Poll

How do you primarily use the Falconer?

I intentionally place the Falconer on features with an Aerie to increase my tokens.
I use the Falconer as a normal follower and don't use it to gain bonus tokens.
I usually forget to or intentionally not use it.
I use it in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
I don't ever play with or do not use The Falcon Expansion.

Author Topic: Element of the Week #55 – The Falcons (from The Castle)  (Read 983 times)

Offline whaleyland

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Element of the Week #55 – The Falcons (from The Castle)
« on: April 08, 2017, 08:12:38 PM »
ELEMENT OF THE WEEK: THE FALCONS (from Carcassonne: The Castle – The Falcons)

Each week, a specific element from an expansion or spin-off 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 FALCONS (from Carcassonne: The Castle – The Falcons). For being the titular aspect of this expansion, the Falcons are a strangely simplistic element in an otherwise superb expansion. Basically, Falcon aeries are marked in the middle of some of the new tiles. When a tile with an Aerie is scored, that player collects one Aerie token per Aerie on the scored feature. At the end of the game, the player with the most Aerie tokens scores points equal to the number of spaces found in the largest unfilled section of the board. Confused? Underwhelmed? Yeah, I get that.

There is an extra thing, though: the Falconer. Each player has a new Falconer figure that can be played instead of a normal follower (although they cannot be used on a feature that scores instantly). The Falconer functions just like any other meeple except, if there are aerie tokens earned during scoring, the Falconer earns one extra token for that player. So the net result of this is...players get an extra follower that sometimes gets a bonus but cannot be used as versatile-y as other followers. Still underwhelmed? Yeah...

Discuss your relationship with The Falcons, as well as your strategies for taking advantage of this element.

Next Week's Topic: The Labyrinth       :o    >:D

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3247.0
« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 04:41:39 PM by whaleyland »

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Element of the Week #55 – The Falcons (from The Castle)
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2017, 01:41:08 AM »
Firstly, let me say once again that I'm very lucky to have a copy of the Falcon expansion thanks to quevy, whose presence and creativity has definitely been missed over the last year or so. As whaleyland indicated, the falcon aspect of the expansion is probably the weakest part of it (compared with chapels and even the king which, although simple, adds a lot of strategy).

A small clarification:

Basically, Falcon aeries are marked on the roofs of some of the new Chapel features.

The aeries are marked 'between' any kind of feature, excluding courts (so not just Chapels) - or, rather, overlapping two or more features (even four on one tile). So in all cases, any feature that is scored on a tile with an aerie will earn a token.

One unmentioned thing from the OP is that the largest unfilled section of the board is also what you score for the largest keep, which I think is the most interesting aspect of the falcon element. Quoting myself from this thread:

At first when I saw the aerie rules I thought it was pretty weak to have it score the same points as the biggest keep. But after playing with it I thought it was quite interesting. My opponent had the bigger keep and as we got closer to the end of the game I knew I couldn’t make a bigger one, so I focused on winning the most aerie tokens instead to neutralise her keep. So I think it’s cool that it’s basically a ‘double or nothing’ proposition.

I think this is what 'saves' the falcon element and makes it worthwhile because it integrates it into the game. It makes keep-aeries almost like military-science from 7 Wonders. Do you go for one or the other? If your opponent goes for one, should you double down on the other? Is it possible to go for both?

Offline whaleyland

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Re: Element of the Week #55 – The Falcons (from The Castle)
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2017, 01:48:44 AM »
Thanks for the clarification, jungleboy. I've corrected it in the OP.

I also got a copy from quevy over a year ago now, but have yet to actually play it due to the fact that I am in New Zealand and my lovely Castle game is in storage in Arizona right now. Very sad times. Hopefully it is all there and in one piece when I return. I really miss a number of my games, including The Castle, Hacienda, Alhambra, Ground Floor, and Flash Point: Fire Rescue.

Interesting observations with the Falcon interactions, though. I feel the double-nothing option is a bit of a cheat in a two player game, but I do see its benefit. Since the game goes to the end regardless (unlike 7 Wonders Duel), it is kind of like a Science/Military victory except that you can neutralise that victory before the end of the game. I wonder if another strategy could be to just make certain that the largest unoccupied space is really small and, therefore, relatively worthless.

Offline jungleboy

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Re: Element of the Week #55 – The Falcons (from The Castle)
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 02:56:09 AM »
I wonder if another strategy could be to just make certain that the largest unoccupied space is really small and, therefore, relatively worthless.

Sure, if you're going to lose both the biggest keep and the aeries, then it's definitely in your best interest to make the largest unfilled space as small as possible. But if you're just randomly placing tiles to that end with no other purpose, it's obviously going to take away from the rest of your scoring potential elsewhere on the board.


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