Author Topic: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central  (Read 11399 times)

Offline danisthirty

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A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« on: June 14, 2015, 03:38:39 AM »
It was recently suggested to me that what with all the different areas of activity at Carcassonne Central, it would be interesting to read about how the online competitions side of things got started, and to see some of the tiles, stickers and other bits and bobs that have been given out along the way. Since I was in a good position to be able to do this, I decided to give it a go and have put the following together in the hope that it will attract new players or those who don't think they're "good enough" to join in. Enjoy!

Let me start this post off by dispelling an unfounded myth. I'm yet to meet anyone for whom playing Carcassonne online, via any method, is a preference rather than an alternative. If I could play Carcassonne against people here, up at a table, with cardboard tiles and wooden meeples, then I would do in an instant. Playing online is a practical alternative to not playing at all, and with that in mind I would encourage anyone and everyone to give it a go, even if they prefer to play "properly" (as we all do)...

In March/ April time last year, a friend asked if I'd like to take part in a Carcassonne league that he was going to organise amongst his gaming friends. I jumped at the chance, but was subsequently quite disappointed when nothing happened. However, rather than let a great idea go to waste I decided to float it here at Carcassonne Central to see if anyone else might be interested in an online league. Carcking, rfielder, jungleboy, MrNumbers, jvnoledawg, Rosco, quevy and I were brave enough to give it a go. Over the following days/ weeks/ months I discovered JCloisterZone and wrote a lot of forum posts, FAQ guides and "quick" emails; I also got to play a lot of Carcassonne against some of the best players I'd ever encountered! We lost jvnoledawg along the way, but other than this it was surprisingly successful and a lot of fun too! Afterwards I asked Jputt927 to design some special souvenir tiles which I printed out, stuck onto tiles and included in special goody bags along with a bunch of other stuff such as keyrings, coasters and home-made meeple cufflinks. Kettlefish even provided some signed tiles and other expansions from HiG just for good measure!  :) :(y)


   
(Jputt927's tile design for the original league, and the first 8 tiles post-production)


Surprisingly enough, those who'd taken part in the league wanted more opportunities to play online and many of those who hadn't taken part seemed to wish that they had. So the next competition – the World Cup of Carcassonne Central – wasn't far behind and featured 20 players from around the world. I split everyone into four groups of five and the top two players from each group went through to the knock-out stage. We included expansions and combinations of expansions for the first time, with the whole thing eventually concluding in a dramatic clash between Carcking and MrNumbers (coming several months after their respective semi-final victories)! Naturally I provided a lot of prizes, including another tile designed by Jputt927. But this time, quevy got involved in the prize-giving side of things too and produced a commemorative sticker for each participant to go with their tile. He also created a fantastic trophy for the eventual winner which was so good that we both decided to have our pictures taken with it before sending it on to our first World Cup champion: Carcking!


   
(World Cup of Carcassonne Central 2014 sticker and tile design)

   
(Carcassonne Central's World Cup trophy along with the man who made it: the awesome quevy! 8))

   
(I wanted to chronicle the fact that I once held the trophy even though I've never won it. Carcking however, was its first rightful owner after winning the competition in 2014)


By the end of 2014 we'd held two successful tournaments and the whole area of online play was being enjoyed by an increasing number of Carcassonne Central's members. Our weekly online game (started by jungleboy) became an instant hit and provided a great outlet for much banter and silliness whilst providing players an opportunity to enjoy a casual game of Carcassonne with friends and an ever-changing set of expansions. Furthermore, Paul had the foresight (and technical capacity) to host an IRC chat room for Carcassonne Central, thus providing players with somewhere to meet up before a game, to play or watch ad hoc games, or simply just to chat about cats, what they had for dinner and what their cats had for dinner. Then of course there was Carcassonne by Forums which was a lot of fun for five of us and our spectators, mostly due to the startling array of exciting tablecloths and other unusual distractions.  ::)

2015 has already seen two completed tournaments and we're currently in the middle of a third. First up was the Traders & Builders expansion league. Although it seems to have caused a certain amount of unanticipated confusion, I chose to use T & B for our first expansion league as everyone had already played a lot of Inns & Cathedrals during the group stage of our World Cup. 18 players took part in this and so were split into two groups of nine, with MrNumbers and myself going head-to-head in the final (and me losing :'(). Then, following a public vote, it was decided that the next expansion league would use Inns & Cathedrals and featured 21 players. Players were divided into three groups of seven followed by seven groups of three (depending on finishing position in the first group), with Leven emerging triumphant over farin and MrNumbers in an epic 3-way battle for ultimate victory. Although I'd previously decided that I couldn't continue to fund all the prize-giving that had helped to make the first two competitions so popular, quevy stepped in once again and offered to design and make tiles, stickers and trophies for both of the expansion leagues. I knew I'd be blown away by his artistry and craftsmanship, and he certainly didn't disappoint! ^-^ All tiles (and associated trade tokens), Carcassonne Central business cards, Dan meeples and trophies should now have been delivered to their rightful owners.



(trophies and stickers for the first 2 expansion leagues during production)

      
(expansion league 1 sticker and prototype/ final designs of the tile)


(MrNumbers proudly displaying his Traders & Builders trophy)

   
(expansion league 2 sticker and final design of the tile)


(Leven proudly displaying his Inns & Cathedrals trophy)


If there was one thing I didn't particularly like about the various online tournaments and other games, it was that they all felt very separate and there wasn't anything in place to unify them. So, three or four weeks of intense discussion with jungleboy and MrNumbers led to the formation of The Order of the Meeple which is our ongoing rewards and recognition program designed to motivate and inspire those who choose to take part in any of Carcassonne Central's online tournaments and weekly games (and keep them coming back for more).

