Poll

How do you primarily use The Tower?

Aggressively, to capture opponents' Followers.
9 (64.3%)
Defensively, to stop opponents' from capturing Followers.
0 (0%)
Passively. I generally ignore the feature.
2 (14.3%)
I use it in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
0 (0%)
I don't ever play with or don't own The Tower.
3 (21.4%)

Total Members Voted: 14

Voting closed: October 24, 2014, 03:17:50 AM

Author Topic: The Tower – Element of the Week #6  (Read 6680 times)

Offline whaleyland

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The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« on: October 17, 2014, 03:17:50 AM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE TOWER

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 TOWER (Expansion #4). This is one of the rare all-inclusive expansions where there are no elements included other than The Tower pieces (well, and a physical tile tower). Towers can be used aggressively to capture opponents' Followers and force them to either pay a ransom in points or exchange Followers. They can also be used defensively, with a Follower placed atop a tower to block it—but Followers placed on towers are trapped there for the rest of the game and earn no points at the end! Thus, many players avoid the expansion entirely or largely ignore the tower elements, selectively placing their Followers in such a way as to avoid the gaze of the nearest tower. Discuss your relationship with The Tower, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week's Topic: The Big Followers  :red-meeple: :meeple: :green-meeple: :blue-meeple: :black-meeple: :gray-meeple:

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1142.0

Offline Paul

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #1 on: October 17, 2014, 03:46:45 AM »
I chose Aggressive play with The Tower.

Although the concept of this expansion had good intentions, and probably still is decent in a normal game, this can get out of hand quickly if used in a megaCarc game with several copies.
  Last game we played we used 3 Towers. Adding 3 copies of the Dragon to this, it was hard to keep a follower on the board long enough to complete a feature.

This, unfortunately leaves my experience with The Tower totally different and until I test the Tower on it's own or in a smaller game, I can't comment on this type of gameplay.

 >:D

In general, the Tower has some fun and interesting game mechanics, but as always, there's one aspect that's overpowering the other parts of it.
  Capturing an opponent's follower is far too powerful and easy. In a two player game, it's not so bad as it's easier to trade a follower for a follower.
  In a six player game, chances that a player capturing a follower of an opponent that has your follower can be tricky. In a megaCarc, where points is awarded faster than the scoring tokens barely able to keep up with, 5 points is easily paid to get your own follower back.

All this aside, I like the Tower for many reasons. One of them, it's the cheapest of the large expansions available (still) here in Sweden. It's under 9 Euro in one of the local store.  :)
  The tiles themselves aren't all great but there's nothing wrong with them either. It's more of a wish that they had more of them rare combos that makes the game more devious.
  Then again, maybe it was intentional. 2x city 2x road segment could make the placement of the tile easier and thus easier to conquer a follower.  ::)

Lastly, the Tower is one of the best expansions used in one of our house rules where there are no rules. Sort of speak.
  We follow the basic rules but also allow for trading, negotiations etc. A good example could be I offer to place my drawn tile so it benefits another player, if that player releases one of my followers. Not only would I get my follower back for free but I get to place a follower on the tile as well.
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Offline danisthirty

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2014, 04:10:41 AM »
As someone who prefers to keep his games relatively small so that I can concentrate on strategy rather than following dozens of rules, I must say that I really don’t like this expansion. If this is the only expansion used with the basic game, 18 of 90 tiles (1 in 5) will have a tower foundation on them and the configurations of the tiles themselves make it very difficult to make any follower “immune” from capture.

One of the things I love about more competitive games is that every meeple matters. Sometimes you have to work very hard indeed, thinking ahead and making “cunning” plans so that you can get a majority on some feature (often farms). The fact that this expansion allows for an opponent to come along and simply remove that follower from the board purely because they were lucky enough to draw a tower foundation spoils the enjoyment of the game for me. And although there are several expansions which allow for this to happen, I find with most of the others there are usually sufficient counter-measures that can be taken such that I don’t feel quite so hard done-by if my all-important farmer is eaten by a dragon for example.

