Author Topic: Vanilla Tile Mix  (Read 4479 times)

Offline Christopher

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Vanilla Tile Mix
« on: April 24, 2016, 06:49:02 AM »
Hello, hello!

Now, I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find it. If anyone else can, feel free to merge the posts!

Anyway, I've just knocked up a 'vanilla tile mix.' I thought it would be useful for padding out larger games if there are too many expansions. Or for playing longer basic games. I wanted to gather opinions on this. I'm certain lots of you already have similar things! What do they consist of, and what do you use them for?

My vanilla tile mix contains all of the vanilla tiles from the expansions. So, it has:

  • Ten tiles from Inns and Cathedrals
  • Four tiles from Traders and Builders
  • Twelve tiles from Abbey and Mayor
  • Five tiles from King and Robber Baron
  • Four tiles from Bridges, Castles and Bazaars
  • Two tiles from Hills and Sheep
  • Ten tiles from Games Quarterly

That totals 47 tiles. It also has the weird base game/wheel of fortune mix from Big Box 5, minus the ones with numbered wheels. That way, it adds more tiles from the expansions and removes a few of the base game mix. That mix contains (I think, I haven't counted them, I've worked it out from the CAR) 65 tiles. Bringing my vanilla mix to a total of 112 tiles.


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Offline Halfling

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2016, 07:16:00 AM »
This reminds me of the pool of tiles that Whaleyland suggests for his campaigns.
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Offline whaleyland

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    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2016, 05:51:44 PM »
This reminds me of the pool of tiles that Whaleyland suggests for his campaigns.
Yup, my mix includes every vanilla tile released including all those you mention, the 53 vanilla Wheel of Fortune tiles (from the original edition), and the Labyrinth. That makes 101 vanilla tiles plus the 71 from the base game, so 172 total. Each time I play, I randomly pull 75 of them, or rather top up to 75 after adding in any expansion tiles I'm playing with.

Offline Christopher

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2016, 05:08:40 AM »
Yup, my mix includes every vanilla tile released including all those you mention, the 53 vanilla Wheel of Fortune tiles (from the original edition), and the Labyrinth. That makes 101 vanilla tiles plus the 71 from the base game, so 172 total. Each time I play, I randomly pull 75 of them, or rather top up to 75 after adding in any expansion tiles I'm playing with.

That's interesting. So you don't play with the base game vanilla tiles? You pick expansions, then add a random mix of vanilla tiles each time?

Also, is that 75 including the expansions? So, if playing with I&Cs, you'd have the eight inns and cathedrals, then would add 67 vanilla tiles? You wouldn't have the base game or the vanilla tiles from I&C? When you say the expansion tiles you're playing with, that is just the expansion tiles, without vanilla? Then each game has the 'expansion tiles' plus a random mix of vanilla from all of the expansions.

Is that right?

Also, why 75?

Offline whaleyland

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    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2016, 06:01:47 AM »
Yup, my mix includes every vanilla tile released including all those you mention, the 53 vanilla Wheel of Fortune tiles (from the original edition), and the Labyrinth. That makes 101 vanilla tiles plus the 71 from the base game, so 172 total. Each time I play, I randomly pull 75 of them, or rather top up to 75 after adding in any expansion tiles I'm playing with.

That's interesting. So you don't play with the base game vanilla tiles? You pick expansions, then add a random mix of vanilla tiles each time?

Also, is that 75 including the expansions? So, if playing with I&Cs, you'd have the eight inns and cathedrals, then would add 67 vanilla tiles? You wouldn't have the base game or the vanilla tiles from I&C? When you say the expansion tiles you're playing with, that is just the expansion tiles, without vanilla? Then each game has the 'expansion tiles' plus a random mix of vanilla from all of the expansions.

Is that right?

Also, why 75?
Well, I do play with base game vanilla tiles, but they are mixed with all the expansion vanilla tiles. But yes, each game is a mix (it makes tile counting virtually impossible). And yes, I use the tiles to top up after tossing the expansion tiles in the bag, so your math for I&C is correct. There could always be vanilla tiles from I&C in the mix of vanilla, but they would be there through random selection.

