Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Topics - Christopher

Pages: [1]
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.


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!

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 / Vanilla Tile Mix
« on: April 24, 2016, 06:49:02 AM »
Hello, hello!

Now, I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find it. If anyone else can, feel free to merge the posts!

Anyway, I've just knocked up a 'vanilla tile mix.' I thought it would be useful for padding out larger games if there are too many expansions. Or for playing longer basic games. I wanted to gather opinions on this. I'm certain lots of you already have similar things! What do they consist of, and what do you use them for?

My vanilla tile mix contains all of the vanilla tiles from the expansions. So, it has:

  • Ten tiles from Inns and Cathedrals
  • Four tiles from Traders and Builders
  • Twelve tiles from Abbey and Mayor
  • Five tiles from King and Robber Baron
  • Four tiles from Bridges, Castles and Bazaars
  • Two tiles from Hills and Sheep
  • Ten tiles from Games Quarterly

That totals 47 tiles. It also has the weird base game/wheel of fortune mix from Big Box 5, minus the ones with numbered wheels. That way, it adds more tiles from the expansions and removes a few of the base game mix. That mix contains (I think, I haven't counted them, I've worked it out from the CAR) 65 tiles. Bringing my vanilla mix to a total of 112 tiles.

Official Rules / Hills and Barns
« on: April 22, 2016, 05:24:33 AM »
This occurred to me as a result of all of the barn/halfling discussion going on. It was stated somewhere that a barn must have a stable base. My question, then, is can a barn be placed at the intersection of four tiles if one or more of those tiles is a hill? If all four corners are field it should be allowed, but it wouldn't have a stable base. I have had a look in the CAR and have seen no mention of this. Apologies if it has been asked before.

I expect the hill would not exert its usual effect on the barn, i.e. tie-breaking, even if it could be placed, as the Hills and Sheep rules explicitly state 'when scoring a feature with one or more followers' on a hill, and a barn is not a follower. There will be no breaking of barn-ties. However, my question is just one of can the barn be placed?

Does anyone know the answer to this?

General / Abbots, Monks, Heretics, Bishops and... Abbots.
« on: March 23, 2016, 08:02:28 AM »
Hello all!

Dirk recently pointed out that we now have, in our little game of Carcassonne, Abbots, Monks, Heretics, and, from the new Cathedrals expansion, Bishops. Further to this, we have Abbots twice. Once from the German Monasteries expansions, and once from Carcassonne II. Given that one of the virtues of CII is that it is completely compatible with previous expansions, owing to having the same backs, (*rotten tomato to the face* "Who threw that?") this could conceivably mean that you are playing with Abbots (CII) and Abbots (GM). Which could lead to confusion. And, is remarkably irritating if you happen to have a giant stick up your back. Being as fastidious as I am, this naming repetition is a huge problem for me.

Is there an official ruling on an alternate name for the Monasteries expansion follower? There is a note in the rules about calling them a prior, but it states that they are not doing this. For clarity, apparently. Alternatively, as I suspect there is not an official ruling, is it possible for us as a community to decide on an alternate name? I realise that this would probably lead to more confusion initially, but it would be nice to have an at least un-official name for them which we could all use.

General / Scaling for Large Games
« on: March 18, 2016, 06:33:12 AM »
Hello all!

I had a post months ago about scaling tiles for large games, and another about cloister ratios and such. However, subsequent to a recent post in a topic about eight players, a new thought occurs to me.

Mechanisms such as towers, bridges and castles scale down as you add more players, to prevent over-use, I suppose. But, could these features scale up for large games?

Take castles, for example. In a game with BC&B, each player will receive two or three castles depending on how many players you have. If playing with just this and the base game, this means two or three castles for 84 tiles. This works out fine. But if playing with more expansions, adding up to several hundred tiles, is two castles enough? Could a player receive more castles?

I plan to do some maths tonight, but does anyone have any thoughts on scaling up features such as bridges, castles and towers?

Unofficial Rules / Siege mechanic tiles for roads
« on: February 26, 2016, 12:51:07 AM »
Hello all! I mentioned this recently in the Element of the Week discussion on siege tiles, but in the interest of keeping that thread on topic I thought I'd ask here. Does anyone know of a fan expansion which introduces the same effect to roads as a siege tile does for a city? Add a tile to a road and it decreases its value? I quick look has netted me the dirt roads expansion, which is close but is not quite the same effect. Does anyone know of an expansion like this?

The Marketplace / WTB Spiel 14 Tile and The River I
« on: January 23, 2016, 09:16:13 AM »
Hello all!

