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Carc Central Community => General => Topic started by: whaleyland on May 01, 2015, 03:14:02 PM

Title: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: whaleyland on May 01, 2015, 03:14:02 PM
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE PHANTOMS

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 PHANTOMS. When the 10th anniversary of Carcassonne came along, there were a bunch of expansions and whatnot that came out of the event. One of the least conspicuous was this little Follower-only expansion that came in a cute little Meeple-shaped transparent plastic box (available in six colors!). Unassuming as it was, the expansion quickly revolutionised Carcassonne for many players. The rules were as straight-forward as can be: the Phantom is a normal Follower in all ways with one bonus, it can be placed in addition to another Follower. In other words, you can claim two features in one turn. Pretty straightforward, right?

What nobody expected at the time of its release was just how crazy an idea this micro-expansion was. Even today, only The Little Buildings and the Phantom have the honor of being tile-less expansions – both of them add something different to the game. The Phantom gave players a way to do what they had always wanted to do and claim that Cloister and City on the same tile, or stick a Follower on a Field without sacrificing that 10-point Road. It was such a simple idea that it's a bit amazing it took 10 years for someone to make it – fan-expansions included! And the ingenious use of plastic meeples to achieve it added a visually positive flare to the otherwise painted-wood appearance of the game. Sure the Phantom figures don't really match anything else in Carcassonne and their name-theme is a bit silly, but what the expansion can do is what's important, and it can do a TON. Discuss your relationship with The Phantoms and how you optimise your use of this strategic element.

Next Week: The Flying Machine  (I believe I can fly!!!  O0 )
Title: Re: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: franks on May 01, 2015, 08:54:19 PM
I like the addition of tile-less expansions that add depth and decision making to the game without the extra time added by tiles; (our games are long enough as it is).

One of my favoured uses for the Phantom is protecting cities from incursion on a C/C tile, (with non-connecting secondary cities, if that makes sense without an illustration).

Another use that comes to mind is claiming an Inn on the Lake road as a secondary play.

On the creative side, we also use a secondary Phantom, of another unique colour, in our pool to use as the fan created tile-less Tax man expansion (somewhere here in the file section). In all honesty this usually doesn’t get played but still cool to have, just in case  :)
Title: Re: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: yimhj on May 03, 2015, 10:46:13 AM
Thanks to Dan, who send me a set of Phantom, a couple of weeks ago, we have played a few parts of Carcassonne with it and, it is very powerful. The phantom are useful with Castles in Germany.
Title: Re: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: Nicholas Mystikos on May 03, 2015, 11:29:49 AM
I think the first thought that most of us would have had upon discovering the phantom was, "Oh great, now I can claim both the city and the farm / city and the cloister / cloister and the farm" etc.

But now I think the main use of the phantom is the claiming of features that are completed with that tile or that are soon to be completed, and that often means roads. The sentence "...and I'll take the two points for the road with my phantom as well," is one that gets uttered a lot in our games.
Title: Re: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: Hounk on May 04, 2015, 03:07:13 AM
I wonder, has anybody used this two CFFF tiles with two fields from "Hills & Sheep" with the phantoms? I must say, I haven't played H&S at all yet, but this seems to me like a powerfull endgame option to force over a field.
Title: Re: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: Carcking on May 04, 2015, 03:16:35 AM
...the claiming of features that are completed with that tile or that are soon to be completed...

This what we find too. It's a poit grab because no one wants to commit their Phantom in case something really good comes along. It's kinda like the Wagon but with even more power and less limitation.
Title: Re: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: obervet on May 04, 2015, 12:50:02 PM
I agree with jungleboy as well -- the majority of Phantom uses are on features that were completed with placement of that tile, so the Phantom grabs points and bounces right back.

And I can't think of the last time we played a game without the Phantom. It's just part of the core set as far as we're concerned.
Title: Re: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: danisthirty on May 05, 2015, 06:02:43 AM
I agree with jungleboy as well -- the majority of Phantom uses are on features that were completed with placement of that tile, so the Phantom grabs points and bounces right back.

And I can't think of the last time we played a game without the Phantom. It's just part of the core set as far as we're concerned.

+1 to that! If nothing else, it's an extra meeple at your disposal but I will usually keep mine back for use as jungleboy suggests: place him so that he scores immediately and use something else to claim any other potentially valuable features on the tile.

I also like the special cases where phantoms can be useful in stealing things. So, before it was confirmed that you couldn't do this and JCZ was promptly updated, I used to love using a Princess tile to remove an opposing knight from a city and then claim the recently vacated city with my phantom on the same turn. This was especially beautiful if a) it was a big city, perhaps including a cathedral and b) the tile I placed completed it so that I got my phantom back too. I've heard some astonishing language from Rosco for doing just this!  >:D

Similarly, there's always the option to capture an opposing knight using the tower and then claim their city with your phantom afterwards if you're able to.

Overall I think it's a simple but excellent expansion that fits in very well with so many other expansions. If only it were immune to the dragon it would be perfect, but sadly I don't suppose this will ever be the case...  :(
Title: Re: The Phantom – Element of the Week #34
Post by: Christopher on February 25, 2016, 10:45:16 AM
I'm going to agree with pretty much everyone here! I always use the phantom to get the points from a feature that is completed by placement of a tile which was placed in the interest of grabbing a different feature. Before the phantom, it was infuriating to place a tile to grab a city and happen to finish a reasonable road with the same placement.

I try to avoid placing the phantom in any elongated deployment. I don't like him to get stuck anywhere, so it's always a quick grab. Unless it's something you couldn't possibly miss!