Poll

How do you primarily use The School?

To earn some quick points.
8 (53.3%)
To block other players from earning School points (by looping roads or claiming all of them).
1 (6.7%)
I generally don't intentionally complete School roads.
1 (6.7%)
I use it in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
1 (6.7%)
I don't ever play with or don't own The School.
4 (26.7%)

Total Members Voted: 15

Voting closed: March 06, 2015, 01:44:40 PM

Author Topic: The School – Element of the Week #25  (Read 3725 times)

Offline whaleyland

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    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
The School – Element of the Week #25
« on: February 27, 2015, 01:44:40 PM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE SCHOOL

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 SCHOOL. Now I know that everybody has their reasons for not owning this expansion or that, but when it comes to The School, all proceeds go to charity, so BUY THIS EXPANSION! You really don't have an excuse and the price, even with shipping, from Cundoc isn't that high. That command being stated, the expansion is officially the smallest tile-based expansion to date, not counting La Porxada or Spiel '14. It's rules are the slightest bit complicated, which is made worse by the fact that a bloated Phantom plays the role of the 'Teacher'. The School begins as a replacement start piece and whenever one of its six roads is completed, the player who completed it gets the Teacher. Now, whenever another feature scores, the player with the Teacher gets the same points and returns the Teacher to the School. If another road to the School is completed, the process is repeated. Thus players can in effect take points from other players (or double their own points) up to six times before the School is closed for the game (i.e., all the roads are completed).

The expansion is rather simple and the tendency for School roads to loop in on themselves is quite high. The element also suffers from the Castle-effect, which means that players will intentionally score for lower-valued features when they know somebody is going to get the same amount of points. Thus the School adds a slight aggressive element to the game, though nothing as harsh as the Count. Discuss your relationship with The School, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week: The Sheep (I hope this doesn't mean it's going to be a BAAAAd week!)

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1568.0
« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 08:25:37 PM by whaleyland »

Offline danisthirty

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Re: The School – Element of the Week
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2015, 02:43:33 PM »
The good: I like having a "school" somewhere on the landscape
The bad: It kind of runs out once all the roads have been completed whereas most/ all other expansions that I can think of have a sustained effect throughout the game (at least until any specific tiles have been pulled)
Heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2018

Offline whaleyland

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Re: The School – Element of the Week
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2015, 02:58:31 PM »
A random aesthetic complaint I have of The School is that it is clearly a tropical location—presumably Ghana—so it doesn't technically fit the rest of the landscape. Fortunately, Darmstadt came along and made this expansion seem downright tropical in comparison.

Offline franks

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Re: The School – Element of the Week #25
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2015, 11:33:54 PM »
We’ve enjoyed the addition of The School, since we received it a few months back and now include it in all our games.

We do make one slight variation,  :meeple:

...there are lakes along the bottom of the tiles that are easy to distinguish, we treat the three roads that border the lakes like Inns from I&C. Even though there aren’t any actual Inns, it just adds a little variety and a few more points into the mix.
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Offline Safari

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Re: The School – Element of the Week #25
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2015, 03:19:08 PM »
We’ve enjoyed the addition of The School, since we received it a few months back and now include it in all our games.

We do make one slight variation,  :meeple:

...there are lakes along the bottom of the tiles that are easy to distinguish, we treat the three roads that border the lakes like Inns from I&C. Even though there aren’t any actual Inns, it just adds a little variety and a few more points into the mix.
This is a very nice variation! I would like to introduce the School as "standard" four our games to, but haven't yet. Just to add something to the beginning of the game. Sometimes the beginning seems to be a bit boring, especially if you play with four or five players. I already introduced the others to the Rivers and they really enjoy them (we always have to laugh about the "Oh, no. Only river and nowhere to place a follower, again!" moments).

However, since this is about the School, I'll stop talking about the River and will come back to our topic: So I'm planning to add the School too, in order to spice up the beginning of the game. I just have some doubts with the formation of the starting tiles: How could I put the tiles of the River, the School and the Windroses best?
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Offline franks

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Re: The School – Element of the Week #25
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2015, 03:46:22 PM »
However, since this is about the School, I'll stop talking about the River and will come back to our topic: So I'm planning to add the School too, in order to spice up the beginning of the game. I just have some doubts with the formation of the starting tiles: How could I put the tiles of the River, the School and the Windroses best?

The River has never caught on with us, so I can't help on that integration  :-\

We just use the Vanilla start tile with The School.

You could easily start with the Blue Windrose on one of the wings, since it is just and open road! I just might try that myself!

Cheers,

Offline Christopher

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Re: The School – Element of the Week #25
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2016, 06:00:49 AM »
The main problem I have with the school is that the teacher goes to the person who completes the road, rather than the owning player. If a player deploys a follower to a school road, another player will inevitably close the road just to stop the first player from getting the teacher. The second player will then get the teacher, and a random, rubbish feature will then be scored and the player with the teacher will get a pitiful number of points. In every game I've played with the teacher, all six roads get closed in no time just to stop other players benefiting. The teacher earns very few points for anyone and then does nothing for the rest of the game.

However, we tried a few games in which the teacher went to the owning player instead of the completing player. In each of these games, players would play a follower to a school road and leave it there. Then would then aim to complete their road (because they can choose when to do it instead of having someone do it for them to earn the teacher) when the teacher would actually benefit them. Most players were able to get more points than we were getting in other games, because the teacher wasn't used until later in the game (instead of being squandered early on) and so features had a chance to develop. On one occasion, a player had a very large city and deployed a tile which left the city with only one open side. Another player then completed his school road and got the teacher. Two turns later the player with the city drew the tile he needed to finish the city and the other player scored the points for the city through the teacher. It was a beautiful moment.

I think the school is a nice idea, but it usually becomes pointless because the roads are all completed inside of five minutes and it does nothing after that.
Look to the north. Keep looking. There's nothing coming from the south.


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