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Messages - danisthirty

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My copy of the Gingerbread Man (Carcassonne Winter Edition expansion) arrived today and I was very excited! Although there were just six new tiles I couldn't wait to play with them as they featured some really interesting configurations of city segments between them. There's usually a lot of competition for cities between my wife and I, and the inclusion of these tiles balanced this out quite nicely as the possibility of shutting each other out of our cities increased from "slim" to "reasonable". As a further consequence of this, we soon found that we completed far more cities (about half of them being two-tilers) and spent much less time patiently waiting for the "right tile" to come along.

The game itself got off to a particularly bad start for me when my wife completed a city for 26 points and received a further 20 points for having had two knights and the Gingerbread Man in it when it was completed. I almost lost interest in the game altogether after this, as it was difficult to stay motivated after very nearly being lapped whilst still on my first time round the score track! But fortunately I was soon able to reduce the gap (slightly) thanks to a 14 point city, also with the Gingerbread Man in it, which netted me 21 points and kept me in the game.

A few roads and a couple of cloisters helped me to draw level by the halfway point but we then found ourselves in the unusual situation whereby one of us closed a city and there were no incomplete cities left to move the Gingerbread Man into. In this situation we took the Gingerbread Man off the board and should have waited for a Gingerbread Man tile to be played before bringing him back (as per the official rules). Because we both enjoyed the difference that he made to the game though, we immediately placed him in the first incomplete city that became available a tile or two later.

Because the Gingerbread Man is moved either when one of the six new tiles is placed or when the city he's currently in is closed, he tended to move around quite a lot in our game and this generated a lot of bonus points. These points tended to be split quite equally between us but there was one city in particular that became rather overcrowded in order to maintain this. We weren't necessarily fighting for control of the city as it didn't look likely that it would ever be closed, but its size combined with the fact that the Gingerbread Man was in it meant that every knight either of us could get into the city was well worth it for the eventual bonus.

After placing the final tile I leant back in my chair to admire the view (photo attached)! There was a long road running from east to west which separated the landscape into a north farm and a south farm. I'd placed a farmer on the south farm quite early in the game and my wife didn't make any effort to share these points as it only touched three complete cities. The north farm however ended up being worth 27 points but we shared these at a cost of three farmers each. What ultimately (and incorrectly as it later transpired) made the difference was deciding to let the Gingerbread Man dish out his bonus one last time even though he hadn't left the city he was in. This was worth 20 points for my wife but 30 for me and this was just enough to tip the final scores in my favour by just three points!

Most of the expansions I've played for Carcassonne bring something new and vaguely exciting to the game, but this excitement can sometimes be rather short-lived if there's nothing else to look forward to once the new tiles have run out. Contrary to this, I felt that the Gingerbread Man was an excellent expansion as the new tiles alone added to my enjoyment of the game and the extra mechanic of how the Gingerbread Man himself works seem to be well thought out and in keeping with the general spirit of the game. In summary, it's difficult to imagine future games of Carcassonne Winter Edition without the Gingerbread Man and this is certainly a sign of a worthwhile expansion as far as I'm concerned!

Official Rules / Re: Gingerbread Man in Final Scoring
« on: August 21, 2013, 02:32:26 AM »
Our gingerbread man was obviously feeling generous...

Reviews & Session Reports / Re: Wind Roses and School
« on: August 21, 2013, 12:59:03 AM »
Yeah, kind of like in the attached photo. All the roads are complete but the school isn't connected to the outside world!

Reviews & Session Reports / Re: Wind Roses and School
« on: August 20, 2013, 02:17:56 PM »
Note: When all roads leading to the school are completed, the players have managed to
successfully link the school to the outside world. Now the teacher has plenty of students
and will not leave the school again.

Do you still get the bonus if you join one of the road to one of the other roads as you haven't helped to link the school up to the outside world but have linked it back to itself instead? Maybe you should lose points if you do this?

Official Rules / Gingerbread Man in Final Scoring
« on: August 20, 2013, 02:12:51 PM »

I've really enjoyed playing Carcassonne Winter Edition lately and I got hold of the Gingerbread Man expansion today. It was one of the most enjoyable games I've played for quite a while and my initial feeling towards the Gingerbread Man was that it added a lot to the game without being too difficult to follow or damaging to the standard rules.

Because we enjoyed it so much, my wife and I both missed the little guy when he had to be removed from the board as the city he was in was closed and there were no incomplete cities to move him to. Having read the Winter CAR it sounds as though we should then have waited for another Gingerbread Man tile to be played in order to bring him back into play. This makes sense I guess, but we decided to bring him back as soon as an incomplete city became available and I think this will become a house rule in our house...

Regardless of the above, the question I wanted to ask was if the Gingerbread Man is worth anything in the final scoring? The Winter CAR doesn't mention it (as far as I could see) but it made a big difference in our game as I finished with 3 knights in a 10-tile city with him so it was an extra 30 points if his bonus is given at the end of the game. How have others dealt with him at the end of a game?


