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Messages - Whaleyland

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The Marketplace / Re: WTS all my Carcassonne spin-offs
« on: September 04, 2022, 04:05:32 AM »
Any chance I can get a shipping estimate for sending Amazonas to New Zealand? I've heard good things about it.

General / Re: Sorting through the rivers
« on: September 03, 2022, 04:59:55 AM »
Officially The River III is the version of The River I included in Big Box 5 that includes 2 tiles with Pigs and 2 with Vineyards on them. It also is the only Carc1.0 version of The River with watermarks on the tiles.

How do you watch the people of Carcassonne? From the watchtowers, of course! Scattered throughout the cities and countryside of Carcassonne can be found twelve imposing bastions of bonus points, ripe for the picking. But are these new features worth watching out for, or are they there to trick you into letting your guard down? Let’s find out…

Gaudy Guardians
* An Early Modern Imposition – As per usual, Carcassonne has shifted away from its medieval roots to tilt toward convenience. Round towers were around in the Middle Ages but they were not overly common and rarely did ones of this magnitude stand alone, especially in Languedoc. So adding twelve of them to the landscape is both jarring and anachronistic. Aesthetically, they are also not visually appealing. The whitish walls make them stand out from Cities, but they also dominate the tiles in somewhat unwelcome ways, and their perspective is just weird. And the obvious instructions printed right in the center of each tower is just plain ugly.
* Rolling Them DiceCarcassonne has always been a game of luck of the draw, but adding twelve tiles that can often result in immediate or near-immediate points, which are in addition to points gained from completing the connected feature, is a lot. Places strategically, these tiles can result in many bonus points to the player who drew and claimed it, but everyone else is left out in the cold. If one player through luck obtains many tiles with Watchtowers, the entire game can swing hard in their favor.
* Today’s Number (again) is Nine – Oh yay, another expansion that bases its main scoring mechanic on a central tile and the eight tiles around it. We sure haven’t seen that idea before, no sir! Honestly, though, when can we finally get more creative with how we score things in Carcassonne? German Monasteries tried the orthogonal cross idea—great! Wagons could actually travel on Roads—awesome! And The Markets of Leipzig turned Sheds and Farmhouses into actual scorable features—AMAZING! But no, we get more of the same with The Barber-Surgeons, Castles in Germany, Darmstadt (*shutters*), and Watchtowers.

Bold Belfries
* Equal Representation – Few expansions touch on nearly every core feature in Carcassonne. However, Watchtowers can benefit from adjacent Meeples, Cities, Pennants, Roads, and Monasteries. The only feature left out are Farms which a) aren’t officially considered a core feature anymore, and b) wouldn’t make sense to benefit from the mechanic of this expansion. And for the most part, these bonuses work really well and are straightforward. Most add a single point for each meeple or feature on that tile or any of the eight adjacent tiles. Monasteries, because they are more rare, add 3 points each. This whole concept makes placing and scoring for the Watchtower so much more strategic because you may want to score it fast, if the opportunity presents itself, or you may want to build it up slowly to maximize points.
* Fill ‘Er Up! – More tiles are always welcome, especially ones that add a good mix of Roads, Cities, and Farms, and because of the core mechanic of this expansion, the former two are definitely in high demand—the only thing left out are Monasteries for reasons of space on the tile. These tiles are all in the new style, but before things got crowded in the Cities. As one of the earliest Carcassonne 2.0 expansions, the Farms and Cities also slightly darker and the backs of the tiles differ slightly from later tiles. But thrown in with a good mix of other tiles, you’ll hardly notice. And most importantly, these are twelve new, useful tiles that will enlarge your Carcassonne tile pool.
* Mixing It Up, Expansion Style – Few expansions work seamlessly with other expansions, but this has to be one of the best. By focusing on adding bonuses to only the core mechanics, there are plenty of options to maximize points even when this is mixed in with many other tiles. The bonuses are also unlikely to get watered down since all tile-based expansions will add more Roads, Cities, and Monasteries. The expansion may, indeed, benefit from Magic Portals and The Flier since all of the tiles have at least two claimable features, only one of which can be claimed when the tile is placed (unless using The Phantom). Move over previous player, I’m getting in on this bonus too!

In the end, The Watchtowers is a decent expansion that adds a lot to a game of Carcassonne without taking much away. But the luck aspect of drawing the Watchtowers can definitely cause an imbalance if one player draws several and can use them to good effect. That makes this also one of the more strategic expansions and one that probably benefits from mixing with other expansions, especially those that provide ways to claim features on previously-placed tiles. The aesthetics of the tiles are also more practical than artistic, which can be jarring or upsetting to some players. The expansion is still worth trying out, though, if for no other reason than the twelve new tiles it will add to your collection.

Playability: B+
Affordability: B
Compatibility (with other expansions): A
Aesthetics: C
Learning Curve: A-

Quizzes, Puzzles and Challenges / Re: Sunday Quiz 2022
« on: July 10, 2022, 04:02:33 AM »
Red scores 4 Roads x 2 (for Inn) = 8 Points
Yellow scores 3 Roads = 3 Points

To the best of my knowledge, an Inn doesn't lend its bonus to a Bridge since the Bridge passes over the tile, not through it.