Lately I have felt my willpower slipping and I suspect I will be buying Carcassonne II soon. As such, I am looking to get the Spiel 14 tile. I have managed to get hold of a Spiel 15, so it is just 14 (for now!).

I am also looking for a copy of the 2014 Big Box 5 version of the River I. The one with the watermark, the sheep and the vineyards. Does anyone have a copy of this they are willing to sell, or know where I can get it?

Thanks very much.

General / Tile Percentages
« on: January 13, 2016, 02:25:40 PM »
Hello all!

Long time.

So, I've been working on something for a while, building on the work of Quevy (thanks!). It's an Excel spreadsheet which calculates how the percentage of city, road and farm sides and cloister tiles changes according to which expansions you're playing with. There's a story behind making this, which I'll tell you because it helps explains what it does. If you just want to read about what it does, scroll down to the next paragraph.

In the rules for the Monasteries expansion, it says that if playing with the base game you should remove the six cloister tiles in order to prevent having too many cloisters. I got to wondering how the ratio of cloisters to other tiles changed as you added expansions. I did a little work a while ago, looking at the numbers of cloisters in each expansion. That satisfied me for a while, until I started looking at fan expansions. I was very keen on the Family Feud expansion (Thanks to Frédérick Renaud) but my concern was that adding those tiles would give me too many city tiles compared to everything else. I then wondered how many extra roads I should add to balance it out (perhaps from the Wells expansion, thanks to Meepleater) So I took the tile percentages from each expansion (calculated by Quevy) and made a spreadsheet which adds up the sides of city, road and field of the expansions you are playing with, and calculates the percentage of each. It then gives you the difference between that percentage and the percentage of each side type in the base game (if we take the base game to be the 'ideal' side percentages), and tells you how many tiles to add in order to balance out the ratios. It also does this with cloisters, although cloisters are measured in tiles instead of sides (obviously), and tells you how many cloisters you need to add if you are low, or how many other tiles to add if you have too many. Cloisters are also measured in numbers of tiles instead of percentages.

So, using the spreadsheet, you can enter the expansions you are using and it will calculate the percentage of city, road, field and cloister tiles you have. It will also calculate how many of each you should have in order to keep the ratios equal to that of the base game, and tell you have many tiles to add in order to get that. You can then enter how many city, road, field and cloister tiles you are adding and the numbers will recalculate. You will never get it spot on, but less than 1% difference is pretty good. There are spaces to enter your own expansions and they will then function the same as the others. There are a few further notes on the document itself.

I hope you find this useful, I enjoy playing around with the different expansions and seeing how the ratios change. I also use it to calculate (as I mentioned) how many copies of the Wells expansions to use to balance the Family Feud expansion. It anyone has any feedback or any other functions you think would be useful, please let me know and I will try to incorporate them! The sheet is locked to prevent accidental changing of values. You can un-protect it, but remember if you edit a formula it will no longer work!

Thanks all!

General / Mega Carcassonne Tile Balancing
« on: March 05, 2015, 03:07:51 PM »
Hello, hello!

I wondered if I could collect a few opinions on this topic. I usually play fairly large games of Carcassonne. Not mega exactly, I don't tend to use everything, but for a typical game (we try to make time), I use:

Inns and Cathedrals
Traders and Builders
Abbeys and Mayors
Princess and the Dragon (sometimes)
Bridges, Castles and Bazaars (although we usually leave out the bazaars)
Hills and Sheep
The River I and II
Cult, Siege and Creativity (without creativity)
The Wind Roses
The Fliers
The Ferries
The Goldmines
The Mage and the Witch.

This adds up to approximately 264 tiles. With this many, some features which I feel are fairly integral end up becoming significantly less  relevant. I can't remember the last time I played a game without Inns and Cathedrals, for example, and so I consider inn and cathedral tiles to be pretty much standard. But compare the ratio of inns to tiles if we were playing, let's say, I&C and T&B. That would be 114 tiles, six of which are inns. At least you stand a decent chance of getting an inn when you have a good road going. But compare that to 8 tiles out of 264? There's almost no point in having them. And forget about your two cathedrals.

The same goes for the minis. Eight lakes feel fairly insignificant in 264 tiles. And with only eight Mage and Witch tiles, which each let you move EITHER the mage OR the witch, it just doesn't happen.

So, my question is this. Does anyone ever play with multiples of these expansions? I'm not decided on the minis, but I was thinking an extra set of Inns and Cathedrals tiles would be very welcome. Or does the fact that with all those expansions included there is so much else going on mean that it doesn't matter? Or if I want to enjoy the inns properly, should I play smaller games?




Pages: [1]