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Messages - Whaleyland

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General / Re: Promo tiles status
« on: March 31, 2024, 03:25:58 AM »
The Russian tiles were produced by a licensed Carcassonne publisher (Hobby World), which is why they are usually considered official. La Porxada was also produced by a licensed Carcassonne publisher (Devir) but because it was only ever released as stickered tiles, it was never officially published and is therefore considered quasi-official.

All of the other expansions you mentioned are unofficial because they were created by organisations as prizes competitions, even though some of those competitions were approved and even supported by licensed publishers. The Darmstadt tiles would normally also fall into this category since they were produced by Darmstadt spielt, but in this one case, they were printed with the expressed approval of Hans im Glück and are therefore usually considered official tiles.

General / Re: Problems with WICA
« on: January 19, 2024, 01:00:57 PM »
Working again. Cheers!

General / Re: Problems with WICA
« on: January 18, 2024, 12:16:11 AM »
I agree that the top two links are showing blank pages for me on Safari (MacBook Pro).

General / Re: Spin-off Rankings?
« on: January 09, 2024, 04:20:36 PM »
1. Winter Edition
2. Hunters & Gatherers
3. The Castle
4. Mists Over Carcassonne
5. Ark of the Covenant
6. Safari
7. Gold Rush
8. New World/Mayflower
9. Star Wars
10. The City
11. Wheel of Fortune
12.The Discovery

I haven’t played the rest but I have a copy of South Seas sitting unopened in storage and I’d like to get Amazonas.

General / Re: What's up with the River in Big Box 5?
« on: December 20, 2023, 02:24:37 AM »
So we now call it River II Simba's Pride?
Please, we're talking The River II, not The Lion King II.

It should be The River II: The Count's (Wounded) Pride.

General / Re: What's up with the River in Big Box 5?
« on: December 18, 2023, 04:39:29 AM »
All you heretics still calling it River 1....
Is like calling the first Lion King movie Lion King 1... There's no such thing!  >:D
Ok, I agree on this!

The River = The Lion King
The River II = The Lion King II
The River from BB5 = The Lion King... Oh wait... You're gonna hate the official name of that movie  ;D

Following that logic, the River from BB5 is now The River 1/2... Not too bad, in my opinion.  :))
I hate to break it to you, but internationally, the third film is called The Lion King 3: Hakuna Matata.

General / Re: What's up with the River 3?
« on: December 11, 2023, 08:48:20 PM »
There are more than 20 distinct River I expansions at this point, many of them more different from the original than BB5 version.

Hogwash! There may be more than 20 variants, but only the BB5 version has three printed expansion features and expansion watermarks, making it entirely unique to all the others. The back being gray is an error, nothing more. The BB5 River is either River I.5 or River III, but wholly unique from I and II. I also will continue to call it The River III.

Anything Else / Re: Happy Birthday
« on: July 03, 2023, 01:03:47 PM »
Aww, thanks! Probably no campaign mode anytime soon since I still haven't even played the Ukraine or Taiwan maps, or The Bets expansion. I barely have time for games these days and haven't played the basic Carcassonne game for probably six months.  :'(

General / Re: C1, C2, C3… what a mess!
« on: May 13, 2023, 04:05:43 AM »
C2.1. The original Carcassonne 2.0 release had much darker Cities. They were corrected not long after the first couple expansions were released in the new art.

While I am excited for these new boxes and the Nordic map, I still haven't played the Taiwan and Ukraine maps and have only played the last two mini-expansions once each, so I am going to hold out for the Advent sale like always and keep my fingers crossed that everything I want to order will be in stock. I also obviously need to get transparent Ghost meeples. The wooden ghosts have always been placeholders for something sufficiently spooky.

I think a Southern France expansion with 6 Monasteries, 6 Cathedrals, and 6 Castles depicting places in old Languedoc would be amazing.

News and Events / Re: Vertical Carcassonne
« on: February 26, 2023, 02:21:13 PM »
Id happily play vertical Carcassonne. Could be fun, even if it’s just a silly start tile.

Correct. I’m originally from California and adopted an online persona of Darius von Whaleyland, Great Khan of the Illustrious Barbarian Horde, back in 2008 or so when I was deep into medieval royal genealogical research. I’ve mostly moved past that stage of my life but I still call all my video game characters Darius or Daria and still have the Barbarian Report.  :)

Ghosts and Carcassonne: what a novel idea. Mists Over Carcassonne seems like an out of left field Carcassonne spin-off. The fact that it also functions as an expansion means it has quite a lot in common conceptually with Wheel of Fortune, but the stand-alone aspect is something entirely different from the base game of Carcassonne and it is something that is the focus of this review. If you want to see my review of the game as an expansion, you’ve got to wait a while long since I haven’t actually tried it yet.

