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Messages - Whaleyland

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News and Events / Re: Meeple Flags will replace scoring tiles
« on: November 29, 2021, 11:45:34 AM »
They've run out of stock of all of them now, so no more dilemma. While I like the concept, they look very brittle (are they made of balsa wood?). I think I'll stick to my normal scoring tiles. I ordered a second set of CI scoring tiles several years ago. I will likely order more CII/III scoring tiles once they are made available. They work adequately.

News and Events / Re: Spiel tile 2021
« on: November 27, 2021, 07:06:02 PM »
The Spiel '21 tile has square edges because it was printed in 2018 on a single sheet with 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 tiles. This was the same thing they did in 2014 with the first four (dark city) years of the tiles. If they continue to do Spiel tiles next year, they will presumably start with yet another four-year sheet that will have the new crowded city style with rounded corners.

For all intents and purposes, the Spiel '21 tile is the last of the Carcassonne 2.1 tiles that will be released by Hans im Glück.

Considering they revamped the art style in 2017 (made the cities lighter in colour), yet still had older art for their Spiel tile, and the same thing has happened this year with the rounded corners and more crowded cities, I really hope they've learned to either NOT do Spiel tiles at all, or to print out only a single years' run at a time to allow them to make format/style changes more rapidly.

General / Re: update profile
« on: November 18, 2021, 03:01:05 AM »
The new stuff is NOT 3.0. It is done by the same artist as 2.0 and still resembles 2.1 in almost every way except the crowded Cities. That’s it. Are they releasing a new box cover? Yes, but if you look at the original Carcassonne boxes they were continuously tweaked with a grim knight and robber ultimately replaced by an enchanted knight and flirty maiden. While there is definitely a continuity break in 2014 due to a change in artists, that is definitely not the case in 2021. Same artist, same style, just editorial tweaks to the format.

News and Events / Re: Carcassonne Big Box with new tile format?
« on: November 09, 2021, 02:49:40 AM »
I have a feeling that this will be the final 20th Anniversary surprise item. That means we got:
* 20 Anniversary Edition
* The Gift
* New draw bags
* Big Box (2021)

I’d probably include The Peasant Revolt in there too since it started the new art style even though I think they released late last year. I doubt anything else will be released by Christmas.

News and Events / Re: Carcassonne GQ available at bgg !
« on: November 05, 2021, 04:02:08 PM »
They're the same. The photo BGG is using must be a user-uploaded photo. The user reframed the Cloister 90˚ and accidentally swapped the two CRCR tiles. That's all. No shenanigans. If you look closely at the swapped tiles on the BGG listing, you can see that the angles and colours don't match up 100%. Same with the Cloister.

The Marketplace / Re: 2020 Winter Edition crossing the Atlantic
« on: November 04, 2021, 07:41:11 PM »
Finally received my copy of the Winter-Edition 2021 (as well as Memoir '44 Pacific Theater) from The-Edge. Thanks so much for sending it all the way to New Zealand! It looks great and I already had the Gingerbread Man all ready to add to the box when it arrived. I have Kornkriese in storage in the US, so that one will have to wait to be added, but I'm super happy having Winter-Edition in time for Christmas (even if Christmas is in summer here). Cheers!

The rules are obviously photocopied but IIRC, they were on a sheet with a bunch of other Darmstadt-themed items. The tiles look 100% legitimate from the photo. You can see the tile fibre and the green is darker than average, which is correct for those tiles.

Ah yes, the blue arrows. Too small. Too aesthetically displeasing. They aren't the first time that Hans im Glück has gotten lazy with designs, but they are far lazier than the Fliers, which is probably their closest equivalent.

Bad news is, that it looks line new design standard. We can call it 2.2? Or 20 but this can be replaced with 2.0. so I prefferen 2.2 used in Peasant revold for first time. We will see how it will be when otherimi will be released. I hope that it will be on december, like last year

Odoslané z SM-A202F pomocou Tapatalku
I would definitely call it 2.2, especially since it did not originate with the 20th Anniversary Edition. I suspect like the roll-out of 2.1 that it will take a few years to trickle down from Hans im Glück to its distribution partners, but I also assume the Spiel '21 tile is the final official iteration of 2.1, just like the Spiel '17 tile was the final of 2.0.

