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Messages - Whaleyland

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Ugh. Sometimes I feel SUPER dumb. I just said that bringing the tiles up to 30 would be icing on the cake...

The Drawbridges: 12 tiles
The Besiegers: 6 tiles
The Peasant Revolts: 12 tiles
TOTAL TILES: 30 tiles

I totally forgot about the Peasant Revolt and it would thematically fit REALLY well with the other two expansions and the Gatekeeper. In fact, the Gatekeeper could also protect a City from negative effects of a Peasant Revolt tile draw (5 of the tiles do impact Cities, after all).

Alternatively, the Peasants Revolt may increase the number of trouble tiles enough to make it more feasible for every player to have their own special figure—one that protects the feature or tile from negative effects in general. Essentially, each player gets their own faery. This is what Bumsakalaka was suggesting, but the scale wasn't there to make it necessary. But if somebody now needs to defend Cities, Roads, and Monasteries, and if they can only defend a single meeple rather than the entire feature, then maybe it makes more sense for each player to have one. Rather than Gatekeeper, it could be a Guardian or Escort. You could use the torch-carrying meeple from Mists Over Carcassonne.

What do you all think?

Anyway +1 merit, very nice review. Are you a writer?
I am indeed a writer—at least it's one of my many jobs. A King meeple sounds like a good proxy. I'm sure I have a few spare meeple sitting around that could do the job.

@Whaleyland so idea of Gatekeeper is interesting and I like it. I think it should be part must have part of Cathars and Drawbridges expansions. Can you take this idea and create more?
I see two more possibilities:
1st. It will be meeple king figure with power = 1.
So you can place meeple or gatekeeper or mayor to the city. And during count of majority gatekeeper will be counted as regular meeple.
I don't think we need another meeple for Cities. The Mayor is quite enough, and regular meeples, Big Meeples, Wagons, Phantoms, and Ring Masters can already go in Cities.

2nd. It will be special figure for each player in his color.
It will be placed to the city like builder. It will not have any other advantage for scoring just defined protection for his player.

For 1st and 2nd option, drawbridge protection and scoring besieged city as regular city is valid only for player with gatekeeper.
See above. Even if, say, we increase the number of Besieger tiles to 10 (i.e., The Cathars + The Besiegers, since they have different configurations) and add the 12 Drawbridge tiles, there still are not really enough tiles to justify every player getting a figure that can stop sieges. That will just make Drawbridges and Siege tiles relatively worthless since most players will only have one or two besieges Cities at a time. Those will be super easy to defend.

3rd. It will be neutral figure.
Protection will be for city at all, by drawbridge cannot invade to the city any meeple from road from any player, doesn't matter which players (colors) are in the city. And also when scoring besieged city, all players with majority scores is as regular city.
Neutral Gatekeeper will be possible to move like Mage or Witch, to any yet unfinished city (not finished city this turn).
This is the only reasonable mechanic. It makes defending a City a challenge—you need to make sure you get the Gatekeeper at the time that the adjacent Road(s) or City scores. Otherwise you risk losing control or points for the City. And yes, it defends the City regardless of which players' meeples are in the City. Consider it a hired defender. If a City with a Gatekeeper scores, the Gatekeeper is returned to the side of the play area until a player decides to defend another incomplete City.

The Gatekeeper shouldn't do anything else. It already is doing two things: providing protected Cities with full points (rather than reductions from Siege tiles) and blocking players from using the Drawbridge. That's essentially what the Faerie does: it protects a meeple from the Dragon and provides 1 bonus point at the start of a turn (not that I ever remember that rule). The "expansion" gets its other rules from the Drawbridges and the Besiegers. If there is another small stand-alone expansion that you think would thematically connect well with this, then I'd consider adding it to round out the "expansion," but 22 tiles plus a meeple is a decent expansion as-is. Bringing it up to 30 tiles would be icing on the cake.

Similarly, players with Stonehenge score 3 points whenever they complete a Road. No meeple required!

It is not true that no meeple is required. That road has to be occupied in order to receive the 3 points. – "If you complete one or more occupied roads".
Okay, I suppose I should say "You don't even need to be on the Road!" But you also are making my point that the rules are confusing and difficult to untangle.

