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Topics - danisthirty

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1
General / Tile Counting Apps/ Programs
« on: January 19, 2022, 08:41:55 AM »
If you ever play Carcassonne online either through BGA, JCloisterZone, other websites or any of the phone/ tablet apps I'm keen to hear your thoughts and opinions about the use of tile counting apps. Does their existence spoil the competitiveness within Carcassonne, or do they simply serve to level the playing field between players who can count the tiles in their head and those who struggle to do the same?

Speaking as something of a purist, I like to play competitive Carcassonne online in the same way as I would if I were playing against someone in person, so I stay away from anything that separates Carcassonne when played in person from Carcassonne played via a computer. Naturally this means that I'm not in favour of any kind of artificial assistance, and will avoid them even if they're built in to the app that I'm using to play them on (like on "Quick Games" via the old iOS app that I still play and love). I have plenty of reasons for this, but I've shared the main ones below:

1) Some day I'd love to win the UK Carcassonne Championship, or perhaps even the World Carcassonne Championships 8) so I don't want to get used to anything during practice games that I'll come to rely on and then won't be able to use during championship matches.

2) Tile counting is a mental skill that is part of the game. For me, my knowledge of the tiles, and which are left, is as much a part of the game as deciding where to place whichever tile I've drawn. Having something automatically telling me which tiles are left is akin to someone else telling me where to put the tiles! :(n)

3) This only really applies in certain situations where some people might use a third-party or external tile counting app that isn't provided as part of the platform that is being used to host the game, but it would feel very dishonest under those circumstances to be going above and beyond what's provided by the platform to improve my chances of beating my opponent. For me, a win is meaningless unless both players are playing under the same conditions.

I'd love to hear from you if agree, disagree or have anything to add to the discussion as I know that mine isn't the only opinion. And also, let's be clear, this isn't the place to judge anyone for what they would/ wouldn't do to get their next win. We're all friends here, so let's just have an open and honest discussion about where you think the boundaries of acceptable/ unacceptable online play are.

2
The Marketplace / Selling: Spiel 15, 16 and 21 Tiles (together)
« on: January 17, 2022, 06:37:54 AM »
I spent the weekend having a bit of a sort-out of my Carcassonne collection, and came across two tiles I'd forgotten I owned: The Spiel 15 and 16 tiles below.

I was tempted to keep them for spares, but already own a full set of these so decided I'd see if anyone here wanted them. I have a spare Spiel 21 tile too, which I've also included as per the photo below:



Unfortunately I can't afford to give them away for free as I have done in the past, and am asking for £90 for all three together. They're worth more than this, but I'd rather see them go to someone here who needs them than someone on eBay who's going to sit on them for a year and then sell them on for twice as much again.

I'll cover the cost of the (tracked/ signed for) postage to anywhere in the world, so that won't be any extra.

Please let me know via PM if you'd be interested in taking these off my hands.

Thanks! :)

3
News and Events / Carcassonne Central's New Owners
« on: January 17, 2022, 03:58:36 AM »
Yo dudes! I have exciting news to reveal, so please grab some popcorn and a fresh drink before continuing. Got it? Good. You may start eating... now!

If you've been around these forums for more than a couple of years then you might have heard some of us talking about Gantry, but I've quoted part of an eight and a half year old post below for those of you who don't (it's well worth reading even if you do know who Gantry is):

Gantry told me more about the history of Carcassonne Central. He was a regular user of BoardGameGeek, but found the forums difficult to use. (I think many of us can understand that feeling.) He tried to reach out to the guys who ran the site, but never heard anything back. Eventually, his frustration with the BGG forums led to his decision to create Carcassonne Central. He found a fan site about the game by Matt Harper, an Englishman living in Germany, and sent him an e-mail. (Matt's web site is still available here: http://carc.mjharper.de/) They collaborated on building a community around the game; Gantry was the technical "make it happen" guy, and Matt was the rules answer guy. Matt created the Complete Annotated Rules and posted it on BoardGameGeek, with a note that updates would only be available at Carcassonne Central, and only to members. Thousands of Carcassonne fans signed up just for the privilege of getting their hands on the latest version of the Complete Annotated Rules. Most never made a single post, but a core group of people arose. Some of those people moved on, and others took their place. Somewhere along the line, we started churning out fan-made expansions on a weekly basis. I feel like this coincided with a time where official expansions weren't being published by Rio Grande, and the community wanted more.

In short, Gantry has been there since Day 1 of Carcassonne Central. He and Matt Harper started it all back in 2008 and he's been leading the way (and paying the bills) for us ever since. He was prepared to give me the chance to become one of the site admins in 2014 and thankfully things worked out pretty well, but I never really had the chance to get to know him on the forums as life was taking him in a different direction at a time when mine was steering me directly towards Carcassonne. We chatted occasionally via email, especially during those awkward times when the forums were down and nobody quite knew what to do. Those were his moments to shine, and he always shone very brightly when we needed him to!

