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Strategy Guide / Mayor - the failed concept
« on: September 04, 2021, 05:40:26 AM »
With the current discussion on the 5th major expansion ongoing, I decided this was ripe time to post the topic i had in mind for a long time.

Let's discuss the titular component of this expansion box - The Mayor.

Mayor is the first of the highly specialized meeples tied to a specific feature-type, namely the cities. It's main function is simple enough, it is meant to serve as a guardian of your main big city you are currently working on. The intention is that if used correctly, Mayor would thwart the invasion efforts of the opposing players by making it so demanding and resource expensive, that such tactic would quickly become inviable. With such overwhelming support, the city would be guerenteed to be in the ownership of the Mayor-player when completed and net great points, or if not completed trap a lot of enemy meeples for the cost of one (Mayor).

All of this sounds very good and promising on paper, but this is where the problem comes. The concept is good, however its actual implementation is an utter failure. Let me elaborate...

Mayor can only be deployed to a city and its majority value equals the number of pennants (shields) in the city it occupies. This has potential to grant it tremendous majority strength. Other players would surel need a lot of meepels to overpower a Mayor right? Not exactly.
Let's look at the way a pypical city invasion usually occurs.
Player A establishes a city with a single meeple.
Player B places a nearby city tile and places their own meeple with intention of joining.
Player A places a tile inconveniencing Player B by making the joining more difficult.
Player B lucks out and draws a tile he needs anyway and joins the cities into one. Both players have equal strength 1A=1B.
Player A does not intend to go down that easily and prepares a new nerby city segment with a big meeple. He succeeds in joining it to the big city. 3A>1B.
Player B now needs at least two meeples to neutralize the majority of Player A, and an extra meeple to gain majority of his own.

This goes on until the city is completed and one of the players gains majority and points. Other player can join too in the process. The players go back and forth by joining in individual meeples (or rarely more than 1 by single tile placement if set up beforehand), which translates to majority values of 1, or perhaps 2 if using big meeple. Majority is generally gained/lost by increments of 1 or rarely 2. Larger the increment and/or the number of increments, larger the necessary amount of actions (tile and meeple placements), thus total value change requires an equivalent amount of setup.

How does Mayor change this dynamic?
Let's modify the previous scenario with the Mayor included. Player A builds a city with two of his normal meeples. Player B invades by joining a big meeple catching up 2A=2B. Player A in subsequent turns joins in the Mayor. The city already has an X amount of pennants (let's say X is an arbitrary number bigger than 5). Player A just swung the majority largely to his side by minimal effort, which is the intended function of the Mayor.
Player B is now in a position where she needs a very large investment to overpower Player A. Or does she?
Player B proceeds to join a city segment with her own Mayor. Since all Mayors draw their strength from the same pennants, Mayor B will have exactly the same strength as Mayor A, effectivelly neutralizing it on the spot.

And this is the problem with Mayor. It does not matter how many pennants there are in the city and how powerful your Mayor becomes as a consequence. All the opponent ever has to do is to invade with their own Mayor and the advantage will be lost instantly with the same minimal effort. The increments by which the majority changes, regardless of how large, are always the same for all Mayors.
There is no difference between a normal meepele and Mayor fighting for the majority: its is either +1A=+1B; or +XA=+XB. You gain majority by one tile/meeple placement, then opponent catches up by one tile/meeple placement, equal effort.
This effectively negates any special privileges Mayor has.

Whe there is big city on the map, the opponents WILL try to join in. Original owner would want to increase his/her presence in that city and Mayor is the obvious joice, but it is rendered functionally useless because opponents can just proceed wit the invasion with their own Mayors, making the process no different from when just normal meeeples where included.

So how does the Mayor change the dynamic of city invasion? He doesn't - at all.
If you want to effectively use your Mayor, you would have to wait until the opponents are already using their Mayor in a city of their own. But why would they do that? Surely not for defensive purposes, that would mean they are trying to defend a big city, which would just invite the other Mayors including yours. They wouldn't waste their Mayor in a small city either because then they couldn't join in with the others Mayors in some different large city when opportunity arises, leaving them out of big points.
Even if one or two players did have their Mayors stranded, chances are remaining enemy Mayors will invade anyway.
There is one other situation when one could use the Mayor ability with no fear of it being negated - that is when all every single player has their Mayor deployed in their own city. But by that point, if used correctly no one will even try to invade the other's Mayor-ruled mega-cities. Additionally, when such cities are completed and scored, big point gains will roughly equalize each other, making the Mayor usage once again inconsequential.