I am in the minority with this, I know, but I welcome the change. The tiles look tremendously better than 2.0's tiles and work fine with the 2.1 tiles since the colors still match, but these tiles are the first in Carcassonne's 21-year history to actually depict a lived-in city. It just seems right even if the aesthetics around the edges are less than ideal. The fate of any tile-laying game is that things will be unusual around the edges—Carcassonne has avoided this problem somewhat by making the edges really boring, but making them more exciting naturally leads to other problems.

News and Events / Re: The Gifts - New mini expansion announced
« on: October 21, 2021, 04:39:35 PM »
I'm hoping for one new mini and waiting for the Spiel '21. With a mini, I should just be over €20. I hope they don't push the limit to €25 or higher, though, because there's really nothing else I want. My cart currently has The Gifts, the two 20th Anniversary bags, and 1 pink Abbot (I bought a pink set years ago but never got the pink Abbot since it was pre-2014).

That's true! This edition finally seemed to address the double-tile issue in a satisfactory manner. Of course they count as two tiles in most situations, why was this so hard of an answer to come to?

The fact that Hans im Glück thinks this edition is some quasi-spin-off and not a base game is ridiculous. I still had not purchased a copy of the base game in the new art style until I got this and without this, I probably wouldn't have bought one at all (my partner is still wondering why I bought least until I told her it has an exclusive expansion, then she just rolled her eyes). Instead of using the 20th anniversary to try to attract new players while also providing something fun for old players, they made this: a beautiful box with beautiful tiles that neither satisfies old players nor attracts new ones. I feel it's a wasted opportunity. Wheel of Fortune was far more bold and even the 10th Anniversary Edition with The Festival at least provided an interesting, if basic, expansion.

Note: This is only a review of the 20 extra tiles in the game. This is not a review of the edition as a whole.

Carcassonne has been around for over two decades now, so it is pretty impressive that expansions are still being released annually for it. The only other game with such a track record is Catan. That being said, many of Carcassonne’s expansions have been less than impressive, and some have been downright dull or confusing. The 20th Anniversary Expansion—or rather “inspansion” since it is exclusive to the 20th Anniversary Edition of the base game—chose to play it safe, but as a result it sort of just makes parts of the first three full-sized expansions redundant. Let me explain…

Pride & Prejudice
  • I’ve Seen This Before – Hans im Glück loves its legacy and it knows that the first two expansions, Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders, are the most popular expansions in the series. They have been included in every Big Box as well as several combo boxes over the years. So, instead of developing something new, the designers of the 20th Anniversary Edition decided to borrow the most popular concepts from the first three expansions, namely Big Meeples, the Builder, and Magic Portals (from The Princess & the Dragon). This is all done through 20 extra tiles (15 are marked with a lazy “20” watermarks on them—the remaining 5 are new River tiles with nothing interesting to note except for the double-sized source tile with a “20” emblazoned in the middle) that are shuffled into the rest of the tiles. The tiles are uninspired—many are just base game tiles with the new mechanic on them—and the actual mechanic is lazily depicted in a relatively small blue arrow that can be difficult to differentiate. Furthermore, playing a game of Carcassonne using both the 20th Anniversary Expansion and any of the first three expansions will inevitably result in confusion and a general feeling of repetition between features and rules.
  • Double the Punch, Half the Impact – While there are certainly tactical advantages to the new mechanic where a player can double-up their meeple presence on a feature, thereby replicating the effect of the Big Meeple from Inns & Cathedrals, the end result may be that two of your meeples are now stranded on a feature for the rest of the game. Inns & Cathedrals addresses this by providing an entirely new meeple that doesn’t cost you one of your normal meeples. The mechanic in the 20th Anniversary Edition, however, does the opposite. It now costs a player two meeples from their core supply of 7—that’s a high cost! If someone manages to trap those meeples, they are there for the rest of the game unless you also mix in an expansion like The Festival, that helpfully can be used to remove trapped meeples from tiles. While the benefit of dropping a second meeple on a feature can be shocking and game-altering, it is a risk that rarely equals the reward.
  • Bad Strategy, Now With Punishment – One mechanic I always dislike in games is account-keeping. It’s just annoying. Whenever I play The Princess & the Dragon expansion, I ignore the bonus points from the Fairy. In 2-player games especially, it rarely moves so just continues to accrue points each turn for whoever happened to move it last, and trying to remember the +3 points for completed features with the Fairy is futile. Other than the Fairy, Carcassonne hasn’t really had a ton of account keeping. But this game has it twofold. First, if a player places a tile so that the bonus action arrow is not pointing to an adjacent tile, then the player receives two points. This is just dumb. Don’t reward a bad move. If the player didn’t get the bonus action, it’s probably because they had a more valuable use for the tile. But then to add a dumb rule to a dumb rule, a player in a later turn can place a tile adjacent to an arrow and activate the bonus action. I get that this is to further emphasize the importance of these bonus tiles, but just no. We forgot about that rule at least twice when playing, and also forgot about the +2 points for not using the bonus action. And then there is the situation where you don’t want to or can’t use the bonus action but don’t qualify for the bonus points. It’s all a bit too much.

