Author Topic: Defensive Tactics with the Castle (Expansion #8)  (Read 623 times)

Offline kothmann

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Defensive Tactics with the Castle (Expansion #8)
« on: April 08, 2021, 06:29:57 AM »
I've been thinking about defending a city against invasion when playing with the castle.  Consider the scenario shown below, where the two CCFF tiles shown are not part of the board, but just shown for reference.

In the base game alone, Blue is hoping to draw the tile (top right) that divides the cities before Yellow draws the tile (bottom right) that joins them.  There are only two dividing tiles, but there are five joining tiles, so the odds are against Blue.  When using the castle from Expansion #8, things get worse for Blue, because in that case if either Blue or Yellow places the dividing tile, Yellow can create a castle and then share the city points by completing Blue's city before any of the roads in the castle fief are completed.  There are many more "city cap" tiles than "road end" tiles, so the Yellow invasion has a very high chance of success even if Blue draws the dividing tile!

But, if Blue closes the left edge of the city before placing the dividing tile, Yellow could no longer use a castle to share the big city points, because the dividing tile will complete the city at the same time that the castle is created, and a castle only scores for features completed on a subsequent turn.

The tactical implication is that when your city is threatened with invasion from a city segment that could become a castle, close all other open edges of that city as soon as possible, so that a dividing tile will effectively repel the invasion.

Perhaps this isn't too important, because the better tactic for Blue is to respond offensively, by "invading" their own city from the left, in which case a joining tile would be to Blue's advantage in preventing a castle and allowing them to win the meeple war in that city?

I like the castles and they certainly create interesting situations.  But in the base game, it already seems very difficult to defend against invasion, and castles appear to make it even more difficult.  We use a few castle house rules, one of which is: a player may only create a castle when they close a city.  In the example here, Blue would be able to deploy the dividing tile to repel the invasion without Yellow creating a castle.

I'd be very interested to hear other thoughts about the example shown here, or other subtle castle tactics, and also any house rules that you may have when using the castles.

Thanks!

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=5190.0

Offline danisthirty

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Re: Defensive Tactics with the Castle (Expansion #8)
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2021, 08:39:03 AM »


It's an interesting situation for sure. In Blue's position I would expect to see Yellow join my city before I've had the chance to cut him out and have the castle created, but your suggestion of closing the open side as soon as possible so that a castle can't be created is certainly a good one and should be prioritised.

Since there are still 2 x crrr and 3 x crfr tiles left I'd probably (as Blue) hope to create a castle of my own at the end of that road leading to the top-right corner. If successful, and nothing else completes first, it wouldn't matter which tile came first (joined or split) as it'd either be that Yellow and Blue share the city and I take the same value again for my castle, or Yellow is cut out of the city and creates a castle, but both castles would complete at the same time as the city so I'd still benefit by the same number of points.

Alternatively, if Yellow creates the castle first, completing the road or the city would be good to finish the castle (with either a crrr, crfr or a cccr in the case of the road) for fewer points than the city is worth. Lots of options!

Overall, I really like this question as it demonstrates just how much castles change tactics in Carcassonne. Thanks kothmann! :) :(y)
« Last Edit: April 09, 2021, 11:04:04 AM by Decar »

Offline Decar

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Re: Defensive Tactics with the Castle (Expansion #8)
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2021, 11:32:59 AM »
Great little tactical post.

As Blue, I think I'd consider leaving the city open. Currently, it's going to take a few turns for either Yellow or Blue to add another meeple.

If the splitter tile comes up, then Yellow can make a castle, or take the 4pts.

If Yellow takes a Castle, As Blue I'd be looking to finish that 2pt road ASAP, like Dan said.

If Dan's playing there's always a chance he'll trap all 4 features just so the castle doesn't get finished.  ;D

Don't forget the potential extra point in the farm too!


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