Author Topic: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?  (Read 894 times)

Offline kothmann

  • Marquis
  • ***
  • Posts: 554
  • Merit: 70
  • Oh! That’s interesting...
    • View Profile
Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« on: October 12, 2022, 12:05:15 PM »
I have been experimenting with the official rules for Shrines, and found that they are rarely interesting and often cumbersome.  Most of the time, a player who would be initiating a challenge will have fewer surrounding tiles at the moment the tile is placed, so will be at a disadvantage, and thus decide not to challenge.  Or the challenge ends in a boring tie.  The result is that the rules mostly just restrict placement of tiles.  These are not new observations, and the problems seem to contribute to an overall low ranking for Count, King, and Robber.

I have been searching for variants, but not found much, save one interesting (as usual) idea from @Leven that makes use of the Cemetery expansion.

So, I guess I'm wondering if anyone has a different point of view about official rules for Shrines, or can suggest a variant that is worth a try.

Thanks!

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=6114.0

Offline DIN0

  • Viscount
  • ****
  • Posts: 807
  • Merit: 37
  • Carcassonne is only complete with 11th expansion:)
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2022, 04:25:14 PM »
Exactly! The Cults is one of those (many) unfortunate expansions that set out to do a very specific thing, but failed completely at execution. This is even worse because the cults are trying to solve a problem that never existed. For some reason, in the early years of casual Carcassonne there was this paradigm that cloisters are "too powerfull" and whoever draws more cloisters probably wins. This couldn't be further from the truth - cloisters are the weakest and most risky feature of the original game and for many many years has not recieved any boons in the various expansions making them seriously malnourished feature. In fact cloisters recieved several counter-elements (including cults) making them even weaker! It was way overdue when HiG finally decided to throw cloisters a bone. They are the ultimate red herring of Carcassonne.

Even if they were justified, the Cults failed for the reasons you mentioned. So to answer the question, no I usually don't play with rules for the Cults, just with the tiles to make them into more cloisters in hopes of making this feature type more powerful.

Offline Sir Lose-a-Farm

  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 171
  • Merit: 8
  • Days since last game: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2022, 11:38:44 AM »
I think I only experienced one (1) challenge between a monastery and a shrine since I've started playing the game. Most of the time the 5 shrine tiles are just there to get some easy heretic points. Usually when they are interesting it's just because they can't be played somewhere (because there's already two manasteries around) and the player doesn't realize it so the opponent can mock him relentlessy
I forgot to score the fairy bonus point. Again.

Offline kothmann

  • Marquis
  • ***
  • Posts: 554
  • Merit: 70
  • Oh! That’s interesting...
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2022, 01:00:26 PM »
Thanks for the reply @DIN0–wow I really hit a nerve!

cloisters are the weakest and most risky feature of the original game…
I agree they are often over-valued, but maybe they aren’t quite this bad?  I am usually delighted to draw a cloister early, when it will be surrounded quickly because there is nowhere else to play.  And who doesn’t love a late cloister that finally fills a gap in the landscape, sometimes even completing when the tile is placed!

In a base-game-only contest, typical winning score is probably between 70 and 80, with 7 meeples, so even a monk that generates 8 points while stuck the whole game isn’t that far from the average of 10 per meeple?  By comparison, a failed invasion of a farm can often yield a meeple that scores only 3 points or sometimes zero, though admittedly the upside potential is usually a lot higher.

Maybe the problem arises because most people throw in a couple of expansions and end up with 100, 120, or 150 tiles, with a similar increase in winning score, so in that case a stuck meeple is indeed a catastrophe?  I’ve notice that in small “Carc for 2” games with my wife, it feels like cloisters do indeed often tip the balance.

Quote
It was way overdue when HiG finally decided to throw cloisters a bone.
The Abbott?  I can’t bring myself to use it, and not just because C1 doesn’t have gardens.  Just seems like the tactics are trivial and not interesting.

