Author Topic: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY  (Read 15367 times)

Offline Carcking

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #30 on: December 09, 2013, 12:32:40 PM »
...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).

Hey Big Guy, I plan on taking you up on this. Shortly after the Holidays or maybe during the Holidays I will attempt some reviews. Do you have any in mind you'd like me to review? If your list matches with any I've experienced it might be a coordinated effort.

...REVIEW of the ANIMAL FARM expansion by CARCKING

...and for the power inherent in the feoffer token, which I consider as introducing some imbalance...
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.

Thanks for the very postitive review! I consider it a great compliment!

I did want to make sure you have the game play of the Feoffer right in your mind. When you say; "another player can take ownership of a feoffer tile in an unconnected field, connect the fields, and score that field." (my emphasis), I want to make sure you understand that the farm is not scored immediately. The player with the feoffer owns the farm immediately but it is scored normally - that is either with barn-scoring or end of game scoring. The balance is that there is somewhat of a double edge to the Feoffer. The player must deploy it to an unoccupied farm and invest a farmer to perhaps a farm of very low initial value. Also, he has to be careful about vying for any farms that could be connected because if they become connected he looses the Feoffer. It is somewhat limiting as a player trying to be careful what farms you occupy once you have the Feoffer on the board. I've been there, and if you draw him early on it can be very limiting.

And you're right - he doesn't come up very often, but when he does it creates good game play - with other players first trying to make sure you're not able to join him with their farms, and then also trying to get your farms connected to him.
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Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #31 on: December 17, 2013, 06:24:45 AM »
Thanks for the interest Carcking :c). I'll PM you with some ideas.

And I see that my wording was confusing for the feoffer example. I knew the field wasn't scored until end-of-game, but my comment on it didn't accurately show that understanding. There is more balance than I had anticipated from your description, so I'll keep an open mind and update if I have the chance to playtest. I'd like to playtest everything I review, but never seem to find the time to actually play much.

I have plans for my next few reviews, but I don't anticipate posting any myself until after the holiday craziness. Hope everyone is having a good holiday and I'll post more reviews as soon as I am able.
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Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2013, 10:21:18 AM »
REVIEW of the fan-made THE INVADERS expansion, by Derek Whaley (Whaleyland)

This review is VISUALIZED only.

INVASIVENESS: C
-Tiles used in said game: 84, New from Expansion: 12
-Number of total followers per player: 7, no change from base game
-Meeple Types: 1, 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: 3 (INVADERS placement/movement, INVADERS scoring effects, PILLAGED FIELD scoring effects)
-As its name coincidentally suggests, THE INVADERS is a moderately invasive expansion. One additional moving-of-the-wood choice, and moderate changes to feature scoring. There are 12 new tiles, 1 INVADERS marker and rules to govern him, and two new icons that drive INVADERS functionality and the scoring changes. C for invasiveness due to the power inherent in the INVADERS marker and the moderate changes to scoring.


QUALITY: 4
-Tile quality is very good. The rules for the INVADER marker and the new tile icons are straight-forward and clear. The rules contain no major gaps and use the most recent turn format. There is also good balance in how the INVADER rules work, which I’ll detail below. Minor rule gaps and clarifications are noted below. Taking one point off for the minor rule gaps, but overall very well done.

Pillage Stacking: Does the pillaged field scoring penalty for fields stack if multiple pillaged field icons are in the same field? And same question for the scoring bonus for cloisters/shrines; Does a cloister/shrine receive 3 points for EACH pillaged field icon on a tile adjacent to it?

Road blocks the Pillage: There is one new tile that contains 3 separate fields, with a pillaged field icon pictured in 1 of these fields. Am I correct in understanding that ONLY the field containing the icon is affected by the pillaged field rules? Or does the icon affect all three fields? I understand that these fields may be connected later by other tile placements, so my question only applies if they remain separate.



