly also remind us how unhealthy all this collecting is.

It's also a good opportunity to document all the tat that Hans Im Glueck have produced to promote their game!  I'm also always on the lookout for a merit, so hoped I might get one  :'(

I'm no doubt missing a few things here, so I hope the pros can help me fill in the blanks!

You've got plenty of votes so just select the items you think are essential for every serious collector!

This time it's a collection of Carcassonne Merchandise and other non-essential rubbish:

Jelly Meeple:  These were given away at Essen in 2005 and later in 2015.  I hope they were a different production run, but do you collect Carcassonne consumables?

Mini-Tile-Cakes:  These were definitely given out at Essen 2015.  I received a couple in the post with a very large Cundco Order.  I've got no idea how many types were created:

Cookie Cutters : Because all your food must be meeple shaped:

Meeple Ice Tray:  Who doesn't want a meeple shaped icecube in their whiskey?

Bags : Cundco have been distributing quite a few different bags.  I think there are 3 designs I've seen.  Which do you have?

Earrings: The must have Carcassonne fashion accessory.  Though to be honest I'll stick with Dan's more manly chufflinks:

Meeple Keyrings:  Obviously, I'd have never lose my keys like I did in Tokyo City, if I was using one of these:

Meeple Luggage Tags:  With so many Carcassonne fans in the world, I think it might be dangerous to use these at the airport.  Thankfully it comes in lots of colours!

Plushie Meeple:  When it's cold at night do you stay warm with a meeple shaped friend?  They come in two colours red & blue.

Meeple Candles - These are very pleasant, but could a true collector set fire to a meeple?

Coasters - Every self-respecting Carcassonne player needs a Carcassonne tile coaster on their table....don't they?

Meeple Stickers - Bored of your standard single colour Meeple?  These will bling your set out.. But are they essential?

Sticker Sheets - The greatest fans of Carcassonne order stuff from the Cundco webshop.  If you're order is great enough you'll usually end up with a sticker sheet.  There are 2 sheets of stickers and 2 lots of meeple on board stickers (pink & blue)

Mugs - Obviously, I only drink out of vessels with meeple on them.  Good job HiG sells them in two colours:

Tile Boxes - Cundco recently announced these for holding mini-expansions, they come in two sizes. Small mini-expansions and Big mini-expansions  ???  Either way are they a necessity in your collection?

The Collector's Case - Only the most serious Carcassonne Collector would use the Collector's case.  Mainly because it's ridiculously too big and offers no organisational advantage over a shoe box.  It even offers less protection for your tiles.  Not many people own up to owning one of these.  They were available at Essen around 2010..I'm not sure of the precise year:

Wheel of Fortune Book - The greatest fans of Carcassonne will eventually collect the special edition of the Wheel of Fortune that comes with a book written in German which has little to do with anything, other than it's based somewhere near Carcassonne.  Either way it can be worth collecting because each edition comes with a limited edition certificate signed by KJW.  But the book is totally useless to me!

CutCassonne - At Essen 2014 and 2015 HiG was distributing some nice boxes full of goodies.  The box could be used to play CutCassonne, and contained an alternative artwork for one of the tiles:

- This is one for the real die-hards.  Do you have a copy of 'Ein Meeple Auf Reisen' or 'A Meeple on a Journey', this band was kind enough to write a song about a travelling meeple.

I can happily say on this no I do not.

I prefer this tbh:

That's my list of Carcassonne essential non-essentials - Did I miss any out?  Which do you need in your collection to feel complete?
I'll keep the post running for 7 days, but will keep it open afterwards so you can always come back and adjust!

Anything Else / Trip in Tokyo
« on: September 30, 2017, 09:27:14 AM »
I think most of you know I've been away for the last week or so.
I've been on a work trip to Tokyo.
In between work, I got the opportunity to visit the mega-metropolis.
Thankfully, I've been a tourist in Tokyo before and had seen the majority of places, one would normally visit.  Also, if I went anywhere new and exciting, my wife would be annoyed.  That gave me a great excuse to visit the boardgame shops of Tokyo.

