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Carc Central Community => General => Topic started by: whaleyland on February 06, 2015, 09:59:52 PM

Title: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: whaleyland on February 06, 2015, 09:59:52 PM
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE BAZAARS

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

This week's element is THE BAZAARS (from Bridges, Castles & Bazaars [Expansion #8]). In the late 2000s, Carcassonne was having a slightly dark time. Wheel of Fortune proved to be less interesting to everyone as they had anticipated, and The Catapult was a pure disaster on an epic scale. Even the smaller expansions like The Corn Circles I, The Festival, and The Phantom were less impressive than they could have been. Then, the light at the end of the tunnel finally became visible, and it included a new large expansion. Bridges, Castles & Bazaars was an inventive expansion, introducing completely new and unanticipated ideas to Carcassonne, but of its three titular elements, The Bazaars was probably the least welcomed. Besides the strange similarity between Bazaar tiles and Catapult tiles, there was the bidding element that was completely foreign to the game. With eight such tiles included, the Bazaars are unavoidable but terrible to scale. In 2-player games, they are virtually worthless unless one of the players REALLY wants a tile.

The rules are fairly basic: a player draws a tile with a Bazaar and places it as normal. They then draw from the tile stack or the bag enough tiles for each player. Then, in player order, tiles are auctioned off using points as currency. The current player is the auctioneer until they finally get a tile, after which the title passes to the first player who hasn't received a new tile. After the auction is done (all players have a tile), then players, again in turn order, place their tiles and take a full extra turn. Additional Bazaar tiles drawn do not prompt second auctions (at least I believe that is the case  ::) ). As an alternative—and one that I always prefer—the tiles are placed out and players, in turn order, just take one. No bidding or auctioning. No points used as currency. Straightforward gameplay. Period. Anywho, discuss your relationship with The Bazaars, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week: The Plague   :P :'(  :-[
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Paul on February 06, 2015, 11:51:59 PM
I've chosen "I generally don't bid..."

But there should be an option "Using a variant or home rule..." for this one.

 :-\
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: tp10053 on February 07, 2015, 12:23:52 AM
I've chosen "I generally don't bid..."

But there should be an option "Using a variant or home rule..." for this one.

 :-\
same here. We have a house rule that we never bid, but any player can start bidding if he really wants some tile
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: whaleyland on February 07, 2015, 02:21:32 AM
Well, that's why the other options are there, I guess. Technically, the discussion regards the official rules, so that's why I didn't call it out as an option, though for this one I probably should have considering I also play it with the official no-bid variant.
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Paul on February 07, 2015, 03:33:36 AM
Well, that's why the other options are there, I guess. Technically, the discussion regards the official rules, so that's why I didn't call it out as an option, though for this one I probably should have considering I also play it with the official no-bid variant.

I think it's safe to say, that in this case, a house rule is an official rule!

 ;D
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Decar on February 07, 2015, 03:55:45 AM
I think this is one of the most difficult game elements to balance strategically.  In theory it should make you ask some interesting questions.

In a 3 player game, how many points would Player1,2 or 3 get with tileA, tileB or tileC? 

If you're first to draw you've got a lot of calculations to consider and you have to rely on your opponents inability to score; you can essentially nullify the worth of a card.

Consider a slightly contrived scenario where there is a bidding war between two players.

 :red-meeple: is auctioning a Cloister;  To  :meeple: it is worth 9 points, perhaps  they can play and score it immediately somewhere.
 :meeple: may want that tile because they could play it somewhere else worth 12 points.  Perhaps it scores 9 and connects a farm.

if   :meeple: Bids 4 or Less,   :red-meeple: should buy the card.    :meeple: will earn 4.  :red-meeple: will earn (9 -4) =5.
If  :meeple: Bids 6 or More,  :red-meeple: should sell the card.   :red-meeple: will earn 6.  :meeple: will earn (12-6) = 6.

It's interesting if  :meeple: bids 5.