I don't know what the future has in store, but it feels like we're onto a good thing at the moment and I couldn't be happier about the friendships that are being made through Carcassonne Central as a result of the rivalry and competition between our members. My hope is that this will continue to grow, and that there will always be an online tournament either planned or in progress. Speaking of which, the 2015 World Cup of Carcassonne Central will provisionally be taking place in September and I'd love it if we could complete this year's series of expansion leagues with a Princess & Dragon league and a Tower league (not that I have high hopes for my own personal performance in either)! It would also be great to see others suggesting new tournaments and competitions based on their own ideas. Decar's "Carcassonne Ladder" is a great example of this, and I feel confident that he has plenty more where that came from...  :-X

So there we have it; a potted history of online tournaments and other competitive play at Carcassonne Central, including details (and photos!) of all the tiles and trophies that have been given away in the process. Whilst I may have played a role in helping this side of things to grow and get established here, it goes without saying that I haven't done it all alone and a lot of work from many other members has gone into what's available today. Here are a few of those names (in alphabetical order):

  • Decar (suggestions, support and sounding board)
  • farin (creation and ongoing development/ maintenance of JCloisterZone)
  • Jéré (calculation of ELO ratings)
  • Jputt927 (tile design)
  • jungleboy (suggestions, support and sounding board)
  • kettlefish (HiG liaison and official score keeper)
  • MrNumbers (suggestions, support and sounding board)
  • Paul (administrative assistance)
  • quevy (tile/ sticker/ trophy design and manufacture)

Overall stats as of 14th June 2015

Number of games played: 312
Number of tied games: 4
Total Points scored: 92,700 - let's see how long it takes to reach 1 million!
Biggest score difference: 139 (T & B League 2015 - Group A)
Highest losing game score: 327 (2014 World Cup final)
Lowest winning game score: 83 (2014 League)


Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1866.0
« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 09:30:00 AM by danisthirty »
Heroically snatching defeat from the jaws of victory since 2018

Offline jungleboy

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2015, 06:56:21 AM »
Excellent summary Dan. Thanks again for all that you've done in organizing these tournaments.

Offline kettlefish

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2015, 07:10:55 AM »
danisthirty,
thank you for the great report and the pictures.

Even Klaus-Jürgen Wrede got some of the stickers.


Offline jungleboy

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2015, 07:42:17 AM »
Also: quevy doesn't look at all like what I imagined. But I mostly imagined him looking like the girl from the box of the Winter Edition!

Offline Rosco

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2015, 08:08:06 AM »
Good report Dan. Interesting read. 
Just lay the damn tile!

Offline Decar

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2015, 08:17:51 AM »
An amazing summary of what Carcassonne Central have achieved thanks to all its members!

I like seeing Dan in victory pose as a 'placeholder' for Carcking!

A big thank you to Jungleboy who posted:  Does anyone fancy a game tonight?  I probably would not have got started if he wasn't so friendly!

And a big thanks to Dan, who listens to all my usually off-the-wall ideas and more-often-than-not making good of them!


Offline Hounk

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2015, 09:51:11 AM »
Yes, very nice report.
I like seeing Dan in victory pose as a 'placeholder' for Carcking!
True, but he's somehow a little hard to recognise, without his cup of tea, don't you think?

Offline quevy

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2015, 10:24:29 AM »
Also: quevy doesn't look at all like what I imagined. But I mostly imagined him looking like the girl from the box of the Winter Edition!

I'm much better than the women of the winter edition. :)

I redid the tiles in a better quality, soon the file will be forwarded to all participants. So if they want they can remake the tiles that have been in a better quality. Then with Dan we discussed this and decided it was not right that only the participants of the league had the privilege of using the tiles that I created for the tournament.
It has a different watermark, so that participants have an exclusive version of them.
Here's the file:

http://www.mediafire.com/download/f288fawc1e9rd25/lega.rar


Soon I hope to include a different version than the first two leagues and upload the file in the download section.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 10:27:34 AM by quevy »
A knight is sworn to valour.
His heart knows only virtue.
His blade defends the helpless.
His might upholds the weak.
His word speaks only truth.
His wrath undoes the wicked.

 :white-meeple: My works.

Offline MrNumbers

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2015, 11:51:40 PM »
Excellent write up, Dan! :(y)
A lot of work is done, even more is waiting for us! :D
"I never lose. Either I win or I learn." (Nelson Mandela)

Offline danisthirty

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2015, 07:54:44 AM »
Thanks for all the feedback guys, I’m glad it’s been of interest.

I like seeing Dan in victory pose as a 'placeholder' for Carcking!

Fortunately I realised at the time that this was the only opportunity I would get to hold our World Cup so I made sure to get the moment photographed before sending it off to its rightful owner. ;D

True, but he's somehow a little hard to recognise, without his cup of tea, don't you think?

With regard to my meeple and his cup of tea, originally he held a can of Pepsi Max since I’m mad for the stuff! This had to be changed though as the design was too intricate to print well, so I decided that he should be holding a cup of tea instead (the number of different colours in use also had to be reduced which was disappointing but I think they did it really well).

Offline jma03

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2015, 04:36:25 PM »
pretty reading and congratulations to all for your participation and victories .
I hope this remains the same or better to continue enjoying League online .
Merit for his designs for quevy
and dan for reading
When you lose, do not look at what you lost, but what's left to win ..

Offline quevy

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2015, 05:36:36 AM »
A small detail of the tile award last league played. O0


Offline quevy

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2015, 03:54:24 AM »
What will be the wooden figures to appear in the next adhesives?

Offline Rosco

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2015, 04:57:54 AM »
Quevy - I can't see the image.  Can you upload it in a different format?

Offline Rosco

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Re: A History of Online Competition at Carcassonne Central
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2015, 04:58:39 AM »
Ah there it is!!


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