So the only two optimal ways to use Mayor meeple are either the opportunistic invasion leding to all mayors being in the same mega-city negating each other, or each Maor being in their own city where no one gains any advantage from them. This makes Mayor completely useless.
The only instance where Mayor's intended function would be used effectivelly is when opponents make suboptimal play. In other words, if all players play well or at least decent, Mayors end up in one of two situations where they are useless, and it is always a bad idea to play them otherwise.

So far I described how the special ability of Mayor is useless, but it is actually far worse then that. One could argue that if not for its special ability, Mayor could at least be used as an additional meeple. This is where the specialization comes to haunt the Mayor once again. It can only be played in a city, so its overall usefulness is reduced significantly. And when inside the city, not only does it not provide any advantage, but it can very easily be worse than a normal meeple. Since it draws its value from the number of pennants, if there are 0 in the city Mayor alone cannot score any points upon completion. This forces the player to make the cities with Mayor bigger and more valuable which in turn invites others for invasion, where Mayor once again fails to do its job.
So you effectivelly end up with a meeple without any special ability, which can only be placed specifically in a city and even there it is worse than a normal meeple. :o

One has to reach to other expansions and combinations in order to look for some kind of saving grace for this meeple, but do not be surprised to be dissapointed even there.
There is some invading potential when combined with the Count of Carcassonne or Flying machines. A surpise attack with massive majority value can be advantageous, but it only prolongs the inevitable equalization by the enemy Mayor, or Mayor-Count counter strategy.

There is the interesting tidbit about Mayor being able to be the Knight in the castle from Exp. 8, but this curiosity is useless, because the castle cannot be scored due to no pennants. The only exception to this is playing with carcassonne Maps, which do in fact have convertable small city segments with a pennant, so one could have a Mayor in castle here which can be scored. But keep in mind these special segments are always located on the edge of the map, making the value of th castle lower because of the reduced castle area. So while somewhat viable if you wish to make such castle but not dedicate a meeple that could better be used somewhere else, this is still not a major advantage. The fact that the best way to use Mayor is to make it a throwaway piece that shall not be missed if its castle will go wrong (and only when playing with Maps), does not paint a pretty picture for this piece of wood.

So because of all I described, I consider the Mayor to be the most useless splinter of wood to ever be introduced to the world of Carcassonne. And yes that includes the Catapult - I genuinely consider it to be more useful than Mayor.

 :orange-meeple: :orange-meeple: :orange-meeple:

So now that we established all that is wrong with the Mayor, is there a way this could have been averted or corrected?
I propose a modification that could have been made when concieving the rules,one that actually allows Mayor to do what it is supposed to:

General rules of Myaor remain the same with one adjustment - the pennants in the game are subdivided into six colors based on the player color. When a Mayor is deployed to a city, it only gains value based on the pennants of the same color. This way, Mayors inside the same city have different values and this number can be adjusted by adding additional pennants of the chosen color. It creates further tactical decisions when deciding where to put you Mayor.

Of course this might introduce few difficulties of their own such as the need to keep the number of pennant colors at least roughly equal. But it's not like this i impossible - games like Bang! the card game have been doing something like this for years. Each expansion there seeks to keepthe suits of the cards balanced and percantages at their set values. This could surely be solved when it comes to Carcassonne.
Another issue might be the fact that Mayor comes in the 5th Expansion, so there would be a lack of foresight from the previous material released. In the original C1 release perhaps, but what about C2? There is a lot of foresight and forward planning in C2 already, the farmhouses and sheds, the robbers at the roads. All of these are elements that had no function upon first release and then for some time, but were clearly included with some function in mind later down the road. Not to mention the still as of yet unused water towers. All of C2 material could have easily included pennats of six colors from the very start and only make use of them when Exp. 5 was re-released in C2.
Changing or adjusting the functionality of already existing elements from C1 in C2 is no new concept either - look at the wagon. The fact that its change occured in the very expansion where the Mayor comes from makes this a no excuse situation.

