Author Topic: The Barbarian Report: Barber Baths of Bonusville (The Barber-Surgeons)  (Read 654 times)

Offline whaleyland

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It has been years now since Hans im Glück started releasing Carcassonne expansions with rules in English. Spielbox magazine also has an English-language magazine now. But somehow this travesty of a name – Barber-Surgeons – survived copyediting to become the ridiculous title of this promotional expansion. And I haven't even begun my review yet!

Differing Opinions
 :-[Fill in the Square...Again – Monasteries? Fill in the square. Gardens? Fill in the square. Siege tiles? Escape via a tile making the square. Bathhouses? Fill in the square. It's becoming a lame pattern among Carcassonne expansions that features require the square – the eight tiles around a centre tile – to be filled to meet some requirement. In this case, it seems unnecessary too – surely some other release mechanism, perhaps one more thematic, could have been chosen. Just lazy.
 :'(Minimal Gain – Another lazy tactic taken by a lot of promos in recent years is a low bonus thresh hold. For this expansion, the most points you can gain from the bonus is 6 points, and in a 6-player game, the odds of one player getting more than maybe two such tiles is pretty low. Considering there are also 3- and 4-value tiles, the situation is even lamer. Frankly, these tiles provide very little point benefit to players.
 C:-)Maximum Punishment – In direct contrast to that, these tiles provide a massive punishment: the trapping of a meeple. The two ways to release the meeple are a) the annoying fill in the square technique discussed above, or b) pay the value of the bonus, thereby negating the bonus. In my experience, most of the time you can fill in the box to release the trapped meeple, but in one instance I intentionally stranded another meeple on the same Road just so I could get both back when the Road was completed (thereby earning the points). In another instance, I just took the score without the bonus so I could retrieve the meeple immediately. The benefit of the points is so low compared to the value of a free meeple that sacrificing the meeple is often just worth it, especially when you are running low on meeples.

Impartial Agreement
 :PA Theme! A Theme! – One thing positive you can certainly say about this expansion is that it has a theme. Granted, the English translation of that theme is not a theme, but the original German – The Bathhouses – feels right. Meeples, after a long days' work, take a break in bathhouses and lose all track of time. Sounds about right. The little bathhouse images are also cute, if somewhat simplistic.
 :oA Bridge Too Far – There is one crossroads tile included that is simply awesome: one road runs directly OVER the other. This tile is not unique, but it is also only found in one other expansion making it quite useful. While I generally hate RRRR tiles, I do like ones that get creative with their layout, such as this.
 ::)...

Inconclusion
The fact that I couldn't think up a third positive item for this expansion should show you my final thoughts. It is a meh expansion. It has a stupid name, it has stupid point mechanics, and its tiles are mediocre bordering on derivative, with the one exception of that over/under road tile. It is certainly not an expansion to track down unless you feel especially keep to own everything (sadly, like I am). Otherwise, go ahead and skip this one or wait for a convention or other event where it is available cheaply.

SCORES
Playability: B
Affordability (Obtainability): C
Aethetics: B
Learning Curve: B-
FINAL GRADE: B-

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=4192.0

Offline Halfling

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Re: The Barbarian Report: Barber Baths of Bonusville (The Barber-Surgeons)
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2019, 03:28:06 AM »
I have played a couple of 3 player games with this expansion. The additional points are negligible in the scheme of a game except one instance where I had two bath houses on a single road which thus scores 13 instead of 5.

The game changing element is the tying up of a meeple in a bath house. We were closing opponent roads or cities of 4 or less points to send the opposing meeple into an empty bath house to 1. Reduce opposing scoring 2. Tie up an opposing meeple and 3. To ensure bath houses are full so that we got our own meeple back when scoring our own features. As the game progressed the placing of meeples was diminished on one tile roads and cities as we waited until the city was worth enough points to make the feature worth claiming. The sacrificing of points increased more and more quickly to ensure that there were empty Bath houses for opposing players to occupy if they completed a feature. We didn't do more sharing of features than usual though, perhaps we should have.
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Offline Decar

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Re: The Barbarian Report: Barber Baths of Bonusville (The Barber-Surgeons)
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2019, 02:33:14 AM »
You play this expansion with 6 players at your own risk.  It is only intended to be played with the base game: 5 players.

Offline whaleyland

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Re: The Barbarian Report: Barber Baths of Bonusville (The Barber-Surgeons)
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2019, 02:38:44 AM »
You play this expansion with 6 players at your own risk.  It is only intended to be played with the base game: 5 players.
That's fair, but the fact that they include 6 tiles and not 5 suggests they intended for this to work with that many players. In contrast, the German versions of The Cult has only 5 tiles, despite there being 6 Cloisters in the base game. Similarly, expansions like the Fruit Trees also have six tiles, which tells me a) that is an efficient printing number, and b) it is a good number since it matches the number of players.

I will admit I didn't play the Barber-Surgeons according to the described rules in that I played with all 6 tiles in a 2-player game, but I made up for that by allowing both an Abbot meeple and an eighth meeple (since we were also playing with Markets of Leipzig). In the end, it hardly mattered because our meeples were never trapped in the bathhouses for long.

Offline Decar

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Re: The Barbarian Report: Barber Baths of Bonusville (The Barber-Surgeons)
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2019, 03:05:42 AM »
But the rules dictates 5 tiles for 3 players, so I don't think they're expecting players to get the same number of 'special' tiles.
Also it's more likely players will get unequal number of Bath house tiles during a game.
With 4 tiles are 2 players, there are 16 possible outcomes.
6/16 of games will have both players drawing 2 tiles.
8/16 of games will have one player draw only 1 tile and 1 player draw 3.

And let's be honest, they'd wouldn't have put 71 tiles to play with if they wanted players to have an equal number of turns!

Offline whaleyland

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Re: The Barbarian Report: Barber Baths of Bonusville (The Barber-Surgeons)
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2019, 03:51:33 AM »
And let's be honest, they'd wouldn't have put 71 tiles to play with if they wanted players to have an equal number of turns!
Actually, I always assumed 71 tiles was an oversight caused by a lack of preparation for a start tile. 72 tiles is perfect for all numbers of players except 5. It’s 36 tiles each for 2 players, 24 tiles each for 3 players, and 18 tiles each for 4 players. It only breaks down at 5 players, where it would be 14.4 tiles each (14.2 with 71 tiles). Wheel of Fortune corrected this mistake by including 72 playable tiles. Since most large expansions have tiles in sets of 12, the good breakdown for 2-4 players continues. I suspect when the game was designed, either the first tile was played by a player or there was a 73rd tile that served as the start tile. But in printing, it was realised that the sheets needed an even number and the start tile got dropped.


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