Quote
I usually don't play with rules for the Cults, just with the tiles…
No variant rules?  Lots of possibilities…

I think I only experienced one (1) challenge between a monastery and a shrine since I've started playing the game.
Thanks for the data point—very helpful.  Full disclosure: I don’t actually own Shrines, I was just experimenting with those rules as variants for the volcano tiles since I don’t play official dragon rules either.  But I’ve given up on that now and back to searching for volcano alternatives…

Offline Decar

  • Owner
  • Chatelain Grand Officier
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 6552
  • Merit: 313
  • Shut up and take my money!
    • View Profile
    • tehill.net
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2022, 01:57:54 PM »
I've played them alongside Cathars, as both were very early expansions for Carcassonne. I dislike the weird placement rules about them being too close to each other, which is a rule to prevent cloisters being put next to each other, but along with cathars, the extra tiles with the city escape rule makes this ok.

In theory adding more cloisters should normalize the chances of drawing all the cloister tiles, and the placement rules should restrict their piggyback effects. I might try this one again soon.

Offline DIN0

  • Viscount
  • ****
  • Posts: 807
  • Merit: 37
  • Carcassonne is only complete with 11th expansion:)
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2022, 09:07:14 AM »
Thanks for the reply @kothmann ! I can elaborate on why the cloisters are so bad. But first I should say that I do not think they are useless - they are situational but paired with randomness, making them too much of a wild card to be used effectivelly most of the time.

On the surface level, 9 points for a single meeple is quite good, basically a farm with three cities and you get a meeple back. However, overall the total amount of points contained in cloisters is the lowest in the base game: only 54 points total. Contrast that to the roads - they have a point content of 62 points, and although only a maximum of 46 can be utilized out of this, roads are still superior for other reasons. Next are the cities with a point content of 118, with a maximum of 116 being achievable in real game - more than twice the amount. The highest point content is packed in farms with a whopping 126 points, all of which are fully utilizable, though not always present on the map for obvious reasons.
Now you might think that finishing cloisters is easier than the other features because it happens almost passively and can leech off other features construction. But this is where the main danger lies - cloisters are by far the easiest features for your opponent to sabotage. There are seven different opportunities to block a cloister and the enclosed nature of its completion process makes it super-vulnerable to trapping your meeple. Nesting multiple cloisters next to eachother like many players like to do is practically begging your opponent to trap them all with a single tile placement. Not only that, they can lead other features such as roads or cities into this gap leaving even more meeples stranded on the board until the end of the game! I have personally witnessed four meeples being trapped at once in this manner several times, once even at championship setting.
Stranded monks could still be worth a lot of points akin to farmers, but depending on the point in game this happened this may seriously disadvantage your meeple supply.
Like I said, cloisters are the ultimate red herrings of Carcassonne - a cone of Carcassonne-flavored ice cream you randomly find at the side of the road, but then you reach out to grab it only to find your hand crunched in a bear trap.

Now about the (lack of) support from HiG.
Cloisters were already the weakest as I described, but let's look at how each expansion added/substracted from their overall strength/usefulness. I will also analyze the cloister to tile ratio during the history of the game.

