Poll

How do you primarily obtain Trade Tokens?

By completing my own features.
6 (31.6%)
By completing opponents' features.
0 (0%)
By completing whichever is necessary.
12 (63.2%)
I obtain them through some other creatively strategic technique (described below).
1 (5.3%)
I don't ever play with or don't own Traders & Builders.
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 19

Voting closed: December 18, 2014, 08:13:27 PM

Author Topic: The Traders – Element of the Week #14  (Read 4856 times)

Offline whaleyland

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The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« on: December 11, 2014, 08:13:27 PM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE TRADERS

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 TRADERS (from Traders & Builders [Expansion #2]). The expansion is actually a tile-only expansion that rewards players who complete Cities with commodity markers stamped on them with tokens of the same commodity. At the end of the game, the player with the most of each type of token is awarded 10 points each. Thus the element rewards players for completing features, regardless of the owner (if any).

This element introduces an interesting idea that would be picked up in other expansions as well: that of completing other players' features for a reward. Indeed, the Count only works through that method. But the problem with the Traders is that the reward is so insignificant in many games, especially two-player games, that it hardly matters unless one player collects all three of the bonuses at the end of the game. But in tighter 5-6 player games, those rewards are much more significant. The varying quantities of each commodity also makes them competitive in different ways, which is a good thing, although all players should be aware of the token distribution in order the properly strategise. Most importantly, though, this element introduces an abundance of City tiles, which many players will like adding to their everyday games. Discuss your relationship with The Traders, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week's Topic: The Mayors   O0

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1333.0

Gerry

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2014, 08:41:07 PM »
 I really enjoy the Traders expansion, the tile design of the trade goods symbol fits in well with the basic layout.  I add in the princess tiles and call them chatelaines so that if you can combine trade goods and chatelaines in the same city then you earn points for each trade good as well as the tokens.  One problem I have with traders is the lack of city crescent tiles makes it difficult to complete cities so I take some from my spare copy of the basic game and add them into the mix.

I like to treat each of the large expansions as a collection of independent small ones that can be used as you see fit. 

Offline Paul

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2014, 12:36:41 AM »
This is one of the mandate expansions we use when we play. This and Inns and Cathedrals. They fit so well with literally any expansion

I usually complete my own feature but there are certain scenarios when giving an opponent 6 points for a city and me a token or two, would give me lead in the token amount and thus award me with 10 points at the end.

Also it can be used as an equalizer, opponent gets 10 points and I would get 10 points in the end when counting tokens, rather opponent gets 10 points for tokens and whatever points from an incomplete city.
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Offline kettlefish

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2014, 01:41:19 AM »
I like the small fight who gets the  most of the trade goods.

Offline danisthirty

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2014, 01:50:03 AM »
I really enjoy this addition to Carcassonne and like many others it seems, rarely play without it. The extra city tiles are a welcome bonus, and I like how on some tiles the corners of the cities stretch out to the corner of the tile so that attempts to join farmers can be thwarted where they would previously have been almost guaranteed.

In my World Cup of Carcassonne Central quarter-final match against Carcking he won 30 bonus points from trade goods whereas I got nothing and finished 18 points behind him. So in this game they certainly made all the difference! There was one outstanding opportunity for me to potentially take a decent handful of trade tokens but he saw this in time and made the city impossible to close as he'd already done enough to guarantee his 30 points. His play with regards to the trade tokens was flawless, and certainly something that I felt he must have learnt over time (rather than simply getting lucky) so I'd be very keen to hear his views/ favourite tactics on this!
Heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2018

Offline Carcking

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2014, 09:03:02 PM »
The Trade Goods is one of our favorite elements to play with. It's especially a favorite of my wife's so we usually have a healthy competition over them. I must admit she usually comes out on top because she keys on them.

I think sometimes when it's included in a game it is undervalued by some of the players. It gets ignored...or realized too late. So if you stay keyed on it from the start I think you'll have a leg up on your competition.

One simple strategy you can use is to first gain a lead on one of the commodities, then work to bury or block the rest of those tiles when they come up. That is one way to try to protect your lead. If I have two Ribbons and my opponent has one, and then I draw a Ribbon it may be very tempting to put it in one of my cities, or to start a new city. That can become an easy mark for your opponent though and he will try to win it from you. So in that case it may be better to bury or block the tile. Let your opponent come up with the next Ribbon tile so you have a chance to win it before he does. If you can't win it outright then perhaps try to block it.