One would hope there is still a chance for this amazing concept with a failed implementation in the future.

And if someone can find some special niche actually useful usage or interaction with the Mayor please post it here. Other ideas for adjustments to the basic rules are also welcome.

The Marketplace / Looking for CutCassonne
« on: August 01, 2021, 05:33:39 AM »
I never thought I would utter these words ::), but I am looking for a fresh copy of CutCassonne. If anybody has a spare one for sale, please let me know!

Official Rules / Question - Wagon and Wheel of Fortune
« on: July 20, 2021, 11:56:50 AM »
Question: Can wagon, which has just completed and scored a road leading directly into the Wheel of Fortune drive into the wheel and onto the crown spaces?
Suspected answer: The roads are directly adjacent ad connected to the wheel, so there is nothing blocking the wagon function. Meeples can indeed be deployed onto the wheel, specifically crown spaces. This happens just like any other meeple placement in the move wood phase of the turn. It follows that one should be able to move wagon over to the crown spaces once the road is scored.
Interestingly, the roads do lead to specific wheel sectors, which contain specific crown spaces. This may imply wagon can only be deployed to the sector connected to the road through which it has driven. However seeing as under normal circumstances player can deploy meeple into any crownspace, regardless of the sector, same should be true for the wagon entering this feature.

Reverse situation:  if a wagon is scored on the crown space can it be instantly moved onto another feature? If so, is it a new crown space or a connected road?
Suspected answer: The reverse situation should also be possible, but wagon should not be capable of moving to just another crown space, as that would not count as leaving its current feature. It should however be able to move onto directly connected, incomplete, unoccupied road.
Argument could be made that the crown space while scored is never completed, so the wagon's ability should not activate. This would mean wagon can enter WoF via it ability, but cannot leave it using this method.

The Marketplace / Looking for Russian Wheel of Fortune
« on: May 04, 2021, 12:33:20 PM »
Alright fellow Carcassonners, I have a dificult task ahead. I need a new in shrink copy of Russian Wheel of Fortune: Каркассон.Колесо фортуны.
If anyone has it and is willing to sell, or knows of a seller online, please let me know. This is quite important for me at the moment :orange-meeple:.

The Marketplace / WTB set of 13 Teachers
« on: April 25, 2021, 01:00:30 PM »
I am looking for the 2018 set of 13 Teacher meeples. If anyone is willing to sell it, please send me a PM.
Thank you  :orange-meeple:

General / Avatar picture
« on: March 21, 2021, 06:12:16 AM »
I have decided to finally try adding an avatar to the profile.
What are the specifications/limitations of what you can upload as your avatar picture?
Either an answer, or a link to helpful topic is welcome  :(y)

General / Preference in terminology and correctness
« on: March 12, 2021, 11:13:26 AM »
Hi fellow ethusiasts. I have one question about proper spelling of our beloved eshop
From what I understand, the root of this shortened form is 'Carcassonne und Co', which would mean the proper short version is CundCo. But more frequently, I see this form: Cundco. So which one is correct, the capital C or lower case c in the middle?

Aside from that I added a poll to find out what form of nomenclature you prefer for old and new artwork. CI and CII, or C1 and C2.

General / Does somebody own this River?
« on: March 05, 2021, 09:21:41 AM »
I am looking for someone who owns this specific version of River I, same box, same language, contents not mixed up with anything else.
I am not looking to buy, I just want to ask you a question.

Unofficial Rules / La Porxada question
« on: January 23, 2021, 06:52:59 AM »
One thing has been bugging me for years. It is this sentence from the first option upon placing La Porxada:
 "The chosen player can negate the exchange, but if so, he or she must eliminate one of his or her followers for the remainder of the game."
Eliminate from where, the playing field, personal supply, or can you choose?
The most likely option seems to be to eliminate a follower from playing field. This gives the other side of the decision proper weight.
If it was only from personal supply, players would most of the time be inclined to always negate the swap - especially in larger games.

