Author Topic: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY  (Read 13168 times)

Offline Big Guy

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Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« on: November 07, 2013, 07:50:47 AM »
Good day all,

Here are several thoughts I have on a new Rating System for expansions. Ive also started reviewing different expansions using it as examples. Ive been inspired by Wickes efforts over the past few months as he continues to organize all the expansions and variants into his spreadsheet. He was kind enough to forward me a version of his spreadsheet a few months ago, which sparked the ideas below.

Reviewed Expansions in this Thread:
----RATINGS----Expansion Name----
1) A-5-5-5--Carcassonne, the Base Game--
2) A-5-5-5--(Fan-Made) Wells,
by Meepleater--
3) D-5-3-4--(Fan-Made) Forests,
by Scott and Novelty--
4) B-5-4-5--Inns & Cathedrals--
5) C-4-2-3--The Tower--
6) B-5-5-5--(Fan-Made) Fortune Teller,
by JPutt927--
7) B-4-5-4--(Fan-Made) Animal Farm,
by Carcking--
8) B-5-2-3--(Fan-Made) Family Feud,
by Frederick Renaud, with assistance from Novelty--
9) B-3-2-2--(Fan-Made) Noblemen,
by Wicke (Patrik Wikstrom)--
10) A-4-5-5--(Fan-Made) The House of Valois,
by Wicke (Patrik Wikstrom)--
11) C-4-5-4--(Fan-Made) Wanderer and Mayors Office,
by Leven--
12) C-4-2-3--The Princess & The Dragon--
13) B-5-3-4--(Fan-Made) The Abbot,
by BT--
14) B-5-4-4--Cult Places/Shrines, from CULT,SIEGE&CREATIVITY--
15) B-4-3-3--Siege Tiles, from CULT,SIEGE&CREATIVITY--
16) C-4-4-4--(Fan-Made) The Invaders,
by Derek Whaley (Whaleyland)--
17) E-3-2-2--(Fan-Made) The Marshes,
by Trebuchet--
18) C-4-3-4--(Fan-Made) The Missionary,
by Chris Korfmann--
19) B-5-5-5--(Fan-Made) Breweries,
by Meepleater--
20) B-5-4-4--(Fan-Made) Farmer in the Dell,
by Carcking and Others--


Rating system:

INVASIVENESS (scored A-B-C-D-E) - How much does the expansion change the base rules.
--some items to consider here: total types of tile sides, total types of features, tile shape(s) [lol, if we ever implement triangles], total meeple types, total additional tiles, length of additional rules documents, etc...
-A Minimally invasive. No or only minor rule changes (only one turn phase affected), no new features, meeples or tile sides. [example: WELLS, as a well isn't technically a new feature, just as a pennant isn't a feature].
-B Minor or medium rule changes (one or two turn phases affected, minimal MOVING OF THE WOOD changes). One new feature or meeple. Other minor additions related to scoring. No new tile sides or shapes. Multiple new tiles needed.
-C Medium rule changes. MOVING OF THE WOOD changes. New features or new meeples. Possible new tile side types. Possibly dozens of new tiles needed. More than one turn phase affected by rule changes.
-D Medium or major rule changes. Several new features or meeples. Most likely new tile sides, or new shapes. Many new tiles needed.
-E Major rule changes, all turn phases and/or options affected. New tile sides, features, meeples, etc... (Example: OCEANS)

QUALITY (Scored 1-5) - What is the quality of the tile images and rules documents, and are there gaps in the printed rules that leave room for assumption in certain scenarios?

FUN (Scored 1-5) -Subjectively, how fun is the expansion for you or others you play with?

OVERALL (Scored 1-5) -Combining subjective and objective, how would you rate this expansion overall?

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=513.0
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 06:29:24 AM by Big Guy »
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Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2013, 08:14:36 AM »
I'd like to review everything, but who has the time? However, I'd like you all to understand where I'm coming from if I ever do get to reviewing any of these, so here's my review of CARCASSONNE the BASE GAME, just so you can see the ratings in action:

REVIEW OF CARCASSONNE, the BASE GAME

INVASIVENESS: A
-Tiles: 72
-Meeple Types: 1 (normal)
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square)
-Tile Side Types: 3 (City, Road, Field)
-Feature Types: 4 (City, Road, Field, Cloister)
-For the purposes of this review, I rated the BASE GAME an A, as there are no rule changes between the BASE GAME and the BASE GAME :c). I'll use this comparison in the future, and hopefully for expansions it will make more sense.

