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CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem

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Just a Bill:
CAR 7.5 Prep Discussion: The Junction Problem

The official rulings on junctions are a bit of a little sore spot for me, and the CAR makes some absolute statements that cannot be true for all tiles. (It also contradicts itself at one point.) I plan to propose recasting how these things are presented to avoid having the reader scratch his head and say "but that can't be true."

The problem appears in multiple places, with the groundwork being laid on page 15 in footnote 15: "In the game there are crossings and junctions. But since all crossings have the same effect—namely, to bring a road to an end—it was decided to sacrifice the distinction between crossings and junctions (or T-crossings, or T-roads...?) in order to not unnecessarily complicate matters."

On page 30, footnote 38 repeats this fallacy: "The new tile is obviously meant to remind us that all junctions are considered to be ends of roads." And then on page 133, footnote 358 casts away all junction artwork as meaningless: "The three road segments on this tile end at the junction, even though there are no obstacles pictured in the road. All junctions and crossings are treated the same, regardless of the artwork." Finally, the absolute rule is bookended in the glossary, in the crossing entry on page 287: "All junctions—crossroads, T-junctions, and so on—are [the end of a road]."

But obviously this "absolute" rule is no such thing. Those statements cannot be true because of the number of Open Junction crossings which are not road-enders. Such tiles have appeared in a variety of expansions over the last decade, including Abbey & Mayor, Catapult, Crop Circles I, the first Russian promos, and even the (relatively) recent Labyrinth.

What's perplexing to me is that one of the CAR's footnotes (358) is attributed to a ruling from May 2014, a good seven years after the publication of Abbey & Mayor in 2007 made the ruling clearly untrue. Now perhaps HiG just neglected to update their old working theory to fit the newer facts, but the point is that this oft-repeated absolute rule — that all junctions are closed and they always end the associated roads regardless of the artwork — clearly does not make sense today, and has not been true for over a decade now. So I'd like to see this little mess get disentangled, or at least presented in a way that isn't a contradiction.

The ruling is a problem because it flies in the face of common sense. Consider that Crop Circles I tile:

A reasonable player who compares this to the other four tiles above would easily conclude that this is another Open Junction tile. That's what it looks like, and that's what makes it interesting. Yet the footnote 358 referenced above is actually talking about this tile; it bafflingly rules it a closed junction. However, on page 280 the CAR then contradicts that ruling and interprets this tile logically as exactly what it looks like:

Although surely not intentional, this provides a pretty good demonstration of why the confusing official ruling is a bad ruling. It contradicts our common sense, makes it harder for players to interpret the game consistently, and introduces rules complexity for no clear benefit to the game.

Now, don't shoot me just yet: I'm not planning to start a revolt in CAR 7.5 and ignore the publisher's rulings. It's crucial to faithfully relay the official rules without distortion. But it's also responsible to acknowledge areas where those rules do not make sense, and perhaps even to suggest house rules for those who want them (as the CAR already does in many places). And in some cases, it's even appropriate to bring to the publisher's attention situations where a tangle of rulings contradictions could be simplified for the good of the game. Certainly Carcassonne already has a rich history of revising its rules to make the game play more smoothly.

So with all that said, I'd like to hear others' viewpoints on this little mess, see if anyone else plays their tiles "as printed" like I do, and find out if I'm the only one who would appreciate seeing HiG re-examine this ruling and consider a common-sense revision — at least for cases like the Crop Circles tile where nothing was ever revised in a later printing (the reprinted/revised I&C tile, of course, will forever be a closed junction). That latter bit may be a pipe dream since they no longer care to rule on old-artwork tiles, but we can still talk about it.


Another interesting topic!
I've always worked on the premise that visuals say everything.
As in, if something connects in the artwork, it is connected. I use this often for farm connections, and also roads.

For example this tile from Sheep and Hills. The rules clearly state the roads end here. My girlfriend always assumed it was not an ending.
But in cases like this, I say that the visuals tell the tail!

