Poll

How do you primarily earn Messenger bonuses?

I complete features worth specific points to navigate to the next Messenger bonus.
1 (7.7%)
I carefully select which scoring Meeple to move to maximize the chance of earning a Messenger bonus.
6 (46.2%)
I mostly ignore the bonuses and just earn them through luck.
3 (23.1%)
I earn them through some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
0 (0%)
I don't ever play with or don't own The Messengers.
3 (23.1%)

Total Members Voted: 13

Voting closed: June 05, 2015, 03:59:51 PM

Author Topic: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38  (Read 4144 times)

Offline whaleyland

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The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« on: May 29, 2015, 03:59:51 PM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE MESSENGERS

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 MESSENGERS (Carcassonne Mini #3). The Messengers was the first expansion to introduce a non-playable tile element and also, along with The Robbers, introduced strategic use of the scoreboard itself. The basics of the expansion are that a each player receives a second scoring Meeple (notably a female meeple...apparently all the other ones are male now .:.sigh.:.) and throughout the game, any time a feature scores, either Meeple can be moved. The reason for this is that every time either Meeple lands on a dark space (0, 5, 10, 15, etc.), they receive a Message! There are a total of eight messages and a player always has the choice of taking 2 points instead of doing what the message says. The Messages allow for all sorts of fun things such as scoring a feature prematurely, scoring for pennants, for knights, for farmers, or receiving an extra turn immediately. The tile is then returned to the bottom of the Message stack and the game resumes as normal.

This expansion borrows heavily from a concept from Carcassonne: Hunters & Gatherers and Carcassonne: The Castle in having reward tiles, although these tiles are different in function. Still, it is a welcome concept to the game and introduces something functional and beneficial while not being overly powerful. But the expansion can get confusing, especially if played with The Robber or with a lot of players. Where previously scoring could be managed by a single player on behalf of everybody else, now scoring is strategic and must be controlled by each player. Furthermore, the board can get very busy and confusing with so many Meeples on it. Then there are the fiddly rules, such as points earned at one time cannot be divided between Meeples, only the active player can earn Messages, and points earned from scoring a Message can sometimes cause another Message event for the active player. Then there's also the confusion (unjustified) over when to receive/flip the 50/100 tiles when there are two Meeples per player on the board or, more annoyingly, the act of adding up the total Meeple points at the end. In other words, the expansion has a lot of awesome potential but it also is by far one of the most fiddly in regards to function and rules. Discuss your relationship with The Messengers and how you optimise your use of this strategic element.

Next Week: The Tunnels  8) 8) 8)

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1811.0

Offline Paul

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2015, 12:44:23 AM »
I chose "I mostly ignore..." else it takes up too much time with little scoring value.

If there is a small game, with maybe just The Messengers and one more expansion, I'd consider thinking which meeple to move.
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Offline jungleboy

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2015, 12:51:52 AM »
I own it but have never played it. The use of the scoreboard just seems artificial compared with the wall tiles of the Castle.

Offline Hounk

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2015, 03:48:31 AM »
Never played with it yet, either. But I would find the idea principally nice but somehow wasted, because it was put into one of this 6 "Mini" cubes, rather then in a big expansion, so they were restricted to make a "8 tiles version". In a regular expansion however, they could have introduced something completely new to official Carcassonne: a deck of cards with much more then 8 pieces and probably some of them fitting in any game, and others with special rewards fitting to specific expansions, which would have been only mixed into the deck, when playing with them. Examples, which come to mind: "You may move the dragon back to any already placed volcano on the board." "If your builder is on the board, you may draw another tile. If it can expand the current building of your builder, you may do so and draw another tile. Else discard the tile (taking it out of play) and take two points." etc.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2015, 06:36:06 AM »
The Messengers was the first expansion to introduce a non-playable tile element

Don't the King and Robber Baron tiles count as non-playable tile elements?

Offline Hounk

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2015, 08:14:13 AM »
Or the 50/100 tokens?
Then there's also the confusion (unjustified) over when to receive/flip the 50/100 tiles when there are two Meeples per player on the board
Really unjustified. You can/should just take or flip a token, whenever any of your scoring meeples start a new round. This can mean, that you finish a loop with your male in one turn, take a token, finish another loop with your female the next turn, and flip it to 100. In the end, it does not make any difference, you simply have to add all points from male, female and token(s).

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2016, 02:25:20 AM »
I've almost finished!

Right, Messengers. Lovely idea, perhaps not great in its execution. Management of the scoreboard becomes arduous for the person in charge of it, especially in games with more players. We still try to let one person control the scoreboard, but others dictate which follower to move. It gets especially tricky if someone scores more than one feature in one turn!

All that said, I like the messages. It's a very different element which I find doesn't hugely alter play. Players don't change their strategies in order to get the right number of points, they play as normal and try to move the right follower according to the points they score. With that in mind, you can add this mini to any other combination of expansions, or to the base game, without changing it drastically. This is unlike some other expansions which do alter the gameplay. I'm not suggesting that's bad of course, why use an expansion if it doesn't change the game, but the messages is nice in this.

In order to reduce fiddly-ness, we sometimes don't bother with the woman follower and each player just has one follower on the scoreboard. Or, in larger games, we use the woman on the scoreboard and give the eighth follower back to the players to use at normal. This makes it pure chance if someone gets a message, save for if they can score the right number of points. This works quite well, as this is largely a luck element anyway, and reduces the number of followers on the scoreboard, making it easier to manage. And one extra follower in a large game is not to be sniffed at.

We also like to keep the messages in a spread out pile rather than a stack, which gets shuffled after someone uses a message and puts it back. This means you get a random message each time. Otherwise, because the used message gets added to the bottom each time, the messages stay in the same order throughout the game. Whilst not a huge issue, it just bugs me a little. The problem with my way though, is that messages can come up a lot, rather than the proper way which means you won't get the same message for another eight goes. Workable though.

All in all, I quite like The Messages.

I do also really like Hounk's idea, too. A large number of cards with specific instructions. Perhaps a different thread could be started for ideas, and then we could play test some of them!
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Offline SithlordRPGA

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2016, 09:15:51 AM »
Was wondering how many people play this using just the standard scoring meeple instead of both?  Just seems more trouble then its worth using both meeples.


Offline ny1050220

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2016, 11:13:49 AM »
I would use only the standard scoring meeple, although my friends strongly object to playing with this expansion at all. They think this one interrupts the game too much and all it does is to award more points.

Offline kettlefish

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Re: The Messengers – Element of the Week #38
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2016, 12:32:21 AM »
I like this mini expansion. But to play it with more than 4 players it would be not easy at the scoreboard...
Two counting figures are better than only one figure for the chance to "land" onto a dark scoring field.


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