Author Topic: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem  (Read 5086 times)

Offline Just a Bill

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CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« on: February 20, 2018, 10:13:37 AM »
CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem

The official rulings on junctions are a bit of a little sore spot for me, and the CAR makes some absolute statements that cannot be true for all tiles. (It also contradicts itself at one point.) I plan to propose recasting how these things are presented to avoid having the reader scratch his head and say "but that can't be true."

The problem appears in multiple places, with the groundwork being laid on page 15 in footnote 15: "In the game there are crossings and junctions. But since all crossings have the same effect—namely, to bring a road to an end—it was decided to sacrifice the distinction between crossings and junctions (or T-crossings, or T-roads...?) in order to not unnecessarily complicate matters."

On page 30, footnote 38 repeats this fallacy: "The new tile is obviously meant to remind us that all junctions are considered to be ends of roads." And then on page 133, footnote 358 casts away all junction artwork as meaningless: "The three road segments on this tile end at the junction, even though there are no obstacles pictured in the road. All junctions and crossings are treated the same, regardless of the artwork." Finally, the absolute rule is bookended in the glossary, in the crossing entry on page 287: "All junctions—crossroads, T-junctions, and so on—are [the end of a road]."

But obviously this "absolute" rule is no such thing. Those statements cannot be true because of the number of Open Junction crossings which are not road-enders. Such tiles have appeared in a variety of expansions over the last decade, including Abbey & Mayor, Catapult, Crop Circles I, the first Russian promos, and even the (relatively) recent Labyrinth.



What's perplexing to me is that one of the CAR's footnotes (358) is attributed to a ruling from May 2014, a good seven years after the publication of Abbey & Mayor in 2007 made the ruling clearly untrue. Now perhaps HiG just neglected to update their old working theory to fit the newer facts, but the point is that this oft-repeated absolute rule — that all junctions are closed and they always end the associated roads regardless of the artwork — clearly does not make sense today, and has not been true for over a decade now. So I'd like to see this little mess get disentangled, or at least presented in a way that isn't a contradiction.

The ruling is a problem because it flies in the face of common sense. Consider that Crop Circles I tile:



A reasonable player who compares this to the other four tiles above would easily conclude that this is another Open Junction tile. That's what it looks like, and that's what makes it interesting. Yet the footnote 358 referenced above is actually talking about this tile; it bafflingly rules it a closed junction. However, on page 280 the CAR then contradicts that ruling and interprets this tile logically as exactly what it looks like:



Although surely not intentional, this provides a pretty good demonstration of why the confusing official ruling is a bad ruling. It contradicts our common sense, makes it harder for players to interpret the game consistently, and introduces rules complexity for no clear benefit to the game.

Now, don't shoot me just yet: I'm not planning to start a revolt in CAR 7.5 and ignore the publisher's rulings. It's crucial to faithfully relay the official rules without distortion. But it's also responsible to acknowledge areas where those rules do not make sense, and perhaps even to suggest house rules for those who want them (as the CAR already does in many places). And in some cases, it's even appropriate to bring to the publisher's attention situations where a tangle of rulings contradictions could be simplified for the good of the game. Certainly Carcassonne already has a rich history of revising its rules to make the game play more smoothly.

So with all that said, I'd like to hear others' viewpoints on this little mess, see if anyone else plays their tiles "as printed" like I do, and find out if I'm the only one who would appreciate seeing HiG re-examine this ruling and consider a common-sense revision — at least for cases like the Crop Circles tile where nothing was ever revised in a later printing (the reprinted/revised I&C tile, of course, will forever be a closed junction). That latter bit may be a pipe dream since they no longer care to rule on old-artwork tiles, but we can still talk about it.

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=3847.0
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 11:57:51 AM by Just a Bill »
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Offline Willem

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2018, 10:49:15 AM »
Another interesting topic!
I've always worked on the premise that visuals say everything.
As in, if something connects in the artwork, it is connected. I use this often for farm connections, and also roads.

