How do you primarily use The Castles?

To make some points off of another player's feature.
11 (68.8%)
To double the points earned from one of my own features.
3 (18.8%)
I usually forget to place them.
0 (0%)
I use them in some other creatively strategic manner (describe below).
0 (0%)
I don't ever play with or don't own Bridges, Castles & Bazaars (Expansion #8).
2 (12.5%)

Total Members Voted: 16

Voting closed: May 29, 2015, 02:53:41 PM

Author Topic: The Castles – Element of the Week #37  (Read 5325 times)

Offline Whaleyland

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The Castles – Element of the Week #37
« on: May 22, 2015, 02:53:41 PM »

Each week, a specific element from an expansion is chosen for deeper discussion. This is an opportunity for you, Carcassonne's biggest English-language fans, to discuss strategies and problems you have encountered through the years regarding specific expansion elements. All forms of critique – from the most joyous to the most scathing – are encouraged.

This week's element is THE CASTLES (from Bridges, Castles & Bazaars[Expansion #8]). With the advent of a new "Castles" expansion upon us, it seems like a good opportunity to look back on the original Castles, introduced as part of Expansion #8. These little tokens allowed players to upgrade their 4-point Cities and make them potentially more powerful. Each player gets a few of them (depending on the number of players) and on their turn, if they complete a 4-point City they can, instead of earning points for it, convert it into a Castle by placing a Castle token and Follower on top of it. When the next feature is completed in the 6-tile periphery of the Castle, the Castellan (Follower on it) will score the same number of points. Simple. Sweet. Easy to make a ton of points if done properly.

One technique to stop a Castellan from raking in the points is to complete a low-value feature around it just to complete the Castle. This is by far the best technique to use, but since tiles are drawn randomly, that's not always an option. What is perfect for a Castellan is when a player pulls that perfect tile to complete their 40+ point adjacent City. Suddenly, the realisation that the Castellan will also get those points makes the victory into a strategic nightmare. This is the point of the Castle. Another awesome option, though, is for the owner of the Castellan to complete an adjacent feature. In this way, they can double their points since both the Follower on the feature and the Castellan will get the points. In my own experience, Cloisters are often used for doubling, though others may have different ideas. Discuss your relationship with The Castles and how you optimise your use of this strategic element.

Next Week: The Messengers  :-X :-X :-X

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=1779.0

Offline franks

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Re: The Castles – Element of the Week #37
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2015, 10:53:54 PM »
Another great little addition to the game.

We always include them and it sees regular play. It is an especially nice balance to mega cities that can really sway a game.

Of course its not all that easy because they can be relatively easy to kibosh, timing is everything!

Wanna play Carc? Can we add just one more expansion?

Offline danisthirty

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Re: The Castles – Element of the Week #37
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2015, 12:20:28 AM »
I know they don't seem to be very popular amongst a lot of CarcC members but I like these and try to include them in my games at home.

How many times have you been in the position where you're trying to glom-in to a big city but your opponent cuts you out for 4 points from a 2-tile city? This becomes quite dangerous now, as their doing this gives you the opportunity to "castle up" (anyone else call it this?) and potentially win an equal share in the big city if/ when it completes, or maybe even score it twice if the city is tied. We find that the castles tend to balance things out quite nicely, and I always enjoy the sudden shift when me or my opponents go from desperately trying to complete the city to desperately trying not to complete it if its completion would mean that the castle scores too!

The impact that castles have on farms is only very small (4 points rather than 3) but it seems strange to me that even incomplete castles are worth the same as complete castles.

Offline Hounk

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Re: The Castles – Element of the Week #37
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2015, 01:34:54 AM »
I think, that's because "completed" Castles are only called the like in the rule book. It is rather a way of "secondary scoring". You must deploy a follower to a castle. (So if you run out of meeples closed to the endgame, you can not simply put a castle on a city just to increase the value of the farm.) And for that meeple it means, that it can only be scored ingame by another structure, hence the castle is not completed before. But the surrounding farmers really don't care, if the landlord of the castles got his points or not, as long as there is somebody to feed.

Another way to think about it would be, that just because the main rules say, that a farm score only for completed cities does not automatically means, that any other object, a farm could score for, must be completed, and since a castle is not a city, that rule does not apply for it.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 04:14:09 AM by Hounk »

Offline Paul

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Re: The Castles – Element of the Week #37
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2015, 05:39:27 AM »
I chose my own city as we often play friendly here but in general any city that provides points if opponents city is larger.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2015, 02:43:12 AM by Paul »
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Offline Guesclin

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Re: The Castles – Element of the Week #37
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2015, 02:28:31 AM »
Actually castles are a lot of fun when playing with 3 or more. They are a bit powerfull considering they can mooch of large cities but i feel they deliver quite a lot of strategic depth to the gameplay.

Offline Paul

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Re: The Castles – Element of the Week #37
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2015, 02:44:53 AM »
"That's a big city you got there. Need help building it? No, promise, I won't put any followers on it, the city is all yours..." *has two castles adjacent it while saying this*

Offline Christopher

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Re: The Castles – Element of the Week #37
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2016, 01:09:28 PM »
Ah, Castles! Love a castle. Fantastic strategic element. Great way to get points from an opponent without reducing theirs. Aggressive, but without actually nicking it from them. Brilliant in games with more than two players.

Castles are tricky for everyone though. For the owning player, it's not enough to place it near an opponent's high scoring feature, you want to place it such that it avoids being negated by a quick feature for rubbish points. Meanwhile, the player owning the feature is desperately trying to finish a feature and waste the castle. But there's little more satisfying than successfully using a castle. Even better, successfully using two castles! I once managed in a two player game to score my opponents huge cathedral city twice whilst they scored it once! Wonderful!

Or, of course, you can score your own feature more than once! I'm also a big fan of the Lord follower being safe from dragons, towers, etc. The Lord has enough to worry about without those elements bothering him too! It's good to finally have a safe follower other than the barn. I also think this fits thematically, the castle follower being safe.

I am a huge fan of this feature, and often opt to include them. We break the BC&B expansion into its elements though, and usually use bridges and castles without bazaars.
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