Poll

Which do you primarily use?

The Mage on my features to earn extra points.
2 (10.5%)
The Witch on other peoples' features to halve their points.
3 (15.8%)
I split my use between them.
12 (63.2%)
I use them in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
0 (0%)
I don't ever play with or don't own Mage & Witch.
2 (10.5%)

Total Members Voted: 19

Voting closed: June 19, 2015, 03:54:26 PM

Author Topic: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40  (Read 3773 times)

Offline whaleyland

  • Great Khan
  • Authors
  • Marquis Chevalier
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 2491
  • Merit: 79
  • Toulouse: Carcassonne's insignificant neighbor.
    • View Profile
    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« on: June 12, 2015, 03:54:26 PM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE MAGE & WITCH

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 MAGE & WITCH (Carcassonne Mini #5). This, the fifth of the Carcassonne Minis, was rather unique among the Minis for various reasons. First, it's the only Mini without "The" in the title. Second, it's the only expansion that uses exclusively non-player figures (NPFs). And third, it's the only expansion that slightly rehashes a previous concept. That concept would be the Mage. The Mage gives an extra point for whatever feature he is on if it scores. In other words, he's a mobile Cathedral or Inn. The Witch, then, is his antithesis: she halves the points of the feature she is on, so she is a mobile, deluxe Besieger. Put on a +/- comparison chart, the Witch will inevitably take more points than the Mage will give, specifically in Cities with Cathedrals, but overall the balance between the two is pretty even.

This expansion is nice revision of some old concepts and for that it deserves regular use in games. It has some fiddly rules at times, generally specific to the problem of the two figures appearing on the same feature by strategic tile placement. However, this situation is also the only time a player can move one of them without placing a M&W tile. And that is where this expansion's chief disadvantage is: the requirement that the figures only move when one of the eight M&W tiles is drawn. This is a common problem with many of the Minis but I think it is most acute with Mage & Witch because the two figures have a lot of potential but combined they only are moved eight times official throughout the course of the game. That means they only add a point or take a point eight times, too. If playing with Hills, that number may be reduced even more. So the expansion suffers from a lack of move tiles, even though it succeeds because of its simple nature and relatively logical rules. Discuss your relationship with Mage & Witch and how you optimise your use of this strategic element.

Next Week: The Besiegers...er...The Cathars...um...Siege?  >:D >:D >:D

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1863.0

Offline Hounk

  • Baron
  • *****
  • Posts: 965
  • Merit: 15
  • I haven't updated my profile yet!
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2015, 04:58:04 PM »
Even without hills, they might alter score less then 8 times. If they are moved in and out buildings, before they are scored. But this applies to a lot of features. There are only 6 inns and 2 cathedrals in I&C, 6 princess, 6 magic portals, etc. And some of them very likely will get insignificant in some games. (2 inns stacked in the same road; princess tile rather used to finish an own city; a cathedral discarded, because no spot for a CCCC...) Still M&W can make all the difference, Leven used them once very powerful to his advantage.

One quite unique feature of the mage is, that he gives at least a few points to unfinished besieged and cathedral cities as well as roads with inn. But he is not interested in pennants.

Offline danisthirty

  • (well, 38 actually)
  • Administrator
  • Chatelain Grand Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 6341
  • Merit: 233
  • "First to 4 points wins?"
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 11:42:23 PM »
This is probably my favourite of all the mini expansions, although Fliers and/ or Goldmines come in a close second/ third.

I guess the market for all of these expansions is people who already own the basic game. As such, it might have been imagined somewhere along the way that in many games this would be the only expansion in use. In this case, 8 tiles out of 80 means that 10% of tiles drawn (OK, just over as there would only be 79 draw tiles + starter tile) mean that you could probably expect to see the Mage & Witch featuring fairly prominently. It's only when you add in dozens of other expansions (which most of us are likely to do) that the effect is diluted somewhat. This is a shame, as both Mage and Witch are very powerful figures who can be used strategically to make a big difference in many games.
Heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2018

Offline Christopher

  • Count
  • **
  • Posts: 297
  • Merit: 12
  • It's not the years, it's the mileage.
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2016, 04:38:26 AM »
I enjoy this expansion a great deal. It's not quite my favourite mini, but it's rather lovely. As was stated, the Mage is essentially a mobile inn or cathedral. Add the Witch in as the yang to the yin, and it makes for a tremendous expansion. The combination of the rehashed Inn/Cathedral with the new Witch feature is lovely.

I usually go for the Mage first, and will only use the Witch if I already have the Mage played. Or if I have no decent location for the Mage, of course.

The issue I have with this expansion is as was previously noted. They aren't prevalent enough. With only eight tiles, which each let you move the Mage OR the Witch, I find they achieve very little in a game. I realise that in a base game with say, Inns and Cathedrals, there are only six inns and two cathedrals, but once those are placed they stay. If the Mage or the Witch moves before the feature is completed, they don't have the effect. Playing this mini with the base game works, but adding any other large expansion dilutes this feature far too much. I did try playing this expansion with yet another of my variations ( :P), which was pretty fun. We played both the Mage and the Witch like the Gingerbread Man, in that when a city or road with one of these figures is completed, the completing player moves the figure into another unfinished city or road. This worked pretty well, because both features stuck around throughout the game and had a much bigger effect! Almost too big, really, but it was fun.

