Author Topic: The Barbarian Report: Attack of the Monasteries (Monasteries in Germany Review)  (Read 10310 times)

Offline Whaleyland

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So, Cloisters are Monasteries. Did you know that? Apparently there is no distinction between the two in German, so Z-Man is just as right as Rio Grande in calling them either. I guess once the word "cloister" is German to begin with, it was we English-speakers that made that whole thing confusing. (The French created the word "Monastery". Go figure.)

Anyway, so this expansion is different than any other one created by Hans im Glueck so far. It introduces six tiles that replace the six cloisters from your base game. It also adds a new rule and unintentionally screws with basic concepts of geography. Let's check it out.

Difficult Journeys
 :red-meeple: Operation Cloister - The rules, at least officially, state that the Cloisters from the base game should be replaced by these new monasteries. This makes sense, to a degree, because otherwise you'd have 12 cloister/monasteries in a set of 76 tiles. That's a little dense. The new monasteries can be used just like the old ones, but they also have new options. Why can't those new options can't be used with the old cloisters? Because how else would Hans im Glueck make money from you!? But the business of separating out tiles is never one I prefer, so I just mix them in anyway. Once you mix in a few other expansions, the cloisters and monasteries don't seem so abundant.
:red-meeple: Mistaken Identity - Does anyone know where Carcassonne is? It's in southeast France. Does anyone know where these six new monasteries herald from? Germany! See the problem here? Carcassonne has added some strange concepts over the years, including introducing dragons, magic portals, and fairies to the history of the region, but this is the first major geographical error in the game. Sure, some could argue that the Rainbow Over Ghana promotional The School expansion isn't in Carcassonne, but I think we can also easily shoehorn that one in. With "Monasteries in Germany", we're lost.
:red-meeple: Quick To The Draw - Hans im Glueck enjoys promotionals a bit too much, methinks. I love Carcassonne as much as the next guy, but so many of its expansions are these short-lived promotional things. The Windrose? People had to wait a year to be able to get that, and then the only way was either through a magazine or a website. The Cathars? They're still trying to fix that mistake. Wheel of Fortune and The Phantom? Both out of print. Promotionals are all fun and good, but the fact that this is only available for a few weeks before disappearing for half-a-year from public accessibility is a bit mean. Sure it will be back in October, just in time for Essen, but how about those people who miss the April 27th deadline and don't live in Europe? They've got to wait six months for this. .:.sigh.:.

New Life, New Purpose
:green-meeple: Sleeping On My Side - The Monasteries adds something to Carcassonne that has been desperately needed: a higher purpose for Cloisters. Until now, they really never gain more than 9 points. Sure you can now fight against Cults, but that doesn't raise the point count (it should have). With a besieged city nearby, Cloisters can help Knights escape (who really ever does that?). You can also now plant Vineyards nearby, which is a welcome addition. But these Monasteries really change everything. Simply by placing (permanently) an Abbot into a Monastery, that Abbot will score for the entire orthogonal cross created. This is huge! And it also is so basic it's surprising nobody thought of it. Yes you have to sacrifice a Follower to accomplish this (playing with Inns & Cathedrals or The Phantom is highly recommended to increase Follower supplies), but it's totally worth it. My wife made 21 and 22 points from two of her Monasteries at the end of the game. That's 43 points! Neither of us scored nearly that much from farms. These Monasteries definitely enter the game rough. When we play, we only allow them to be used for Abbots; regular Cloisters are for Monks. This keeps the two features separate. But we also play with both sets of tiles, so if you only use one or the other, you can play with both rules.
:green-meeple: Art & History - Sure these six monasteries aren't from France, but they look beautiful on the tiles and oddly not really out of place. There is even a brief history of each with an accompanying website address provided in the rules booklet. This attention to detail is a wonderful idea and I hope it takes off.
:green-meeple: World Tours - Speaking of taking off, some of you may not have noticed that the expansion is officially called "Monasteries in Germany" yet the listing is simply "The Monasteries". There is a reason for this. Rumor has it that Germany is only the first listing in the series. There may be other sets of monasteries in the coming years that will focus on France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, etc. I think Carcassonne-on-Tour, the group that's promoting these expansions, may have embraced a winning concept, even if it does violate Carcassonne's geographic stability. The famous abbeys, monasteries, cloisters, and cathedrals of Europe are coming to a Carcassonne game near you!

Inconclusion
This expansion adds quite a bit for only being six tiles. While there are certain aspects I wish they had not done, especially the idea that these tiles need to replace the basic Cloister tiles (the new rules should have been the only option for the new tiles, and the tile layouts should be different than the existing tiles), overall the gameplay is drastically changed by this expansion. I think these tiles will be included in most of my future games (at least until French monasteries are released) and the new rules may be rolled out to include all cloisters as an option. The future of Carcassonne is bright indeed.