FUN-NESS: 4
-INVADERS! QUICK, GET THE BROOM: Do you like receiving points for your completed features? If so, you should get used to INVADERS management, or suffer the consequences. There is a LOT of power in that little INVADERS marker, and the risk of scoring NOTHING for a feature makes managing the INVADERS necessary for everyone. Thankfully, there is good balance in HOW the INVADERS are managed. The marker can’t be placed on a feature the turn it is completed, which prevents opponents from blind-siding you too badly. And when completing one of your owned features containing the INVADERS, you can still score for it by sacrificing your moving-of-the-wood action and 3 points on the turn you complete it, which feels fair. The rule choice to have the INVADERS on a specific FEATURE rather than on a specific TILE was a smart one IMHO, as it prevents having multiple scorings affected by the same INVADERS placement.
I FEEL SO PILLAGED: The 4 tiles for pillaging remind me strongly of SIEGE tiles. Both negatively affect ONE feature type in a big way, while positively affecting a different feature type. Not much balance to speak of here. The tiles are good if you’re lucky enough to draw or use them, and because of my personal opinion that fields are overpowered when compared to cloisters, I welcome the way these tiles play.


OVERALL: 4
-I wasnt expecting to like this expansion due to what it does, but I really enjoy how it plays and its balance. This expansion adds risk, and makes INVADER management a requirement to get all your points for a feature. It also potentially takes away a lot more points than it adds. However, it plays very well and has great balance given how invasive the INVADERS are, and I appreciate the way the PILLAGED FIELD affects the scoring of two types of features in different ways. Id recommend this expansion for all, and especially those who embrace the risk of the INVADERS.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 10:23:28 AM by Big Guy »

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #33 on: December 19, 2013, 12:43:50 PM »
REVIEW of the fan-made THE MARSHES expansion by Trebuchet

This review is VISUALIZED only. This review assumes that all 102 MARSHES tiles are mixed in with the 72 tiles from the BASE GAME. This review also assumes that the wagon from A&M is used, allowing all PARKING PLACE rules to be evaluated.

REVIEW UPDATED ON 12/23. I realized I'd penalized this expansion for balance issues in both the QUALITY and the FUN-NESS sections. QUALITY SCORE has been increased to 3 to account for the overall detail on the majority of the content here.


I've made many assumptions for the purposes of this review. If any of my assumptions are incorrect, please let me know and I'll update my review. Thanks all.

INVASIVENESS: E
-Tiles used in said game: 174, New from Expansion: 102
-Number of total followers per player: 8 (7 normal, 1 wagon)
-Meeple Types: 2 (normal and wagon)
-Tile Shapes: 1 (square), no change from base game
-Tile Side types: 5 (City, Road, Field, Marsh, Bridge), New from Expansion: 2 (Marsh, Bridge)
-Feature Types: 5 (City, Road/Bridge, Field, Cloister, Marsh), New from Expansion: 2 (Marsh, Bridge)
-Other additions: 8 (Poacher placement in Marshes, Poacher scoring, Bridge/Road relationship, Parking Place additional moving-of-the-wood actions for wagons/Borrowed Wagons, Parking Place scoring, Bog Tower/Bog Lord Movement rules, Poacher capturing/rescuing, Bog Lord scoring rules, Quicksand rules)
-This is a very invasive expansion, in that it changes the BASE GAME in several major ways. Biggest change is the addition of 2 new side types. The wagon meeple is required for all rules that reference Parking Places, which have complex rules related to ownership and scoring. Two new feature types are included with specific ownership and scoring rules, detailing the Poacher. The Bog Lord also has specific placement, movement and scoring rules, as well as interaction with Poachers. And rules are also included detailing Poacher capturing and Poacher rescue. Overall, changes everywhere, lots of new content and lots of new rules. This earns my first ever E score.


QUALITY: 3
-Tile artwork is very good on each tile, and the new features, sides and icons look good and crisp. Some tiles are misleading based on their artwork and the features pictured (examples below), but are well done overall. Rules suffer from read-ability issues due to the detail and complexity required in the rules for all the additions, as well as many rule gaps and unclear areas (examples below), but are listed in the correct and most updated turn format. The new mechanics are balanced in some way but not in others, which Ill detail below. Overall, high-quality tiles, very detailed rules that suffer from read-ability, and lots of new mechanics that suffer from rule gaps.