General / Re: Super Mega Meeples
« on: August 20, 2013, 01:52:13 PM »
I really like the Character Meeples from Meeplesource and pretty much never use the standard (16mm) Meeples that come with the game. Because these Character Meeples are the same size as the Mega Meeples (19mm) it can be pretty hard to tell which Meeples are normal and which are Mega in a crowded game so these Super Mega Meeples could be just the job in all their 24mm glory!

I'm all Meepled-out after writing that!

Reviews & Session Reports / Re: Winter Edition Time Lapse
« on: August 19, 2013, 05:56:07 AM »
I would definitely recommend it! The artwork on the tiles looks better for one thing, but there are also 84 tiles rather than 72. The configuration of features on the 12 extra tiles isn't anything you can't get elsewhere but there are certain tiles that can get you out of situations where you'd be completely trapped in the basic game!

I think that Z-Man are due to release this in the autumn and this should include the Gingerbread Man expansion too, so I'd wait until then before getting hold of it if you can.

Reviews & Session Reports / Winter Edition Time Lapse
« on: August 19, 2013, 02:30:20 AM »
I know that a lot of people have done some very good Carcassonne time lapses in the past but I was keen to do one of my own as I love playing Carcassonne and am also very keen on time lapse and stop-motion animations. For this reason, I'm very proud to bring you this time lapse video of two recent games of Carcassonne Winter Edition:

"A Night in on the Tiles":

The photos were taken on my phone (a Samsung Galaxy S2) using a free Android app called "Tina Timelapse". Rather than fork out for a proper tripod I built a cradle to hold my phone out of my daughter's Duplo and then fixed this atop another little table using Blu Tack! Not a very high-tech solution but it was cheap and effective so I was happy. I set the app to take a picture every 8 seconds and then enjoyed myself while the phone did its stuff...

My wife (playing with the princess meeples) won the first game by 35 points after some surprisingly ruthless but equally effective measures to prevent my zombies benefitting from two cities worth 20 to 30 points each. When the second game started to go the same way I became much more aggressive and made the most of an early opportunity to trap five princesses with one tile! Needless to say I won the game by quite a wide margin after this but I can't say how wide the margin was as we didn't calculate our final scores and had an argument instead (also included in the video).

After the games I transferred all of the images from phone to laptop and used Windows Movie Maker to turn them into a video. I experimented with different frame rates but found that displaying each image for 0.35 seconds seemed to work well. This ratio meant that both 30-minute games could be condensed into just under a minute and a half of video each and this felt about right to me.

I hope you enjoy it! If you have any feedback/ comments/ suggestions/ improvements/ ideas then I'd be very happy to hear them as I'm sure this is something that I'm going to be repeating again soon.

@CKorfmann - I don't know how familiar you are with Castles but take my advice, completing your spouses castles with short roads is not good for a marriage! Other than this they can be great fun and like most of the expansions give you more options to think about...

@Scott - That sounds like a good plan too but I wouldn't trust my luck to draw the last cloister if it's still up for grabs!

The Marketplace / Re: Catching up - What I "need".
« on: August 16, 2013, 06:07:01 AM »
I've had a lot of success getting things from Most of the interesting listings say they won't post to the UK but if you contact the seller and ask them if they'll reconsider they almost always say they will (for a small fee of about 4 euros). Not sure if it would be the same for US but it's probably worth a try if you're keen. And as a consequence, you'll usually get it for a good price because fewer people are bidding on it too!

@CKorfmann - I have an extra copy of The Plague which is still in its original wrapping. I'd be happy to part with it if I knew it was going to such a good home! Feel free to message me if you'd like me to send it to you...

Thanks CKorfmann! Half of those expansions (Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, King & Robber Baron, Rivers 1 and 2) are almost always included whenever we play Carcassonne anyway, whereas the others were included randomly to add a bit of variety as it was a first outing for Corn Circles 1 and 2 and The Goldmines. I like the extra options that Bridges, Castles & Bazaars opens up (except for the bazaars which we just ignore) and Mage and Witch just happened to be in the right place at the right time!

I'm glad I'm not the only person who tries to keep a few Meeples back to place as farmers in the last few tiles. A lot of the people I play against seem to get so caught up in establishing a majority on the main farm that they don't spot (or don't have anyone left to claim) the smaller farms which, as you say, can be worth at least a dozen or so points in the final scoring, especially for big games.

Thanks for the feedback guys. I tend to write in some detail as it helps me to remember which expansions worked well together, which didn't and why. This is useful as I normally host my friends when we play, so it's usually my decision as to which expansions we play and I always try to choose a selection that everyone will enjoy.

As for the photo, I was gutted that I forgot to take one this time as I often put photos on Instagram before calculating the final scores. Will definitely remember to take one next time!

This evening I took part in the biggest game of Carcassonne I've ever played (so far)! As well as the basic tiles we included three major expansions (Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders and Bridges, Castles & Bazaars) plus seven minor expansions (River 1, River 2, Corn Circles 1, Corn Circles 2, The Goldmines, Mage and Witch and King & Robber Baron) which brought the total number of playable tiles up to 181.