Strategy Guide / Izbushka - Baba Yaga's Hut breaking the limits...
« on: November 22, 2020, 06:15:13 PM »
This rare tile is infamous for its extremely situational benefit, which more often than not, becomes unfulfilled.
The mechanics of Izbushka are inverse to those of a cloister. It works on the basis of the same "cloister radius", but you are rewarded for the absence of tiles instead of filling up all eight spaces. Since you need at least one tile for connection, this means a maximum of seven spaces can remain empty, translating to 7 points. Starting from 2015 version, the tile itself gives 1 extra point as well, bringing the total to 8 points.

While interesting it is clear that the Izbushka is, even in the best possible scenario, still inferior to the cloister:
-the maximum amount of points is 8 instead of 9.
-you need to trap your meeple for the rest of the game if you wish to get the most out of this tile.
-if completed, you only recieve 1 point.
-it is way too easy for other players to quickly devalue your Izbushka, especially in high player counts.
-the tile usually has to come near the very end of the game for it to be of any use, especially problematic in high tile counts.
-Izbushka is not considered a monastic building, meaning its point value cannot be improved by any of the monastic oriented game elements from various expansions (vineyards, abbot). Likewise, the meeple is not considered a monk, so there is no point gain from WoF Inquisition.
-cannot be used to escape a besieged city.

The few pros, do not make up for the cons:

-Izbushka cannot be challenged by a cult place, which would otherwise force it to either, complete it for a minimal point gain of 1, or it would not score at all.
-there is no need to protect the meeple from peasant revolt, for it cannot affect Izbushka.
-it is unaffected by Hermit Monastery scoring tile from the Land of Surveyors.
-cannot be invaded via City of Carcassone.

So looking at this, naturally the question is "How do I make a use of this tile?".
Up to recently, there has been only one legitimate way on how to do this. You can try to maximize the point gain by "score any meeple" messsage tile. Izbushka would be scored as if it were the end of the game, so chances are most of the spaces would still be empty, if you do this soon enough. If lucky, you could even do this multiple times with a well placed flying machine (the messages are, after all cycled through at a rapid pace).

But that's about it...
...OR IS IT?  >:D

The answer dawned on me today. The best way to place Izbushka is to the edge of a Carcassonne Map!
The edges of the map complete everything, yet are not considered actual tiles. We know this thanks to the way the cloisters work on map edges - they only gain points for actual tiles, not pre-printed stuff.
So you can actually place Izbushka in such a way that certain empty spaces can never be filled, thus maximizing points. There are several places on different maps where to do this effectivelly. This method also removes the downside of traping a meeple for the rest of the game.
You can get up to 7 points for a completed Izbushka on British Isles - only 1 point short of maximum 8.

But you can go further. You can break the the presupposed limits you were led to believe this tile had.
On Peninsula Iberica, you can actually get 9 points! More than previously thought maximum.
By placing Izbushka on one-tile island you get a situation where Izbushka is complete, yet all 8 spaces are empty. After adding a point for Izbushka itself, you arrive at a total of 9 point and get your meeple immediately back.  You need a bridge (Exp. 8 ) to do this, because the ferry road must be connected.
So the Izbushka is finally equal to a cloister = 9 points and no meeple hinderance. Due to the nature of the placement, you also get +4 points for the pennants and a scoring opportunity for a road with another pennant.

So in conclusion, the best way how to utilize Izbushka tile is to play with Maps and a select mixture of expansions which enable all the optimizations.
Play them on the edge with the least amount of surrounding squares and get the most out of this unique tile!

I was mainly talking about 2016 and 2019 tiles. 2016 because of its unique internal field touching a single city.
2019 tile for the reasons Meepledrone mentioned. I think it is interesting purely for the fact that it is the most redundant tile in Carcassonne ever.

2020 is definatelly the most exciting one they made so far.