For example this tile from Sheep and Hills. The rules clearly state the roads end here. My girlfriend always assumed it was not an ending.
But in cases like this, I say that the visuals tell the tail!

Regarding the CC1 tile, i've always found it weird that this would be 3 seperate roads.
it has been discussed several times on the forum
It came up here, and here
Most of the times someone will refer to the clarification of rules with HiG, found here.
For me, this clarification does not make this clear.
'as usual a junction separates roads'. For me, this does not clearify, as i would not say its a junction on this (or the other shown) tile(s).
I always keep to the rule that if the tile(s) show something is connected, it is. So continues roads are connected, connected cities are one, farms that go under a bridge are connected, etc.

Following that rule, all the roads on the shown tiles are connected, except for the road leading up on the russian tile, as it is shown there is a big stone seperating the roads :)
The Labyrinth has its own rules, but as all roads are visually connected on the tile, I would say they are connected, and the rules support this.

To HiG, CC2 replaces CC1, so these kind of problems have been solved in this.
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Offline Just a Bill

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2018, 12:03:00 PM »
Thanks for those links!

A big reason this is confusing is because the word "junction" is imprecise and insufficient. Clearly this game has both open junctions and closed junctions, and it is only the latter that separates roads. So it is insufficient to just say "junctions separate roads" — the correct statement is "closed junctions separate roads."

Of course we also require a definition of the difference between an open junction and a closed junction. What might that be? Clearly it must be the artwork, and the artwork of the CC1 tile indicates it is an open junction. This is unavoidably obvious, in the context of the other open-junction tiles.

If they wanted that junction to be closed, then they drew it wrong. No question about that. It has been incumbent upon HiG to make an artwork distinction between open and closed junctions since A&M in 2007, and they did it again with Catapult in 2008. Since CC1 was first published in 2010, they had known this for about three years. In any case, what they published in CC1 was another open junction — regardless of whether or not that was their intent. ;) The tile speaks for itself. If they wanted to change that, the way to do it was with official errata, not by citing a presumed absolute ruling that cannot possibly coexist with the open junction tiles.

So if it is, in fact, HiG's intention to rule the CC1 tile a closed junction, well ... in the absence of actual errata, that ruling is simply an error. No worries; it happens. All game designers, developers, publishers, and rules gurus make mistakes. (I sure as heck did in my day, and still do.) The best thing to do is acknowledge it, correct it, and move forward ... for the sake of the game. The good of the game outweighs the need to protect any of our egos.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 01:10:25 PM by Just a Bill »

Offline Leven

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2018, 01:32:54 PM »
As I see it, the general rule is quite straightforward: all crossings and junctions do separate the roads except for roundabouts. The only tile that seems to contradict this rule is the russian tile but that's a unique tile with special ruling so I can live with that.

Offline Just a Bill

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2018, 02:31:02 PM »
But there is no such special rule for roundabouts. You had to invent it out of thin air, and it's not intuitive. One would think if there were such a rule, then A&M and Catapult would state it; but they don't. The RGG and ZMG English rules for A&M don't give any special gameplay definition, or even use a special term like "roundabout." They just seem to observe that the tile works the way iyou would think due to its open junctions. The RGG Catapult rules (the only ones I can find in English) don't even reference that tile at all.

Secondly, how would you redraw the Labyrinth so it looks like a roundabout? (It, too, is one single road for completion and scoring.) I'm not sure it could even be done without destroying its visual concept.

But probably what I find most ill-conceived about the CC1 ruling is that it works against keeping the game's design space open (something that should be a big red flag for developers). As Carcking already pointed out in one of the other threads...

This is just absurd. Why draw it like that if they wanted three roads? How would they propose drawing the artwork if they did want one road? (scratching my head)

He's absolutely right. With the common-sense view, you have lots of options for showing the exact gameplay you want. You can have a single open-junction road, or three separate roads that connect at a closed junction for things like wagons, Leipzig, and whatnot, or even three separate roads that don't connect at all:



Simple, intuitive, and they all look like they do exactly what they do. But with a special invented "roundabout rule," you have to make one of those options more complicated and less intuitive, and then two of them would both look like they have a single road, even though one of them technically would not. You'd also need more real estate to pull it off, which further reduces your options for future tile combinations.