1)   The tile pictured on page 2 of the rules in the upper-right has four separate field segments, but two of these field segments are so small that they appear to be part of the marsh, IMHO.

2)   In cases where several bridges are joined on the same tile, are these bridges considered to be connected? What defines the junctions between bridges and what separates two bridges from each other?

3)   When the rules reference moving a wagon from a completed feature to a parking place, the incomplete and unowned road with the parking place must be adjacent to the completed feature, correct? This is in keeping with the wagon rules, just clarifying.

4)   A PECK OF PICKLED POACHERS: If I understand correctly, the Poachers score for features bordering the marsh they are in when the features are completed, but remain on the Marsh, correct? And Poachers can only be returned to a player from the Marsh if the player owning the Poacher scores points from a Bog Lord reaching a Bog Tower, or if a Quicksand tile is added to the Marsh containing the Poacher, correct? Can multiple Poachers be returned to the player by the same Bog Lord scoring event, or just one for each Bog Lord scoring event?

5)   THE BORED BOARD LORD: Based on the rule wording, the Bog Lord can visit tiles that contain only completed features so long as he DOES NOT end his movement on those tiles, correct? For the purposes of leaving the Bog Lord on an incomplete feature, what defines when Marshes or Fields are considered COMPLETED? Are they complete when they have borders on all sides and are missing no tiles, or does something else define this? Or are they NEVER considered complete? When there is a dice roll for the Bog Lord, lets say the roll is a 5. Is the Bog Lord then REQUIRED to move 5 times, or can the player elect to move him less than 5 times as well? And if the player can choose, can the player elect NOT to move the Bog Lord at all in this case? If so, then it would be possible for a Bog Lord to start a turn on a tile with a Bog Tower, the player triggers a dice rolls for the Bog Lord, and then moves the Bog Lord 0 spaces, leaving him to rest on a tile with a Bog Tower for another scoring chance.

6)   FREE PARKING: One right off the bat: When a feature containing a BORROWED wagon is scored, is that wagon returned to its original owners supply? If Im reading the rules correctly, you can do some evil things with Parking Spaces. Heres an example: If I have one of my wagons on a road, and one other normal follower on the same road, an opponent can add a PARKING SPACE onto that road, place one of his followers on top of MY wagon, and now he owns the road and gets triple points when its completed, because his follower standing on my wagon now counts as two of his normal followers on the road for majority, which now trumps my single remaining follower on the road, correct? Is there any defense against this besides trying to now get him with a Quicksand before he completes? And same question here: If my opponent places a PARKING SPACE tile that isnt connected to anything, and my wagon is sitting in my supply, can my opponent now TAKE my wagon, put it on his just placed PARKING SPACE, place a follower on it (who is now worth the same as two normal followers for majority), and get triple points when it is scored? And my only defense is to either challenge his majority or try to Quicksand him?



