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Messages - Buselaar

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In Carcassonne rule clarifications are an endangered phenomena. But do not lose hope yet, because it turns out we played level 6 wrong all along!

River as replacement of 2x2 starting tile... Interesting. I like also usage of  Abbots on a scoring board :)

Thanks for the welcoming replies. Just to clarify: I did not intend on replacing the 2x2 starting tile, rather to connect the river starting tile to the MoC starting tile as seen in the photo. Replacing it could work though, if you are willing to change up the rules even more!

Unofficial Rules / Ideas for additional levels for Mists over Carcassonne
« on: February 07, 2023, 05:40:49 AM »
Greetings Carcassonne enthusiasts!

I have really been enjoying my time with Mists over Carcassonne so far. However, upon beating level 5, I have felt a bit dissatisfied with the nightmare that is level 6. Don't get me wrong: I really think an almost unbeatable level in a co-op game is just good design philosophy as there will always be a challenge for everyone. That said, I find the increase in difficulty from level 5 to 6 just too much. In a two or four player game, you will have to score double the (total) amount of points upon level completion (let alone playing the level with five players), while also receiving one ghost less in the supply. I simply would have liked for the difficulty to increase gradually. And evenly, from the perspective of player count. There certainly would have been room for more levels to be included.

And thus, I made my own. In this post I would like to share those with you. I think the idea introduced in level 6, to score each colour separately, is very clever. I would even argue I like this way of scoring better than the cumulative scoring with a single meeple, as it matches base Carcassonne more and thus feels very natural. It gives players a more distinctive identity in this co-op game, as you do not want to get behind the group (just like in the base game). This concept could have been introduced in earlier levels, in order to make this mechanism more accessible for players. I am afraid that, as it stands, only few players will explore this concept, which is a bummer. So, that is what I targeted for with the bonus levels.

Level 1-5 with separate scoring for each meeple color
Instead of tweaking level 6 for it to become more accessible, I transferred its core mechanism over to the earlier levels. That way, 5 new levels are created which are each slightly increased in difficulty and can be played as a campaign. As stated in the rules of level 6, every player places a meeple of their own onto the score track for separate scoring. Or, in a single or two-player game, an additional meeple of each colour is taken from the box. The point goal of each level is affected by player count, to scale somewhat evenly in difficulty (in contrast with level 6). To set the target score, I divided the original points by the number of colours in play and rounded them up to the nearest multiple of five. For example, level 5 with 3 players becomes:

- 15/3 = 5 points before the first pile is depleted
- 50/3 = 16.7 --> 20 points before the second pile is depleted
- 100/3 = 33.3 --> 35 points to win the game

Besides that, no rules are altered. We have had a blast so far with level 4. It becomes slightly more difficult as players are forced to balance their scoring. And, every time we lost, it felt like we had a fair chance to win, rather than being at the mercy of luck.

Level 6 with the river
And that leaves me with level 6. Oh boy. So far we have never reached the first hound*. The biggest hurdle seems to be massive point burst needed during the first pile. There is too much time pressure for building up a large cumulatively scored city. I have found myself waiting for that three-way city tile to connect my projects for joint scoring a few times, only to find out it is not even present in the first pile. And, whether you draw one or multiple cemeteries in this stage, or not, makes all the difference. Hence, it is too much luck-based for my taste.

To overcome this first hurdle, I have tested level 6 with placing the 20th anniversary river at the start of the game. Both starting tiles connect quite well and by having a few extra tiles to play around with you get just the right amount of momentum to make this level interesting. It allows you to start the game with a few meeples set-up in the precious cities the moment you draw from the first pile. And, if you are unlucky with the amount of haunted cemeteries in the first pile, then the bends of the river may ease the pain a bit. Below you find a photo of the game state when I lost this level today in a solo play, but while cutting it super close to the finish line. The supply of 12 ghosts posed quite the challenge, but a positively tense one nonetheless. This is definitely a level I would like to return to more often now.

I suppose playing with the normal river would work almost equally well, but I have not tested this.

I hope these ideas can bring some joy to other players and I am certainly interested in other suggestions!

*Or pig, in our case. These ghost hunting curly tails fit the aesthetics much better than a cardboard chip, in my opinion. Let's hope for wooden hounds one day!

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