Regarding the CC1 tile, i've always found it weird that this would be 3 seperate roads.
it has been discussed several times on the forum
It came up here, and here
Most of the times someone will refer to the clarification of rules with HiG, found here.
For me, this clarification does not make this clear.
'as usual a junction separates roads'. For me, this does not clearify, as i would not say its a junction on this (or the other shown) tile(s).
I always keep to the rule that if the tile(s) show something is connected, it is. So continues roads are connected, connected cities are one, farms that go under a bridge are connected, etc.

Following that rule, all the roads on the shown tiles are connected, except for the road leading up on the russian tile, as it is shown there is a big stone seperating the roads :)
The Labyrinth has its own rules, but as all roads are visually connected on the tile, I would say they are connected, and the rules support this.

To HiG, CC2 replaces CC1, so these kind of problems have been solved in this.

Just a Bill:
Thanks for those links!

A big reason this is confusing is because the word "junction" is imprecise and insufficient. Clearly this game has both open junctions and closed junctions, and it is only the latter that separates roads. So it is insufficient to just say "junctions separate roads" — the correct statement is "closed junctions separate roads."

Of course we also require a definition of the difference between an open junction and a closed junction. What might that be? Clearly it must be the artwork, and the artwork of the CC1 tile indicates it is an open junction. This is unavoidably obvious, in the context of the other open-junction tiles.

If they wanted that junction to be closed, then they drew it wrong. No question about that. It has been incumbent upon HiG to make an artwork distinction between open and closed junctions since A&M in 2007, and they did it again with Catapult in 2008. Since CC1 was first published in 2010, they had known this for about three years. In any case, what they published in CC1 was another open junction — regardless of whether or not that was their intent. ;) The tile speaks for itself. If they wanted to change that, the way to do it was with official errata, not by citing a presumed absolute ruling that cannot possibly coexist with the open junction tiles.

So if it is, in fact, HiG's intention to rule the CC1 tile a closed junction, well ... in the absence of actual errata, that ruling is simply an error. No worries; it happens. All game designers, developers, publishers, and rules gurus make mistakes. (I sure as heck did in my day, and still do.) The best thing to do is acknowledge it, correct it, and move forward ... for the sake of the game. The good of the game outweighs the need to protect any of our egos.

As I see it, the general rule is quite straightforward: all crossings and junctions do separate the roads except for roundabouts. The only tile that seems to contradict this rule is the russian tile but that's a unique tile with special ruling so I can live with that.

Just a Bill:
But there is no such special rule for roundabouts. You had to invent it out of thin air, and it's not intuitive. One would think if there were such a rule, then A&M and Catapult would state it; but they don't. The RGG and ZMG English rules for A&M don't give any special gameplay definition, or even use a special term like "roundabout." They just seem to observe that the tile works the way iyou would think due to its open junctions. The RGG Catapult rules (the only ones I can find in English) don't even reference that tile at all.

Secondly, how would you redraw the Labyrinth so it looks like a roundabout? (It, too, is one single road for completion and scoring.) I'm not sure it could even be done without destroying its visual concept.

But probably what I find most ill-conceived about the CC1 ruling is that it works against keeping the game's design space open (something that should be a big red flag for developers). As Carcking already pointed out in one of the other threads...

--- Quote from: Carcking on January 19, 2016, 12:30:06 PM ---This is just absurd. Why draw it like that if they wanted three roads? How would they propose drawing the artwork if they did want one road? (scratching my head)

--- End quote ---

He's absolutely right. With the common-sense view, you have lots of options for showing the exact gameplay you want. You can have a single open-junction road, or three separate roads that connect at a closed junction for things like wagons, Leipzig, and whatnot, or even three separate roads that don't connect at all:

Simple, intuitive, and they all look like they do exactly what they do. But with a special invented "roundabout rule," you have to make one of those options more complicated and less intuitive, and then two of them would both look like they have a single road, even though one of them technically would not. You'd also need more real estate to pull it off, which further reduces your options for future tile combinations.

And I don't even want to think about trying to make a Labyrinth example. ;)


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