River I - neutral, adds 1 cloister in a slightly more predictable manner.
Exp1. - improves roads and cities, does nothing to improve cloisters, adds one cloister.
Exp2. - again new elements improve roads, cities and this time farms as well. Cloisters are the only feature left out. Adds one measly cloister - the original low cloister to tile ratio (8.33%) lowers further (7.14%).
King  - adds one cloister, but the expansiions is entirely and heavily road/city-centric boosting the value of these features even further apart from cloisters.
Count - does not add any cloisters. Introduces way to devalue cloisters further by, for the first time ever, allowing majority battles over this previously initial claim exclusive feature.
Cathars - first ever "addition" in usefulness, but not in scoring (and no new cloister tiles). Cloister have now been demoted to escape ticket from more profitable features. Tired of being trapped on your devalued city, which would probably still score more points than a cloister? No worries! You can now use actual cloister to escape and score your big points elsewhere becasue it's not like you have anything better to do with a cloister tile right?
River II - adds 1 cloister, boosts roads and farms. Packs more city points via a pennant.
Exp.3 - slight net positive, but indirect and only if you look for it. Adds two cloisters, but being the expansion with highest number of tiles, the ratio is now very low at 6.88%. Princess devalues cities - finally a negative to one of the other features. Magic portals are convenient for all features, but most for the cloisters, which can now be occupied outside of the turn they were placed. Dragon affects all features equally, so no discrimination there. Fairy is the same.
Exp. 4 - nothing for the cloisters except indiscriminate danger. One cloister present in this expansion.
GQ11 - neutral.
Exp. 5 - this expansion actually does something for cloisters (sort of). While the Barn provides even more power to farms, the cities do not benefit from this expansion outside of pennant-rich tiles, beacause the Mayor is the most useless meeple in the game. Wagon is useful overall, but cannot reach farms balancing out the Barn somewhat. It provides another way to reach empty cloisters. The most notable addition are abbeys, which function identically to cloisters, but have the enefit of fitting anywhere, being unblockable, completely predictable because you choose to place them whenever you want and by design into already highly profitable space. Exp. 5 (sort of) improves the cloisters by introducing a better version of the cloister.
Cults - The biggest blow against the cloisters yet - an expansion purely designed to devalue them. Luckily for cloisters this expansion was badly designed and is thus not very effective at its job. Not counting cults as cloisters, the ratio is at its all time lowest at 6.75%.
Exp. 7 - oh look a positive thing to say about the Catapult! It is completely neutral toward the cloisters in this mean world. The madness of the rules is indiscriminate and it itself has the base game cloister/tile ratio of 1/12, raising the overall ratio to 6.83%.
WoF - interesting. The ratio is increased to 7.12%. It would have been more but the 16 tile plate balloons the tile count. If we only look at the WoF itself (and without the 16 tile plate) it has 9.72% (7/72) - a ratio I would have preferred to be in the original base game. Having active monks in cloisters (and abbeys) is finally rewarded by 2 points to each by inquisition. Unfortunatelly this is random because of the wheel, but it still makes even stranded monks useful. The other features have bonuses of their own however and those are more powerful. At least roads do not get anything.
Tunnel - no impact other than lovering the ratio slightly to 7.04.
Exp. 8 - castles are mostly neutral, bridges improve roads and farms, bazaars potentially improve the predictability aspect of cloisters. Ratio climbed back to 7.37%.
CCI - cloisters are the only feature left out of the rules... again.
Plague - indiscriminate danger, but the monks are the only meeples who cannot flea from the plague, so good luck scoring any.
La Porxada - city centric, potentially massive city point gain. Switching option would be wasted on a cloister.
Festival - now you can at least rescue your stranded monks.
Phantom - does not affect ratio, the most useful meeple can make even cloisters better is used properly.
School - neutral.
Mini 1 - another way to invade uninvadable cloisters.
Mini 2 - smallest cloister and score a follower are nice, but other features get this and more from messages.
Mini 3 - purely road centric expansion.
Mini 4 - finally something which clearly benefits cloisters! The gold mechanics themselves are feature neutral, but the tiles around them are clearly designed in such a way that cloisters can get the most out of them. This expansion has 50% cloister ratio bumping the overall ratio to 7.71.
Mini 5 - only road and city centric.
Mini 6 - neutral but bad for the ratio.
Mini 7 - just like CCI, CCII leaves out cloisters.
Little buildings - neutral in all regards.
Windroses - neutral.
Besiegers - like cathars, just worse ratio.
Russian promo (Izbushka and Bogatyr part) - neutral.
Exp. 9  at last! In the 11th hour of C1 and the 15th year of the game, the original cloisters finally get a dedicated improvement. The vineyards add to the subpar points of the original cloisters and a lot of them can be amassed. A single cloister now has potential for 33 points. If you got this expansion in BB5 the river there also adds a vineyard. The sheep indirectly improve fields but are moreso their own mechanic.
German, Dutch and Belgian Monasteries - a renaissance of cloisters is upon us. These new and improved ones have extra ways to score and if you add them instead of replacing the originals, they drastically improve the ratio to 9.62%.
Halflings I - has a cloister.
Halflings II - has vineyard, which is compatible with said cloister. A single cloister can thus score 36 points.
Darmstadt - very good for cloister ratio, better versions of normal cloisters.
German Castles - road and city centric.
Labyrinths - road centric.
German Cathedrals - road centric.
Russian promo (Solovei razboynik and Vodanoy part)-  Razboynik attacks roads, Vodanoy everything else, including cloisters, but players are more likely to use it against farmers and knights. Could be bad for nested cloisters though.
Abbot - the second direct boost to cloisters gives them their first dedicated meeple. The abbot solves the easy trapping problem and makes this feature much more dynamic. It also provides access to gardens, increasing the "percieved" cloister ratio.
Spiel 14 - neutral.
CutCassonne - neutral, good internal ratio.
Spiel 15 - neutral.
Japanese Temples - very good for ratio, more improved cloisters.
Watchtowers - focuses on all features except farms, but is quite good for cloisters - first element to reward nested cloisters.
Spiel 16 - neutral.
St. Nikolaus score track - neutral.
Markets of Leipzig - feature neutral, but cloisters benefit the most from their effect.