Other Games / Re: KICKSTARTER (watch your purses)
« on: June 06, 2022, 03:09:30 AM »
I'm strongly considering backing this new special edition of Castles of Burgundy.

If you already own the game, it might not be a good deal, but it seems great for people who don't have it yet.
I'm super interested too. Like, dangerously so. But I already have three Kickstarters in various states of production and I'm not sure when I'll play the last one I received. I also barely have time to play any of my games these days! The struggle is real.

News and Events / Re: Mists over Carcassonne
« on: May 20, 2022, 07:31:32 PM »
The initial version that HiG presented with the rubber ghosts, in my opinion, was more original and beautiful than this last one in wood.
Considering those are laser-cut meeples in the photos above, I think there's still a good chance of transparent ghost meeples in the final product.

General / Re: Zamek and OCD
« on: May 08, 2022, 03:45:52 AM »
Not at the moment—I have a potential alternative option. But if it doesn't pan out, then I'll probably try the option posted on the other thread.

General / Re: Zamek and OCD
« on: May 08, 2022, 12:06:13 AM »
I love the Castle, but it only works with 2 people so it fills a slightly different niche than base Carcassonne. I could only bring one with me to New Zealand, so the Castle remained in the US. But I am finally going to get ZAMEK hopefully, so that'll finally be fixed.

I am also OCD and I actually like the Castle because the wall around the tiles really works for me. The only thing that bugs me (although it has to be a case for gameplay reasons) are the holes in the landscape at the end of the game. The tiles themselves actually work with the roofs of all the buildings just mashing together. It's relatively accurate for a walled city that different roofs would do that, and the roads still have to be continuous, so there's some order still. It does take a brain shift, though, to suddenly not have to worry as much about mismatched tiles.

General / Re: What is your number 2?
« on: May 08, 2022, 12:01:50 AM »
It doesn't have as many expansions as Carcassonne, but they tend to be more expensive.
As a former Catan collector myself (I haven't played the game in probably a decade now), I disagree. For every one promo Carcassonne releases, Catan has at least three! It also has nearly as many spin-offs and is quickly catching up on the number of full expansions to the base game it has, although they aren't as cross-compatible as Carcassonne's are. Rivals for Catan alone has two full-sized expansions and at least 10 single-card promos, not counting at least one cut-out promo. Catan also has many more gameplay accessories.

General / Re: What is your number 2?
« on: May 06, 2022, 06:51:40 PM »
Guillotine or 7 Wonders+Leaders+Cities. Guillotine is my favorite game just because it is so straight-forward yet has so much back-stabbing, plus I love the theme since I'm a French historian. But 7 Wonders I think is the best for a larger group and it is also very straight forward yet has a lot of strategy, especially once the Leaders and Cities expansions are added.

I look forward to your message. And woof! That is one long explanation for why things are taking so long to arrive from DHL. I wonder if that was the case for the Advent event on Cundco. I think it took about 60 days to arrive, IIRC. I love how international media is making things seem so dire for New Zealand. It's annoying and things are certainly more expensive than usual, but it's not so bad and we are finally opening up again. Our national daily Covid cases have been sitting around 8500, which isn't awful although much worse than it was a year ago (0 except at the border).


Good find. Cheaper prices and shipping. However, I can't seem to find the base game of Zamek on their store. Do they not carry it? I need both—my copy of The Castle is in long-term storage and I prefer the new art anyway.

Did you ever find somewhere you were able to order these from? I'm kind of interested here in Australia, but so far had the same sort of luck as you. Wondering if you had any kind of success yet?
No, none at all. And I’d love to still get them.

News and Events / Re: Castles in Germany and The Festival in C3
« on: April 25, 2022, 12:27:38 PM »
I would buy The Festival again if the expansion finally had a proper watermark, but alas it does not, so I see no reason to own it. After all this time, I still don't understand why The Festival doesn't have a watermark. Expansion elements don't stop other expansion tiles from having them.

Some comments (repeated the first one here - you didn't see my previous update):

2) Monastery control: Majority in a monastery can also be affected by a flier, but this requires a certain amount of luck as well... >:D

3) Typos to fix: Check words marked in red.

Once you places a Monk on a Monastery, it is yours unless some Dragon, Tower, or Plague comes along and boots you off

But with those caveats aside, it is a great addition to any Carcassonne game. Even the two cars not discussed above—Cash Out and Take 2—are useful.
Thanks! Corrections made. Not sure why so many snuck into this review. I'll have to fire my quality control editor.  O0

Concerning The Flier, I think there are a few others that could hypothetically impact Monasteries in various ways, but yes, The Flier does let you full on grab one, which is unusual.

Great post!

+1 merit from me.

One detail:

The Gifts is composed of 25 small playing cards that are awarded to a player randomly whenever they add on to another player’s City or Monastery.

You receive a gift when extending an opponent's city or road.... Monasteries are not in the equation...  ;)
Oops! Fixed. Thanks for that.

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