Poll

How do you primarily use The Count of Carcassonne?

To attempt to steal features.
4 (28.6%)
To try to lure other players into stealing features.
1 (7.1%)
As a gloriously large start tile (i.e., I don't usually the Count option).
5 (35.7%)
I use it in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
1 (7.1%)
I don't ever play with or don't own The Count of Carcassonne.
3 (21.4%)

Total Members Voted: 14

Voting closed: December 05, 2014, 01:57:13 PM

Author Topic: The Count – Element of the Week #12  (Read 10407 times)

Offline whaleyland

  • Great Khan
  • Authors
  • Marquis Chevalier
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 2472
  • Merit: 78
  • Toulouse: Carcassonne's insignificant neighbor.
    • View Profile
    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
The Count – Element of the Week #12
« on: November 28, 2014, 01:57:13 PM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE COUNT OF CARCASSONNE

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 COUNT OF CARCASSONNE (from Count, King & Robber [Expansion #6] or standalone as The Count of Carcassonne). This is by far one of the most contentious expansions and, indeed, it was one of the first truly aggressive ones released by Hans im Glück. The rules are that whenever a player completes a feature that they themself do not score for, they may place a Follower on quadrant of the City of Carcassonne. This is in addition to their normal Follower placement. There are four quadrants corresponding to each major feature of the game—Castles for Cities, Blacksmith for Roads, Cathedrals for Cloisters, and Market for Farms. The Count figure moves around these quadrants whenever a new Follower is deployed in the City. Now, whenever a feature is scored, any Followers in the matching quadrant may be placed on that scoring feature, unless the Count is currently in that quadrant. Thus this element provides a very sneaky way at stealing features and points from opponents.

With that long description out of the way, let us briefly discuss what it all really means. The City provides a beautiful start tile in the middle of the board. That, alone, makes this a worthy expansion even if you don't end up using the Count option. The ability to steal points from another player or, in most cases, tie with a player thus taking the same amount of points, can be contentious with some game groups. This is definitely an aggressive element and one that sometimes is hard to remember to take advantage of properly (or at all). It also is one of the few expansions that doesn't play well with two players because tying, in effect, cancels out points rather than benefits two players against others. For some, that is fine, but for others it is a waste of time. In any case, discuss your relationship with The Count of Carcassonne, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week's Topic: The Magic Portals   :o –> O0

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1299.0

Gerry

  • Guest
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 06:53:52 PM »
First point to bear in mind that trying to understand the instructions for the count is likely to make your brain hurt.  The rules are very subtle and you need to read and re-read them several times before you get the point. 

It is very interesting as you have to plan ahead to complete a minor feature for another player then place your follower so that you may benefit from a later more valuable feature of an opponent while attempting to trap your opponents followers in part of the city.

A very clever expansion but does not fit it with the non-competitive style I like to use.

Offline Carcking

  • Global Moderator
  • Duke Chevalier
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 1853
  • Merit: 31
  • I call Red!
    • View Profile
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2014, 09:34:45 PM »
This is not a popular one in my group. They can't get past the idea that someone can just glom on or outright steal your points without having to "work" for it. While it's true that they could do likewise there are some that will play that way and some who won't. I personally enjoy it but that is a minority view I believe.

I've got a variant half written/play tested that I called the Counting House. I'll have to get that finished some day. The intent was to take some of the teeth out of the expansion so it could actually get played in my group.  ???
I just drew the perfect tile for my MonKnighThieFarmer!

Gerry

  • Guest
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2014, 09:56:27 PM »
the count is best used as a source for images to create your own custom tiles.

Offline danisthirty

  • (well, 38 actually)
  • Administrator
  • Chatelain Grand Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 6263
  • Merit: 230
  • "First to 4 points wins?"
    • View Profile
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2014, 02:13:23 AM »
I agree with Carcking's group. I hate the idea that someone can just be like, "Oh wait, I've got someone in the city of Carcassonne for some trivial action I performed earlier on. I think I'll somehow just put him in the city that you've been working on for the last 30 tiles and claim an equal share of the points. Thanks!"

I don't mind sharing features with other players or even losing my features to them, this is part of the fun of the game. But what makes it fun is the "work" you have to do to get a slice of the action and the luck of the draw involved while other players try to cut you out. This expansion tramples all over that.