FUN-NESS: 2
GOOD LUCK CLOSING THAT: With 5 tile sides, as opposed to the 3 standard sides, the number of side combinations possible on a tile increases by more than a factor of 10, from around 21 possible combinations to over 200 I believe. As such, in a game like this with 174 tiles, many tile side combinations will exist only once, and many more will simply not exist in your draw bag. It is highly likely in this situation that the playing field will have gaps that are unclosable or highly unlikely to be closed. This affects several elements of play, most notably the following two: 1) It means there is a much higher chance features will not be completed, which will trap many followers and wagons on the board, and 2) It means any features that require the completion of neighboring features will have more risk and less reward (fields, poachers in marshes).
THE BORED BOARD LORD: This Bog Lord has a sad lot in life. He trudges around in a bog, searching for Poachers and Bog Towers. When a Bog Lord moves, he forces any Poachers on tiles he visits to be captured. And he only moves when a new Bog Tower appears or when a feature he rests on is extended or completed. He allows players to net lots of points just for getting him to the right tile, and he can be either good or bad depending on whether you want nearby Poachers removed from their Marshes. I like the ideas behind him, but play is very lopsided, with luck being the largest factor in determining who gets the correct dice roll to move him to the right place.
PETER PIPER PLAYED A POACHER: A poacher waits. He waits for features to be completed so he can grab some points. He waits for quicksand to force him away. He waits for a Bog Lord to allow him to return home. And if hes not alone in the Marsh, he may be waiting needlessly. Every time a feature bordering a Marsh is scored, majority must be determined in the Marsh, and the owner of majority receives the appropriate points. Marshes and Poachers are SIMILAR to Farmers in Fields, but different in a refreshing way. And there is some balance in how majority can be challenged in the Marsh. But determining majority whenever any bordering feature is scored feels cumbersome, and the mechanics to remove a Poacher from the Marsh feel clunky, at least on visualization. If your opponents out manage you for the Bog Lord, and you dont get any Quicksand tiles, your Poachers are stuck and out of luck.
YOU CANT PARK HERE!: The idea behind Parking Places is dynamic and fun, but at the same time it makes me frustrated with the wagon. I feel scared now. I feel scared if I leave my wagon in my supply, someone else will BORROW it right out from under me. If I place it by itself on a road, I feel scared my opponent will again BORROW it, effectively stealing my road. I feel inclined to play my wagon on a city segment, and leave it there, just so its out of harms way.
QUICKSAND!: This feature attempts to balance out the powerful 3-points-per-road-tile scenario, and also affects Marshes in a way that can be useful both for you or for opponents. I like this tile in the context of the expansion, as I feel something like this is needed, but its a very tall price to pay if your 30+ point road suddenly goes away completely.


OVERALL: 2
Its not my favorite expansion. It changes things drastically in comparison to the BASE GAME, which forces me to be very critical of what it adds. I think it does some very brave things, and I appreciate how much it does, and how much detail was needed from a tile and from a rule standpoint. However, it doesnt feel balanced overall, the 2 additional side types basically guarantee a play area full of holes, the rules are confusing due to how much they attempt to do, and the rule gaps add to that confusion. At its core, this expansion introduces a new feature that I tend to like, Bog Lord and Poacher rules and interaction that Im not as crazy about, and adds a whole lot of depth to roads that I very much appreciate when Im not busy being scared about my wagon.  If you want to see roads gone crazy, you can embrace the luck-o-the-Bog-Lord, and want to see a completely new take on the wagon, give this one a try.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 11:32:40 AM by Big Guy »

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2013, 11:14:43 AM »
REVIEW of the fan-made THE MISSIONARY expansion by Chris Korfmann

This review is VISUALIZED only. Specific tiles have been added from other expansions in order to review the mechanics for Cathedrals, Shrines/Heretics, and Abbeys as they relate to this expansion. This review deals with this expansion only. Please see previous reviews for specific notes on Cathedral mechanics or Shrine mechanics.

INVASIVENESS: C
-Tiles used in said game: 80, (72 BASE GAME + 6 Shrines + 2 Cathedrals) New from this Expansion: 0
-Number of total followers per player: 7, no change from base game
-Meeple Types: 1, 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, Shrine), no change from base game
-Other additions: 6 (Missionary placement/colored disks, Missionary scoring, Converting, Updated Cloister/Shrine challenge rules, Abbey rules added from A&M expansion, Cathedral rules added from I&C expansion)
-The largest change here is conversion, the ability to remove the follower of an opponent from the board and replace it with your own. One new MOVING OF THE WOOD choice, and moderate changes to scoring. No new tiles required, which is a bonus. Overall a moderately invasive expansion: C rating.


QUALITY: 4
-Rules are detailed and have excellent turn examples, which illustrate the new mechanics very well. The rules are in the most recent turn format, which assist with read-ability. Minor rule clarifications listed below. Notes on balance are detailed below as well.

-If a city containing the Missionary is completed, the player controlling the Missionary then has a chance to convert up to three followers (up to one per opponent) in the city at that time, regardless of who controls majority at the moment the city is completed, correct?
-If a cloister/shrine/abbey is completed which contains the Missionary, the controlling player DOES NOT receive 5 bonus points if there are any followers on surrounding tiles eligible to be converted, correct? This would be important in cases where followers ARE eligible, but the controlling player fails to convert any because that players supply is currently empty.
-When converting using an Abbey, it is technically possible to convert two followers of the same opponent correct? I would assume so because it is not explicitly limited in the rules, whereas the Cathedral rules specifically limit conversion to one follower per opponent.



