Poll

How do you primarily use German Castles?

To earn 12 points by claiming the Castle itself.
5 (33.3%)
As a means of gaining bonus points for Roads and Cities connected to my Castles.
6 (40%)
By trying to sneak in and claim Roads and Cities adjacent to other players' Castles.
0 (0%)
I use them in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
2 (13.3%)
I don't ever play with or don't own German Castles.
2 (13.3%)

Total Members Voted: 15

Voting closed: July 31, 2015, 03:29:06 PM

Author Topic: German Castles – Element of the Week #45  (Read 5266 times)

Offline whaleyland

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German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« on: July 24, 2015, 03:29:06 PM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: GERMAN CASTLES

Carcassonne has definitely taken strange turns in the past ten years, so these few expansions may not be in your knowledge bank, but that doesn't make them any less official (or does it?). So as we conclude this series over the next few weeks, feel free to express any form of praise or criticism you may have for these off-beat elements.

This week, we present GERMAN CASTLES, the absolute newest expansion from Hans im Glück and currently on tour through Europe. This six-tile expansion introduced players to the wonder of double-length tiles (technically The School was the first, but I digress). Players get to choose one (or two in 2-3 player games) tiles from the mix and place them in front of themselves. During their turn, instead of drawing a normal tile, they can place their German Castle. They then can place a Follower anywhere on the tile, as per the normal rules, or place it on the Castle itself. Castles are completed just like Cloisters except they require three more tiles to complete and are, therefore, worth three more points when completed. Even the end-game rules are the same for them. However, Castles also improve the point value of adjacent Roads and Cities. Whenever a Road or City is completed that has one of its segments on a Castle tile, it earns +3 points.

This expansion falls into the recent trend to release regional expansions (I blame Catan for starting this trend with their Catan Geographies series). Thus, the six Castles represent six different actual medieval Castles found throughout Germany. The art on the tiles are exquisitely done, although as with the Dutch and German Monasteries expansions, the tiles do not accurately represent the region of Languedoc in France. The rules are a tiny bit clunky but there are certainly more confusing expansions out there. And despite the thematic break with the content, the Castles are quite visually stunning when viewed on the landscape. Discuss your relationship with German Castles and how you optimise your use of this strategic element.

Next Week: The Gingerbread Man     ;D ??? :neutral-meeple:

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1967.0
« Last Edit: July 27, 2015, 10:46:22 PM by danisthirty, Reason: Changed Darmstadt to German Castles in Heading »

Offline kettlefish

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2015, 11:28:37 PM »
I like the bonus points for cities and roads.

The graphics are beautiful from Doris Matthäus.
HiG asked the members of Carcassonne-Forum (CarcF) to decide which castles would be a part of this mini-expansion.

Offline jappie

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2015, 11:51:38 PM »
I played a couple of times with this expansion and I must say that I really like it. Especially when playing with the phantom. You place a meeple on the castle and your phantom on one of the roads or city. Only the scoring for the roads can be different, so I clarified the rules. The player gets for every roadconnection with the castle 3 bonuspoints. So If you are making a looping road connecting two times to the castle, you will receive 6 bonuspoints.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2015, 12:12:50 AM »
I also really like this expansion. I've only played with it once or twice but it offered a lot more extra game-play an strategy than I would have thought. The ability to keep scoring bonus points for roads and cities makes it the 'tile that keeps on giving' - it gives you a lot more to think about when you're deciding to make your move once a castle has been played.

Plus I like the artwork, and I really hope that other countries will bring out their own version as well (Chateaux de France would be a nice start!).

I think the small old-art expansions that have been released recently (Monasteries, Halflings, Castles) have all been great.  :(y) HiG is thinking outside the box and it's working. Too bad about Carcassonne 2.0 and Darmstadt.  >:D

P.S. Whaleyland, you still have Darmstadt in the headline in your original post, which pains me.  :)

Offline MrNumbers

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2015, 02:23:11 AM »
I voted for 4th option. I like this expansion very much, and I play it only with phantom or wagon, in order to be able to claim both German Castle itself and adjusted objects.
"I never lose. Either I win or I learn." (Nelson Mandela)

Offline Curt194

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2015, 03:12:57 AM »
I love this expansion.