BGG have some useful lists of shops to visit, however some of them are out of date or don't quite provide enough information to be foolproof.  So I thought I'd share my thoughts on a few venture and give people a brief guide on how to find them.

Akihabara -  Akihabara was once famous for being the electronics centre of Tokyo.  Prior to the internet, it was the place to find a deal on a television or a digital camera.  Nowadays, it is host to numerous slot and arcade machine centres with vibrant anime or manga characters sprawling big neon signs.  Imagine a 1980s amusement arcade.  The location is also home of several unusually themed cafes, however I didn't have chance to visit any of them.  I was on the lookout for two shops:  'Yellow Submarine' and the 'Shosen Book Tower'.  While following my phone's navigation to Yellow Submarine, I came across the Book Tower.  I had heard there was a selection of japanese games here.  So I ventured into the Tower.  Each floor was relatively small, the shopping space was probably only 10x20m wide but crammed with books.  Where the Tower lacks in floor surface area, it makes up with sheer number of floors.  It has 9 in total.  I slowly made my way up the escalator, stopping briefly to check the content out of each floor.  The usual topics for books were present as you'd expect.  I paused in the manga section and paused in the sports section.  But I saw no signs of any games.  Each floor had only 1 or 2 customers present, so it wasn't too busy.
 Soon I made it to the top floor, number 9.  I discovered, on arrival and to my horror, I had unwittingly stumbled into the 'adult' section of the book store.  I turned around immediately, which didn't really help because escalators only work one-way.  I was going to have to walk through shop to find the down-escalator.  You'd think I'd be able to quietly and briskly vacate the floor, but it transpired that this floor was significantly more popular than the previous 8 floors of my journey.  10 or 12 customers all looked up to see who had joined them, pausing their perusing of the catalogues of risque materials.  Thankfully, I found the down-escalator (a de-escalator?), on the way out I passed several curtained cubicles. I left the shop.

I would continue to my next destination, unperturbed..mostly.  I would later discover, reading on BGG, that the boardgame section is in fact tucked away in a corner of the 9th story of Shosen Tower.  I decided I didn't need to venture back to see what I had missed.  Even a stray copy of Cathars wouldn't be worth that.

The sign for 'Yellow Submarine' is not quite what I expected.  Let me show you:

As you'll see, it's mostly blue, (or maybe even white) at least to my eye.  It's certainly not a yellow submarine.  Someone should really have words about what they decide to call their shop.  Or at least the logo for it.  Thankfully it's not too hard to find, and relatively close to the station, within about 5 minutes walk.  The shop spans 2-floors of quite a large large 1970's tower block.  If you're going I'd advise starting on the 8th floor and working your way down to the bottom floor, rather than waiting for the lift.

The 8th floor hosts a big collection of Japanese RPGs and Boardgames.  There is quite a range of European games in their collection and several smaller Japanese games,  things which are popular on the BGG-store for example.  I was happy to find a copy of Shephy.  This is a game I struggled to find at Essen last year and is about combining the powers of cards to breed sheep!  There were also a really big selection of small-box games and card-games, but I needed to quickly look on BGG to determine if the rules had been translated.  Often Japanese games support 3 or more players, I'm really only interested in 2+.  I decided to grab some games:

The other two games are:
HATSUDEN - Seems to be a city construction game, where you have to power different rows to score points.  It looks simple and was specifically for 2 players.  I look forward to giving this a try.
Sheep n Sheep  - This is a herd sorting game. Sheep need to be arranged so that they're all happy and score the most points.
To be honest, I wish I had more energy to trawl the collection of games, but hopefully I grabbed the highlights.