Also, you will always want to "count" them so you know what's left in the bag. You need to plan and anticipate.

My general strategy in game play is to repress scoring in general. I always feel like I have an advantage if I can keep the scoring low. Probably my own delusion but anyway... The Trade Goods play right into this because it is delayed scoring and if you can keep it close a 30 point swing could win it all. It was a crucial element late in the game in the World Cup 2014.

One I really enjoy.
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Offline whaleyland

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2014, 06:47:39 PM »
Wow. This discussion really got buried fast. I guess there is a lot of other General Topic discussions trending right now. All the same, I'm bumping this. People have to vote! Only another two days before the next element of the week goes live, and surely people have a lot to say about The Traders!

Offline danisthirty

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 03:21:41 AM »
Thanks for the tips Carcking!

@whaleyland 18 votes isn't so bad, but the discussion is certainly lacking compared to some previous elements. I can't think of much else to say about these though...

Offline Nicholas Mystikos

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2014, 04:08:11 AM »
Carking's strategy is interesting indeed. I don't often seriously think about the trade goods until a city is close to completion and I never consider them as a factor that helps determine where I place a tile. But this is good stuff to think about.

In terms of completing opponents' cities, the way I think about the trade goods is that there are two 'levels of depth'.

The first is fairly obvious: are the potential trade good points worth more to you than the value of the city is to the opponent? So, you might choose to close an opponents' four-tile city with two different trade goods, because this potentially gives you a 20-point swing (depending on the status of the trade goods in the game) while giving your opponent only eight points.

The second level is to go beyond simply the immediate points earned by closing the city and to think about incomplete points and likelihood of city completion. Let's say in a two-player game, your opponent has a 15-tile city (with no pennants or cathedrals) and a handful of trade goods (including all three goods), and you have the opportunity to close this city with a 16th tile. This would give your opponent 32 points and the maximum possible benefit for you is 30 points (and quite possibly less), so it's not worth it, right? Well, it depends. The first thing to consider is that in a game with no cathedrals, your opponent will earn at least 15 points from this city at the end of the game even if it is incomplete. So you are only gifting him or her 17 points, not 32 points. Depending on what goods are available, it might still be worth it for you to close the city. The second thing is to consider whether or not the opponent is likely to be able to complete the city by him or herself anyway. If there are 30 tiles left and all the opponent needs is a CXXX tile, then it is likely that they will complete the city and take all the goods. So in this case, you might choose to complete the city yourself, not because you think the goods are worth more to you than the city is to your opponent, but because you figure that the opponent will get the city points one way or another, so you can either let them take the trade goods too, or at least get something for yourself.

Offline CarcinFool

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2015, 12:46:56 PM »
I find that as long as the expansions in play are limited the 30 points up for grabs with T&B can be important, even in 2-player games.

+1 for jungleboy's comments. In general, I find considering the net benefit of each possible action I take is what helps me decide what to do. As jungle boy pointed out a larger city with no cathedral will already be earning your opponent 1 pt/tile, so do you really want to let him/her complete the city AND get all the trade goods? That net result is the worst case scenario. You can cut into or possibly offset your opponent's net gain by winning some of those precious trade goods. There is also often another feature/field where you can place a meeple on the tile used to complete your opponent's city, so you can further eat into the points per tile they get for their city.

Also +1 for carckings's bury/block strategy. I think people sometimes play toward the goal of winning HALF the goods in a category to get the points, so they aren't so concerned about the first few trade good wins. But as carcking mentioned if you win two or three in a category and then spoil the rest you made yourself an easy 10 points.

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Traders – Element of the Week #14
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2016, 09:43:46 AM »
I do much the same as some of you have said, and rarely play without this expansion. It's a small addition, no drastic rule changes, works well with everything. I enjoy the 'completing player' aspect, as opposed to the 'owning player.' It's a nice diversion from the regular. I think the points are good, too. They might get dwarfed a little bit in large games, but in a close scoring match I wouldn't knock ten or twenty points!
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