FUN-NESS: 3
-CONVERTING FEET TO MEEPLES: Its fun to try converting your opponents, plain and simple. Luck determines who draws more cloisters/shrines, but the available Abbey in each players supply guarantees at least 1 strategic chance for each player to use the Missionary, which assists with balance. There is no defense against being converted other than completing your feature first. This is minor, but feels unbalanced in two instances: 1) The board is such that the same tile that completes your nearby feature also completes your opponents Missionary (which means he gets the chance to convert you before any scoring) and 2) A player places a Missionary and scores the Missionarys feature on the same turn, giving opponents literally no chance to defend. Even so, these two instances are minor and not common. Converting can result in LARGE point swings, but plays intuitively and has enough balance that it feels exciting rather than cumbersome.
-ABBEY ROAD: Being able to convert 2 followers with the Abbey (rather than 1 with the cloister/shrine) also assists with balance, IMHO. It works well, and doesnt feel overpowered since each player has a chance to use it if they manage things right.
-EVIL CATHEDRAL: The Cathedral Missionary rules, by comparison, feel unbalanced and dont play as intuitively. For starters, the wording choice used in the rules to classify the Missionary as NOT A KNIGHT feels like an excuse to allow the Missionary to be inserted into cities that already have owners. The Cathedral was a very powerful tile to begin with, and I complained about its inherent balance issues and reliance on luck in my I&C review. I dont welcome this addition of power to something thats already got too much power as it is. It clashes with the rest of the rules, IMHO.
-CONVERSION CHALLENGE: Lets close this section on a good note. A Cloister/Shrine challenge involving the Missionary is perhaps my favorite element of the expansion. This energizes the challenge system in a way I find refreshing, and allows one player to score for not just his feature, but the challenged feature as well. Ive seen this referred to in official variant rules others have written for the Shrine/Heretic expansion, so its great to see it officially incorporated here.


OVERALL: 4
-This expansion is fun and exciting. It adds a lot to cloister play, and energizes the Shrine/Cloister challenge. It feels balanced for the most part, especially given the Abbey tile, and plays well for anyone like me who enjoys seeing more development to cloister gameplay. I cant stand the Cathedral rules, which is why the FUN score suffered, but I wasnt crazy about Cathedrals in the first place. Id highly recommend giving this expansion a try. And if you share my opinions, give it a try without any Cathedral tiles (and add 1 point to the FUN SCORE).
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 12:03:34 PM by Big Guy »

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2014, 11:56:01 AM »
After a long, long break, here's another review :c).

REVIEW of the fan-made BREWERIES expansion, by Meepleater

This review is VISUALIZED only.

INVASIVENESS: B
-Tiles used in said game: 84, New from Expansion: 12
-Number of total followers per player: 7, no change from base game
-Meeple Types: 1, 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 (BREWERY placement/scoring adjustments, HERETICAL MARKERS placement/scoring adjustments)
-Breweries is a minimally invasive expansion. All of its changes relate to cloisters. It adds one additional 'Moving-of-the-Wood' option if a HERETICAL MARKER tile is drawn, and it changes scoring for cloisters depending on their proximity to BREWERIES, and whether those cloisters are HERETICAL. Overall, rating this one a B for invasiveness.

QUALITY: 5
-Tile quality is very good. Opening story functions well to introduce the idea of monks brewing their own ale into the land of Carcassonne. Rules are simple, clear and in the correct turn format, with no rule gaps found. The only complexity here is in the adjustments to scoring of cloisters, and the picture examples given in the rules make that complexity very easy to understand. TOP SCORE!