Sense & Sensibility
  • Return to a Land of Magic – Introduced in The Princess & the Dragon as a way to claim vacant features left incomplete from previous rounds, the Magic Portals are by far one of the most popular and useful features introduced to Carcassonne. Thus, their return in the 20th Anniversary Expansion, albeit in a slightly modified format, is extremely welcome. Any player of Carcassonne knows that there are situations where a player must leave something vacant because something else is potentially more valuable. This little addition corrects for that by allowing a player to claim any vacant feature left over from a previous round. And I mean ANY, including empty Gardens or Monasteries, or unclaimed Fields. This feature can be a game changer in all the right ways!
  • Churning Those Tiles – Another popular mechanic from an expansion is that of the Builder, which allows a player to take a second turn if they expand a feature that has their Builder figure on it. In the 20th Anniversary Expansion, players only have to draw and place the appropriate tile to receive this bonus, but the benefit is still very nice. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like getting a second tile to place in a row, and this mechanic also helps go through the tiles a little faster.
  • More is Better – Perhaps the simplest but best feature of this expansion is the fact that it adds 20 new tiles, however simple they may be. Among these new tiles are 2 new Gardens, which are always welcome since they are slightly less represented across the line than Monasteries, and a new Monastery, which increases the number in this edition to eight total. I have always felt that Monasteries, which are limited to 6 in the base game (7 with The River), get short shrift in Carcassonne despite the fact that 10% of people in the Middle Ages were directly involved in some capacity in the Church. Adding new Monasteries and Gardens helps increase the odds that a player will pull one of these tiles, increases the chances that they will be able to claim a Garden, and provides for a more exciting play experience. The other additional tiles, including the new double-sized source tile, the new lake, and the 3 other new River tiles, are always welcome, although I wish this version of The River expansion had its own unique watermarks like those on the Big Box 6’s River tiles.

This expansion was certainly not Hans im Glück’s best, but it also was far from its worse. At least everything was fairly straightforwards, which is more than can be said about the Carcassonne Minis and half of its promo expansions over the years. Nonetheless, I feel that this expansion was a missed opportunity to do something that respected the legacy of the series but in a new way. Simply copying mechanics from the first three expansions doesn’t respect the legacy, it undermines the first three expansions! In 2011 and 2016, The Festival was released as a new expansion with a simple but useful mechanic. I think that 15 bonus tiles (not the new River tiles—those are fine) could have done something similar, perhaps by borrowing concepts from some of the most popular spin-offs or creating something equally useful and new. This is not the place to propose alternatives, but it is the place to say that Carcassonne deserved something more useful and interesting to commemorate 20 years of an amazing game. Fortunately, Hans im Glück is giving us The Gifts at Essen this year, so there is perhaps some little bonus expansion that will satisfy, if not replace the disappointment that is the 20th Anniversary Expansion.

Playability: B+
Affordability: D
Compatibility (with other expansions): B
Aesthetics: B
Learning Curve: B

News and Events / Re: Spiel tile 2021
« on: October 14, 2021, 03:51:17 AM »
Now that is a strangely scaled tile! People are as tall as the walls!

General / Re: Query on tiles
« on: October 13, 2021, 06:38:48 PM »
Specifically, the River II from Count, King & Cult, which you can tell from the crown watermarks. The original stand-alone version of this expansion did not have watermarks.

News and Events / Re: Spiel tile 2021
« on: October 13, 2021, 03:45:33 AM »
So it's small "gift" for us.
A small gift that requires a minimum €20 purchase. This has gotten harder and harder to meet since shipping for the maps is a fortune and I already own every game component for Carcassonne. Every year it’s another struggle to get up to €20 (+shipping that often costs the same or more), all so I can get one tile. That’s why I hope this is the last year of Spiel tiles. They’re so exploitative. Maybe for Germans everything is cheap and easy, but shipping internationally has increased substantially over the past year and I can’t keep trying to find enough stuff to buy each year.

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