And I don't even want to think about trying to make a Labyrinth example. ;)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 11:58:29 AM by Just a Bill »

Offline Leven

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2018, 04:11:00 PM »
I don't think labyrinths should be involved in this issue as a labyrinth is practically a new feature in the game with its own rules (with the ability of connecting the 4 roads).

Offline Leven

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2018, 04:34:10 PM »
But there is no such special rule for roundabouts. You had to invent it out of thin air, and it's not intuitive. One would think if there were such a rule, then A&M and Catapult would state it; but they don't. The RGG and ZMG English rules for A&M don't give any special gameplay definition, or even use a special term like "roundabout." They just seem to observe that the tile works the way iyou would think due to its open junctions. The RGG Catapult rules (the only ones I can find in English) don't even reference that tile at all.

Indeed, they don't use the term "roundabout" but nevertheless it IS a roundabout, and it is stated in the rules that it doesn't separate the roads. I don't know why they chose this solution (but it seems that they did) and yes, as a game designer you can find it inappropriate.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2018, 04:52:10 PM by Leven »

Offline Decar

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2018, 12:41:05 AM »
On another note, I recall kettlefish told us that they look at the tiles for the German Cathedrals and remarked that some bushes were needed to prevent a single road lopping round a lot of the cathedrals.  If you're able to find the sneak-peak version of the tiles you may be able to see how the change was applied.  It's good to see the publisher made clear what constitutes a junction on later tiles (then forget again for the Labyrinth).

I'm not particularly happy with the concept of a junction.  When two roads meet, there could be a junction, thus all roads could have an infinite number of junctions on them.  Some roads are continuous and a second road joins onto it.  They doesn't constitute a 3-way junction; ie the ending of 3 roads.  I find the bushes provide a focal point for the road connection.

The second edition rules are worth looking at too.  They actually define a road closure as: "The end of a road is closed when it meets a village, a city, a monastery, or it loops onto itself by meeting the other end."  But then forgot this for Inns and Cathedrals Expansion (FRRR).

Finally, it may be worth including the first edition CRCR tile from Inns and Cathedrals, this was quickly modified to include a bush when the watermarks were added.

Offline Chartreusito

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2018, 03:01:10 AM »
I don't think labyrinths should be involved in this issue as a labyrinth is practically a new feature in the game with its own rules (with the ability of connecting the 4 roads).

I concur on this.

Thanks for the clarification on the rest.

For my part i'll stay with "What you see is what you get", open junctions are connecting roads. I really don't know what it would imply in a tournament but for a "fun" game, it's enough with me.
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Offline jungleboy

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2018, 03:18:41 AM »
I appreciate Bill's in-depth analysis here, but for the sake of brevity, am I right in saying that what this whole debate basically comes down to is the CC1 tile, which should be open according to the way it's presented artistically but is closed according to the rules?

If that's all it is, wouldn't it be enough to simply note this oddity in the CAR and move on rather than to try to make sweeping philosophical judgements about what constitutes open and closed junctions and the like?

If it's about more than that, then ignore me and continue debating.

Offline danisthirty

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #10 on: February 21, 2018, 04:48:44 AM »
I appreciate Bill's in-depth analysis here, but for the sake of brevity, am I right in saying that what this whole debate basically comes down to is the CC1 tile, which should be open according to the way it's presented artistically but is closed according to the rules?

If that's all it is, wouldn't it be enough to simply note this oddity in the CAR and move on rather than to try to make sweeping philosophical judgements about what constitutes open and closed junctions and the like?

If it's about more than that, then ignore me and continue debating.

-infinity billion to this.