Yellow Submarine also had several tables out with people meeting friends and playing games, there was a miriad of dice and a small selection of T-shirts, Totebags and dice towers.  I was tempted by the 'Meeple Meeple Meeple' shirt, which had 3 meeple on it.
On the floor below Yellow Submarine had an entire floor devoted to Collectible Card Games like Magic the Gathering.  Nothing of interest there for me, so I went downstairs.  There, there was a shop that specialised it plastic statues of gaming and anime characters.  It was quite spectacular, but again nothing substantial for me.  The floor below was owned by the same company, on this floor they specialised on biscuits.  Hundreds of different types of novelty biscuits, cookies and confectionary.  I bought a box of 'Gudetama' cookies.  I'll let you discover those on your own.

That's all the time I had in Akihabara, given the ropey start, I was doing quite well.

Shinjuku - is the largest railway station in Tokyo, it's a central hub to most of the underground/subway transport system that spans Tokyo.  It has approximately 20 station platforms, it's immensely busy!  Just by Shinjuku station is a large department store.  Unlike the UK, I think it would be quite possible to spend all day in a Japanese department store.  The particular store I wanted to visit was home of 'Tokyu Hands', which is inside the 'Takashimaya Store'.  There are about 14 stories inside this beast of a store.  Tokyu Hands is a department store that takes up 1/2 of about 6 stories there.  It's hard to describe precisely what Tokyu Hands is.  They sell pretty much everything.  You can buy bedclothes, tableware and microscopes within the store. But they specialise in stationery.  They have an entire department devoted to stickers, for example.  They have a massive array of beautiful envelopes and pens.  I can quite happily spend an hour looking at the latest stationery technology.  But most importantly, they now have a selection of boardgames.  It was quite surprised,  Catan and Carcassonne are both extremely popular, the selection is quite broad given the limited space devoted to it.  I picked up the following:

Katamino - is available in a lot of places and is an abstract puzzler about filling space with Penta (shapes made out of 5 cubes).  There are numerous ways to play the puzzles, so I thought it was a good reminder of my trip.  I'm hoping it will remind me of Cathedral.
Shogi - (わんにゃん将棋 - Wannian shogi) I've wanted to play Shogi for quite some time and most sets in the UK are very expensive, and have smatterings of Japanese characters on them, which makes it somewhat inaccessible.  Enter Dog vs Cats Shogi, all of the pieces have their movements marked, I hoped having dogs and cats would mean my wife would play it.  Either way, it looks lovely!
Tokyo Highway - This has been popular on BGG, it's a 2 player abstract dexterity game about building a road network. Looking forward to trying it.

Yellow Submarine - also has a shop in Shinjuku, a small 3 story block, the basement is RPGs, the top floor is CCGs and the middle floor is mainly Euro-games.  There's a massive selection and a big collection of second hand games too.  Nothing too my fancy here, but there was plenty of choice.  Probably more than that found in Akihabara to be honest.  This shop is a little harder to find, it's quite some distance from the station and even further from the Takashimaya store.  The area is full of knock-off consumer electronics.  The store was tucked away in between two of these shops.  Definitely worth a visit if you're in the region.

Tokyo Dome - Mobius is the Japanese publisher of Carcassonne.  I had attempted to visit them on Sunday, but they were closed.  I managed to find time after work to visit their tiny shop.  Every shop I visited had a copy of Carcassonne thus far.  But I was still interested to see what they had on offer.  If you're visiting, I would recommend visiting on your way through Akihabara or Shinjuku rather than making a deliberate stop here.  That is unless you're actually visiting the Tokyo Dome, or the amusement park.  There's little else within walking distance of the station.  The shop is hard to find.  Once you depart Suidobashi you'll see a McDonalds.  The Mobius shop is inside the same building. There's a small entrance way to a lift.  The shop is on the 5th floor.  The shop was considerably smaller than I was expecting.  Roughly 4 book shelves of displayed games.  Not like the 4 bookshelves utterly crammed full of games like I have at home.  Mostly the shop sold Euro games, either Queen of Hans Im Glueck German editions with Japanese rules attached a few were dedicated translations.

