Author Topic: Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014  (Read 7633 times)

Offline danisthirty

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Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014
« on: September 02, 2014, 07:41:54 AM »
Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014


Welcome
Just like the A-Team, I love it when a plan comes together. But I love it even more when a newsletter comes together, which is exactly what's happened here! I hope you love it too.

Feel free to think of this either as the sequel to the first newsletter or perhaps a prequel to the third newsletter, but however you think of it, I do hope you'll find something of interest (or perhaps even lots of things of interest) and that your secret desire to know more about Carcassonne than anyone else in the world will become an immediate reality.

Without further ado, here goes with the second edition of Carcassonne Central News...


Under Starter's Orders
Can't decide which player should go first? Tired of never having a coin to toss because so many have rolled under the table and then vanished never to be seen again? Try this: next time you play, get each player to shake their meeples up in their hands and then toss them out onto the table. Don't be too enthusiastic about this as you may never see them again otherwise! Everyone does this at once, and the starting player is the player with most meeples standing upright on the table (or lying on their side if none from anyone are standing). A word of caution: once you've determined the starting player in this way, make sure everyone has the right number of meeples before you start playing!


Forum News
General\ Carcassonne for more than 6 players?
(http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=784)
I can't speak from personal experience, but if you have more than 5 friends you will undoubtedly have wondered at some point what it would be like to play Carcassonne with all of them at once, especially if you happen to have meeples in orange, pink, purple, brown, white or "unpainted". This post contains everything you need to know before you begin.

General\ Carcassonne Minis
(http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=968)
When things get a bit samey it's reassuring to know that you can always "spice up" your games of Carcassonne by adding one or two of the mini-expansions for a bit of variety. But with 6 to choose from (OK, 7 - sort of) how can you possibly know which will hit the table regularly and which will live indefinitely on your shelf of shame? Nebus has started a poll; that's how.

General\ Carcassonne Challenge 1 - Expand the World
(http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=960)
Surely everyone loves playing Carcassonne by themselves? But don't you just hate it when you deliberately trap your own meeples in uncompleteable features thus leaving gaping holes in an otherwise beautiful landscape and then don't talk to yourself for days afterwards? Yellow has come up with this interesting but tricky tile-laying challenge that doesn't involve meeples or vicious tactics but instead results in a unique and wonderful landscape to enjoy and share. Try it!

CarcCentral Carcassonne League\ World Cup - Knock-out Stage!
(http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=991)
The World Cup of Carcassonne Central's group stage is now complete and the knock-out stage has begun. The 8 remaining players who finished 1st or 2nd in their groups will be gradually eliminated over the course of 4 quarter-finals, 2 semi-finals and then finally, the final! Keep track of who's playing who (and the results) here!

Official Rules\ Wagons
(http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=945)
If you're someone who gets so confused over what can and can't be done with the wagon that you prefer to just not use it, and instead keep it back for use as a novelty skateboard for any meeples not in play, you're certainly not alone (I hope I'm not anyway). However, you may want to check out this thread if you'd like to use your wagon to actually score you some points from time to time...

Official Rules\ Does the River Separate Two Farms,  is this stated anywhere in the CAR?
(http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=932)
We all know that farmers are probably the hardest working meeples of all. But are they so hard-working that they would even be willing to plough the land and look after their cattle underwater? Apparently not. But at least now we know for sure! (if you are an astronaut please note that the interesting discussion that followed surrounding Carcassonne in space has since been moved to its own topic)

The Workshop\ Crafters' Guild\ Homemade, handmade Carcassonne + The River II
(http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=959)
At school, my efforts in carpentry were bad enough to make my woodwork teacher laugh so hard he hurt himself (and others). Fortunately though, not everyone is quite as backwards as me when it comes to wood. hardenheavy certainly isn't anyway as these amazing photos of his home-made wooden Carcassonne set go to show!


Carcassonne Player's Guide #2: Cloister Blocking - Why, When and How (brought to you by MrNumbers)
Although Carcassonne is mostly a family board game, at the same time it can be very competitive. Tournaments and championships can prove this, and as you might expect, game style changes completely when you play to win.

Today I will tell the story about blocking. Many of you have noticed that it is one of my favorite tricks to play during tournament games. The reason for this is simple: your opponent cannot earn points when he has run out of followers, so your chances of winning are greatly increased.

The feature most vulnerable to being blocked is the cloister. Cities and roads can consist of just 2 tiles, whereas cloisters must be surrounded by 8 tiles to become completed. If you see that your opponent is building two cloisters next to each other, your top priority must be to block both with one move! Even though it seems quite obvious to complete Red's road in the picture below, it's better to block two of Green's followers instead:



When a cloister is alone, always look for an opportunity to block it simultaneously with something else – road or city. Even though it is quite obvious to complete Red's city, this is another good opportunity to block two of Green's followers:



That's the reason why I don't like to deploy followers on cloisters.