Last year, at around the time when the forums were down for 6 or 7 weeks, Gantry emailed me to say that he was considering selling Carcassonne Central. Furthermore, he was keen to know whether I might be interested in buying it from him and taking over his ultimate responsibility as Carcassonne Central's owner. You might say I jumped at the chance, but I know my limitations too and I recognise when I need a little help from my friends. So, I asked Tom (Decar) and Hector (Meepledrone) to stand by my side as co-owners. They agreed, and as of Wednesday 5th January when Carcassonne Central's website, database and files were moved from Gantry's host account to my own during this short outage, I'm proud to announce on behalf of Tom, Hector and myself that Carcassonne Central is under new ownership! 8)

Before I introduce the team, I'd just like to take a moment to recognise the years of hard work that Gantry has put into making Carcassonne Central everything that it is today. It takes great vision and drive to create something like this, and with so many Carcassonne fan communities springing up all around the world in recent years it's easy to forget that Carcassonne Central was the first of its kind. It's only because Gantry and Matt Harper did such a great job that we're still here today with almost ten thousand members, and with large followings on Facebook and Twitter that share our communities news and achievements to an even wider audience. Just saying "thanks" seems a little underwhelming, but I'm sure he'll continue to take great pride from Carcasonne Central in the future, knowing that he was the person who started it all. Let's do him proud... :(y)

So without further ado, here's a quick reminder of who Tom, Hector and I are:



(left: Tom looking delighted to have found a Carcassonne Big Box, middle: Hector: working his way through his latest set of rules books, right: me rejoicing after a well-deserved victory at the pingy-flicky game)

Tom/ Decar
Hello. I'm not exactly sure when I first started to learn about Carcassonne. I have been interested in board games for many years and sometime around 2006 I started to take an interest in the Japanese game of Go. Predominantly though, I was a computer or console gamer. Somehow, internet rabbit holes seemed to always end up with me looking at Carcassonne. I remember trying an early edition of JCZ with no idea what the rules were, and vaguely figured it out on my own. Adda was a much easier opponent back then.

Back in December 2014, I saw a post here on Carcasonne Central from JungleBoy asking if anyone was free for a game that evening. Back in those days you had to open up ports on your home firewalls to play each other, but I decided to take part. I still remember the game quite well; there was a big fight for a city (which describes about 85% of games of Carcassonne). Anyway after that I was well and truly hooked, and some days later DanIsThirty messaged me and we became friends.

In 2015 we all met up at the UKGE where Udo Schmitz was hosting a Carcassonne on Tour event. I played in the tournament and met someone else with the same name as me... who oddly had a wife with the same name as my wife. Thankfully, I was on a higher table than them, confirming my status as best person with my name. From then to now, I've had many an adventure thanks to Carcassonne, whether I'm crafting another fan expansion, creating my own meeple, organizing forum meetups, or attending events such Essen or the International Carcassonne meetup. I hope to be able to take part in some of these again soon.

Over all these years, the friendships I've found through our shared passions of a topological rendition of the fields and cities of particular area of the South of France have been something I doubt I could have found anywhere else. Possibly, the greatest reward of being a member here is seeing all the people who help each other with their side projects, or collections.

Although the management is changing, I have every faith in Dan, whose character allows him to mediate everyone's interests. I know that whatever changes occur, Dan will make the right decision.

Hector/ Meepledrone
I was introduced into the world of Carcassonne by a friend back in the summer of 2003... When the base game, I&C, T&B, River I and King & Robber were the limit :o... I loved the game at first sight...ehrr... play. I switched jobs shortly after and the game stayed dormant for a years.

But something terrible happened in May 2018... I went on a short vacation with my wife and a couple of friends to the seaside and it rained a lot in the evenings. Don't ask me why but it happened I have my Carcassonne collection with me by chance... We had the most terrific evenings playing Carcassonne. ;D

So, I went back home completely ecstatic and I started to scan the Internet thoroughly to catch up with everything Carcassonne-y, joined Carcassonne Central, and loved the CAR (my summer bedtime reading) and its fan expansions... So I became a Carcassonne fan-expansion completionist and even started to create some fan expansions on my own or in collaboration with friends from the forum and off-line...

In September 2018 I joined the WICA project (https://wikicarpedia.com) as a co-founder along with Maj.Frost, Wolnic and Sinscerly and added plenty of content and the craziest stuff I could devise: An updated dynamic version of the Reference Chapters of the CAR, covering the Game structure, the Order of Play, the Scoring Summaries, the Figure Reference (along with Murphy013)... So I became a Carcassonne rules completionist and started to run some Advent Calendar Scoring Quizzes starting in 2019. (At last a good use for all that useless information... :o)

What other things has the forum done for me? Well, I also became a C1-C2-C3 Carcassonne completionist due to the worst influences there, but I don't have plans for a museum or the time being. ;)

Away from Carcassonne, I'm happily married to a wonderful and understanding wife who allows me to talk about Carcassonne nuances for hours on end (Carcassonne again, really? ::)) while she rolls her eyes... I also love binge viewing TV shows, Lego, retro games, eating ice cream and doing nothing from time to time.