I introduced myself to the shop owner, a very nice gentleman who was surprised to see me by all accounts.  I explained I was from the UK and played Carcassonne and had heard about the shop.  I introduced Carcassonne Central too.  They had a framed Spiel 15 tile that KJW had signed.  He also showed me a picture of the Japanese Champion from 2 years prior.  I had relented up until this point, but decided it was time to purchase the inevitable:

The gentleman explained there was a special expansion in the Japanese edition which included special locations from Japan.  I was able to recognise the Buddha from Karakura and he pointed out the temple of Asakusa, which I could see from the Skytree, which I had visited earlier in the day.

After my purchase, it was time to leave and also begin for my departure from Tokyo.

Tokyo's an incredibly vibrant city with plenty to see, and great for tourists too.  Everyone is considerably friendly.  I'm glad I found a few hours over the few days I had to visit some of the boardgaming highlights which I could share with you.  There are other smaller shops dotted around the city, but I'll have to save those for a future visit.  My boardgaming collection is now a little bit larger with a few more memories of my successful trip.

Anything Else / Trip in Florence / Italy
« on: September 09, 2017, 08:51:41 AM »
I've been away last week on a holiday to Florence (Italy).

In Florence there is a very large Duomo, which is famous for being the largest brick built dome in history.  It took almost 140-years to build too!  Climbing to the top was quite a feet, almost as difficult as queuing for a ticket so you could join another queue to book your ticket to join the queue of people ascending the dome the next day.

I thought I'd share some information of the boardgame shops I visited during our trip, so any future travels know to pop-in, or duck-out of visiting them.

There's a relatively large shop, just off of one of the many side roads, a stone's-throw, from the Duomo.  I should clarify that's a stone's-throw from the bottom of the Duomo, not the top!  'Stratagemma' has a range of touristy knick-knacks, but a sizable collection of modern-boardgames, RPG source-books and a library for playing games.  Carcassonne was present, in the form of spin-offs and a few expansions.  I shared the image of the latest Big Box on the appropriate thread.  I was happy to see a selection of GMT and Victory Point games were also present, these are often difficult or expensive to locate.  They also had some rarities, like the Deluxe Edition of Puerto Rico.  I'd say the prices were a little expensive, but not extortionate for a FLG in the very centre of a large city.  I briefly spoke to an employee, who was very happy to take orders and ships things all over the world.  If you're visiting Florence I'd recommend popping into Stratagemma and spending a few minutes looking around.

We later had a day trip to Siena, which is famous for it's town square and Duomo.  Tucked out of the way, down a side street that managed to sell us 2 stale sandwiches and a can of coke for 21€, we found 'Gio & Co.'  This was more of a toy and comicbook shop that also sold a few boardgames, and probably made it's bread selling Magic the Gathering cards.  It was small, pokey and dingy.  The two guys working there didn't say a word to us..not even Ciao...the only Italian I mastered the use of while in the country!  Not much to talk about here unfortunately; if you happen to be in or near Siena, I'd not bother.

Lastly, we decided to visit Arezzo.  It turns out there isn't much to see in Arezzo, other than another Duomo they decided to put on the top of a hill.  It was also stupidly hot when we were there, so we didn't find the energy to explorer.  The ancient amphitheatre was closed..and to be honest I live about 10 minutes for a very nice one.  We parked our car on a street corner and happened, by chance, to walk past a game shop, which was going to open after the afternoon siesta, giving us time to explore the city before popping in on our way home.  'Game Academy' is a franchise of shops local to the region.  They also seem to be very very big on the comicbook front, but they did have a relatively decent collection of games although quite small.  The shop was spacious and clean, they also appeared to have a games library, which contained the Around The World Carcassonne games.  There was one member of staff we could practise saying 'Ciao' to as well.  It seems they also have a shop in Florence, although it is north of the historical centre.  If you're visiting Italy, I would check to see if any of the towns you're visiting has a 'Game Academy', there are over 30-stores in the franchise; but I'm not sure I'd go out of my way to visit one if there was pizza or gelato to be had elsewhere.