If  :red-meeple: sells.    :red-meeple: earns 5.   :meeple: earns (12-5) = 7
If  :red-meeple: buys.    :meeple: earns 5.   :red-meeple: earns (9-5) = 4.

So it's interesting in this example, where a  :meeple: with more to win can pull a 1 point lead by correctly bidding and knowing what  :red-meeple: could do.  It's also good because the cloister worth 9 or 12 points is now reduced to +1 making it less significant.

Hopefully, I've not made a glaring error in that!
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: danisthirty on February 09, 2015, 09:58:39 AM
I find these very disruptive to the flow of the game to the point that it always makes me sigh whenever anyone draws one of these and then we have to go through the whole process of auctioning (or just taking) the tiles etc. Overall I dislike this to the point that I don't play with it, and fortunately everyone else I've ever played with has felt the same way!  :(n)
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: obervet on February 09, 2015, 10:27:01 AM
We don't play with bazaars too much anymore. In a 2-player game they're not too bad, since you can choose your tile and get on with the game. In a 4- or 5-player game, though, analysis paralysis becomes a huge issue and the game often comes to a grinding halt with each bazaar, since you have to consider all possible tile placements for each tile in the auction. Some people are bad enough about placing the one tile that they drew; if they have to decide which tile to take and how much it's worth to them, we're going to be here for a while.
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Durbs on February 12, 2015, 02:04:39 AM
I ordered it, then cancelled it (it was delayed) as I hadn't fully appreciated the mechanics of it and it just sounded too disruptive (combined with the bridges essentially making traps impossible).

Don't really have much reason to re-buy it, and hardly a glowing review here either :)
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: danisthirty on February 12, 2015, 02:29:52 AM
I ordered it, then cancelled it (it was delayed) as I hadn't fully appreciated the mechanics of it and it just sounded too disruptive (combined with the bridges essentially making traps impossible).

If anything spoils the game for those of us who like to trap it’s got to be the Abbeys, but I wouldn’t avoid Abbey & Mayor just because of this. Whilst I don’t like the Bazaars at all, Bridges and Castles can be fun in larger games if you’re not taking them too seriously!  :)
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: whaleyland on February 12, 2015, 04:12:56 PM
I agree, dan. The bridges and the castles are fun, even if the bazaars are not. Were the bazaars not tiles, I probably would never play with them, but since they are, they get occasional use. And we have a standing rule that if a tile depicts a feature, we play with that feature. The only exceptions so far are the volcano in The River II and the sheep in The Halflings II and The River III.
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Hounk on February 13, 2015, 04:35:38 AM
*off topic * The volcano tile in River II you can easily get rid of by using rather the second source from River I. Then you need just one river end, which can be the volcano if you are playing with P&D or the other one with the city, when ever not. Plus it looks even more natural with two springs uniting to one river.
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Leven on February 13, 2015, 07:07:31 AM
Plus it looks even more natural with two springs uniting to one river.

...which flows into a small lake at last, instead of reaching the sea.  ???
I would still not call it very natural (except for a river in a desert).
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Safari on February 13, 2015, 11:32:11 AM
Plus it looks even more natural with two springs uniting to one river.

...which flows into a small lake at last, instead of reaching the sea.  ???
I would still not call it very natural (except for a river in a desert).
No, no. The lake is not the end. It goes underground from there on! Didn't you know?!  ;D
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Hounk on February 13, 2015, 12:06:08 PM
Well, Carcassonne is anyway full of bizarre landscape, cities bridging over cities, etc. Nevertheless I prefer the river floating together rather than splitting up. (Not that I played it that way yet, but I will do so, once I got "River I" from CundCo.)
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Leven on February 13, 2015, 12:51:05 PM
No, no. The lake is not the end. It goes underground from there on! Didn't you know?!  ;D

So Carcassonne is situated in a karst area, and the lakes are actually sink-holes. OK, why not.  :)
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Leven on February 13, 2015, 01:09:49 PM
Well, Carcassonne is anyway full of bizarre landscape, cities bridging over cities, etc. Nevertheless I prefer the river floating together rather than splitting up. (Not that I played it that way yet, but I will do so, once I got "River I" from CundCo.)

