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Messages - Christopher

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General / Tiered Deployment
« on: August 31, 2017, 01:38:26 PM »


Anyway, my best girl and I played a game the other night. It was The Tower, Abbeys and Mayors, Ferries, and Robbers (we each picked a large and a small expansion). We had a great game, and enjoyed it for all the reasons we love Carcassonne. However, what we did not enjoy was that 30 tiles into our 118 tile game, we had drawn 10 tower foundations. Not a horrendous ratio, certainly, but more than a little annoying. I'm pretty sure we gave the tiles a good wash before playing, so it seems the Carcassonne Gods simply fancied playing with us that day. Now, I know, this is just how the game works. Tile draw is random. Sometimes you get all of the towers in the first ten minutes, in happens. But, isn't it really annoying? We've all played that game. The last two tiles you draw are Cathedrals. All of the dragon moves are gone before there are even followers on the board. It's just how the game works. But it's annoying.

Because of this, we decided to meddle with things better left untouched. We wanted a way to reduce this effect. What we came up with is a method of playing which we (I) have called 'Tiered Deployment.'

Tiered Deployment

Tiered deployment gives you more control over how often a feature will appear, without completely negating the random aspect of the tile drawn. The idea is this. Tiles are split into a number of separate piles, each with a roughly equal number of tiles, and a roughly equal number of the feature you are looking to stagger. Players draw from one pile, and move onto the next pile when the first is expended. Play proceeds through each of the piles, only moving on to the next when the current pile is exhausted.

Take our example, The Tower. Our 118 tile game gets split into four piles of roughly thirty tiles. Each one has four/five tower foundations in it. By drawing only from one pile, we can only get four/five towers in the first 30 tiles, a much more reasonable number than 10.

This does create problems in the form of tile counting and draw predictability. If you have thirty tiles in the pile, with five tower foundations, once all of them have been drawn you know you're safe until that pile runs out. This is obviously the same as counting 18 foundations over the whole game, but staggering the draw makes it easier to do. We have two solutions for this, which we intend to playtest. The third solution, of course, is to play with Hills. Solution one is that when you reach the last few tiles of the tier you are currently in, you mix it in with the next tier and draw from the combine pile. This eliminates players being able to predict the last tile of that tier because they haven't drawn five towers yet. The other solution is as follows. After the tiers have been made (four piles of thirty piles with four/five towers in each) you take a few tiles randomly (and blindly) from each, mix them all up, then put the same number of tiles back into each tier. Now, any tier may have more/fewer foundations. They may all have the same number as they did. This removes the tile counting and puts back a little bit of the random draw taken out by your meddling.

There you have it. Hypothetically, this could be done with any expansion. Four tiers could each have two goldmines in them, one cult place, five trade cities, etc. That being said, I don't think it would work brilliantly with all expansions. Some expansions rely more on the random draw. We plan to do some playtesting and work out if this is even worth doing, and if so, what are the best numbers. We're currently thinking the size of the tiers should be one quarter or one fifth of the number of tiles you're playing with, and that the number of tiles mixed up from the tiers should be one quarter/one fifth of that.

Let me know what you think! If anyone has a go, or has done this before, I'd be interested to hear how it went. Or, if you think we're dreadful control freaks meddling with the natural order, you'd be right, but I'd be interested to hear that too.


Official Rules / Re: Order of play flow chart?
« on: May 18, 2017, 08:56:36 AM »
Hello all!

As I mentioned, I finished the order of play flowchart and included everything. It was far too complicated.;sa=view;down=331

As a result, I simplified it. I boiled it down to a brief summary of the order of play, which can be used whilst playing. Then I threw in the table of wooden pieces from the CAR, for convenience. In this context, the flier row indicates if the wooden piece can use the flier, and the flier column indicates where the flier can land.;sa=view;down=332

If you find them of any use or have any suggestions, let me know!

General / Re: The Robbers – Element of the Week #21
« on: May 18, 2017, 08:05:10 AM »

My best girl and I have recently added the Robbers, and she really enjoyed it. Not so much for stealing a large number of points, as this didn't really happen, but as a method of delaying the completion of a feature. As DLloyd suggested, if you draw the tile which finishes your enormous feature, but you've got a robber on you, you might place the tile elsewhere.