FUN-NESS: 5
-LET'S DRINK!: It's fun to drink, lets be honest. And it's fun to get more points while you're at it. The idea of breweries in Carcassonne is fun AND makes historical sense. While scoring your cloister involves a little more work than usual, it's well worth it for those extra points. Breweries can potentially add a whopping 12 extra points to orthogonally adjacent cloisters, and up to 8 extra points to diagonally adjacent cloisters. Breweries outnumber cloisters 8 to 7 in the sample game described, so the chances of getting at least some bonus from breweries is high. There is balance in placing breweries as anyone can potentially use or receive bonuses from them. So drink up, I say!

-HELP OTHERS STAY SOBER: The addition of the heretical markers assists with balance as well. Use of the tokens is presented as another 'Moving-of-the-Wood' option when the right tile is drawn. So the tokens can be utilized to force your opponents to abstain from alcohol. They can also be ignored in favor of a better 'Moving-of-the-Wood' action. So help your opponents stay sober. They'll resent you later for it.

OVERALL: 5
-I think this expansion is a blast. I like the idea, I like the historical relevance, I like the simplicity, I like forcing my opponents to stay sober, and I find no rule gaps or unclear areas to hinder any of that. As many of you know, I tend to like expansions that expand upon cloisters and their gameplay. If you don't like cloisters, you may find this expansion forgettable. But I really enjoy it. So DRINK UP, I SAY!

Offline quevy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #36 on: July 21, 2014, 12:49:53 PM »
Hello Big Guy, your reviews are as always very nice, felt the lack of them.
A knight is sworn to valour.
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His might upholds the weak.
His word speaks only truth.
His wrath undoes the wicked.

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2014, 06:04:47 AM »
Hello Big Guy, your reviews are as always very nice, felt the lack of them.

Thanks for the welcome back Quevy. And congrats on the bump up to being a Moderator. I missed being on site. It's nice to post again.

Offline BT

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2014, 07:01:43 AM »
Hi Big Guy. Nice to see you back on the forums.  Hope things are going well with your "little one".

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #39 on: July 24, 2014, 03:00:17 AM »
Hi Big Guy. Nice to see you back on the forums.  Hope things are going well with your "little one".

Hey Big Guy AND BT - nice to see you guys back after a little break. You've been missed!

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #40 on: July 25, 2014, 01:43:38 AM »
Thanks Carcking, that is very kind of you.

I have been lurking around the forum but I haven't been posting a lot. I have only recently gotten a copy of South Seas in the last two weeks and Sheep and Hills is on the way, so I haven't been able to really get involved in the discussion about them yet.

Offline Big Guy

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #41 on: September 03, 2014, 11:43:08 AM »
This review is also featured in DanisThirtys excellent newsletter, HERE

REVIEW of the fan-made FARMER IN THE DELL expansion, by Carcking and Others

This review is VISUALIZED only.

INVASIVENESS: B
-Tiles used in said game: 96, New from Expansion: 24
-Number of total followers per player: 7, no change from base game
-Meeple Types: 1, 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: 4 (Bluffs, Corner House, Farmer scoring updates, ‘FARM-IN-THE-DELL’ Field Completion rules)
-Overall, the additions and changes here are minor. No new features, meeple types, or move-of-the-wood options. Bluffs and Corner Houses require almost no rule additions and play intuitively. Farmer scoring updates require moderate rule changes. Rules for Field Completion prior to end-game are minor. Overall, this gets a B!

QUALITY: 5
-Tile quality is very good, and the bluffs and corner houses not only look great, but add a lot of depth to field design. The opening and graphics look crisp. Rules are clear and in the correct turn format, with no rule gaps found. Moderately complex rules for farmer scoring are handled well here. There is no turn example for scoring Farmer(s) in the Dell, but due to the detail in the description, I’m still awarding a top score here.

