Poll

How do you primarily use The Corn Circles?

As an aggressive tool to try and knock opponents' Followers off of features.
6 (54.5%)
As a method of removing a useless Follower from a feature.
2 (18.2%)
As a means of increasing the relative strength of my Followers on a specific feature.
0 (0%)
I use it in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
2 (18.2%)
I don't ever play with or don't own The Corn Circles.
1 (9.1%)

Total Members Voted: 11

Voting closed: January 23, 2015, 01:18:05 AM

Author Topic: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19  (Read 4886 times)

Offline whaleyland

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The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« on: January 16, 2015, 01:18:05 AM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE CORN CIRCLES

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 CORN CIRCLES I & II. It was a dark time for the Carcassonne player. Hans im Glück, striking out of their monotony, introduced again with an expansion that underwhelmed all. Then, in a stroke of counter-genius, they did it a second time. Both expansions are impossible to get stand-alone from the company: the first came with special editions of the base game and was only sold in Germany; the second was released tile-by-tile in the six boxes of the Carcassonne Minis series. A thirteenth "wildcard" tile was later introduced in Halflings I, yet another Corn Circles tile not available from a US distributor. Together, these twelve-and-a-halfing tiles form one of the most difficult to obtain and most anticlimactic expansions yet released by Hans im Glück. And just to draw American's ire, the expansion was translated in English as "Corn Circles", rather than the much more commonly used "Crop Circles". Oh, and the theme implies aliens invaded the French countryside. Questions abound!

To backtrack a bit, since the rant came before the description, what exactly IS the Corn Circles? Well, it is an expansion that allows the player who drew the tile to either double-up on an already-played Follower (if possible) or remove a Follower of their choice. Whichever action they take, every other player may/must also take (if possible). Thus, a player decides to double-up a Follower, each other player may do the same thing. If the player decides to remove a Follower, all other players must remove one. Thus it can be aggressively used, but like so many other aspects of Carcassonne, luck is a major factor as well. A player may pull a tile when most or all other players have nothing valuable on the board to remove; or a player may double up on a feature only to have each other player do the same thing, thus just increasing the Followers in an already tied feature. And to make matters more difficult, all the Corn Circles (except the wildcard) are linked to specific features – roads, cities, or fields – so players are even more restricted in their action choice. Discuss your relationship with The Corn Circles, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week: The Hills  .:.:.:.:.

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1457.0

Offline danisthirty

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2015, 01:56:23 AM »
I was delighted when I managed to get hold of this, mostly because I knew how scarce it is. But also, the rules sounded very exciting and with the potential to really make a difference.

I think "underwhelming" is a good word to describe this expansion though. 6 tiles isn't enough to change the game significantly although it might do if it were the only expansion in a basic game (I've never played it like that so don't know what this would be like). In a bigger game it's almost impossible to anticipate a Corn Circles tile as there's only 6 of them, and since the functional portion of these tiles is divided by 3 feature types, holding out for 1 of just 2 tiles in order to force someone else to remove a farmer (or whatever) seems overly optimistic.

The option to add additional meeples to a road, city or farm seems unnecessary too, as everyone is given the opportunity to do the same and will respond to whatever the person before them has done if they've used this to out-compete them in a shared feature. Therefore, it's more likely that you'll place a meeple on the specific feature represented by the Corn Circle only to require yourself to remove it once everyone else has been forced to do the same, thus protecting a more valuable thief/ knight/ farmer placed elsewhere.

Those are my thoughts anyway. Combining Corn Circles 1 & 2 might make them more effective as there would be twice as many tiles. I don't think this is how they're intended to be used though.
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Offline Decar

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2015, 02:15:34 AM »
I've only played with the second set from the mini-expansions.  I feel the problem isn't that there isn't enough - but they tried to do too much with them.  Cards to remove Farmers, Card to remove thieves..etc 

I wonder if they were totally generic (eg: remove any follower) or very specific (eg: remove only knights) they could be more useful.  I could have done with several in last night's game!

