Author Topic: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside  (Read 5317 times)

Offline Whaleyland

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    • Derek R. Whaley | Historian & Writer
Another year, another Germany-themed Carcassonne promotional expansion. Anyone else tired of these yet? Well, at least they are proving to be well thought-out (lookin' at you, Spielbox expansions). Following the trend of the other three Germany expansions, this one introduces a new take on Cathedrals, completely ignoring the original Cathedral concept introduced in Expansion #1 way back in 2002. But is this expansion a worthy addition to your Carcassonne game? Let us find out...

Darkness in the Land of Green
 >:D The Shadow of Death – Lo, we walk unto these lands of darkness and, behold! Before us was a great cathedral, abandoned in the Field. Yet again, Hans im Glück has dazzled us with their inability to adequately colour-match the art between various expansions. I have heard all the excuses but one simply does not see such disparity between colours in other games. The fields in this expansion are as dark as they have ever been, and even the Cathedrals themselves are darker because of it. This is becoming (or has already become) unacceptable. I can understand why Spielbox struggles with colour-matching – they are making the tiles on commission – but the publisher should spend the time to make sure the printers are getting things right before print-running an entire new six-tile expansion that doesn't even match the darkest of other Carcassonne tiles.
 C:-) Germany Invades France yet Again – It is becoming a trope now that the German game companies basically control the French game market, but nothing visualises that quite as much as a French-themed game receiving its third expansion composed entirely of German-themed game pieces. Meanwhile, the French distributor of Carcassonne has not yet released a single French-themed promo expansion. This is getting ridiculous. Let's just call the game Germany now, or Bavaria even. The poll selecting the tiles was even biased in that it only allowed Cathedrals from the modern state of Germany, not from the Holy Roman Empire, so historically-important cathedral cities like Metz, one of the Imperial Electorates, were left in the dust. I'm just glad Cologne (Köln) and Aachen were included in the mix (sorry Trier, maybe next time).
 ???( Cathedrals...in the Country? – Just another rant about geographic silliness, cathedrals are by definition city-oriented entities. You will not see them in the countryside except in the rare cases where a city has been destroyed or abandoned, which is extremely rare. As the seat of a metropolitan bishop, a Cathedral should have a City feature somewhere on each tile, even if they are not within that city (although I feel that it could easily have been portrayed built into the City wall so that the Roads went to the Cathedral, but the Cathedral remained technically part of the City). While the rules actually acknowledge this fact, I feel that the expansion should have either been City-focused rather than Road-focused, or it should have found a creative way to include Cities as a part of the new feature.

Stairway to Heaven
 :white-meeple: Doris and the Amazing Technicolored Landscape – Doris Mathäus has again dazzled us with an unexpected visual treat with these tiles. Each Cathedral stands apart from its peers as a unique work of art and architecture. There is also a pretty fair balance between early medieval (Romanesque), late medieval (Gothic), and Renaissance structures, so no architectural style dominates. The use of little cottages and Roads around the Cathedrals heightens the visual quality of the images as well. Too bad the art turned out so dark because of poor printing...
 :gray-meeple: Behold, the Power of Transportation Infrastructure – With this expansion, we once more get a bonus to the Road mechanic of the base Carcassonne game. This is good as Roads are often the least valuable and, therefore, least desirable feature to claim. The Cathedrals act as Inns (from Inns & Cathedrals) in that they add +1 point per segment of each Road. But they are better than Inns because at the end of the game, they still score 1 point per Road segment as usual, rather than turning the entire Road to 0 points. Huzzah! Even stranger, Roads that loop back to the Cathedral get to count the Cathedral twice, once for each end of the Road (although, honestly, I will never play with this rule because it breaks the fundamental Carcassonne law that tiles are never counted twice).
 :orange-meeple: The Archbishop Cometh – More importantly, this expansion adds the long-awaited (you know you've been waiting) Archbishop (why not just Bishop?) option to your meeples. Now, when you place your Follower on a Cathedral, it becomes the Archbishop of whatever Cathedral that is, and the Archbishop scores for the entire connected Road network in a means similar to Carcassonne: Hunters & Gatherers. For each Road in the network, either at the time the network is completed or at the end of the game, the Archbishop scores 1 point per tile. The network is completed when the last adjacent Road is completed (in other words, it does not continue beyond villages and other Road-stoppers). I love this option so much, I wish it were included in some more public expansion and called something like The Taverns or the Toll Roads or something, since Cathedrals still don't really belong in Fields.