The idea that you have to sacrifice a meeple just to stop a tower from growing is something else I don’t like, although this is saved largely by the fact that you can capture someone from the top of a tower by placing another tower adjacent to it. I also like the 3D element that towers add to the landscape, but this is about it.

Last game we played we used 3 Towers. Adding 3 copies of the Dragon to this, it was hard to keep a follower on the board long enough to complete a feature.

And this came as a surprise?  ::)
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Offline Paul

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2014, 06:03:00 AM »

Last game we played we used 3 Towers. Adding 3 copies of the Dragon to this, it was hard to keep a follower on the board long enough to complete a feature.

And this came as a surprise?  ::)

 :P It actually did. Lol! Because that was the very first time we ever played with the intended rules.  :@

Offline jungleboy

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2014, 10:21:55 AM »
I like the tower but I have the feeling that most people don't. So let me start with the things I like about the tower:

- I like medieval towers in general.
- I like the actual tower pieces.
- I like the artwork on the tower tiles.
- I like the 3D landscape (as Dan mentioned above).
- I like it when meeples are on top of towers and how they fit on top.
- I like the tile-holding tower that comes with it; we always use this now.
- I like it how it the tower completely changes the gameplay. I feel that when an expansion can achieve this (in a good way, not in a Catapult way), then it adds another dimension to the game by making it different from a game featuring other expansions. I guess in this way I am approaching it from the opposite point of view to Dan.

Moving on to strategy, I mostly use the tower aggressively which is fairly straightforward. What I would like to get better at is defending against the tower. If you place a meeple that you feel will be crucial, then you need to try to surround it with non-tower tiles where possible to guard against the tower.

They can also be used defensively, with a Follower placed atop a tower to block it—but Followers placed on towers are trapped there for the rest of the game and earn no points at the end!

Well sure, but that's one of the things that makes it interesting for me. You need to decide if the meeple you are trying to protect is worth sacrificing another meeple for. If it's just a small road, then obviously not. If it's a large city or a potentially large farm, then that's the choice you're faced with. And isn't that the spirit of a fortified tower in real (medieval) life anyway? It's for defensive purposes, to protect cities and other things of value. It's not 'worth' anything by itself.

Finally, regarding the issue of there being too many tower tiles, that is easily solved by leaving some out.

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2014, 11:26:29 AM »
I like the tower but I have the feeling that most people don't. So let me start with the things I like about the tower:

- I like medieval towers in general.
- I like the actual tower pieces.
- I like the artwork on the tower tiles.
- I like the 3D landscape (as Dan mentioned above).
- I like it when meeples are on top of towers and how they fit on top.


I agree with the above except that I hate the game play I did not even buy the expansion until I had made my own variant which plays in  a more traditional build and score manner.  But I do love the tower pieces and putting the meeples on top.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2014, 12:06:42 PM »
What I like about the gameplay is that it offers something different. The way I tend to play in real life is that I play several games back-to-back with my one regular partner and anyone else we manage to convince to join us. So to include the tower in one of those games makes it a different type of game from the others, and I appreciate that.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2014, 12:10:21 PM »
Oh and I just realised: having this as the element of the week means we have to use it in next Thursday's game!  :green-meeple: :green-meeple: :green-meeple:

Offline SRBO

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2014, 03:29:42 PM »
I still dont have this expansion. So i have no idea what it does yett. I think i will get it near christmas

Offline Darwin

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2014, 05:37:31 AM »
I like the Towers, but I think they are too aggressive in small games when you play with only 2-3 expansions. When we play small games we never use the tower.
When we play mega-games (approximately 1000 tiles) we use 76 tiles with tower foundations with 36 regular, 30 black and 12 white towers (we use the fan-made Black Tower rules). In addition we use two Dragons, the Plague and the fan-made Medieval Expansion. This makes it a very competitive game with lots of opportunities to fight.  >:D

Offline jungleboy

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2014, 10:26:35 AM »
Today I played a game with the tower. I drew a Dutch/Belgian monastery on my first tile and placed an abbot on it. My opponent placed a nearby tower soon after (two tiles away from the monastery), and I put a closed the tower with a meeple. Then she put another tower nearby, etc etc. Eventually I burned FOUR meeples (including my phantom), just to save my abbot! (At a certain point, I had invested so much in trying to save my abbot that I just had to keep going). In the end I scored 23 points with the abbot and won the game so it was OK but man, the tower is brutal. I still like it though, but perhaps using 12 tiles instead of 18 would be better.