Sorry for being so much off-topic now, but having plenty of river tiles (1x River I, 2x River II, 2 tiles from GQ11, + tiles of unofficial expansions) we usually build a river which flows right to the edge of the table. These long rivers can look really spectacular sometimes. And of course more natural than those ending in a "sink-hole".  :)
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: franks on February 14, 2015, 07:20:18 AM
Apologies for the late response. I was the lone vote for, 'use them in some other creatively strategic manner'.

I’m sure, for the purists, our version of Carcassonne would drive them over the parapet! We have a some custom and modified rules for a few tile sets, (but not all). The Bazaar is one of them.

Just to preface and as mentioned before my primary Carc partner is my wife. Before I picked up the 10th anniversary tiles from Cundco we would use the Bazaar tiles with that rule set, (return a Meeple from play if desired).

I thought something you might see happen at a Bazaar is a table of old gents playing their light games of chance, usually with playing cards. I certainly know my uncle, who lives in small town old Italy, spends most of his afternoons with this innocuous activity as they watch Calcio, (Italian football).

OK, finally here it is, when the Bazaar feature is drawn the player has the option to play a game of chance (in place of taking a feature). If you choose this option you can bid up to as many points as you wish (this number is very arbitrary and can have a limit of whatever is agreed upon in advance). 

The game is played with the Flyer die, bid up to the point level you wish (say 5 points) and choose a die number between 1 & 3 as shown on the die face. If you number comes up you get double those points you bid, (so in this example 10 points). If your number doesn’t come up you lose the bid points off the score track.

We always include these tiles and I am usually the only one to take the odd chance.

That is our wacky way :)
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: danisthirty on February 17, 2015, 04:14:14 AM
@Leven - thanks so much for that great photo!  :(y) I'm just curious though, do you use that timer in your games as well?

@franks - that sounds like an interesting variation, and it doesn't disrupt the flow in the same way either. Thanks for sharing!  :(y)
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Carcking on February 17, 2015, 07:20:33 AM
@Leven - thanks so much for that great photo!  :(y) I'm just curious though, do you use that timer in your games as well?

I'm dying to know what expansion that Knight holding the flag is from.
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Hounk on February 17, 2015, 08:26:57 AM
It looks like a "mighty knight" from "Cities and Knights of Catan".
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Leven on February 18, 2015, 01:56:01 AM
It looks like a "mighty knight" from "Cities and Knights of Catan".

It is, indeed.
We played with the Horse (http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?action=downloads;sa=view;down=138) expansion, but there was no chess set around, so we decided to use the knights of Catan as a substitute for the two horses. :)

I'm just curious though, do you use that timer in your games as well?

Yes, in a megacarc game we usually use it, just to ensure that the game won't last for ages. Because some of us (including me) tend to think too much before placing a tile.
Title: Re: The Bazaars – Element of the Week #22
Post by: Christopher on February 25, 2016, 04:54:28 AM
Bazaars are probably not my favourite expansion. It's a nice idea, adding a new element which at least works reasonably well, but it disrupts play, irritates players if they bid badly, and usually requires consulting of the rules at least once. That being said, you can always choose not to use these tiles when you don't fancy it, but retain the option to use them when you do. It's not a terrible mechanism (like some other expansions) and can be played quite well in a strategic game. I've played several games where we loved having the bazaar tiles. It was great having a choice of tiles and trying to bluff your way into making other players waste points. If the buying tiles mechanism hadn't been introduced by the publishers, I've little doubt that a similar expansion would have been created by a fan. Bazaars are never going to be a staple expansion that you never play without like Inns and Cathedrals, but being able to include it when the mood is upon you in certainly an addition to the game. I feel.