Inconclusion
This expansion has a lot to offer, but it also has numerous issues to overcome. The premise of the expansion is troubled, its implementation both geographically and production-wise are both poorly done, and its limited availability is unfortunate. That being said, Doris Mathäus's artwork is amazing, anything that improves the value of Roads is excellent, and the new Archbishop option is great. With an expansion like this, you will suddenly find yourself much more interested in your Road planning and claiming.

SCORES
Playability: B
Affordability: B- (due to mandatory shipping fees)
Compatibility (with other expansions): A
Aethetics: B (A for art, C for colour-matching)
Learning Curve: B
FINAL GRADE: B

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=2627.0
« Last Edit: April 16, 2016, 04:00:14 PM by whaleyland »

Offline Hounk

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2016, 04:20:34 PM »
There is also a pretty fair balance between early medieval (Romanesque), late medieval (Gothic), and Renaissance structures, so no architectural style dominates.
It also features Neogothic structures from 19th Century, since the Cologne Cathedral is depicted with two towers. ;)

Offline Whaleyland

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2016, 04:56:28 PM »
True. And another cathedral I discovered is from the eighteenth century (Baroque, ugh).

Offline dirk2112

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2016, 05:02:07 PM »
I agree with most of the review.  My only minor disagreement  is the A for compatibility.  You CAN play it with Inns and Cathedrals, but I don't recommend it.  The scoring gets too confusing for newer and even some experienced players.

Offline Whaleyland

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2016, 05:57:55 PM »
I agree with most of the review.  My only minor disagreement  is the A for compatibility.  You CAN play it with Inns and Cathedrals, but I don't recommend it.  The scoring gets too confusing for newer and even some experienced players.
But at least they give compatibility rules. That is a fairly new development on their part.

Offline SRBO

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2016, 12:41:50 AM »
I agree with most of the review.  My only minor disagreement  is the A for compatibility.  You CAN play it with Inns and Cathedrals, but I don't recommend it.  The scoring gets too confusing for newer and even some experienced players.

We have played with all interacting expansions and to be honest I think.it should be an A, I didnt fount any problems.

Offline Halfling

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2016, 03:49:52 AM »
I'm colourblind and the different field colours are not an issue for me.  That said, my understanding is that in reality a field can differ in shade and certainly differ in shade from other fields around it.  So isn't Carcassonne striking a blow for reality?
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Offline kettlefish

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2016, 04:01:11 AM »
If you have the tiles from the BigBox4 - then the tiles are not to dark from this mini expansion.

Offline SRBO

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2016, 04:05:11 AM »
If you have the tiles from the BigBox4 - then the tiles are not to dark from this mini expansion.

I was thinking the same. The colour isnt any different from the german castles also

Offline Hounk

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2016, 04:29:54 AM »
So, they should also match the "Spielbox" expansions, then.

Offline Clownfeet

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2016, 12:05:44 PM »
Do we know where we will be able to pick this up yet?
must...collect...more...tiles....

Offline SRBO

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 12:09:51 PM »
Do we know where we will be able to pick this up yet?

If im right you are able to get it again in october this year at cundco.de

Offline Clownfeet

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 01:42:31 AM »
i think i'm getting myself all confused!

is it this one:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/196080/carcassonne-cathedrals-germany

or is it a new one. called something like cathedrals in Germany II

Offline SRBO

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 02:01:17 AM »
i think i'm getting myself all confused!

is it this one:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/196080/carcassonne-cathedrals-germany

or is it a new one. called something like cathedrals in Germany II

No its that one from the link

Offline Jéré

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Re: The Barbarian Report: The Cathedrals in Germany...in the Countryside
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 02:03:51 AM »
I think that this expansion is geographically accurate as fields in Germany are definitely greener than they are in South of France.  Haha :-D


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