You can ask: so how can I take a cloister with minimal risk? Two options: 1. Place it near to a feature belonging to your opponent, so if he blocks you he will block himself too. Don't do this if you only have 1 or 2 followers in your supply as your opponent may be willing to sacrifice one of his own followers to block your last one.



2. Place a cloister in places without nearby roads or cities.



Another tactic of blocking is based on human greediness:

- you build a city (better with a Cathedral)
- your opponent connects to it
- you try to win it back with one or more additional followers (as many as seem required to guarantee winning the city)
- your opponent suddenly blocks the city!

Yes he sacrifices 1 or 2 followers, but you have lost 1 (or 2) more in the process.


Member of the Month
He's only been with us for a little over a month but he's thrown himself into the world of Carcassonne Central with enthusiasm and a great sense of humor. He's not afraid to ask questions (even if he regrets asking them soon afterwards when it transpires that even the simplest suggestions can be debated indefinitely) and has started several thought-provoking discussions relating to some of the numerous dilemmas that most of us face as keen Carcassonne players and collectors. On top of this, he even stepped in at short notice to get the World Cup of Carcassonne Central moving again after Group A went through a bit of a sticky patch.

Last and by some means least though, he's the first member of this forum (to the best of my knowledge) to have used a picture of Bill Oddy as his avatar. Several in fact. So well done Gerry, thanks for your involvement over these past few weeks and thanks for finally helping Bill to make it onto these humble forums...


Video Library: Two Meeples Down... but not out!
After trapping two of Rosco's meeples early on (for zero points between them because of an Inn and a Cathedral) I felt confident that I was in a good position to win the game. But I relaxed more than I should have done, and lost track of how important the key feature of the game was going to be! This was something Rosco was only too keen to punish me for, and in the end it was this that won the game for him as this video demonstrates...



Lessons learnt:
5m5s: The most significant mistake I made in this game was my placement of the fffr tile (cloister with road leading up to it) which I used to claim an equal share in Rosco's 12-point road. Whilst this was nice, with hindsight it seems obvious that I should have been striving to maintain my majority on the main farm and claimed the field instead, as this would have added a second farmer of my own with the same tile that joined Rosco's first farmer onto it.


Carcassonne Knowledge Tester (CKT) #2: A Perfect Fit
Welcome to another Carcassonne Knowledge Tester. Before moving on to this month's question, let's have another quick look at the question I posed last month where I asked you how many points blue would score for the farm in the picture below:



So, it was a tale of eight cities. Well, six cities really as two of them were castles (5 and 7) but we'll deal with those in a second.

Firstly, it should have been fairly obvious that two cities (3 and 4) weren't part of the farm at all. In addition to this, 8 was incomplete so wasn't worth anything either. The pig means that cities 1, 2 and 6 were worth four points each rather than the usual three, but, the value of 6 was doubled because it contained a Cathars tile. In total, this means these three cities were worth 16 points between them (two fours and an eight).

Now for the castles. The trick here was based on the knowledge that castles are worth the same farmer points regardless of whether they're complete. This means they're worth five points each (four points plus one point because of the pig) which adds another ten points to the total value of the farm.

16 + 10 = 26 points. Congratulations to mas9dj for being the first person to PM me with the correct answer!

And so to this month's CKT: a classic battle between Red and Blue consisting of the basic 72 tiles, Inns & Cathedrals, Abbey & Mayor and Bridges, Castles and Bazaars. This is how things are looking after the first couple of dozen tiles:



But then - boom! - this happens and the crowd goes wild:



Your test this week is to correctly determine how many points both Red and Blue will win from this tile placement. For the sake of argument, you can assume that this will be based purely on everything that you can see i.e. there are no robbers or anything you can't see that would influence the scoring.

Please PM me with your answers. The correct answer will be discussed in the next newsletter.

Good luck!


Fan-Span Focus: "Farmer in the Dell" by Carcking and other forum members (brought to you by Big Guy)

INVASIVENESS: B
-Tiles used in said game: 96, New from Expansion: 24
-Number of total followers per player: 7, no change from base game
-Meeple Types: 1, no change from base game
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 3 (City, Road, Field), no change from base game
-Feature Types: 4 (City, Road, Field, Cloister), no change from base game
-Other additions: 4 (Bluffs, Corner House, Farmer scoring updates, 'FARM-IN-THE-DELL' Field Completion rules)
-Overall, the additions and changes here are minor. No new features, meeple types, or move-of-the-wood options. Bluffs and Corner Houses require almost no rule additions and play intuitively. Farmer scoring updates require moderate rule changes. Rules for Field Completion prior to end-game are minor. Overall, this gets a B!

QUALITY: 5
-Tile quality is very good, and the bluffs and corner houses not only look great, but add a lot of depth to field design. The opening and graphics look crisp. Rules are clear and in the correct turn format, with no rule gaps found. Moderately complex rules for farmer scoring are handled well here. There is no turn example for scoring Farmer(s) in the Dell, but due to the detail in the description, I'm still awarding a top score here.