I use 75 tiles because that's what I ended up doing for my campaign series. The first scenario of each campaign only uses 50 tiles for a very short thematic game (with only one basic expansion). The last scenario is an epic game with 100 tiles and a bunch of expansions thrown in and players holding tiles (and generally abbeys, halflings, German Castles, etc). I decided for the other eight scenarios of each campaign, 75 was a good number that was close to 72 (the base game tile number) but easier to remember. It divides evenly in groups of 3 and 5, which is better than the inherent imbalance of the playable 71 tiles – a prime number – with basic Carcassonne. 72 playable tiles would be ideal, since it divides evenly by 2, 3, 4, and 6, but I wanted to keep things as simple as possible since so many other things were complicated. Generally, the smaller number of tiles enhances the power of expansion tiles and keeps the games to no longer than 45 minutes, which are both preferred.

Offline ARabidMeerkat

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2016, 09:46:48 AM »
What counts as a 'vanilla' tile? Call me stupid but I'm just a bit confused...
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Offline Halfling

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2016, 12:22:45 PM »
Inns and Cathedrals has 18 tiles.  6 Inns, 2 Cathedrals make 8 tiles, so the remaining 10 are 'Vanilla'.

Offline Nicholas Mystikos

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2016, 12:54:37 PM »
What counts as a 'vanilla' tile? Call me stupid but I'm just a bit confused...

It's a tile that doesn't contain any expansion elements. So even though it may come from an expansion, it could be a base game tile because there are no additional features on it (except watermarks) like trade goods, volcanoes, gold mines etc.

Offline Christopher

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2016, 12:58:05 AM »
Well, I do play with base game vanilla tiles, but they are mixed with all the expansion vanilla tiles. But yes, each game is a mix (it makes tile counting virtually impossible). And yes, I use the tiles to top up after tossing the expansion tiles in the bag, so your math for I&C is correct. There could always be vanilla tiles from I&C in the mix of vanilla, but they would be there through random selection.

I use 75 tiles because that's what I ended up doing for my campaign series. The first scenario of each campaign only uses 50 tiles for a very short thematic game (with only one basic expansion). The last scenario is an epic game with 100 tiles and a bunch of expansions thrown in and players holding tiles (and generally abbeys, halflings, German Castles, etc). I decided for the other eight scenarios of each campaign, 75 was a good number that was close to 72 (the base game tile number) but easier to remember. It divides evenly in groups of 3 and 5, which is better than the inherent imbalance of the playable 71 tiles – a prime number – with basic Carcassonne. 72 playable tiles would be ideal, since it divides evenly by 2, 3, 4, and 6, but I wanted to keep things as simple as possible since so many other things were complicated. Generally, the smaller number of tiles enhances the power of expansion tiles and keeps the games to no longer than 45 minutes, which are both preferred.

That's very interesting.

Yes, of course. Base game vanilla tiles may end up in game, but only through random selection. What I meant to say is that you don't get the base game then add your expansions, you get your expansions (with expansion tiles only) then add the vanilla afterwards. That reduces the vanilla to expansion ratio, increasing their prevalence; allows addition of multiple expansions without creating a very long game; prevents tile counting; adds an extra element of variety to each game. Wow! I like this idea.

If you assume that the vanilla tiles released in each expansion are simply new configurations according to the inspiration of the designers, rather than being in any way related to the expansion in question, then it doesn't matter which vanillas you have. That seems most likely. So, the particular vanilla tiles including the funny symmetrical tiles released in Hills and Sheep are not related to the features of hills, sheep or vineyards, they just happened to have been released in that expansion.

Do you adjust the number if you are adding more expansions? For example, if playing a game with I&C, T&B and P&D, would you just use 17 vanilla tiles (30 P&D, 20 T&B and 8 I&C makes 58, 17 to 75) and play with the very low vanilla to expansion ratio? Or would you increase it if playing with that many? So many questions!

I really love this idea. I'm going to try this for my next few games. I was reading about your Open Draft variant, too, it sounds brilliant.

Offline whaleyland

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    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2016, 02:28:44 AM »
Generally we never play with more than two expansions at a time, so rarely is adjustment required, but if we are playing with a few larger expansions, I'll add vanilla tiles. Usually 100 tiles is the max I will ever add unless we're really playing an epic game (which hasn't happened for many years now).

I've found that for the most part, vanilla tiles do not have any specific relationship to the expansions. The exception, of course, is the city with two pennants included in Abbey & Mayor. I mean, some expansions will have more tiles of certain types to emphasise specific basic features (more City tiles in T&B, more Roads in BC&B, more wide fields in H&S) but this seems to have limited impact when playing the expansions.