QUALITY: 5
-All turn phases detailed, including pictures, turn breakdown and scoring for each of the 4 feature types. No noticable gaps in rules, especially considering the updates made by the CAR team in the most recently available CAR document. Tiles and printing are good quality and rules read well.

FUN-NESS: 5
-It's my favorite board game for a reason. I especially enjoy the difference between the 4 feature types, and how unique they are. My only minor gripe with the base game is how cities and fields tend to 'out-score' roads and cloisters, and due to this slight balancing issue, luck-of-the-draw plays more of a role than I'd like it to. I take no points off for this as I feel it is so minor that it still warrants a score of 5.

OVERALL: 5
-Again, it's my favorite for a reason. Great game, simple to pick up and play, easy to get addicted.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 08:18:39 AM by Big Guy »

Offline Paul

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2013, 08:21:31 AM »
Hi!

I'm glad to see several members are seeing the need of organizing the fanmade expansions.

Personally, I don't require much info much less a rating system. I only want to be able to see the tiles online so I do not have to download each expansion and see what it contains.
  Big Guy was on the right track and I would pitch in with ideas as well.

1. Since most expansion ideas are merely text, and you can add a comment to the download section, put the entire expansion rules in a comment so people can read and decide if worth to download and try it.
2. If there are tiles and tokens made specific for the expansion, post at least one or two tiles under the comment section for that expansion. Again, so people do not have to download anything before knowing what it is.

This would solve many issues and let individuals decide whether the tiles are worth downloading, rather than having others grading them. Someone's Monet art can be another's stick figure.  :meeple:
World record holder for a single game of Carcassonne using 10 007 tiles!

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 08:29:10 AM »
REVIEW of the fan-made WELLS expansion, by MEEPLEATER

This review is VISUALIZED only.

INVASIVENESS: A
-Tiles used in said game: 84, New Tiles from expansion: 12
-Meeple Types: 1 (normal), no change from base game
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 3 (City, Road, Field), no change from base game
-Feature Types: 4 (City, Road, Field, Cloister), no change from base game
-Other additions: 1 (Wells)
-There are 12 additional tiles, but very minimal changes overall. The A grade is due to how each tile plays exactly the same as the existing tiles in the base game. The rule changes do not affect anything but Scoring, which also supports the A grade.

QUALITY: 5
-Tile quality is good. Rules are simple and clear. No gaps or unknowns in any rules introduced here.

FUN-NESS: 5
-I find this expansion fun because of how simple it is and how easily it fits into the base game and its rules. I also feel it tries to address one of my minor gripes with the base game: that in the base game roads are 'not as good' as cities and fields in terms of scoring, IMHO.

OVERALL: 5
-Simple, good quality, easy to implement and play, and assists with balancing, IMHO. For these reasons, top score! Excellent work to MEEPLEATER for what I consider one of my favorite fan expansions.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 11:16:31 AM by Big Guy »

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 09:29:19 AM »
REVIEW of the fan-made FORESTS expansion, by SCOTT and NOVELTY

This review is visualized ONLY, as I haven't gotten to printing these tiles yet. I will update if printing occurs. This review assumes that only half of the forest tiles (75) are used when playing with the base game only (72), and that the 'heretic' tiles (9) are part of those forest tiles excluded. The review also assumes that no other tiles are in use, meaning no other expansions or their tiles have been included. Any change to these assumptions would affect the review, but let me know thoughts on this.

INVASIVENESS: D
-Tiles used in said game: 147, New Tiles from expansion: 75
-Meeple Types: 1 (normal), no change from base game
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 4 (City, Road, Field, Forest), New Tile Side Types from expansion: 1 (Forest)
-Feature Types: 5 (City, Road, Field, Cloister, Forest), New Feature Types from expansion: 1 (Forest)
-Several medium to major changes occur with this expansion, hence the D rating. This is not a downgrade from simpler expansions, just a note that playing with FORESTS changes the base game much more than many other expansions. The amount of new tiles (75 for the purposes of this review), the new feature and tile side type, the fact that multiple turn phases change to include the new feature scoring and ownership, and the ratio of forest tiles to non-forest tiles (1:1 for the purposes of this review) all point towards the D rating. If playing with fewer of the forest tiles in relation to non-forest tiles, I could see this receiving a C rating instead.

QUALITY: 5
-Tile quality is very good. Rules are simple and clear given what I would consider as invasive changes. No gaps or unknowns in any rules introduced. The forests look good and play intuitively. Very well done across the board.