It's true that if one player is prone to winning more points than others because of the inclusion of the Count that maybe the others should be trying to do the same. Or maybe you just shouldn't include it at all, other than perhaps as a huge starting tile.
Heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2018

Offline Vital Pluymers

  • Labourer
  • **
  • Posts: 20
  • Merit: 1
  • The King
    • View Profile
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2014, 12:50:10 AM »
I think it is a little bit strange to say that you don't like the feature because it can give you the opportunity to steal points without making an effort. At the end you have to sacrifice one or more of your followers to the City of Carcassonne with the risk that someone moves the Count and your followers are stuck there until the end of the game. Secondly, anyone is allowed to move followers to the City to compete with you or to share or steal points, so it is a fair expansion. Expansions like the flier, the school, the robbers, ... also give a player the opportunity to share points without much effort. Expansions like the tower, the dragon, the princess, the plague also give you the opportunity to steal points from other players without much effort. Apart from most of the expansions mentioned above, the Count is one of the few expansions with which you can win points as a result of your own strategy (because you decided yourself to put a follower in Carcassonne) and not just because you were lucky to grab the right tile...

Generally, in the first half of a game, I use the City to share points with other players who finish a cloister or cult place. At the end of the game I'm aiming at the farms. Still it is not easy to do so as your followers can easily be blocked at the end of the game is one of your opponents is able to move the Count.

Offline Nicholas Mystikos

  • Viscount Chevalier
  • ****
  • Posts: 2993
  • Merit: 89
  • The poster formerly known as jungleboy
    • View Profile
    • English in 10 Minutes
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2014, 01:28:23 AM »
I don't love the Count. I've only played it a couple of times and I find it a bit too complicated and 'unnatural'. In general, I love that the game and many expansions are quite simple but yet there is so much strategic depth to it, and so I find that the Count doesn't fit with this simplicity theme. But in the spirit of defending the Tower, let me offer some counterpoints to Dan's comments.

I hate the idea that someone can just be like, "Oh wait, I've got someone in the city of Carcassonne for some trivial action I performed earlier on. I think I'll somehow just put him in the city that you've been working on for the last 30 tiles and claim an equal share of the points. Thanks!"

But it's not just "Oh wait," or a trivial action - or at least not necessarily. In order to claim a share of a city via the City of Carcassonne you need to (a) complete someone else's feature, giving them points, (b) have the city quarter open so you can deploy your meeple to it, (c) sacrifice your meeple with the real possibility that you might not score any significant points with it and (d) try to make sure the Count is not in the city quarter when the city is completed (potentially by deploying another follower to the City to move the Count, thus completing another feature of another player). This is, I would say, much more difficult and strategic than the standard glomming on to someone's city, which you can complete in two moves if you do it well and have luck on your side. So I don't think you are giving enough credit here for the move(s) with the Count that ultimately lead to a share of the points. A player who repeatedly uses the Count well to earn points is benefiting from strategy more than luck.

So, to turn your example around a bit, if you're working on a 30-tile city and someone gloms on in a traditional way at the last minute to claim an equal share, how do you feel about that? Personally, I don't see why you should feel any differently. Essentially, the Count offers a second way to glom on, so as long as you're aware of the rules, then you know that it can happen and that a good player can exploit it to his/her advantage.

Dan, you're a very good player but when you don't like an expansion, you seem to discount the skill required in using the expansion (often putting it down to luck or randomness), or that you yourself haven't thought much about how to use it strategically in your favour while focusing instead on how it gets in the way of your traditional points accumulation. It's like saying, "I don't like the dragon because he eats my meeples." Well of course he does, but if you know that you're playing with the dragon to begin with, then you need to adapt to it and be prepared for this possibility and use the dragon to eat other player's meeples. If you're playing with the Count, then you know that it's a real possibility that your feature could be tied up. So, just like when using the destructive expansions, you need to guard against it by adding more meeples to your city than you would ordinarily need - or by adding a meeple to the castle quarter of the City of Carcassonne yourself for extra protection.

I think what this comes down to, at its heart, is related to the discussion we had by email a few weeks ago. What I like about expansions is how, in combination with the tile-laying nature of the game, they offer something different each time so it doesn't get boring. You have to plan your strategy differently according to what expansions you're playing with. For me that's what differentiates a Euro-game like this from the Monopoly-type games that we grew up with which are essentially the same every time. You seem to only like expansions that don't deviate much from the base game, so that's where we differ.