I am going to stop here because many expansions tht follow I have not used that much, but they should be fairly obvious.
In the attachment I provide a graph illustrating the overall cloister/tile ratios for all expansions over the years. Mists over Carcassonne provided the largest drop in the history of game, but the ratio is still in the respectable zone. Hopefully we will not revert to the dark ages of the C1. Cloisters are decent right now and there are enough options to make a cloister-centric game out off. With all other monastic buildings the balance is there, but it is still baffling it took 15 years to seriously attempt to improve cloisters.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2022, 09:08:54 AM by DIN0 »

Offline kothmann

  • Marquis
  • ***
  • Posts: 554
  • Merit: 70
  • Oh! That’s interesting...
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2022, 01:56:43 PM »
What an epic post! +1 merit from me!  This is a fantastic reference with a ton of useful information.

However, overall the total amount of points contained in cloisters is the lowest in the base game…
This is interesting.  But I would say that the importance of scoring elements of a game is often not well measured by the total number of points that they offer.  For example, in basketball, only 20% of points come from free throws, compared to about 40% each from 2-point and 3-point field goals.  But I don’t think most fans believe basketball would be a better game if free throws were worth more points.  Fouls introduce very important balance, tactics and strategy.  I think the same is true of cloisters.

Quote
Nesting multiple cloisters next to each other like many players like to do is practically begging your opponent to trap them all with a single tile placement.
Yes, adjacent cloisters have higher risk but also offer larger reward!  18 points for a total of only 12 tiles, often placed by opponents!  In a 2017 interview, KJW himself said (emphasis added):
Quote
I don’t like building cloistures buildings adjacent. Sometimes it happens, because it is stronger then. We didn’t want more rules which make expections etc, but I would play it at home with this rule.

Quote
…(players) can lead other features such as roads or cities into this gap leaving even more meeples stranded on the board until the end of the game!
I agree with this.  I am always disappointed with myself when I fall into this trap.

Thanks again for such a detailed and interesting reply.  This has motivated me to experiment more with cloister house rules…

Offline cicerunner

  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 210
  • Merit: 5
  • 2020 meeple vision
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2022, 04:55:57 PM »
Another +1 merit. Thank you for a great post.

I have a feeling that expansion 10 is pretty cloister positive. The ringmaster as a monk with plenty of circus field and acrobat pitches nearby would score well. Likewise circus scorings with monks nearby would enhance them.

Also acrobat pyramids alongside cloisters would further enhance the benefit of playing further tiles in the area (albeit with a similar risk to playing multiple adjacent cloisters).

I don't remember if there are any cloisters in the #10 tileset offhand. Possibly not?
This all off the top of my head, I'd be interested in the full DIN0 analysis of course!

