Poll

How do you primarily use The Hills?

To attempt and claim dominance over a rival's feature.
3 (20%)
As insurance in case another player's Follower tries to take my feature.
5 (33.3%)
I generally ignore the effects of The Hills.
2 (13.3%)
I use it in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
0 (0%)
I don't ever play with or don't own Hills & Sheep.
5 (33.3%)

Total Members Voted: 15

Voting closed: January 30, 2015, 12:25:52 PM

Author Topic: The Hills – Element of the Week #20  (Read 4485 times)

Offline whaleyland

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The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« on: January 23, 2015, 12:25:52 PM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE HILLS

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 HILLS. This geographic expansion finally adds some third dimension to the Carcassonne board while also adding a rule and stopping tile counters in their tracks. In fact, this is the first and only element that intentionally removes tiles (unseen) from the game. This fact alone makes the element worthwhile. But it also comes with what can only be described as the "King of the Hill" rule, where any Follower placed on a feature on the Hill outranks any normal Follower elsewhere on that feature (normal placement rules apply). This tie-breaker option can be quite useful at times and doubles the awesomeness of the Hills.

That being said, the Hills are kind of finicky. Players still have to place Followers on them in such a way that no other Follower is connected to the feature. This is always a pain. Furthermore, there is the problem of two rival Followers on hills in the same feature, or, more annoyingly, two of your Followers on Hills and one of your opponents. Logic would make one assume it's a two-versus-one majority, but the rules are otherwise. One Hill is worth a million Hills (tell that to the Romans and their seven hills), so the "King of the Hill" option is nullified. Also, if there's only one Follower in a feature, and its on a Hill, bully for it but there is no other bonus attached—it's just a Follower on a feature. Anyway, discuss your relationship with The Hills, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week: The Robbers  >:D >:D >:D

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1478.0

Offline Paul

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 12:31:27 PM »
Seems the Element of the Week has caught up to recent expansions. I have never had a chance to play Sleeping Pills expansion yet.
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Offline whaleyland

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2015, 12:23:43 PM »
Seems the Element of the Week has caught up to recent expansions. I have never had a chance to play Sleeping Pills expansion yet.
Yeah, after finishing with the first six expansions, it's time to jump around a bit to the present.

Offline danisthirty

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 03:01:15 AM »
Despite owning this, I haven't played it yet. I'm sure I will get round to it at some point but for the time being there's nothing about it that really jumps out at me as there have been in previous expansions.

I fully expect to be in the minority here, but I don't like the fact that tiles can be removed from the game without everyone/ anyone getting to see what the tile is. For me, part of the fun is knowing that there are still 1 or 2 tiles left in the bag that could save my bacon, or building my features in a certain way because I know what's left can be used to complete them.

Tile-counting isn't evil, magic or cheating; it's a legitimate skill that can be learnt and used to give you a potential tactical advantage, and in my opinion it's as valid as any other. Having no experience of them, I can't say for sure how much of a difference the hills actually make, but I can think of few things more disappointing about a game of Carcassonne than waiting/ hoping/ planning what I'm going to do if I'm lucky enough to draw one of the cathedrals, and then realising afterwards that it was placed underneath another tile at some point without anyone knowing.
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Offline Durbs

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2015, 04:56:27 AM »
Only played with it twice so far, and in the second game it was definitely more of an insurance play, rather than aggressive. It forces your opponent to add a Biggy, or 2 meeples, to win a feature, or hold out and wait for the hill.

I thought for farmers this would be particularly useful, but actually it was quite easy to get another hill involved in a farm (as all hills are in farmland), whereas a city can be pretty tough.

My only other thoughts were taking the tile out face-down required either looking into the tile-bag to ensure you took a tile out without seeing it (which could lend itself to some surreptitious cheating) and/or accidentally glimpsing the tile thus giving you an advantage (again... basically cheating).

The only other way was to take a tile out at random, replace it if face-up (whereby you know what's left in the bag) and then try again until you get a face-down tile.

I actually like the idea of burying tiles though - even against people who don't tile-count, if a cathedral or a typical anti-trap tile (e.g. RFCF) gets buried - it could add a good element of suspense at the last few tiles as it gains a nice quantum state of either being in the bag or buried and you won't know until it's either pulled or end-game.

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2016, 02:18:06 PM »
I really enjoy the hills. They put off would be feature snatchers by making it harder to make the majority. If you draw a hill tile and stick a follower in the city, another player has to put the extra effort in if they want to take it, either with two followers or a big. If they stick a big in, you need only add one more follower to once again own the city instead of sharing it. Using a hill to steal a feature is great too, because although you still need to play the feature separately and then attach it, you need only squeeze the one follower in and you now own the feature, instead of sharing. I also enjoy that the hill is a tie-breaker, rather than just counting as an extra follower. I find it makes it more strategic.

I don't, however, like the removing of unseen tiles. I don't make a noticeable effort to count tiles, but I do pay attention to how many inns/ferries/magic portals/whatever else have been placed. To hold out for that last gold mine so you can bring your total up to ten bars and score the full four points each only to find it was stuck under a hill?! Bah! I keep eight blank tiles in the box to use as the foundations.
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Offline whaleyland

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2016, 02:53:45 PM »
To hold out for that last gold mine so you can bring your total up to ten bars and score the full four points each only to find it was stuck under a hill?! Bah! I keep eight blank tiles in the box to use as the foundations.
I've got to disagree with you there. The entire point of the element is to do that, so that's why it is great. The tie-breaker thing was clearly added just to give a second benefit to the Hills. Ignoring that aspect is like playing Bazaars and just handing out the tiles (although that, at least, is an official variant).

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2016, 03:09:54 PM »
To hold out for that last gold mine so you can bring your total up to ten bars and score the full four points each only to find it was stuck under a hill?! Bah! I keep eight blank tiles in the box to use as the foundations.
I've got to disagree with you there. The entire point of the element is to do that, so that's why it is great. The tie-breaker thing was clearly added just to give a second benefit to the Hills. Ignoring that aspect is like playing Bazaars and just handing out the tiles (although that, at least, is an official variant).

Interesting! For me, I considered the tie-breaker to be the point and the foundation tile the add on. I guess it depends on how you play and your own strategies. And your personality! I'm a massive control freak, so not knowing which tiles have been removed would be unthinkable!

Ignoring that aspect is like playing Bazaars and just handing out the tiles (although that, at least, is an official variant).

Or like scoring five points for drawing a catapult tile?  :P

Offline dirk2112

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2016, 03:19:21 PM »
I haven't played the hills much, but I don't like the tile elimination factor either.  You may as well just randomly remove 6 tiles before the game begins. 

Has anyone used the flyer tiles as hills?  They don't have flags on them, but they are hills. 

Offline Hounk

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2016, 05:10:27 PM »
You may as well just randomly remove 6 tiles before the game begins.
The difference is: you never know till the end, if 6 or less tiles are removed. Because sometimes under a hill lies another hill tile. ;)

One drawback is, that you can't draw the tiles out of a back, you have to build stacks. But other then that, I quite liked it the one time I played it to date. I don't think, the removal of max. 6 tiles completely neglect the skill of tile counting, it adds just a little of uncertainty to it.

Offline TheDoctor_13

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Re: The Hills – Element of the Week #20
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2016, 09:57:22 PM »
I am unsure about removing a tile, I'm not a tile counter, but I do wish the rule sheet had a tile countdown. I need to get some Abbeys..

I haven't played with it yet, can't wait till its released in the new style though. Its my 2nd or 3rd wanted Expansion.


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