After I'd gone over the rules of some of the less familiar expansions with everyone, the game started off with the placement of the river using both River 1 and River 2 tiles mixed together. After this we started drawing tiles normally and after a couple of turns each all four of us were using our builders to help ourselves get off to the best possible start.

As the landscape gradually spread across the table there was enough space for all of us to develop features in our own areas so there wasn't a lot of competitiveness at first. Lenny wasn't particularly pleased when I tried to steal a city from him with my MegaMeeple but a fortunately timed Crop Circle tile meant that we ended up sharing the points when it was eventually closed. He was even less pleased when I successfully stole his points from another city in exactly the same way, even though they were only small cities worth about 14 points each.

The inclusion of the Crop Circles expansions meant that much of the middle part of the game seemed to move quite slowly and our rate of progress around the score track reflected this. Rather than adding additional followers each time a Crop Circle was drawn, most of the time we either did nothing or removed one from a corresponding city/ road/ farm forcing everyone else to do the same. Having to remove a Meeple from a potentially valuable feature was quite painful at times, but I escaped a lot of this as there was usually an alternative I could recall instead. This meant that I generally retained control of my most lucrative features whilst everyone else was abandoning theirs around me!

There was some controversy over Lenny's insistence that Michael shouldn't close a city of Edd's when the rare opportunity for him to do so arose. Admittedly it was quite a tough call but I think I probably would have closed it as it was large enough to secure the King token, probably for the rest of the game, and was also worth several trade tokens. Instead, Michael used the tile elsewhere and began to develop a city of his own. This grew quite quickly so Edd and Lenny both built castles next to it hoping to cash-in equally on his efforts but I was able to complete a tiny road in the vicinity of the castles which meant they won just two points each rather than the 20 or so that they might have scored if Michael's city had been the next feature to be completed. As it turned out, I closed Michael's city and was able to claim the King token for it although Lenny later won this back from me (and kept it) after closing Edd's city despite his earlier protests when Michael had the opportunity to do the same thing.

As the game progressed, Edd and I became locked in a battle to establish a majority on a large farm that ended up serving ten cities and two castles. Edd was winning with three farmers against my two and I couldn't see any good opportunities for me to get another farmer onto the field. Fortunately however I was able to use a Crop Circle tile to force him to remove one of his three farmers (since he didn't have any farmers elsewhere) and we shared the field for 50 points each since we also both had our pigs on it.

The Mage and the Witch didn't really impact on the game very much although I seemed to have a strange propensity for drawing tiles from the Goldmines expansion. I was always able to use them in such a way that I could later claim the gold too and ended up with nine (of 16) gold bars worth a bonus of 27 points in the final scoring.

As the game began to draw to a close it became increasingly likely that I was going to win although everyone else seemed to realise this before me as I remained unconvinced until the last dozen or so tiles. Despite drawing cloisters and placing a lot of monks in the early stages of the game, I never seemed to run particularly low on Meeples and was able to claim some reasonably good farms with my last few turns. As well as the gold I'd managed to win the majority of wine and wheat tokens whereas Lenny had the majority of the silk tokens winning us 20 points and 10 points respectively at the end of the game. I also won the Robber Baron tile for closing an unusually long road of Michael's that nobody else seemed interested in at the time. Whilst the scores were fairly even at the end of the game, my farmers and end-game bonuses were worth around 130 points and this all added-up to a final score that nobody else could come close to.

Including the time taken to calculate everyone's final scores the game took just under three and a half hours to play! If you remove all the stops for various reasons, the average amount of time spent per turn was probably about a minute and we each had around 45 turns. Some turns lasted far longer than this as did the discussions surrounding the more controversial/ aggressive opportunities, but there were only really two or three occasions where I actually got bored waiting for someone to take their turn. Ultimately it gave me more thinking time to decide what I was going to do with my next tile. But there's only so much time required when you either get a tile that you desperately need and would be stupid to place elsewhere or a duff tile that isn't going to make much of a difference regardless of where you put it.

As games of Carcassonne go this was definitely a good one. I felt that each of the expansions improved and added to the overall game although I would have enjoyed it more if we'd imposed a restriction on the amount of thinking time taken as long as it was fair and practical. This would be tricky though as it feels less social and more intimidating when each person has a clock in front of them and knows that they're being timed!

General / Re: Competitive Friendliness?
« on: August 14, 2013, 05:32:55 AM »
Thanks so much for your views on this. It was interesting to read about how differently people play depending on who they're playing against and I think this may be a lot to do with why my wife won't play with me anymore (she claims that she's too tired because she's pregnant but I don't buy this [the tiredness, not the pregnancy]). This said, we've had a few games of Winter Edition Carcassonne recently and she enjoys that as long as we keep it friendly. I struggle to win without a certain amount of aggression but I enjoy the fact that we're playing more than the winning itself so I won't often try to make life too difficult for her, not unless I can disguise it anyway!

Quizzes, Puzzles and Challenges / Re: Carcassonne Tetris Screenshot
« on: August 14, 2013, 05:19:51 AM »
Two of my favourite games of all time! Love it!

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