Edit Wikicarpedia confirms no cloisters on the 20 tiles but 2 gardens. But of course C2 only which explains why DIN0 didn't include it.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2022, 05:04:46 PM by cicerunner »

Offline totor66

  • Count
  • **
  • Posts: 308
  • Merit: 18
  • Carcassonne semi completionnist
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2022, 08:16:01 AM »
The Abbot is the only true friend of Shrine, but being V1/2 makes it less attractive
Carcassonne Fan since 2014

Offline Drodo

  • Duke
  • *
  • Posts: 169
  • Merit: 1
  • I haven't updated my profile yet!
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2022, 10:23:33 PM »
Never even bothered using them. They are so pointless as others have confirmed. I'd rather use them with house or fan expansion rules

Offline stepukiss

  • Villein
  • ***
  • Posts: 26
  • Merit: 3
  • Yololo
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2022, 10:28:24 PM »



Exp. 5 - this expansion actually does something for cloisters (sort of). While the Barn provides even more power to farms, the cities do not benefit from this expansion outside of pennant-rich tiles, beacause the Mayor is the most useless meeple in the game. Wagon is useful overall, but cannot reach farms balancing out the Barn somewhat. It provides another way to reach empty cloisters. The most notable addition are abbeys, which function identically to cloisters, but have the enefit of fitting anywhere, being unblockable, completely predictable because you choose to place them whenever you want and by design into already highly profitable space. Exp. 5 (sort of) improves the cloisters by introducing a better version of the cloister.


What do You mean saying Mayor is the most useless meeple in the game? for You its most useless meeple talking about cloisters or in all game?  Because I disagree about His usedness with You talking about game in general.

Offline DIN0

  • Viscount
  • ****
  • Posts: 807
  • Merit: 37
  • Carcassonne is only complete with 11th expansion:)
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #11 on: November 06, 2022, 10:36:03 PM »
In general. If you have some legitimate use for it then please share it! I am looking for some viable use of the mayor even if obscure one.

Offline stepukiss

  • Villein
  • ***
  • Posts: 26
  • Merit: 3
  • Yololo
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2022, 12:01:26 AM »
In general. If you have some legitimate use for it then please share it! I am looking for some viable use of the mayor even if obscure one.

For me in building huge cities  and occupying cities Mayor is mvp, just need to combine with coat of arms. I do not see any problem with him. Jus in any situation you choose what meeple are most useful. In this game I most like that you draw a tile and need to combine what you got and what do you have ant tray to predict what can Your choose ends. Major is same useful as abbot or wagon depends on situation. Of course big meeple is better than small one :D, but on cloister its no difference is it small or big.

Offline kothmann

  • Marquis
  • ***
  • Posts: 554
  • Merit: 70
  • Oh! That’s interesting...
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2022, 09:14:08 AM »
Maybe add these thoughts to the earlier Mayor-is-useless thread?

https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=5458.msg79359#msg79359


Offline DIN0

  • Viscount
  • ****
  • Posts: 807
  • Merit: 37
  • Carcassonne is only complete with 11th expansion:)
    • View Profile
Re: Does Anyone Play with Shrines?
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2022, 01:46:14 PM »
Ahh yes, if @stepukiss is interested in why I think mayor is almost useless, that is the best place to find out my problems with that meeple. Maybe some day I will update the thread with more analysis (or if I am lucky a finally good use for mayor :D).
« Last Edit: November 07, 2022, 02:08:23 PM by DIN0 »


Share via delicious Share via digg Share via facebook Share via furl Share via linkedin Share via myspace Share via reddit Share via stumble Share via technorati Share via twitter

  Subject / Started by Replies / Views Last post
xx
Does anyone know where to buy the tunnel expansion?

Started by robnhill

12 Replies
5186 Views
Last post January 30, 2017, 01:28:21 AM
by txema25
xx
Does anyone know these extensions?

Started by Ratz65

3 Replies
2951 Views
Last post December 06, 2017, 04:34:56 PM
by TheSteveAllen
clip
Does anyone know what this is? Promo card

Started by The-Edge

4 Replies
529 Views
Last post December 20, 2021, 01:21:52 PM
by DIN0
xx
Does anyone have a complete list of all expansions?

Started by robnhill

3 Replies
344 Views
Last post January 24, 2022, 02:46:20 PM
by corinthiens13
xx
Hobbyworld in Russia just posted this. Does anyone know what the two tiles are

Started by Clownfeet

115 Replies
41616 Views
Last post October 03, 2018, 11:33:44 AM
by danielbrie