I don't see the benefit in reclassifying everything as required to fit the current set of rules/ understanding/ artwork we have, even if it seems to make sense. Whenever we do this, something else comes along to break it and we're left trying to put together the pieces of an increasingly complicated jigsaw puzzle.

The purpose of the CAR is to bring clarity to the rules and help people to apply them correctly. If we as a group of self-proclaimed Carcassonne aficionados can't agree on what constitutes a junction/ roundabout/ crossing/ other (or why we even need to) and are considering introducing further complexity in terms of how we refer to such features, purely to satisfy every conceivable edge case on paper, then it could be that we need to reassess what really matters.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 08:19:59 AM by danisthirty »
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Offline Just a Bill

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2018, 07:04:14 AM »
My goal is actually to reduce the complexity of this issue.

What additional complication do you perceive is being introduced here? The complexity of the inconsistencies between artwork, rules, and (supposedly) intended gameplay already exists and was all created by the publisher. The Open Junction terminology has long been a part of the CAR already, going back more than eight years (at least as far back as version 5.0 beta 6 in July 2009). I'm not adding any new terminology or rules; I'm simply trying to identify how the tangled undergrowth has come to exist, and find the short, simple, intuitive path through it.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2018, 07:16:31 AM by Just a Bill »

Offline jungleboy

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2018, 07:37:19 AM »
I'm not adding any new terminology or rules; I'm simply trying to identify how the tangled undergrowth has come to exist, and find the short, simple, intuitive path through it.

I haven't thought about this in any significant detail so apologies if I am underestimating the complexity of it all. I'm saying the short, simple, intuitive path is to define what ends a road during the rules of the basic game (e.g. 'A road is completed when the road segments on both sides end in a crossing (a 3 or 4-way junction with a village or trees), a city segment, or a cloister, or when the road forms a closed circle' - bolded is my addition), and then make a note when you get to Crop Circles 1 saying something like, 'This road looks like it is open because there are no trees or villages, but HiG has ruled that it is closed. House rule it if you want.'

Offline Leven

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2018, 09:04:59 AM »
I'm not adding any new terminology or rules; I'm simply trying to identify how the tangled undergrowth has come to exist, and find the short, simple, intuitive path through it.

I haven't thought about this in any significant detail so apologies if I am underestimating the complexity of it all. I'm saying the short, simple, intuitive path is to define what ends a road during the rules of the basic game (e.g. 'A road is completed when the road segments on both sides end in a crossing (a 3 or 4-way junction with a village or trees), a city segment, or a cloister, or when the road forms a closed circle' - bolded is my addition), and then make a note when you get to Crop Circles 1 saying something like, 'This road looks like it is open because there are no trees or villages, but HiG has ruled that it is closed. House rule it if you want.'

Wouldn't it be even simpler if we leave out the bolded addition, and just mention the known exceptions in the chapters of the specific expansions where the general rule (the roads end at the crossing) shouldn't be applied in the case of a given tile? These exceptions are quite few: the "roundabout" tile of A&M, the Russian promo tile, the labyrinths, plus the roundabout from the catapult but the latter isn't officially confirmed yet, as well as I know.

Offline Just a Bill

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Re: CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem
« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2018, 10:47:26 AM »
Since we're starting to debate specific wordings now, I need to point out that for the Carcassonne concept of roads joining together, "junction" (origin: join) is a much better English word than "crossing" (origin: cross). Junctions can include 3, 4, or even more road segments coming together, whereas crossing in this context is more limited, connoting two independent roads (4 segments) running through and across each other. A crossing can also be a single roadway/walkway running through or over some different object such as a river or railroad track, which again is not appropriate for the Carcassonne context. Visually...

In English, this is a junction but it is not a crossing (instead it is a "T junction" or a "Y junction").


In English, these are crossings but they are not junctions.


"Junction" works for all Carcassonne game scenarios, but "crossing" implies the wrong interpretation in all three of these examples (and others).
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 12:00:04 PM by Just a Bill »


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