Perilous Puzzles
* Unraveling the Mystery – Mists Over Carcassonne involves ghosts, cemeteries, and haunted castles, and players work together to try and unlock the mysteries of this game. And what mystery is that? How it works! Seriously. I have played around 30 games of this now, but I have only played about 5 of those using the correct rules. Without a doubt, this game has to include some of the most poorly-organized rules in all the Carcassonne family. And even the wizards at Wikicarpedia have struggled to translate Hans im Glück’s poor structure into something that makes sense. Part of the problem is that there are six levels players can play at, some of which actually change rules. The other part of the problem is some important rules are either buried or not located in a logical place. For example, did you know that if you are playing with 2-3 players, each player should actually play as two separate colors? Alongside that, if players connect features, they actually score for each color! Oh, and if you score a feature—any feature—you can choose to either score the points or remove up to 3 ghosts from a single tile. Yeah, we learned each of these rules separately after playing the game wrong for many times. On the plus side, we now feel the game is too easy.
* Behold, A Castle in the Fog! – Carcassonne is known for its castles. I mean, some people call Cities ‘Castles’. Then there are German Castles. Oh, and you can’t forget Castles (from Castles, Bridges & Bazaars). So the addition of yet another Castle feature is rather uninventive. The rules for it are also rather underwhelming—surround the Haunted Castle and score 2 points for each adjacent tile with mist. Really? That’s it. Okay, so say I’ve trapped my poor meeple on it for most of the game and the tile is completely surrounded. I score 18 points. Woo. I could have scored more just by claiming a large City. The core of this game is really scoring large Cities with several meeples to gain points, and scoring small features quickly to remove ghosts. Haunted Castles serve no purpose and I doubt I’ll ever claim one in the future.
* Leveled Up – Undeniably, one of this game’s potential strengths is also one of its gravest weaknesses. This game scales like many cooperative games do. But where many co-op games increase difficulty by removing or increasing something, or adding an extra rule, Mists Over Carcassonne adds rules six times and also changes them. The game includes a little cardboard cheat sheet for these changes, but it is sometimes difficult to interpret and still requires players to know what the new rules are to begin with. The game begins without Cemeteries and Castles (Level 1), then adds them (Level 2), then adds a timeout mechanism (Level 3), then removes ghosts (Level 4), then changes Cemetery rules (Level 5), then makes each player fend for themselves (Level 6). It is a lot to take in, and explains why the rules are so hard to understand. Conceptually, the level system should work, but in practice, it is confusing and should have been workshopped some more. Established rules shouldn’t change between levels—better solutions can be found.

Crisis in Languedoc
* Reinventing the Wheel – One thing you have to credit this game with is that it truly reimagines Carcassonne in an innovative way. Turning the game into a truly cooperative game using many of the same core mechanics of the base game converts Carcassonne into a puzzle-timer game. The clock is always running down, with ghosts and tiles both running out, sometimes quite quickly. Teamwork is key to ensure that as many meeple as possible get onto potentially high-scoring Cities. But players also have to watch out for running out of meeples, creating too many mist areas and open Cemeteries, placing too many Ghosts, and creating incompletable features. It’s a very difficult balance and will take many games to get good at.
* Panicky Peasants — This game instills a strange sense of fear and panic that is both exhilarating and satisfying. As the ghosts enter the field, and especially when the first Cemetery comes out, players can feel the tension, as if the end is nigh and the game may just beat the players. It makes some decisions very tense, and there is a lot of gambling, especially since the tile draws are still entirely random like in the base game. But this feeling makes the game quite fun and victories are truly enjoyed by all players. The game also plays very fast. There often are few realistic choices for tile placements, so games, especially at Levels 1 and 2, can take only minutes in some cases. So if you lose, there is a strong desire to try it again; and if you win, you may want to push your luck and try for a second win.
* Doubling Up – Although this isn’t a review of this game as an expansion to Carcassonne, the fact that the game can serve as such is nothing short of wonderful. This game adds 60 new tiles (plus a gorgeous new 2x2 start tile) to your base game experience, with new features and the addition of ghosts. In sort of adds the long out of print The Plague expansion into the game in a new ghostly way. The new scoreboard is also fun. I consider this the Halloween expansion, which with the Winter Edition means Hans im Glück really needs to create an integrateable Spring expansion (or Summer if they want to claim the base game is Spring). And yes, Winter Edition can totally be mixed in with the base game—you just have to believe!!!

Mists Over Carcassonne was not a spin-off that anyone asked for but it is certainly one that has proven its worth. As a cooperative game, it takes the Carcassonne family in new directions that are both innovative and fun. From introducing ghosts and cemeteries to ramping up difficulty, the game will prove popular as a warm up game in a familiar genre and setting. While it certainly has some issues, those are not insurmountable and I encourage players to work their way through them in order to actual get to the heart of this game, which is a puzzly, luck-based tile laying game with a surprising amount of skill and strategy hidden under the fun façade.

Playability: A-
Affordability: B+
Aesthetics: A
Learning Curve: C

Just a quick update: after 25 games at Levels 1 and 2, we finally played our first Level 3 game today only to realise that we've accidentally been playing the game at an even harder level than intended. We never noticed the rules that allow you to remove 3 ghosts rather than score points for a feature!

Why on earth did they stick this at the end of a section in the rules that explained that ghosts don't score anything? I've read the rules twice and my partner once and neither of us noticed this rule. It should be reiterated in every scoring section, not in its own nonsensical section crammed in after explaining how ghosts work.

I am super disappointed with how these rules were written and organised. They have caused us endless confusion. At least we finally figured out why we were only at about a 40% success rate at Level 2. Had we known about the removal option, we would have saved ourselves a lot of trouble.

In better news, we handily won our first Level 3 game with about half the tiles left and a few ghosts still sitting in the reserve. The second hound did nothing for us (none of our meeples were adjacent to ghosts) but we managed to score 64 points for a single 16-point feature by strategically getting all four of our meeple colours on it. After that, we only had 8 more points to win, which we achieved in three more turns. We didn't even end up using the meeple removal option. However, we did get lucky in that we only drew one Cemetery about mid-way through the game. Those things can get vicious if multiple are pulled early on.

I am aiming to play a few more games (with the correct rules) over the next few evenings and then I'll write a Barbarian Report next weekend. As a preview, one of the negative points will 100% be the rules booklet.

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