FUN-NESS: 3
-I find this expansion fun but more invasive than I would prefer, at least given the assumptions made for this review. Tile placement is the core of any Carcassonne game, and any introduction of a new tile side greatly affects how easy it is to 'close the gaps' when playing later on in the game. Not to say forests aren't fun to play with, because they are, and it's awesome to see a fan-expansion of this scope. It's one of the things I love about this community. But the rest of the gameplay in the game becomes more clunky due to what I've just described, which makes the fun-factor suffer.

OVERALL: 4
-I'm awarding a 4 for this effort due to it's scope and quality. Falls short of a 5 because of my personal opinion on how the addition of the tile side affects overall gameplay. I could say the same about other expansions that do this, and I probably will. Try this one out, as it does what it does excellently, and is simple in it's implementation. Great work to SCOTT and NOVELTY overall.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 09:35:09 AM by Big Guy »

Offline kettlefish

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2013, 09:46:38 AM »
Big Guy,
you are busy with your reviews...
I have much to read the next days...

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2013, 01:33:57 PM »
Big Guy,
you are busy with your reviews...
I have much to read the next days...

It's pretty obvious I have a slow day at work today, huh? :C) Thanks for reviewing all this Kettlefish. Might as well keep 'em coming while I have the time:

REVIEW of the INNS & CATHEDRALS expansion

INVASIVENESS: B
-Tiles used in said game: 90, New Tiles from expansion: 18
-Meeple Types: 2 (normal, BIG), New Type from expansion: BIG
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 3 (City, Road, Field), no change from base game
-Feature Types: 4 (City, Road, Field, Cloister), no change from base game
-Other additions: 2 (Cathedral, Inn on a Lake)
-I would categories this expansion as an A, but the BIG meeple and the way he changes majority determination, combined with the adjustments to scoring and final scoring for the Cathedral and Inn on a Lake give this expansion B for this category.

QUALITY: 5
-Tile quality is good, as always. Rules are simple and clear, and the clarification needed for fields that are closed in one turn was straight-forward. No gaps or unknowns in any rules introduced here. Good examples of rule details given.

FUN-NESS: 4
-I find this expansion allows players to be more assertive using the BIG meeple, and I like this effect when two players are battling for majority, especially when fields are involved. The expansion also increases how much fun it is to complete both roads and cities. I also feel it tries to address one of my minor gripes with the base game: that in the base game roads are 'not as good' as cities and fields in terms of scoring, IMHO. However, luck heavily influences who receives the new tiles, especially the Cathedrals, and the Cathedrals can make scoring of cities lopsided. The Cathedral tiles are very powerful as an offensive tool if the city is completed, and very powerful as a defensive tool if they are used on an opponents city late-game when the chance of finishing a city is lower. For these reasons, gotta take a point off.

OVERALL: 5
-Simple overall, good quality, easy to implement and play, and assists with balancing overall, IMHO. My concern with how powerful the Cathedral tiles isnt strong enough to detract a point here as well. For these reasons, top score!
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 09:01:35 AM by Big Guy »

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2013, 02:05:25 PM »
REVIEW of the THE TOWER expansion

INVASIVENESS: C
-Tiles used in said game: 90, New from expansion: 18
-Meeple Types: 1 (normal), no change from base game
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 3 (City, Road, Field), no change from base game
-Feature Types: 5 (City, Road, Field, Cloister, Tower), New from expansion: 1 (Tower)
-Other additions: Tower Mechanics (Capturing Meeples, Swapping captured meeples, taking ownership of towers)
-While there are only 18 new tiles and 1 new feature type, I would categorize this expansion as a C. MOVING OF THE WOOD has changed in several ways, adding several valid options related to towers, and the tower mechanics to capture, swap and/or ransom meeples is more than a little invasive.

QUALITY: 4
-Tile quality is good, as usual. Rules are straightforward, but description of some mechanics is harder to understand than that described in the base game.

FUN-NESS: 2
-I'm not very happy with how this expansion plays. The mechanics of actually capturing meeples and ransoming them are fun, and the placement of tower segments is very inventive, but the rules feel flawed and clunky as well. The mechanic regarding taking ownership of a tower to protect yourself from that growing tower seems especially clunky, considering it involves committing a meeple for the rest of the game and receiving no score for that meeple in return. I agree with others that being able to capture a meeple by placing a tower segment on the empty tower foundation of a tile next to that meeple feels unbalanced, and I support the house rule that addresses this, allowing only meeples on the tile with the tower foundation to be captured in this way. Too clunky, and the fun factor suffers.