So maybe we'll have to agree to disagree, but I'm looking forward to your reply anyway.  :)

Edit: Sorry if my tone seems a bit aggressive! I'm not trying to ruffle any feathers, I'm just after a healthy debate.  :green-meeple:
« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 02:35:36 AM by jungleboy »

Offline SRBO

  • Chatelain
  • ******
  • Posts: 1166
  • Merit: 40
  • The Robber Dragon King
    • View Profile
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2014, 01:49:22 AM »
I Only play with the count if i know there are lots of options to get a follower in carcassonne

Offline Vital Pluymers

  • Labourer
  • **
  • Posts: 20
  • Merit: 1
  • The King
    • View Profile
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2014, 10:41:16 AM »
But it's not just "Oh wait," or a trivial action - or at least not necessarily. In order to claim a share of a city via the City of Carcassonne you need to (a) complete someone else's feature, giving them points, (b) have the city quarter open so you can deploy your meeple to it, (c) sacrifice your meeple with the real possibility that you might not score any significant points with it and (d) try to make sure the Count is not in the city quarter when the city is completed (potentially by deploying another follower to the City to move the Count, thus completing another feature of another player). This is, I would say, much more difficult and strategic than the standard glomming on to someone's city, which you can complete in two moves if you do it well and have luck on your side. So I don't think you are giving enough credit here for the move(s) with the Count that ultimately lead to a share of the points. A player who repeatedly uses the Count well to earn points is benefiting from strategy more than luck.

So, to turn your example around a bit, if you're working on a 30-tile city and someone gloms on in a traditional way at the last minute to claim an equal share, how do you feel about that? Personally, I don't see why you should feel any differently. Essentially, the Count offers a second way to glom on, so as long as you're aware of the rules, then you know that it can happen and that a good player can exploit it to his/her advantage.

I totally agree ;-)

Offline danisthirty

  • (well, 38 actually)
  • Administrator
  • Chatelain Grand Officier
  • *
  • Posts: 6263
  • Merit: 230
  • "First to 4 points wins?"
    • View Profile
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2014, 03:02:48 PM »
Hey guys. Sorry if I've caused any unnecessary controversy.  :(

Furthermore, I apologise if my summary of this expansion, as I see it, doesn't bear close scrutiny or isn't judged to be fair. It was never intended to be a balanced critique of The Count and all the strategy that might or might not go it; my post was literally just the first thing that came to mind when I saw that The Count was being discussed. Kind of wishing I hadn't posted anything now!  :-[

I own very nearly every expansion and I've probably played about half of them. I'd love to be able to play with more of them but opportunities to play aren't as common as they used to be since kids came along! If I do try a new expansion and I don't like it for whatever reason I'll probably try it another 2 or 3 times (at most) before writing it off and trying whatever's next on my list if I/ other players generally agree that we don't like it. Some expansions are a hit straight away, or sometimes it's just particular elements of expansions that go down well, and these are the ones that get played more often and end up being better understood as a result of the extra plays.

So if there's going to be a big debate about it then it's probably best I stay out of it on account of my limited exposure to this one. I certainly respect the opinions of those who have described this expansion in a positive way, and I'm prepared to accept that on balance I'm probably wrong about it in light of those who have defended it. If I've belittled the skill required to make the most of certain other expansions as well then this is probably most likely down to a bad experience with that expansion! I expect my feeling towards The Tower in particular could be very different now if B1nder had placed a single tile (the last one) differently in an online game about 5 weeks ago!  :))

Offline whaleyland

  • Great Khan
  • Authors
  • Marquis Chevalier
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 2472
  • Merit: 78
  • Toulouse: Carcassonne's insignificant neighbor.
    • View Profile
    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2014, 03:16:33 PM »
I think there is a general basic principal everyone is missing with The Count (or any element for that matter). If a gaming group agrees to include The Count of Carcassonne in their game, then they have to understand what that means. It means people will be able to sneak in and steal features, sometimes hard-fought features, from others. It means the game is going to get aggressive and mean. It does not mean that everyone has to keep playing the element in future games. That's what is so great about Carcassonne, there are so many different elements that you can mix and match to see what works best for you. Some people like to play Count and Tower and Dragon and Plague and Cult all together to make one depressingly chaotic and aggressive game. Others like the sweet simplicity of the base game with the River. It's all a matter of opinion. So don't be angry when somebody steals your feature via The Count. It's what that element is designed for. You agreed to play with it, right? If not, why are you using it? In the worst case, the game should only last 45 minutes or so, so get over it! It's a game, and I think that's something that sometimes is forgotten when especially harsh elements are used. Enjoy it or not, but it won't last forever and you don't need to hold a grudge about it.