It's simple, looks gorgeous and adds some nice strategy that doesn't conflict with other expansions too much and so makes it easy to add Ito most games!

I mostly focus on the 12 points although I am also known to try and get the bonus points from other peoples castles as well.

Offline Halfling

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2015, 08:06:11 AM »
One of my favourite expansions.
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Offline CarcinFool

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2015, 06:47:25 PM »
I like this one as well. Tiles look great, rules are nice and simple, it has fun bonuses, and changes up the landscape in a good way. One of my favorites.

Offline Christopher

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2016, 10:31:11 AM »
Ohhoo! German Castles. Lovely idea. Mega cloisters. Although not really. It's a great mechanic without being too onerous to complete, which it could have been if it were two layers or some such. Three addition points on the features is also a nice addition. Gives the castles a little more going on.

I enjoy that players are given the castles at the beginning with the option to deploy when they choose. This adds a little more strategy and removes the element of luck in tile drawing. Players are required to spot a developing location or manufacture a promising location for their castle in order to rapidly close and maximise points from the feature.

I also quite like the one tile aspect. I think it was brave to define the tile as being one tile in the rules. It's simple and effective as all interactions can be deduced. However, I think it's unwieldy in practice and leads to some strange effects. I've tried playing both ways and I'm not sure which I enjoy the most.

On top of all of that, the artwork is lovely. All of the latest expansions with historical backgrounds and real locations are beautiful addition to the game landscape as it unfolds.
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Offline dirk2112

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2016, 08:25:46 PM »
This is a great little expansion that I highly recommend.  My son likes to use the castles to close off cities to take trade goods.  My wife likes to go for the 12 point castles (she tends to get 10 points, but can never finish them). I think I got the most points connecting roads to them.  Those 3 bonus points can add up when there are 6 castles with 3 roads each. 

Offline stalcupojoy

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2016, 06:28:17 AM »
I loved this expansion from the moment I first saw it, mostly because of Doris' gorgeous artwork spread over two tiles. The castles really add to the look of the landscape of a game.

And thankfully, the rules are simple enough for most people I've played with (sans one so far). I think the rules add a lot of fun gameplay options, especially with the different possibilities of planting a follower on the castle itself or going straight for the roads/city bonuses. And many people have mentioned the great interaction with the Phantoms.

Overall, this is one of my favorite mini-expansions... maybe even my favorite.

P.S. whaleyland: I notice a few small expansions have come out since you finished this Element of the Week series. Any plans to throw up some topics for some of the newest Carcassonne entries? I think that would be fun.

Offline whaleyland

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2016, 01:26:19 PM »
P.S. whaleyland: I notice a few small expansions have come out since you finished this Element of the Week series. Any plans to throw up some topics for some of the newest Carcassonne entries? I think that would be fun.
I may do Labyrinth and German Cathedrals at some point in the not-to-distant future. But the latter only became widely available fairly recently so I want to give that enough time to percolate. Same with Winter Edition Corn Circles (although that Element has already been done for the standard edition). I may get somebody else to do Watchtowers. I still haven't gotten it and am not sure if I will. The completionist vs original-art-ist in me is fighting a mighty hard war for dominance and neither side has come out victorious yet.

Offline Valheru

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Re: German Castles – Element of the Week #45
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2016, 03:58:09 PM »
P.S. whaleyland: I notice a few small expansions have come out since you finished this Element of the Week series. Any plans to throw up some topics for some of the newest Carcassonne entries? I think that would be fun.
I may do Labyrinth and German Cathedrals at some point in the not-to-distant future. But the latter only became widely available fairly recently so I want to give that enough time to percolate. Same with Winter Edition Corn Circles (although that Element has already been done for the standard edition). I may get somebody else to do Watchtowers. I still haven't gotten it and am not sure if I will. The completionist vs original-art-ist in me is fighting a mighty hard war for dominance and neither side has come out victorious yet.

Completionism will falter this time ;)
"In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits dreaming..."


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