OVERALL: 3
-Not my favorite. As above, I appreciate the tile design, the inventiveness of using the tower segments, and the ideas behind the mechanics for capturing and ransoming. But they don't play well in practice, at least not for me.

SHAMELESS PLUG: On a separate note, several of the flaws and clunky bits I've noted here were my initial motivation for creating the FOREMAN IN THE TOWER variant. If you agree with this review, go check out my take on the rules, and see how it stacks up. :cD

LINK: FOREMAN IN THE TOWER
« Last Edit: November 10, 2014, 06:36:54 AM by Big Guy »

Offline evmillan

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2013, 04:17:52 PM »
Great Idea Big Guy!

Merit for you!  :(y)

It's a big step to organize all the expansions

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2013, 09:16:36 AM »
Great Idea Big Guy!

Merit for you!  :(y)

It's a big step to organize all the expansions

Thanks evmillan. Much appreciated. I've been interested to do something like this for a while.

Have some time, so here's another review, of yet another expansion I haven't yet printed but consider one of my favorite ideas.

REVIEW of the FORTUNE TELLER expansion by JPUTT927

This review is VISUALIZED only. This review assumes you're playing with the BASE GAME, plus any FORTUNE TELLER tiles usable at that time. As such, only 6 FORTUNE TELLER tiles are used, and the 'expansion interaction' is ignored.

INVASIVENESS: B
-Tiles used in said game: 78, New from expansion: 6
-Meeple Types: 1 (normal), no change from base game
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 3 (City, Road, Field), no change from base game
-Feature Types: 5 (City, Road, Field, Cloister, Fortune Teller), New from expansion: 1 (Fortune Teller)
-Other additions: 1 (Fortune Teller mechanics)
-I consider this expansion in the B category. One new feature type, and while multiple turn phases are affected, the only non-minor change is to phase 1 of a player with a FORTUNE TELLER. Scoring for this new feature is simple and non-invasive.

QUALITY: 5
-Tiles quality and editing looks good. Rule detail is very good, and there are no noticeable rule gaps when playing with just the base game. I could see taking a point off if using the Fortune Teller with other expansions that also affect phase 1 and tile drawing, due to the additional complexity required of the rules, but top score in the absence of that complexity.

FUN-NESS: 5
-I find this expansion very creative in its take on phase 1 tile drawing. It plays well when visualized. I tend to think that players who get a fortune teller have a clear advantage while they have ownership, which could be lopsided. However, I took no point off because this is balanced by the opponents ability to finish the fortune teller, and by scoring going to the player who places the final tile. This also differentiates the scoring of a FORTUNE TELLER from the scoring of a CLOISTER, which helps the feature stands on its own rather than feeling like a 'copy' of another feature.

OVERALL: 5
-Simple in its creativity. Plays well with the base game. Balances itself well, IMHO. Highly recommended.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 11:18:00 AM by Big Guy »

Offline quevy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2013, 09:31:01 AM »
Very good, nice idea and nice work.
I would add in the reviews of the fan-exp, the direct link to download.  :meeple: :green-meeple: :blue-meeple:
A knight is sworn to valour.
His heart knows only virtue.
His blade defends the helpless.
His might upholds the weak.
His word speaks only truth.
His wrath undoes the wicked.

 :white-meeple: My works.

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2013, 07:09:58 PM »
Nice work Big Guy - and quite ambitious indeed!
I just drew the perfect tile for my MonKnighThieFarmer!

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2013, 12:53:39 AM »
Have some time, so here's another review, of yet another expansion I haven't yet printed but consider one of my favorite ideas.
REVIEW of the FORTUNE TELLER expansion by JPUTT927

Actually, I like this one as well, but I have made some changes to it, and doesn't use those tiles, since I don't think they work with the theme of the rest of Carcassonne.
I use the Bazaar tiles instead and two wooden tents.
My website:
http://www.wikstromtree.org/
although the games page is yet to be started

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2013, 08:19:15 AM »
Thanks for the support guys. We'll see how far I get, as I don't expect to come anywhere near reviewing everything. I may need to recruit some other forum members to help get to all the reviews, eventually (CARCKING and WICKE, I'm looking at YOU, :c). Seriously, if anyone is ever interested in using this format for a review that you post, just let me know and feel free to post it in this thread. I'll update my initial post with the review scores.

Also, if there's any interest, I can post rules in the initial post. I'm thinking something like:
-you CANNOT review your own work (for obvious reasons)
-only reviews of expansions that the AUTHOR of the review considers complete may be reviewed (to avoid reviewing something that's still actively changing)
-etc...