As a side note, I think the tower and the German/Dutch/Belgian monasteries go well together, for two reasons. Firstly they are both related to orthogonal rows of tiles, so there is a nice connection and harmony there as for both features you are always looking up and down the rows of tiles. And secondly, the abbots are usually worth a lot of points so (as in our game today) they can be really worth saving from the tower.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2014, 10:28:36 AM by jungleboy »

Offline MrNumbers

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2014, 11:53:33 AM »
I like Tower unlike most of my playing partners. One of the drawbacks of it is a big element of luck - who will get more tower tiles. So all game is changing: one is attacking and other is trying to defend his positions.
Comparing Tower with other "eating" expansion I would say it's only "B". We had a game once, with Base, "Tower", "P&D" and "Plague" (we called it "Black game"). Plague is definitely "A"! Dragon almost entire game was sitting in one corner and doing nothing, tower also wasn't doing much, most of the damage came from plague.
Also I like tricks with a tower, such as: playing with builder I can put a tower foundation in one part of the move and in builder turn close it. Same applies to the Phantom - put and close in one move.
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Offline Big Guy

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2014, 08:19:13 AM »
Fair warning, I'm about to be shameless in plugging my variant :cD.

I don't like the tower overall. I gave it a 2 out of 5 for FUN in my review thread, and here's why:

"FUN-NESS: 2
-I'm not very happy with how this expansion plays. The mechanics of actually capturing meeples and ransoming them are fun, and the placement of tower segments is very inventive, but the rules feel flawed and clunky as well. The mechanic regarding taking ownership of a tower to protect yourself from that growing tower seems especially clunky, considering it involves committing a meeple for the rest of the game and receiving no score for that meeple in return. I agree with others that being able to capture a meeple by placing a tower segment on the empty tower foundation of a tile next to that meeple feels unbalanced, and I support the house rule that addresses this, allowing only meeples on the tile with the tower foundation to be captured in this way. Too clunky, and the fun factor suffers."

Because I don't like it, I made a variant. And with lots of help from the community, you can now grab it here:
LINK: FOREMAN IN THE TOWER

Figured I might as well be shameless. I really like the way MOVING-OF-THE-WOOD works with placing tower segments, and the presence of towers on the board just looks cool, at least to me. Making a Carcassonne game 3-dimensional makes me smile. It's just too bad about the existing tower rules for capturing. If anyone has any interest in the variant rules and either likes or doesn't like them, please let me know. :c)
A good board game brings people together.

Check out my Variants:
THE TOWER (NCV)
PLAY AS THE DRAGON

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2016, 07:13:55 AM »
I quite like the tower. It's good to have a few ways of getting followers off of the board. I don't tend to mix it with too many other aggressive expansions, however, as that removes the ability to play a long-term strategy.

I don't mind using the tower defensively, as I tend to combine the Tower with expansions such as crop circles or festival, which gives you a way to reclaim your follower from the tower once he's no longer needed.

I do quite like using one of the variants mentioned in the CAR, however, called the no surprises rule. With this rule, placing the first tower piece doesn't allow any capture. The range reaches the first squares on the second tower piece. This prevents someone from laying a tower foundation next to you and immediately capturing your follower. This way, you at least have a chance to choose to play defensively.
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 07:34:07 AM by Christopher »
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Offline MrNumbers

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Re: The Tower – Element of the Week #6
« Reply #14 on: February 23, 2016, 11:58:42 PM »
I don't mind using the tower defensively, as I tend to combine the Tower with expansions such as crop circles or festival, which gives you a way to reclaim your follower from the tower once he's no longer needed.

Not sure Crop circles allow you to do that:
Quote
The type of follower affected is decided by the tile drawn
(CAR 7.4, p.131)
So you can't take off your follower from the Tower with any crop circle drawn.


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