Does Carcassonne have any wonders of the world around it? No, none even close. Does Hans im Glück care about that little inconvenient fact? Not a bit. I guess the definition of “Carcassonne” expands yet again with this unique expansion…

Throwing Geography into the Trash Heap
  • Facts are inconvenient – Up to this point, Carcassonne has had dragons, ferries, magic portals, circuses, mages, witches, giant compass roses, a Ghanan school, cult shrines, cathedrals from Germany, the Low Countries, and Japan, and modern buildings from Darmstradt. Historical accuracy is not this game’s strong suit. So sure, let’s just throw in four impressive architectural structures, only one of which is even in France (and hardly the most impressive structure of its type in the world). Did anyone ask for a Wonders of Humanity expansion? No, and I don’t really understand why these specific structures were even chosen. I suspect it was due to marketing. The worst part: there are going to be more of them.
  • And this thing goes where? – If you can get over the inaccurate history of this, then welcome to the next obstacle: trying to put it on the map. The mechanic is simple enough. As soon as a player reaches 10 points, they get to place this anywhere on the map where it fits and then can place up to two meeples on it, including a bonus meeple they just got from the 10 point spot on the board. Oh, and also the other players’ meeples now move to the 15 spot on the board. Oh, and you need two extra meeples per player, one to act as your bonus and one to mark your wonder as your own. Got all that? Great! Good luck finding a place to put this goliath that benefits you in some way, because all normal placement rules apply.
  • And it does what now? – Okay, you are now historically/geographically indifferent to the wonder, you somehow managed to figure out how to get a wonder, and you’ve placed it haphazardly on the board. Now what? Oh right, get ready to jump back and forth between the (unprinted unless you paid a Euro) rulebook and the board as you try to remember what your specific wonder does. You probably should also remember what everyone else’s does too, just to make sure they’re not intentionally or accidentally cheating or misunderstanding the rules. Shoot, did you forget to do something? Just wait, the next Wonders of Humanity expansion is probably coming out soon and will add four more rules to the mix. Playing with this expansion feels like as much work as building the architectural wonder depicted on the Tetris-like tiles.

What have we done?!
  • Setting the record straight – Carcassonne versions 1 and 2 got pretty confusing regarding multi-tile features and what they counted as (1 tile, 2 tiles, 5 tiles!). Carcassonne 3.0 finally just says what we all wanted it to from the start: each thing that looks like a tile is a tile. Thank. God! They really dropped the ball when they started releasing multi-tile expansions and this clarification makes life so much easier. All of the new tiles in Wonders of Humanity are 5-tile features and count as 5 tiles for all intents and purposes. How hard was that? I will never play any other way again.
  • For the win – Once you figure out the sometimes confusing rules, the four Wonders are quite fun in game-changing ways. Notre-Dame, for example, gives a player points for placing a meeple adjacent to a Monastery. Just placing—it doesn’t even have to score for the future. Pretty cool, though difficult to remember. Similarly, players with Stonehenge score 3 points whenever they complete a Road. No meeple required! Circus Maximus and Alhambra are end-game bonuses, so a little less interesting. The former rewards a player for every meeple of other players’ colors still in a City at the end of the game—this one could go either way and your own meeples and multiple meeples of the same color in an incomplete City don’t score. The latter rewards a player for the number of Farmers they have out, which makes this the least profitable since a player rarely has more than 2-3 farmers out at the end of the game. That being said, a player with this bonus may intentionally toss some out there since they will get both 4 points for their farmers and 3 points for any completed adjacent Cities, like usual.
  • A risky gambit – The Wonders of Humanity, especially as a series, is a daring move by Hans im Glück and it is not a terrible idea, despite the historical inaccuracies involved. Adding impressive architectural works, presumably from around the world and not just Europe as with the current iteration, could attract new players from other countries and also introduce some truly game-altering rules to Carcassonne, for better or for worse. The tiles, too, are interesting in their shapes and format. By having them so large, there are a lot of features that get introduced with these new tiles, making the board grow quickly and giving players many new tile placement options all at once. The art on the tiles is also beautiful, like always, so somehow fits with Carcassonne even while being historically off-putting.

Conceptually, Wonders of Humanity is an interesting direction to go with Carcassonne, and I am not entirely onboard. As a historian in my professional life, I find every deviation away from historical Carcassonne to be a problem in that it pulls me out of the weak theme the original game established. I also am a little worried that additional Wonders, as announced when this released, will require even more rules-checking, turning a simple and enjoyable game into more of a chore. All that being said, I find the tiles visually beautiful, the overall quality very good, and the tile shapes to be unique in a good way. I probably would not buy this straight from unless it was part of a larger order and I don’t think it is worth seeking out otherwise. It is a somewhat gimmicky and fiddly expansion that looks good but could use some refinement.

Playability: B
Affordability: B
Compatibility (with other expansions): B
Aethetics: A
Learning Curve: B-

Thank you for a very nice article. (+1 merit)
I very much agree somehow combining Drawbridges with Besiegers would make sense.
Maybe even use your builder to defend against the attack?
And there's the special figure: the Gatekeeper. A special neutral figure like the Faerie that can be moved to any incomplete City on the map. A City with the Gatekeeper stops any player from using the Drawbridge to move their Meeple into the City. The Gatekeeper also allows a City to score full points if it is besieged. On a turn, a player can choose to either place a Meeple or move the Gatekeeper.