That's our boardgaming summary of our trip to Florence.  If you're visiting the area soon, I hope it's helpful!


News and Events / GenCan't SoloCon Competition 2017
« on: August 16, 2017, 05:06:14 PM »
Gencant has quite honestly crept up on me this year!

It's a very large unconvention for people who cannot attend GenCon. 
You can read all about it here:
If you didn't know Gen Con is the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world!

You can read about 2015 here.
And about 2016's contest here.
And about 2017's!

When is it?
It runs from 17th August until the 20th August 2017.

Don't forget to tweet about the event, including: #gencant #carcsolocon @carcassonne

If you need help getting JCloisterZone running, there's usually plenty of people in the SLACK chatroom willing to help!

Contest Submissions
I should make clear, that contest submissions must include a screenshot from JCloisterzone, or other digital platform. 
Physical Submissions MUST include a clear photo showing the entire board and scoretrack at the end of the game but with follower on incomplete features in situ - this way we can check your maths :)
To win spot prizes, the maximum number of chances will be 5 per player, but you are welcome to submit more attempts.  One additional chance will be given to anyone who includes #gencant #carcsolocon @carcassonne in a tweet with their submission.  You can submit on twitter, or on this thread, or in the #general Slack Channel.

Carcassonne Contest

The first contests being run in parallel from: NOW until Sunday 20th August 2017 23:59:59 SST.  No entries can be submitted after the deadline.

I'd recommend using JCloisterZone to set up your games, but you're welcome to play a physical game with real tiles and score tracks if you prefer.

This year's setup will include the following expansions/Options:
  • Base Game - 2005+ rules (with No River or Abbot)
  • The Princess and Dragon
  • Abbey & Mayor

Please note, if you are playing a physical game:
  • If you are using the new art style, the River and Abbot expansions should be removed
  • There is a subtle difference in rules between the original and new editions.  Thus, abide to the rules of the edition you are using.

Contest Submissions
I should make clear, that contest submissions must include a screenshot from JCloisterzone, or other digital platform. 
Physical Submissions MUST include a clear photo showing the entire board and scoretrack at the end of the game but with follower on incomplete features in situ - this way we can check your maths :)


There will be 3 prizes.  Again this will be different commemorative personalized tiles!

The 1st Scoring Player
The 2nd Scoring Player
A Random Spot Prize

The random prizes will be awarded as above.  Up to 5-chances per player, plus an extra for a tweet including:   #gencant  #carcsolocon @carcassonne  with their submission.

  • Leven - 965
  • Leven - 909
  • thodekey - 879
  • thodekey - 859
  • thodekey - 856
  • thodekey - 854
  • Leven -841
  • Jungleboy -812
  • Carc-Throat Killa - 838
  • glh510 - 781
  • Carc-Throat Killa - 759
  • What If? - 758 -no pic
  • Rosco - 755
  • Danisthirty - 748
  • Leven - 743
  • Carc-Throat Killa - 739
  • danisthirty - 718
  • Rosco - 717
  • Rosco - 700
  • glh510 - 695
  • Carc-Throat Killa - 687
  • Danisthirty - 680
  • Danisthirty - 679
  • Danisthirty - 679
  • DaFees - 665
  • Rosco - 656
  • Carc-Throat Killa - 648
  • The StevenAllen - 621
  • DaFees - 606
  • jungleboy - 601
  • danisthirty - 567
  • yimhj - 534
  • Carc-Throat Killa - 528
  • TheSteveAllen - 501
  • stickboy (welcome! :(y)) - 484

The Abbot's Walk Contest

The Second Contest this year is a Physical-only Solo Variant which requires only the base-game to play.  It is called 'The Abbot's Walk', however the 'new artwork' is not required to play this expansion.  An alternative coloured meeple can be used instead.