We also played with the Robbers and Messages, and this was infuriating. As I said in my previous post, playing with both means the woman follower (who we've renamed 'the messenger,' to avoid sexism) completely negates the robber. We're going to try a variation next time, which is that if you're marking a player's follower with your robber, you score their next points regardless of which follower they move.

For example, if Red has his robber on yellow's messenger, and yellow moves her normal counting follower, Red still robs half the points and has his robber removed. This essentially just returns the robber expansion to its normal rules.

General / Re: Element of the Week #56 – The Labyrinth
« on: May 18, 2017, 03:26:25 AM »
New Element of the Week posts, how exciting!

I like the Labyrinth, but as I've said before, I like anything which makes roads more dynamic. I often throw this into larger games as wildcard, given that it's only one tile.

I also like using it with my little variation expansion described here.

It gets a bit wild with multiple players, but it's good fun!

General / Re: Mage & Witch – Element of the Week #40
« on: May 18, 2017, 02:49:17 AM »

Got you.

Anyway, I have recently been playing with the Mage and the Witch again, as I finally got round to teaching my best girl the minis. We made a startling discovery.


The mage is just as effective on a road, as on a city!

I know!

It's obvious when you think about it, but because the mage gives an extra point per tile, it doesn't matter what the feature itself is scoring. The Mage gives the same points anyway. This is important, because (and I hope I'm not the only person who has been making this little faux pa) I would always drop the Mage into a city, because cities are worth more points, right? But actually, a ten tile city would get ten extra points, whilst a ten tile road would also get ten points. Only, roads are generally easier to build and easier to close. We realised that it was much better to play the Mage on a reasonably sized road and close it quickly, that place it in a large city which you won't close before someone moves him.

Changed my life.

General / Re: 'Turn Totem'
« on: November 06, 2016, 02:01:24 PM »
now I know what to do with my giant meeple.  Thanks!

Good evening, Decar  :)

You're welcome!

In our games players should draw tiles right after their turn. So they have time to think over the placement and so on until they have their turn and it speeds up their game. But with some players an active-player- totem would help them to prevent placing their tile too early.

I have tried this in the past and do like it, but I didn't like the problems it caused with builders etc, so stopped doing it. Glad it works for you though!

General / 'Turn Totem'
« on: November 06, 2016, 01:32:31 AM »
Hello all,

This is something my best girl and I started doing several months ago, and I thought I'd share it as I'm curious to see if anyone else does something similar.

When we started playing, we had a little problem in that she would occasionally draw her next time before I had finished by turn. This was partly due to her impatience, partly my vacillating over placements. I had to explain that her seeing her next tile before I've placed mine wasn't ideal. It's possible that it could cause problems (thoughts?). And, actually, when we starting playing with elements such as the builder or bazaars, it did cause problems. Enter, the totem.

We started passing an object back and forth to indicate who's turn it is. The object in question happens to be a large, wooden die she bought me a few weeks prior (just because she thought I'd like it, isn't she sweet?). It now serves multiple purposes (watch this space). Anyway, the rule is, when you have the die, you are the active player and can draw your tile, move it around, consider followers, etc. It continues to be your turn until you relinquish the die, and up to that point, you can change your mind, move your tile, whatever. Your turn is not fixed until you pass the die (the Carcassonne equivalent of letting go of the piece in chess). Once you have passed it on, that's the end of your go, and anything you have done is sealed.

When you don't have the die, it is not your go. You cannot draw your tile until the die has been passed to you.

We like this, because apart from clearly marking who's turn it is and preventing early tile drawing, it keeps everyone honest. If someone plays a tile, then spots a different, better move, we don't have any "you can't do that, you've let go of the tile" "you've already placed a follower, you can't change your mind" type comments. It means no one gets upset because some dictatorial rule monster shouts at them for trying to move their tile then ends up winning on a technicality.

We use it in every game now. It does get a bit complicated with bazaars, but other than that we have had few problems. It's great!