Offline danisthirty

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2015, 02:26:28 AM »
I wonder if they were totally generic (eg: remove any follower) or very specific (eg: remove only knights) they could be more useful.  I could have done with several in last night's game!

Yes that would seem like an improvement to me. You may add or must remove a follower from a feature type decided by the player who placed the tile.

Offline Fritz_Spinne

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2015, 03:00:37 AM »
Oh, and the theme implies aliens invaded the French countryside.

And for all alien-themes lovers the rules of someone, who tries to sell his fan-expansions on ebay: There's one Alien-meeple (green with three legs) and this Alien can capture one follower, both are placed on the corn circle until the next corn circle tile is drawn.

Offline obervet

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2015, 07:35:05 AM »
I'll agree with the "underwhelming" sentiment. Occasionally you get lucky and can force an opponent to remove the one farmer that he or she had down, paving the way to get on that farm. Usually, though, they go unused in our games.

And it will always be "Crop Circles" in the CAR while I'm still doing the work on it. That "Corn Circles" mistranslation is an abomination. For one thing, no English speaker would actually call them "corn circles" -- that's not a thing. Additionally, the fields on the tiles most definitely aren't corn fields. Wheat or some other grain, but not corn.

Offline Hounk

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2015, 08:53:49 AM »
That is also a result of the bad translation. The German word "Korn" means grain. Corn fields in medieval France on the other hand would be really odd, since corn was (like potatoes and tomatoes; I'm afraid cocoa also, although used in a fan expansion for trade) completely unknown in Europe at that time and later imported from South America.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2015, 09:19:12 AM »
And it will always be "Crop Circles" in the CAR while I'm still doing the work on it. That "Corn Circles" mistranslation is an abomination. For one thing, no English speaker would actually call them "corn circles" -- that's not a thing. Additionally, the fields on the tiles most definitely aren't corn fields. Wheat or some other grain, but not corn.

 :(y)

Offline Hyperion

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2015, 10:18:24 AM »
My boxes say Crop Circles. Where has Corn Circles come from?

Offline whaleyland

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2015, 11:55:34 AM »
I believe Rio Grande originally translated them that way. I don't know about ZMan. I wasn't aware of the Crop Circles spelling in the CAR. Mjharper has Corn Circles, I believe.

Offline obervet

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2015, 12:08:30 PM »
Interestingly, I was going back through my pdf files, and I found a copy of "Corn Circles" (Crop Circles I) rules from RGG from 2007, so it must have been released in the US at some point. I'm pretty sure RGG kept the "Corn Circles" name for part II when they released the minis, but I don't have those pdfs and my paper rules are at home. Fortunately, ZMG did a better job of translation for this, so they went with "Crop Circles" in Big Box 4 and in their versions of the minis.

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Corn Circles – Element of the Week #19
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2016, 01:11:13 PM »
Right, crop circles. I vacillate between Crop and Corn depending on how whimsical I'm feeling. Odd expansion though. As was noted, difficult to get hold of which made it a thorough necessity for completionists, despite being an expansion which adds very little to a game. Nice idea, doubling up followers, but badly implemented. Too restrictive, the different circles specifying the follower to be affected. The wild card from Halflings works, although having that randomly in an expansion was strange. If the player drawing the tile got to choose and the other players followed suit, it would give slightly more of an advantage to them. As it is, the tile needs to be drawn at the right time to be of much use.

Still, it can be useful. Pulls a useless follower out of a trap and forces an opponent to pull someone valuable. The doubling up can be useful too. In a game with several players, if a player has multiple knights in separate cities contested by different players and one of those players pulls a shield circle, the first player will have to double up in one and sacrifice another of the cities. Same for roads. Loses effect in a two player game though. Or, circles could be used to force another player to waste a follower. As the deployment starts with the player to the left of the active player, the threat of losing a feature usually inspires them to deploy a follower. If they're short of followers they either waste one on defending a feature, or save the follower and sacrifice the feature.

I always play with all twelve tiles as six doesn't seem enough, especially in larger games.
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