FUN-NESS: 4
-I’M A FARMER, GIMME POINTS!: The biggest change here is in scoring for farmers, and being able to get your farmers back before end-of-game. This feels dynamic and fun, but at the same time potentially unbalances the game by making fields more important than other features. You can now score 1 point for each completed city bordering an incomplete (or just completed) farm on which you place a farmer (provided the farmer is not removed from the field that same turn, and provided you are at least tied for majority). You can also score 3 points per completed city when that farm is completed, meaning you can potentially score 4 points per completed city. Fields were important before, when they only awarded 3 points per city, and when they required a commitment of at least one follower for the rest of the game. Now, fields are more important still, with less risk. The only risk is getting trapped on an incomplete field at end-game, and receiving only 1 point per completed city because of it. Field play definitely feels more fun and exciting now, and there is balance here, as others can still challenge you for control of your farm, and place tiles to hinder your field completion. But even so, there are some hefty points to be had as a farmer now, hence the possible balance issues.

-CHOICES, CHOICES: Farmers can now make choices about when their workdays end. They must have unionized. From the moment you complete a field, until the final city bordering that field is completed, you get to evaluate your situation as a farmer in that field and decide whether to collect points each time a tile is placed that completes the field or a city bordering it. It adds strategy and depth to field play in a very refreshing way. Bluffs and corner houses make closing your farm that much easier, and decrease your chances of getting stuck on an incomplete farm, both good things here.

OVERALL: 4
-I think this expansion energizes field play in a very refreshing way, and the addition of bluffs and corner houses is welcome and adds to the excitement of fields. There is more depth, more strategy, and more fun to placing a farmer now. This makes farms much more attractive as a feature to focus on, which introduces some balance issues for the other features, IMHO. But even so, its fun, its inventive and its definitely an expansion you should try. And if fields were your favorite feature before, add a point to the OVERALL score and try this expansion RIGHT NOW!
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 02:25:18 PM by Big Guy »

Gerry

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2014, 11:07:02 PM »

I really think Big Guy has done a great job with his work on Rating System for Reviews.  He gave the base game a rating of A-5-5-5 which I agree with, but it set me thinking about what the components of the game are that make it work so well.  I put together a list of Core Features of the game that I use to guide me when I am thinking about doing one of my own variants.  I use it to try and keep myself on track. I also name and shame the expansions that I feel don't work so well.

Carcassonne Core features

Straightforward game play - place tile – claim structure on tile by placing a follower -  complete structure – score points  What to avoid in fan made stuff -  Three person chess as featured in the Big Bang Theory  - in fact avoid anything and everything Sheldon might do.  Just wondering if Sheldon was a consultant on the Robbers mini expansion.

Even paced game play - makes for a relaxing evening without too many game driven interruptions to the flow – bazaars would be an exception here, the auction component breaks the rhythm.

High quality artwork  -  simple yet attractive tiles with a consistent theme that are, for the most part, very easy to understand – makes building the cities enjoyable –  personally for me the art work on the goldmines  is an exception – and, for me, falls down on two points, the gold bar icons just don't look right plus gold bars come from gold refineries not gold mines.

Supports both competitive and cooperative play, a major plus for me in this game -  using the the exact same tiles, game play is completely adaptable to the mood of the players – most but not all official expansions support this.  Interesting that the Tower, which does not support cooperative play, is featured in the variant downloads with versions that reduce or eliminate the competitive prisoner taking aspects.

Additional special followers have a clearly defined role, big follower and mayor are fairly  straightforward to use, the builder, and wagon require a little more effort to grasp but work well.  So far I have not met a follower I did not like though I do sometimes have a problem differentiating the big follower and the mayor.

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2014, 07:23:22 AM »
Well put Gerry...and insightful. You're right about the Bazaars. The other one that breaks the flow is the Catapult.

Carcassonne is in a unique category in that it can be played very casually and co-op(ish), but can also be played very competitively and cut-throat. It can appeal to a broad spectrum of players.

Gerry

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Re: Rating System for Reviews, by BIG GUY
« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2014, 07:57:43 AM »
One thing I forgot

Appropriate scoring -  there have to be just enough points to reward the effort but not too many that it swamps the other game rewards.  Very tricky to achieve and probably the most dependant on actual game play testing.  You tend to get very honest feedback when a player has put in a lot of effort and only scores a couple of points and even more feedback from the other players when someone scores a huge amount for little effort.  The trade good tokens seem to give too little reward (though they do look nice) and, as I just said today in another post, the Abbot on the monasteries looks as though it can sometimes give too much.


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