Offline Nicholas Mystikos

  • Viscount Chevalier
  • ****
  • Posts: 2993
  • Merit: 89
  • The poster formerly known as jungleboy
    • View Profile
    • English in 10 Minutes
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2014, 11:08:16 PM »
Furthermore, I apologise if my summary of this expansion, as I see it, doesn't bear close scrutiny or isn't judged to be fair.

I certainly respect the opinions of those who have described this expansion in a positive way, and I'm prepared to accept that on balance I'm probably wrong about it in light of those who have defended it. If I've belittled the skill required to make the most of certain other expansions as well then this is probably most likely down to a bad experience with that expansion!

Dan, I'm sorry for bringing it up and there's certainly no need for all these apologies and self-criticisms on your part. You're entitled to your opinion just like everybody else, and I agree that sometimes you play an expansion and just don't like it, either for tangible or intangible reasons. So you certainly don't need to have a justifiable or defensible reason for disliking the Count (especially as many others seem to dislike it too) - maybe it's just not your thing. And as I said, I don't like it much either for my own reasons.

It just seems to me that your view is that if someone gloms on to a feature of yours in a traditional manner, then that's good play and that player deserves their share of the points. But that if someone uses a feature like the Tower or the Count to earn points, it's trickery and they don't deserve it. And if that's the way you feel, then, again, that's fine. But if you didn't feel that way, you could enjoy more expansions :)

Luckily for all of us, Carcassonne is so wonderful that we can all enjoy it in our own way (e.g. buying 30 copies of the base game!).  :meeple: :meeple:

Offline Big Guy

  • Authors
  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 223
  • Merit: 11
  • I slipped away, like a THIEF in the KNIGHT
    • View Profile
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2014, 08:29:51 AM »
I agree with Carcking and Dan that THE COUNT is not my favorite expansion, due to its tendency towards aggressive play.

Additionally, like Carcking, I tried my hand at making a variant for the COUNT rules. Mine is called THE BANDIT. It is in some ways similar to Whaley's INVADERS fan-expansion and Gwommy's TACTICIAN fan-expansion. I was hoping to create an expansion with simpler rules than THE COUNT. I didn't succeed, as the rules are still rather involved :cP, but I hope it's still fun.

I think there is a general basic principal everyone is missing with The Count (or any element for that matter). If a gaming group agrees to include The Count of Carcassonne in their game, then they have to understand what that means. It means people will be able to sneak in and steal features, sometimes hard-fought features, from others. It means the game is going to get aggressive and mean.

Agreed.

Enjoy it or not, but it won't last forever and you don't need to hold a grudge about it.

My wife and I have had at least one serious fight over Carcassonne games we've played, and specifically over AGGRESSIVE plays that were made by one of us to GLOM ONTO or STEAL a large feature. So, I support your point to act like an adult about it, but sometimes it's easier said than done :cD.
A good board game brings people together.

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

Offline MrNumbers

  • Global Moderator
  • Duke Chevalier
  • *
  • Posts: 1811
  • Merit: 91
    • View Profile
    • Carcassonne Latvia
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2014, 11:41:29 AM »
My wife and I have had at least one serious fight over Carcassonne games we've played, and specifically over AGGRESSIVE plays that were made by one of us to GLOM ONTO or STEAL a large feature. So, I support your point to act like an adult about it, but sometimes it's easier said than done :cD.

What he said!
"I never lose. Either I win or I learn." (Nelson Mandela)

Offline Nicholas Mystikos

  • Viscount Chevalier
  • ****
  • Posts: 2993
  • Merit: 89
  • The poster formerly known as jungleboy
    • View Profile
    • English in 10 Minutes
Re: The Count – Element of the Week #12
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2014, 12:48:04 PM »
Please share these stories with us :)


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
xx
Castles - Element of the Weak (unofficial Element of the Week)

Started by Gerry

2 Replies
1809 Views
Last post December 29, 2014, 01:37:18 AM
by danisthirty
grin
The Pig – Element of the Week #3

Started by whaleyland

16 Replies
7508 Views
Last post February 23, 2016, 03:06:32 AM
by Christopher
xx
The Catapult – Element of the Week #28

Started by whaleyland

14 Replies
6677 Views
Last post March 04, 2017, 11:42:10 AM
by dirk2112
xx
Element of the Week: Index

Started by danisthirty

0 Replies
7707 Views
Last post October 07, 2015, 04:29:04 AM
by danisthirty
xx
The Goldmines – Element of the Week #31

Started by whaleyland

12 Replies
4806 Views
Last post February 28, 2016, 05:13:34 AM
by Christopher