Oh no! The drawbridge is rising and now I can’t get into the bloody city! What on earth can a poor citizen of Carcassonne do? Apparently a siege is out of the question.

So this is what invincibility feels like
  • Missed opportunity – As a collector of everything Carcassonne, I find that however much I want to like The Besiegers, I just don’t. It’s a crappy expansion with a fiddly mechanic, and I think that’s a strong reason why Hans im Glück hasn’t released it in the new art (yet). The Drawbridges was an excellent opportunity to fix that expansion by integrating the two (probably as a full-sized expansion). Instead, what we get is a decent expansion about moats and drawbridges but no actual reason for either since these features historically were only needed to defend against sieges and invaders. Maybe Hans im Glück needs to stop focusing so heavily on mini expansions and return to larger expansions.
  • Let’s break all the rules – The Drawbridges does something that few expansions do: it let’s you break the core Carcassonne rule that you cannot place a meeple in another player’s feature. While that is certainly fun and involves a new level of strategy, it can also be quite aggressive and very random. As with most things in Carcassonne, the tiles come out randomly, so one player may get all the Drawbridges or get none. This imbalance makes the expansion imbalanced and can lead to huge coups where one player goes from having no meeples in a player’s City to having the majority. Yes, there is strategy here, but there is also a lot of luck. Also, once a City is completed, then that's it—there are no more opportunities to take over that City. While there is a logic to these, it also makes for a race to complete features before a Road is completed, which can add undue stress to an otherwise relaxing game.
  • Didn’t we try this already? – On the other hand, this mechanic really isn’t new. The first edition of Expansion 5: Abbey & Mayor introduced the Wagon as a new type of meeple. When the feature that the Wagon is on is completed, the Wagon was allowed to move via Roads into an adjacent incomplete, unclaimed feature. This mechanic was considered very fiddly and so was replaced in the second edition with a new rule that the Wagon can move to any adjacent incomplete feature. So the Drawbridges brings back the spirit of the original iteration of the Wagon with movement restricted to an adjacent City but initial placement restricted to Roads and the status of the City irrelevant. Perhaps this is why they changed the rules for the Wagon, but this expansion seems to just bring back what was already discarded, which seems strange.

How did it take this long?
  • Bridges that go up – How is it that it took 23 years from this game’s release to come out with a Drawbridge expansion? I mean, it’s one of the most obvious concepts for a medieval-themed game. Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled that one finally came out and that it looks as good as it does. The fact that some of the moats don’t have water—very historically accurate. Indeed, most moats did not have water. Conceptually, this expansion is a great idea that should have come out in the first few waves of expansions.
  • Where’s my Trojan Horse? – Despite the rules borrowing heavily from the Wagon meeple from Abbey & Mayor, the Drawbridges have a simple strategic viciousness about them that I really appreciate. These tiles hold the fate of a City in their little Roads. Complete a Road attached to an incomplete City and you can roll right in, current tenants be damned. You can even steal a City from someone using just Drawbridges if you link a few of them up to the same City. It takes a lot of advanced planning to pull off, but when it works, it feels deserved. Yes, it is a very aggressive expansion akin to The Tower, The Count of Carcassonne, or The Princess & the Dragon, but it doesn’t feel as mean, which is good. Much like The Ferries, this expansion also makes Roads feel more worthwhile and strategic than they do in the base game.
  • Simple elegance – Ah, nothing is more satisfying than relatively straight-forward tiles without gaudy expansion features or unthematic icons. And 12 tiles with a ton of Cities and Roads, what a treat! This expansion probably pairs well with Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders, which also rely heavily on Cities and Roads for its mechanics. One of the tiles even includes a Garden, which is always a welcome addition for the often underpowered Abbot figure. And three Water Towers appear on tiles, foreshadowing a future use. Honestly, there is nothing negative that can really be said of the tiles themselves—they are great.

This is a very welcomed expansion. Its rules are straightforward if a bit aggressive. Its tiles look good and the addition of 12 new tiles is nothing to scoff at. And the integration potential with this expansion is extraordinary. If you mix these with Expansions 1 and 2—which are undeniably the most popular—then you will add the ability to daisy-chain Roads into double-pointers that then immediately allow a player to potentially steal a City, which may have Trade Goods in it. Throw in The Ferries and you will really have some aggressive Roads that do more than just score 1 point per tile. I am sure the expansion will mix well with many other expansions, although I fear that the Wagon may cause some confusion at times. As far as stand-alone expansions go, I do feel it was a missed opportunity not to release this as an Expansion 12 alongside The Siege and perhaps one other mechanic, but oh well. If you happen to have an opportunity to get this expansion, you won’t regret it.

Playability: A
Affordability: B
Compatibility (with other expansions): A-
Aethetics: A
Learning Curve: A-

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.

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