News and Events / Re: Das fest new edition
« on: November 05, 2016, 01:26:44 AM »
Will they release the festival tiles separately, do we think? For those of us who have already caved and bought Carcassonne II?

Official Rules / Re: Order of play flow chart?
« on: November 04, 2016, 08:57:39 AM »
Hello all!

So... after a while, it seemed liked Bolieroo was MIA. I loved the flowchart idea, I thought it would make playing large games much easier. I used Bolieroo's flowchart as a template and expanded on it, taking everything from the CAR order of play section and putting it into a flowchart. It ended up being pretty wordy. And having spent so much time on it, I think I know it more or less back to front anyway. So I don't think I've ever used it! It's not nearly as pretty as Boileroo's, and I'm not really computer-y so it's in Microsoft Word. I was thinking of adding a copy of the summary of figure characteristics table from the CAR. I'll probably stick it in the downloads section sometime or other.

Official Rules / Re: A few odd questions...
« on: November 04, 2016, 07:39:50 AM »
4. I wouldn't give points for an Abbot leaving a cloister because he lost a challenge - you don't take him back, he is forced to go back. You could say "I placed the tile because I want him to came back", but I think in a challenge only one player should earn points.

Sorry, I meant if you bring the Abbot back early as your move the wood turn, before either of the features are complete, not when he loses the challenge. So if both the cult and the cloister are incomplete, but you bring back your abbot on your turn, what happens to the challenge?

6. Message #7
I know the other thing I meant to ask. Is the extra tile given by message #7 a whole new turn, complete with fairy point, prisoner buyback, etc, or is it just a new tile, like the builder turn?

Official Rules / A few odd questions...
« on: November 04, 2016, 03:37:16 AM »
Hello all!

I played a rather large game a few days ago, and it was completely brilliant. That aside, it did turn up a few unexpected questions on interactions between expansions which in some cases I couldn't seem to find answers for. Much to my chagrin, however, I did not write them down at the time, and so now (of course) I cannot remember them. Below are the ones I can remember, and I will add more as and when I am able to.

Apologies if any of these have been asked before!

1. Fairy points:

I'm pretty sure I found the answer to this, but I want to clarify just in case. The three points earned for completing a feature with the fairy next to your follower occurs as part of the normal scoring phase, so I can earn a message at the end of this phase. It is not a separate phase so does not earn an extra message. However, can I distribute the points separately to the feature which earned them? I think yes. I cannot divide the points of the feature:

the entire point value for each individual feature must be scored by moving a single counting follower


Note that the scoring of the 3 bonus points is independent of the normal points scored for the completed feature.

Thus, if I complete a cloister with the fairy on it, I can give 9 points to one score marker and 3 points to another. Correct?

2. The Abbot (CARCII) :

I still don't know if we're 'supposed' to play the Abbot with CI, but they did make a point of them being compatible because the backs are the same. So I can play the CII base game with CI expansions, right? Anyway, questions.

Does the Abbot earn three points from the fairy if he is removed before completion? The rules state:

If the fairy is standing next to a follower in a feature (city, road, cloister, or farm) that is being scored, the owner of that follower receives 3 points, independent of how much (if anything) the player otherwise receives from the scoring.

It doesn't say complete, it just says feature which is being scored. Which the cloister is. So, yes?

3. I was also going to ask if the fairy scores these points during end-game scoring, but it scores for farms, so yes? If you had a fairy next to your cloister follower and the game ended, you'd get the points?

4. Abbot again

If the Abbot is engaged in a challenge with a heretic/monk, and the abbot is removed, does the abbot get points and the challenge end? The monk/heretic can then go on to get all of his points, as the challenge does not occur if the cloister/shire in unoccupied (right?). The rules state:

If a challenge has not been resolved by the end of the game, both players receive the usual points awarded for incomplete cloisters.

If you do so, you score as many points as the abbot is worth at that time, exactly like scoring a cloister at the end of the game.

If the abbot scores end-game scoring, and in end-game any challenges are ignored, so he scores and the monk/heretic carries on?