I should add (again because I said it elsewhere) that Cloister tiles do need a bit of regulation in this system. As I said earlier, I put one Cloister in for every 12 tiles (including the Cloister). That matches the original base game ratio. We've had some random vanilla games with up to 10 Cloisters that have been mixed in. A bit much, especially in a two-player game.

I totally forgot about my Open Draft variant. Nobody seemed that interested. I'll wait for you to say something about it over there before I go and hunt for it.  ;)

Offline Christopher

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #10 on: April 29, 2016, 04:53:13 AM »
Right, okay. Is that 100 vanilla tiles added, or x number of vanilla tiles added to bring the total to 100?

I agree. Whilst they may be intended to emphasise a feature, I can't imagine that has a great deal of effect on game-play. I suppose having played each expansion with it's intended tiles and a mix, you've never seen much difference? Roads are plentiful enough that BC&B can't matter too much, the trade token tiles are obviously all cities so having extra vanilla cities doesn't seem necessary, and it's not difficult to use a shepherd on any other field.

Definitely. Last year I posted some stuff about cloister ratios because I found the same thing as you. It was interesting to see how the ratio changed in different expansions. Most expansions have one, some have two. The Flyers, The Ferries and The Mage and the Witch have none, whereas the Goldmines has four. I have spreadsheets which count how much cloisters you have according to the expansions and suggest how many to add or remove. So, for the vanilla mix, I can see that needing attention. Presumably you count up how many you have and redraw if you have too many? Six would be right for 75 tiles. It would be interesting to see how the number changes as you add expansions which don't have the vanilla tiles. It would be different to normal. So, I&C has one cloister, but it's vanilla, so that's already in your pool. P&D, on the other hand, has two cloisters on expansion tiles, so those would remain in. What else... one cloister with a tower foundation, one with a fair, one in each river, one in the festival, four in goldmines. I think that's it, though I would have to check. If I adopt the mix in this way, I may have a separate cloister pool which we draw from separately to get the right number.

I am very interested! It sounds brilliant, and it's a very different take on the game. I posted in it a month or so ago  :P I did wonder if maybe you didn't get the notification, which is why I mentioned it here!  ;D

Offline Christopher

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #11 on: May 09, 2016, 11:31:28 AM »
I was wondering on this again, and I had a thought: Given that the base game has a reasonable mix of cities and roads, with slightly more roads, do you ever draw a mix which is too heavily weighted? Say, too many roads and too few cities? It's statistically unlikely, but I wondered if you'd ever found that. If so, did you just play through? Everyone alters their play a little? One thought was that you could, potentially, end up with not enough road ends or city caps. Could case problems.

Also, having the base game vanillas and WoF vanillas means you have almost a double base set and doubles of a few others from other expansions. Is that deliberate, or just what you happen to have and it does't matter?

Offline whaleyland

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    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2016, 03:41:31 PM »
I was wondering on this again, and I had a thought: Given that the base game has a reasonable mix of cities and roads, with slightly more roads, do you ever draw a mix which is too heavily weighted? Say, too many roads and too few cities? It's statistically unlikely, but I wondered if you'd ever found that. If so, did you just play through? Everyone alters their play a little? One thought was that you could, potentially, end up with not enough road ends or city caps. Could case problems.

Also, having the base game vanillas and WoF vanillas means you have almost a double base set and doubles of a few others from other expansions. Is that deliberate, or just what you happen to have and it does't matter?
It never really bothers me much (except when too many Cloisters were mixed in, which isn't a problem anymore). Yes, some games do end up with more Roads or more Cities, but rarely does that make a huge impact on our games. I actually feel that mixing the base game and WoF vanillas in keeps things better balanced overall, although we do sometimes pull way too many RRFF tiles (only happened twice IIRC). But again, what happens happens. We like the randomness of the tiles and the idea that there could potentially be that one tile that you want/need, rather than the sad realisation that you know how many of those tiles are in the base game and all are already placed.

Offline Christopher

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2016, 10:36:39 AM »
Yes, I agree. It's probably nice to not know if the piece you need is still in. Keeps it exciting. It's probably quite good to have the numbers change around, too. If you get a game with more roads, you just focus on roads.

I think I will have a separate cloister mix and draw those apart from the rest of the mix to keep the number right. I may also do something extremely finicky and make sure my mix has the same ratio as the base game.

This gets more and more exciting!

Offline Decar

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Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2016, 01:43:49 PM »
Im the other way! For me, Nothings more exciting in a game of Carcassonne than knowing there's a tile left you need but not knowing if you'll get it and what your opponents will do with it if they get the chance!


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