Author Topic: Randomly-Drawn Starter Tile  (Read 2018 times)

Offline danisthirty

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Randomly-Drawn Starter Tile
« on: January 11, 2016, 06:38:28 AM »
In a basic game of Carcassonne, there are 22 tiles featuring “city caps” which give the starting player a 31% chance of completing the city on the starting tile for a quick 4-points before the game has truly begun. I’ve never really liked this, as it makes it too easy to fall behind from the outset and it’s entirely down to luck who gets to go first as well as whether or not they draw a city cap.

With My First Carcassonne (you can tell I’ve been playing this a lot lately!) you simply draw a tile at random and that becomes your starting tile. I can think of several reasons why this is a good idea, but the fact that all tiles in MFC are rrrr means it really doesn’t matter what tile you start with anyway. However, I’ve been thinking about what it would mean for regular Carc if it was to adopt a rule like this so that we don’t always start with the crfr tile...

The obvious drawback is that you won’t necessarily be able to place the first drawn tile which is never the case when you use the normal starter tile. To elaborate on this, there are 13 tiles that don’t have a field side on them so your chances of drawing one of these as the start tile is 18%. Your chances of then drawing one of the ffff cloisters (of which there are 4) from the 71 remaining tiles are 5.6%. The chances of both of these things happening in combination are just over 1% so not exactly likely, but still a possibility nonetheless.

The benefit of following the MFC starter method is that the chance of the first player getting a 4-point head start is reduced from 31% to 9.9%, cutting it by a third.

I think the benefit outweighs the drawback in this case, especially since I almost always play with a tile-drawing bag anyway and so usually toss any drawn tiles that can’t be played back into the bag and draw again. But if this is something that anyone else has considered or has already implemented as a house-rule then I’m keen to hear how it worked.


Offline Guy

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Re: Randomly-Drawn Starter Tile
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2016, 06:58:56 AM »
Surely the easiest solution is to just use a CCFR tile (where the CC part is only one city) as this would still allow all tiles to be played without the instant 4 point city.  The most 'instant' points would be 2 points (4 with an Inn) from the road which is less of a game changer.  This tile combination is available in 'Inns & Cathedrals', 'Traders & Builders', GQ11, 'Wheel of Fortune', and 'The Besiegers'.

The only flaw in this that I can see, (other than its scarcity) is that only the GQ11 and Wheel of Fortune versions are 'vanilla' tiles - all the others have either an Inn by a lake, trade good, or are besieged!

Offline Decar

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Re: Randomly-Drawn Starter Tile
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2016, 08:29:46 AM »
I think Dan was looking for a modification to base Carcassonne games.  But it does raise a question what which random tile is drawn when expansions are played; could this skew Dan's stats.

I guess an easy solution to this is score 2 points for a 2-tile city; then the advantage is minimized.

I'm not sure how many tiles do and do not have edges off the top of my head, but I can see some issues with many discards or a high number of trapping possibilities.

I think having a CC joiner as a start tile would allow players to score an easy 6 points at the start of the game, it would be difficult to glom onto early too.

Offline Paul

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Re: Randomly-Drawn Starter Tile
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2016, 08:44:50 AM »
I think the main thought for this starter tile was to avoid any non-legal tile placement on the very first turn. May seem quite silly now but at the time of making the game, it can be easy to miss the bigger picture. Especially when working on a game with no plans or knowledge of future success(es).

It all comes down to that basic rule, regarding the rules. Most of them if not all, are guidelines and every home is free to, as a group, allow for game changes in every aspect of it.

Personally, I do agree that not being able to make "meeple placement usage" on the very first turn is a bit weird and luckily we rarely just play with just the base game.

Cheers for diversity!  :(y)  :yellow-meeple:
World record holder for a single game of Carcassonne using 10 007 tiles!

Offline Reggie777

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Re: Randomly-Drawn Starter Tile
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2016, 11:40:57 AM »
Along the same lines of starting from a random tile, we've started these house rules...
We combine all tiles of the expansions we're using, including the river tiles, and just draw a random starting tile. When a river tile comes up, we play it as usual. If a tile comes us that is unplayable, we follow the normal rules of unplayable tiles, and remove it from play. This adds to the variety and challenge, since a "good" tile might be eliminated. It also makes the river more free form, since its tiles can show up at any time, and its effect of limiting the shape of the field of play not set at the very start of the game. You might even be able to use the river to throw a wrench in your opponent's plans.  >:D

We also draw from a homemade tower with three stacks. So, we have an honor rule, that whenever a river tile comes up, since the tile backs are distinctive, the next player has to draw that tile. If by chance the initial shuffle of tiles have more than one river tiles on the stacks, then we must use them first. This rarely happens. But, just in case.

Any thoughts or suggestions welcomed.

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