5. There was definitely a lot of message/builder/bazaar tomfoolery. There's a lovely footnote in the CAR which describes the order of builder/bazaar interactions, and it goes like this:

Initial turn : draw bazaar tiles : original builder turn : auction bazaar tiles (ignore any bazaars) : first player's auctioned tile : first player's builder turn : next player's auctioned tile : next player's builder turn: last player's auctioned tile : last player's builder turn : if another bazaar was drawn in a builder turn, repeat.

You can trigger another bazaar round if the bazaar was drawn from a builder turn, but not from an auction, fine. But this is further complicated if someone draws message #7 (extra tile) during this. And imagine if they drew a bazaar?! Oh, the horror.

I think, should someone draw message #7 at any point, you would interrupt the above at the point which they earned the message and insert the message/builder turn order:

Turn which triggered message #7 : message #7 turn : message #7 builder turn : initial turn builder turn : resume auction.

If another bazaar is drawn during the above, it would occur after the initial auction finished, as
only when all uncovered tile have been allocated and placed can another bazaar take place.

If you had enough players all earning builder turns and scoring messages, you could end up getting message #7 twice in an auction! Presumably if you draw multiple bazaars during the above, you would perform them one after another. You'd have to pay attention to who starts each one!

The difficulty we had was remembering where we were in all this. We're working on player board which will hopefully allow you to keep track of it.

That's it for now. I'm certain there were more, given how many times I ended up checking the CAR, but that's all I can remember. What do you think?

Official Rules / Dragon Attack Question
« on: May 12, 2016, 03:15:45 AM »
Hello all!

I was browsing the CAR as I had a little time on my hands, and it's nice to have a look every now and then. It's amazing how much I think I know, but I've actually forgotten. I keep learning things I knew once upon a time!

Anyway, in the Wheel of Fortune annotations, there's a footnote which states:

Note that the Wheel of Fortune icon interrupts the first phase of the turn (drawing and placing the landscape tile). The Wheel of Fortune event thus occurs before there is consideration for tile placement. Hence, even if the landscape tile cannot be played and is ultimately discarded, the Wheel of Fortune event will have already occurred anyway.

So if the tile doesn't get played, the wheel spins anyway. Cool. Remembered that. Similarly, there is a footnote which says in the Bridges, Castles and Bazaars rules that:

The bazaar takes place after the tile is drawn and placed. Thus, if the tile cannot be placed and is discarded, the bazaar will not occur.

Okay. Hadn't realised that. Makes sense though. But, there is no equivalent statement in the rules for Princess and the Dragon. Nor in the Catapult, now that I've read it. Extrapolating from the rules concerning WoF and BC&B, and given the place in turn order that they occur, I imagine I know the answer to this. In addition, I strongly doubt this would ever happen, due to the unlikeness of it. But I can't stand the thought of not knowing the answer, even if it doesn't ever happen!

Thus, my question is: If a dragon attack tile or a fair tile is drawn, but discarded as there is no legal placement for the tile, do the events still take place? And if so, when?

General / Re: New Art Colour Matching.... (or lack thereof)
« on: May 12, 2016, 01:13:34 AM »
The P&D brown is much nicer. I'm hoping they'll print the other expansions in this colour when they release a big box.

General / Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« on: May 10, 2016, 02:05:18 PM »
Im the other way! For me, Nothings more exciting in a game of Carcassonne than knowing there's a tile left you need but not knowing if you'll get it and what your opponents will do with it if they get the chance!

Ooh, no! I can't stand it! If I know it's there I spend the game worrying I won't get it, then get irritated if I don't! If I do get it, I feel too lucky, if someone else gets it, they end up in a pickle over whether to help you or not! If you don't know how many of these tiles there are, you get none of this. Definitely more for me.

General / Re: Vanilla Tile Mix
« on: May 10, 2016, 10:36:39 AM »
Yes, I agree. It's probably nice to not know if the piece you need is still in. Keeps it exciting. It's probably quite good to have the numbers change around, too. If you get a game with more roads, you just focus on roads.

I think I will have a separate cloister mix and draw those apart from the rest of the mix to keep the number right. I may also do something extremely finicky and make sure my mix has the same ratio as the base game.

This gets more and more exciting!

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