FUN-NESS: 4
-I'M A FARMER, GIMME POINTS!: The biggest change here is in scoring for farmers, and being able to get your farmers back before end-of-game. This feels dynamic and fun, but at the same time potentially unbalances the game by making fields more important than other features. You can now score 1 point for each completed city bordering an incomplete (or just completed) farm on which you place a farmer (provided the farmer is not removed from the field that same turn, and provided you are at least tied for majority). You can also score 3 points per completed city when that farm is completed, meaning you can potentially score 4 points per completed city. Fields were important before, when they only awarded 3 points per city, and when they required a commitment of at least one follower for the rest of the game. Now, fields are more important still, with less risk. The only risk is getting trapped on an incomplete field at end-game, and receiving only 1 point per completed city because of it. Field play definitely feels more fun and exciting now, and there is balance here, as others can still challenge you for control of your farm, and place tiles to hinder your field completion. But even so, there are some hefty points to be had as a farmer now, hence the possible balance issues.

-CHOICES, CHOICES: Farmers can now make choices about when their workdays end. They must have unionized. From the moment you complete a field, until the final city bordering that field is completed, you get to evaluate your situation as a farmer in that field and decide whether to collect points each time a tile is placed that completes the field or a city bordering it. It adds strategy and depth to field play in a very refreshing way. Bluffs and corner houses make closing your farm that much easier, and decrease your chances of getting stuck on an incomplete farm, both good things here.

OVERALL: 4
-I think this expansion energizes field play in a very refreshing way, and the addition of bluffs and corner houses is welcome and adds to the excitement of fields. There is more depth, more strategy, and more fun to placing a farmer now. This makes farms much more attractive as a feature to focus on, which introduces some balance issues for the other features, IMHO. But even so, its fun, its inventive and its definitely an expansion you should try. And if fields were your favorite feature before, add a point to the OVERALL score and try this expansion RIGHT NOW!


Homework
Attention class! Your homework assignments from last month have been marked and it's an A+ for three students in particular who all agreed that the most valuable single city possible using just the Carcassonne base game is 84 points. So please come to the front of the class Yellow, Jere and quevy!

Homework for this month is going to be rather similar to the homework for last month but with one fairly major difference. Is it possible to use all the city tiles from the basic game plus Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders to build a single city? If it is, how many points is this city worth? If it isn't, what's the highest-scoring city that can be made and how many points is it worth? There's merit up for grabs for anyone who can prove their answer with photographic evidence (especially if it's symmetrical) so please post your best efforts below!


Forum Statistics
For anyone who's interested (and even for those who aren't), here's a quick recap of what August looked like from a forum statistics point of view:

78 new topics: most since February 2013 (173)
1018 new posts: most since February 2013 (1262)
87 new members: most since July 2014 (102)
37 members simultaneously online: most since May 2013 (38)
172,594 page views: most since May 2014 (173,740)


The Last Tile
Hopefully most of us will recognise the rather cold-looking man in the photo below as he's a hero to many people here at Carcassonne Central. I don't know if he'll ever read this, but please join with me regardless in wishing Klaus-Jürgen Wrede a belated happy birthday and perhaps our warmth and friendliness as a community can help to warm him up a bit!



I'm hoping that the success of the first newsletter wasn't a one-off and that I'm not pushing my luck with a second edition. If I've succeeded in my mission of providing you with something that's fun, interesting and useful then please let me know. But don't stay quiet if I haven't either! Please let me know what you'd like to see and I'll do my best to include it...

In other news, future editions of Carcassonne Central News may soon be coming to an inbox near you. Or more specifically, yours! Further testing and general faffing about is required before this is ready but current progress suggests that it's a definite possibility so watch this space (and your email).

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1015.0
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 09:42:22 AM by danisthirty »

Offline Scott

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Re: Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 06:01:21 PM »
Fantastic as always!

Offline kettlefish

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Re: Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 12:21:30 PM »
great work.


Offline MrNumbers

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Re: Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 02:22:01 PM »
I spotted "farm hints" use on 3:26 of the video! :P
"I never lose. Either I win or I learn." (Nelson Mandela)

Offline danisthirty

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Re: Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2014, 02:24:43 PM »
CLEARLY an accident!  :D

Offline kettlefish

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Re: Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2014, 02:33:10 PM »
What I find interesting this month is, that you have to read the whole article in "Member of the Month" to learn who is the "member of the month"...

Offline danisthirty

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Re: Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2014, 02:39:28 PM »
Better?

Offline kettlefish

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Offline jungleboy

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Re: Carcassonne Central News #2 - August 2014
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2014, 10:56:45 PM »
What I find interesting this month is, that you have to read the whole article in "Member of the Month" to learn who is the "member of the month"...

I thought he did that deliberately so we had to see if we could guess who it was, kind of like a whodunnit.  :green-meeple:

Anyway, I think it was pretty obvious who it was right from the start.


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