SCORES
Playability: A
Affordability (Obtainability): C
Compatibility (with other expansions): A
Aethetics: A
Learning Curve: A
FINAL GRADE: A-

Linkback: http://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=730.0

Offline kettlefish

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Here is a link to leo org

There you can find some suggestions about:
cloister (Kreuzgang), monastery (Kloster)

http://dict.leo.org/#/search=cloister&searchLoc=0&resultOrder=basic&multiwordShowSingle=on
« Last Edit: April 23, 2014, 12:07:36 PM by kettlefish »

Offline Whaleyland

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Here is a link to leo org

There you can find some suggestions about:
cloister (Kreuzgang), monastery (Kloster)

http://dict.leo.org/#/search=cloister&searchLoc=0&resultOrder=basic&multiwordShowSingle=on
So did Rio Grande Games just completely fail on translating the word, basing the word choice simply on the German spelling? To be fair, my Apple's translation app translates both words as Kloster (the "o" has an umlaut when pluralized in both cases as well).

My stance is that the new buildings are Monasteries and the old ones are Cloisters, but since you put Abbots on them, they should really be Abbeys, which is already taken. Wow. Hans im Glueck didn't think this through... Perhaps Rectors should be what really goes on the new features.

Offline kettlefish

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We don't have much more words for the religious places.

One more:
Bischofs-Palast in Limburg (Bistum Limburg)
The palace of the bishop of Limburg
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26746110


Offline jungleboy

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Without having any knowledge of German, I always found it strange that we used the term cloister to describe this feature in English, since a cloister is just one part of a monastery (an inner courtyard). So I think monastery is the more appropriate term, but I'm used to using cloister now so I'll stick with it. Plus I like to give myself nine points every time I visit a real cloister in Europe, which is surprisingly often :)

Offline Whaleyland

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Without having any knowledge of German, I always found it strange that we used the term cloister to describe this feature in English, since a cloister is just one part of a monastery (an inner courtyard). So I think monastery is the more appropriate term, but I'm used to using cloister now so I'll stick with it. Plus I like to give myself nine points every time I visit a real cloister in Europe, which is surprisingly often :)
It's also used often to describe a female monastery, or rather a nunnery. This usage has gone out of style now, though, in favor of nunnery among academic circles. Still, when I hear cloister, I think nuns, not monks.

Offline SRBO

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Hello guys,

Just played my first game with it, i liked it so

I want to give my review:

 :green-meeple: Nice tiles and the fit in the game perfectly, asked to other players and they all agreed..
 :green-meeple: New kind of ability for "some" cloisters. I like the mechanic.
 :red-meeple: It gives an insane amount of points.. i had 2 of these cloisters, in a normal game with river I & II and they had together 34 points.. (thinking that the player had 67 points before he got the 34..). in a mega carc game this would give massive amounts of points..
 

Offline coyote

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Hello guys,

Just played my first game with it, i liked it so

I want to give my review:

 :red-meeple: It gives an insane amount of points.. i had 2 of these cloisters, in a normal game with river I & II and they had together 34 points.. (thinking that the player had 67 points before he got the 34..). in a mega carc game this would give massive amounts of points..
I agree. My wife and I finished our first game with them last night, and she got a measly 34 points from one, and I got 46 from one. I had two total, which game me a total of about 90 points. Because of that, from now on we're just going to use them as normal cloisters.

Offline jungleboy

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Because of that, from now on we're just going to use them as normal cloisters.

I have been thinking that too. Even though I haven't played with the German monasteries yet, the abbot concept feels a bit unnatural to me as well as giving too many points.

Offline CKorfmann

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Good report.  Well done sir.
Flee the fleas.

Offline SRBO

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as an opponent player you really need to make it difficult to make big lanes when an cloister is being build.
but when a player draws the tile he can easily lay it on a place and getting massive points..

the points are too easy to get.


Offline Whaleyland

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as an opponent player you really need to make it difficult to make big lanes when an cloister is being build.
but when a player draws the tile he can easily lay it on a place and getting massive points..

the points are too easy to get.
I like it still, even with the large point swings. But I agree it's really easy to get a lot of points. The usual blockage techniques don't work. In a megaCarc game, which this is clearly not intended to be used with, one must hope that the detriment of spending a Follower permanently on the feature and the generally large-scale of the map will cancel out the large point gain that will be earned at the end.

Offline kettlefish

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I think this mini expansion is great.
I like to test this mini together with Princess and the Dragon, the Tower and the Flyer...


Offline Fritz_Spinne

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Perhaps the points for the abbot should be limited to the points he could get in the base game:

(Points for the abbot) = (Tiles of the Abbot) * 72 / (Tiles of the game)

You may say, dividing through the number of tiles isn't right, bit in a bigger game the chance of holes stopping the abbot cross is less.

Offline Whaleyland

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I didn't even think of that. Do holes in a cross stop the points from going beyond that hole? Or does the whole cross count, regardless of holes?


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