Anyway, here's another review for today:

REVIEW of the ANIMAL FARM expansion by CARCKING

This review assumes you're playing with the BASE GAME tiles only and is visualized.

INVASIVENESS: B
-Tiles used in said game: 72, no change from base game
-Meeple Types: 1 (normal), no change from base game
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 3 (City, Road, Field), no change from base game
-Feature Types: 4 (City, Road, Field, Cloister), no change from base game
-Other additions: 2 (Animal tokens/placement, additional animal adjustments for field scoring)
-I consider this expansion in the B category. No new tiles are needed, and most aspects of the base game are unaffected. However, during the course of play for the base game, 22 of the animal tokens are drawn, and the rules for placement and interaction of the tokens are detailed and extensive.

QUALITY: 4
-Rule quality and depth is excellent. The token images are detailed and fun. The majority of the tokens are easy to understand. However, I'm taking a point off for how small the token images in the provided document are, for the detail needed to handle the token interaction in some cases (as it makes the rules more confusing for a first time reader) and for the power inherent in the feoffer token, which I consider as introducing some imbalance in an otherwise balanced expansion (See below for a specific example). As I stated initially, overall the rule detail and quality is excellent, the 3 items I've noted here are minor, and the rules contain no noticable gaps or exceptions.

Example of a specific feoffer situation: The feoffer allows a player to immediately have majority in any field once the player plays a follower legally on it. In cases where one player has 3+ followers in a field, another player can take ownership of a feoffer tile in an unconnected field, connect the fields, and score that field.

FUN-NESS: 5
-I see this expansion as inventive and fun to play. It's simple in most ways, and the token interaction and complexity functions very well. It makes the fields feel alive and dynamic in a very creative way. I like how no additional tiles are needed and token placement is un-intrusive. It adds a lot to field play without detracting from the scoring of other features, IMHO.

OVERALL: 4
-Fields were always important, and this expansion enriches the field-scoring experience. My notes on the complexity needed in the rules and my personal impression of the feoffer token are the only reasons this scored a 4. The majority of games played with this expansion won't even see the feoffer played. This fan expansion is one of my favorites for enriching field interaction and scoring, and I highly recommend you give this one a try!
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 11:20:18 AM by Big Guy »

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 09:42:12 AM »
Here's a review for a fan expansion that stood out to me early on during my time on the site for its simple implementation. So long as I have the time to chip away at this project, I'll keep posting. As I stated, let me know if anyone else is interested in helping by posting a review or two.

REVIEW of the fan-made FAMILY FEUD expansion, by Frederick Renaud, with assistance from Novelty

This review assumes that all 30 tiles are added into the base game tiles. This review is visualized, as I haven't printed these tiles yet.

INVASIVENESS: B
-Tiles used in said game: 102, New Tiles from expansion: 30
-Meeple Types: 1 (normal), no change from base game
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 3 (City, Road, Field), no change from base game
-Feature Types: 4 (City, Road, Field, Cloister), no change from base game
-Other additions: 1 (Yellow and Red Pennants)
-This expansion is only categorized as a 'B' because of the number of tiles needed, and how much those 30 additional tiles effect gameplay if only playing with the base game. There are no new features or meeples and the rules are straightforward, clear and draw heavily on the existing pennant rules. The only minor changes to speak of are to tile placement and scoring. This expansion WOULD receive a different (and possibly more positive) review if either only a subset of the 30 tiles were used, or if this was played with multiple expansions.

QUALITY: 5
-Tile quality is excellent. Rules are simple and clear. No gaps or unknowns in any rules introduced here. The ideas are also easy to understand based on the rules provided.

FUN-NESS: 2
-I find this expansion creative and easy to understand, but it introduces some elements that I don't welcome. It shifts the focus heavily to city-building, and introduces more strategy and depth to placing city tiles. This detracts from the fun factor for me as introduces balancing issues to mid-game feature scoring, IMHO. By heightening the city-building experience, it detracts from the value of roads especially. Additionally, it can be frustrating to draw a tile that has the exact sides you want, but you can't use it the way you'd like because it has a different pennant color than what's already in your city. This is from someone who likes the balance of the 4 feature types in the base game and tends to resist anything that shifts the focus more towards cities in this way.

OVERALL: 3
-Simple rules, good quality, and easy to implement and play. However, introduces balancing issues by focusing more on cities, and can be frustrating in certain situations, IMHO. However, for players who love cities and want more focus on them, this expansion delivers overall.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2013, 05:56:13 AM by Big Guy »


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