I like playing the base game with three minis, whichever I fancy at the time. That makes for a good game. My favourites are The Ferries, The Goldmines and The Mage and the Witch.



Look to the north. Keep looking. There's nothing coming from the south.

Offline dirk2112

  • Viscount
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
  • Merit: 42
  • Filled with caffeine and hyperbole
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2016, 05:06:59 AM »
I did try playing this expansion with yet another of my variations ( :P), which was pretty fun. We played both the Mage and the Witch like the Gingerbread Man, in that when a city or road with one of these figures is completed, the completing player moves the figure into another unfinished city or road. This worked pretty well, because both features stuck around throughout the game and had a much bigger effect! Almost too big, really, but it was fun.

I like playing the base game with three minis, whichever I fancy at the time. That makes for a good game. My favourites are The Ferries, The Goldmines and The Mage and the Witch.


I may try your house rule, but with the modification that you must put the mage or witch on an opponent's feature.  It would be rather harsh to just keep completing your own features with the mage after the last mage tile has come out. 


Offline yimhj

  • Nobleman
  • ******
  • Posts: 106
  • Merit: 8
  • A fan from France.
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2016, 06:54:21 AM »
I missed the last one on Spielmaterial website. It's the last Mini I don't own. If someone...

Offline Christopher

  • Count
  • **
  • Posts: 297
  • Merit: 12
  • It's not the years, it's the mileage.
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016, 02:42:42 PM »
I did try playing this expansion with yet another of my variations ( :P), which was pretty fun. We played both the Mage and the Witch like the Gingerbread Man, in that when a city or road with one of these figures is completed, the completing player moves the figure into another unfinished city or road. This worked pretty well, because both features stuck around throughout the game and had a much bigger effect! Almost too big, really, but it was fun.

I like playing the base game with three minis, whichever I fancy at the time. That makes for a good game. My favourites are The Ferries, The Goldmines and The Mage and the Witch.


I may try your house rule, but with the modification that you must put the mage or witch on an opponent's feature.  It would be rather harsh to just keep completing your own features with the mage after the last mage tile has come out.

The completing player moves them, so others can jump in by finishing your feature. Something like your idea might be good though, to stop one person abusing it!

Offline dirk2112

  • Viscount
  • ****
  • Posts: 824
  • Merit: 42
  • Filled with caffeine and hyperbole
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2016, 06:21:21 PM »
I just ordered extra mage & witch tiles from Ebay along with 8 more from the Robber.  This addiction is getting bad, but with 16 tiles we won't need the house rules ;)

Offline Just a Bill

  • Marquis
  • ***
  • Posts: 471
  • Merit: 43
  • I'm still in beta.
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2017, 11:39:14 AM »
Regarding the infrequency of getting to move the mage and witch, has anyone tried letting other special features (vaguely magic-related) also count as a proxies? Obvious thematic possibilities might include magic portals (6), volcanoes (6), shrines (5/6), and crop circles (6/12).

I haven't thought through the gameplay implications of two different effects triggering, but obviously you'd probably want to work out a sequence for the two that prevented or minimized any abusive combinations. Or, just use the tiles from the other mechanic(s) without including their gameplay.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 11:41:30 AM by Just a Bill »
My stuff: The Caverns of Carcassonne | Wheel of Fortune versions | True North (wind roses) | Icon facelifts | Converting CII to CI | Signposts & the Château | The Vault | Riverboats & the Whirlpool | trade list

Offline Christopher

  • Count
  • **
  • Posts: 297
  • Merit: 12
  • It's not the years, it's the mileage.
    • View Profile
Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2017, 02:49:17 AM »
Boo!

Got you.

Anyway, I have recently been playing with the Mage and the Witch again, as I finally got round to teaching my best girl the minis. We made a startling discovery.

Ready?

The mage is just as effective on a road, as on a city!

I know!

It's obvious when you think about it, but because the mage gives an extra point per tile, it doesn't matter what the feature itself is scoring. The Mage gives the same points anyway. This is important, because (and I hope I'm not the only person who has been making this little faux pa) I would always drop the Mage into a city, because cities are worth more points, right? But actually, a ten tile city would get ten extra points, whilst a ten tile road would also get ten points. Only, roads are generally easier to build and easier to close. We realised that it was much better to play the Mage on a reasonably sized road and close it quickly, that place it in a large city which you won't close before someone moves him.

Changed my life.


Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via furl Share via linkedin Share via myspace Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via technorati Share via twitter

  Subject / Started by Replies / Views Last post
question
Wheel of Fortune & Mage & Witch: Element Match-Ups #4

Started by whaleyland

3 Replies
1625 Views
Last post October 11, 2015, 12:41:07 PM
by Hounk
xx
Mage and Witch - another question

Started by rfielder

2 Replies
1423 Views
Last post April 23, 2014, 10:00:34 AM
by obervet
xx
CAR 6.4 - Mage and Witch Wording

Started by rfielder

25 Replies
6284 Views
Last post April 17, 2014, 06:29:54 AM
by Fritz_Spinne
xx
Mage and witch placement

Started by claudio_ferra

6 Replies
2465 Views
Last post June 15, 2016, 01:44:11 PM
by claudio_ferra
xx
Mage & Witch, and Phantom questions

Started by danisthirty

6 Replies
3724 Views
Last post October 15, 2013, 09:20:50 AM
by danisthirty