In this variant, a player completes features to move their Abbot and followers from one cloister to another.

You can download it here

Contest Submissions
As with the first contest, submissions must include a photograph of your end game - here's an example.


There will be 3 prizes.  Again this will be different commemorative personalized tiles!

The 1st Scoring Player
The 2nd Scoring Player
A Random Spot Prize

The random prizes will be awarded as above.  Up to 5-chances per player, plus an extra for a tweet including:   #gencant  #carcsolocon @carcassonne  with their submission.

  • Rosco - 1137  :o
  • TheSeveAllen - 1092
  • Cobyhectic - 1015
  • TheSteveAllen - 982
  • Rosco - 939
  • Cobyhectic - 807
  • Cobyhectic - 775
  • dthmtlgod - 447
  • @Portsmouthsg - 6

News and Events / Carcassonne Central BGG Guild
« on: August 04, 2017, 02:21:05 AM »
BGG offers Guilds for smaller discussion groups for subject matters of interest to its members.

There's quite a few of us here on Carcassonne Central who also use BGG, so it might be a nice place to get in touch with each other.

I've created a Carcassonne Central Guild  - (GuildID: 3000) for us to use to reach out to people on BGG.

I thought it might be useful as an alternative venue in the case of site-failure too  :(y)

I'll probably be doing a round-up of articles and links to all the goings-on here and posting it on BGG on a bi-weekly basis.

Many of you know earlier this year Anne Pätzke gave an interview at the BoardGameBeaver.
We had an insight into the difficult work of producing new artwork for one of the most love boardgames of all time!

I've recently been in correspondence with Anne and she's been so incredibly kind!
She agreed to sign some tiles I sent her, but she also included some of her own, to give away as prizes over the next few months.
It's an important year for Carcassonne Central as we are reaching several important milestones!

I received a small package yesterday from Anne and she was also kind enough to share 'An Instant Postcard' she sent me for our correspondence:

I originally sent 12 tiles to be signed, but Anne included another 13.  In fact I've almost lost count!
So now I've got the hard task of distributing them amount out to Carcassonne fans across our community  :(y)

I'll give you a sneak peak of some of the tiles now, over the next few days/weeks I'll be sharing everything that was in my package, and hopefully finding them new homes:

click to embiggen:

Over the next few months there will be numerous ways to win/earn/select one of these tiles.  The first is tomorrow afternoon!

I've been given strict instructions to only share these tiles with fans of her work.
I have been explicitly told to not share these tiles with individuals who may remove the original artwork in order to use the tiles from fan-expansions.
Yes... someone actually did that. But let's focus on the positive things!

Be warned - any comments which I consider rude or nonconstructive on this thread or in relation this this thread will result in minimum 2-week ban from Carcassonne Central.  So my advice would be to hold your tongues and allow the fans of Anne Pätzke work compete in peace!

So now it's bed time for me, but just a warning for everyone!  There will be a contest tomorrow afternoon, which will start at noon-BST (UK).
Winners will be first to respond with the correct answer/answers, so you may want to subscribe to this thread now for details.

General / Are Farmers a Core Mechanic or Optional?
« on: July 12, 2017, 05:30:49 AM »
I consider them a core mechanic, and would only consider removing them when explaining the rules to children, though they're not that hard.  They offer a very important tactical play, especially at the end-game when there is a mad rush to control them.  I wouldn't consider them particularly aggressive so could be played in a friendly way.

General / Hans Im Glueck Trademarking Meeple
« on: July 05, 2017, 01:56:56 PM »
The DiceTower reported today that Hans Im Glueck are filing a Trademark for the term: Meeple.

I'm not sure where this news was cited from I hadn't heard anything.  I think it may be hard now Meeple is in the dictionary.
I wonder if it is related to the Epic game kickstarted last year filing a copyright for their meeple with weapon attachments.

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