General / Russian promos version study
« on: October 05, 2020, 04:08:55 AM »
Ok so with the recent movements of the rare Russian promo tiles in the Marketplace section, several questions have been asked regarding various versions of this expansion, including the reverse back tiles.
In that topic I have adressed this, but I thought it would be a good idea to make it into its own topic. Here is my previous answer:

To chime in on on the reversed tiles. The 2013 version of Russian promos containing 2 tiles has actually been produced 3 times, not just once. That is the years 2013, 2014 and 2015. There may have been some differences between these print runs including the reversal of the sides.
I should mention that I own a 2015 version which does not have reversed backs, however the backs are rotated 90 degrees clock-wise - a feature a suspect is common for all three runs. Additionally, my 2015 version is significantly darker shade of green than this reversed tile - a shade simlar to 2016 4 tile version.
Unfortunatelly, I do not have any information on the number of places, where these tiles were printed, so local discrepancies cannot be ruled out.

UPDATE: I have confirmed some information I already suspected. So the 2013 and 2014 versions have lighter green, while 2015 and 2016 version have darker green. However I am still not sure if the reversal occured in 2013 or 2014 version, nor if all the tiles from those versions were affected.

So to streamline this I will make the following model:

2013: light green, 90° rotation
2014: light green, 90° rotation
2015: dark green, 90° rotation
2016: dark green, no rotation

To add to this, we know that reversed tiles of the light green versions exist. This brings up 4 different possibilities:
1. Only 2013 version has a subset of reversed tiles
2. Only 2014 version has a subset of reversed tiles
3. Both 2013 and 2014 versions have a subset of reversed tiles
4. Either 2013 or 2014 version exists exclusively as a reversed tile set.

It is currently unknown which one of these scenarios is correct, or if reverse tiles of 2015 or 2016 versions exist.
To answer the latter question, I am inclined to say no. 2015 version seems to be more streamlined (some rule updates were made) and it switched to a new green.
There are pictures on the internet of the 2016 version, depicting stacks of 2016 sheets, none of which are reversed. It is plausible that those were all the tiles ever made for 2016, although that is unconfirmed.

So in conclusion, I would like to ask if anyone owns a 2013 or 2014 versions of these tiles, and is 100% certain that they truly belong to that version. If so please post any interesting observations here.

Official Rules / Question about Bogatyr tile (Russian Promo)
« on: July 11, 2020, 09:28:14 AM »
Another russian question, this time about Choice of Bogatyr: Is the choice of Bogatyr (the stone tablet terminating the road) considered a special feature? By extension, can a wagon drive through it? It doesn't have any effect on its own, nor can it be claimed, but it has a name and it blocks the road.
This is another question I need answered for my secret project ( 8)) and haven't seen an answer to anywher else.

Feel free to make this a separate topic if needed.

The Marketplace / Want to have a laugh ?
« on: June 25, 2020, 04:33:59 PM »
Searching through the internet, I have found this obvious scam regarding Carcassonne "rarities" :o. Here is the  link:
The description is absolutelly hilarious, when you compare it to the photos provided  ;D

Highlights include hyperbolic claims such as collection so "massive" that it "would be easier to list what is not included", or collection worth over "1000 USD".
Seller also talks about certain items being still in shrink wrap, but the only things that are wrapped are those which he/she shrinkwrapped himself/herself, such as the School and the attempts at The King and The Cult minis, which are really just cut out from the Exp. 6 Count, King and Robber  to look like their more rare counterparts (you can clearly see the crown watermark on photos).

The whole thing is incredibly pathetic and hilariously obvious scam for anyone that knows their Carcassonne, but I do wonder if some casual person who just got into the hobby would fall for this ? ???
Just try to count all the lies !

General / The most aggressive version of Carcassonne
« on: April 22, 2020, 11:56:04 AM »
I was contemplating some vicious thoughts... what is the most aggressive, unforgiving, annoying, militant combination of expansion one can mix together and unleash the mayhem   :red-meeple:>:D >:D >:D :red-meeple: ?? Something that would only emerge, when a group of sadistic minds decides to have an all out war...
What I came up with is the following:
base game
Inns and cathedrals
Princess and dragon
The Plague
Flying machines
River II
Halflings II
Russian promos 2nd set
Crop Circles I
Count of Carcassonne
Cathars, Siege, Besiegers (yes all 3)

- and the most important ingredient of all...concentration! The ratio of aggressive tiles / all tiles must be very high in order to achieve maximum evil >:D

I am open to any suggestions. What would you add? What would you remove? Whatever comes out of this I will one day masochistically try to play!

EDIT 2: included suggestions

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