Dan/ danisthirty
I was given my first Carcassonne game as a birthday present in 2012 and I've barely stopped playing it ever since. Much of the blame for my rapid descent into Carcassonne Completionism Disorder (CCD) lies with Carcassonne Central and the people who frequent it, but I've always felt that the friendly and supportive atmosphere here is something truly special and I wouldn't change it for the world! I've loved serving as an admin here for the last eight years and find great reward in sharing my passion for Carcassonne in a way that encourages others to do the same.

I play Carcassonne regularly at www.boardgamearena.com (find me there: danisthirty) and captained the UK Carcassonne Team for the World and European Online Team Championships 2020/21. I co-wrote "The Book of Carcassonne" in 2019/20, have commissioned my own personalised meeples and have been responsible for numerous CarcC initiatives including tournaments, newsletters, quizzes, competitions, giveaways and this 15th anniversary gift for Klaus-Jürgen Wrede which Tom and I took all the way to Essen to present to him.

Away from Carcassonne, I've been married to my wife Becky since 2008, and have two energetic but hilarious kids aged 11 and 8 who keep me pretty busy. I like many other boardgames (though none as much as Carcassonne), retro computer games, collecting Lego minifigures (I have around 500 so far), running, Pepsi Max and cheeseburgers. And finally, please note that I'm not thirsty.


Hopefully you'll agree that the site is in safe hands, even if those hands no longer belong to Gantry. There's lots planned already, and lots to look forward to, so please be excited and watch this space! :(y)

4
General / Boardgames ranked by BGG plays: 2004 - 2021
« on: January 10, 2022, 02:18:16 AM »
Yo dudes.

I saw the following video on the Facebook BGG group this morning and found it really interesting:



The video is based on data collected from BGG over a 17 year period! In the creator's own words:

"Video for all months of 2004-2021. For every month I listed 10 games with the largest number of unique BoardGameGeek users who have played the game at least once in an entire month.
Actually this video is the history of modern board games. It shows when and what games were played the most and how long the interest in every popular game lasted."

The fact that the data is limited to only plays that were recorded on BGG will skew the results entirely in favour of more modern/ hobby boardgames that most of us are familiar with, rather than the likes of chess or snakes and ladders which most of the world are familiar with. But I think the insight is still valuable in terms of the context in which the data was recorded. With this in mind, I think it's quite amazing to see Carcassonne holding its own against the competition at a time when boardgaming was really taking off and there was so much choice available to boardgame players. Other games rise, and fall, but Carcassonne's always there, steadily and consistently holding onto its place in the top 10 for more than a decade.

5
News and Events / Downtime on Wednesday at 2pm (PST)
« on: January 03, 2022, 03:12:09 PM »
Hey all, and happy new year!

Just a quick message to warn you that there will be a short downtime window of approx. 1 hour this Wednesday @ 2PM PST time zone.

I won't go into any detail about it now, but I'll be sure to write again soon to explain why it was necessary... 8)

Dan :(y)

6
News and Events / Interview for Carcassonne Brazil
« on: April 09, 2021, 03:14:11 AM »
Last year, in the depths of lockdown, I was interviewed by a friend of mine from Carcassonne Brazil. He had been running a series of interviews with players from all over the world for their blog, and asked if he could interview me. Of course I said yes as I was hugely flattered to be featured alongside the likes of Marian Curcan, Genro Fujimoto and Vladimir Kovalev (world champions of 2019, 2018 and 2016 respectively). However, Carcassonne Brazil seemed to suspend posting interviews on their blog shortly after my interview and as disappointing as that was at first, I quickly forgot about it until a few days ago when my friend messaged me to tell me that he was going to post it that day!



The blog post can be found here - https://www.carcassonnebrasil.com/blog/dan-chard - and there's an English version of the interview at the bottom of the page. I hope some you will find it interesting to read and I'm always keen to hear any feedback!

7
General / Interview with KJW (by HiG)
« on: April 08, 2021, 05:45:30 AM »
Not sure how many of us here follow HiG on Facebook and/ or Instagram, but for those who don't I wanted to share this link to an interview with KJW that HiG have been sharing (one question/ answer per day) via their social media channels.

We're only up to day 4, so there's still 1 question to go, but I've been following it quite keenly as I like the style of the questions, the insight they provide into the world of Carcassonne's creator and the cartoons too!

I hope you like it. :(y)

8
Online Games and Competitions / European Team Championships
« on: October 09, 2020, 05:45:30 AM »
Hello!

In case anyone is unaware, I thought I'd take some time to share details of the European Team Championships that are taking place on BGA (http://www.boardgamearena.com) at the moment. I'm serving as the captain of the UK team, so obviously this is where my interest lies and is what I've written about below.

Firstly though, the European Team Championships is an online Carcassonne event being organised by Carcassonne.cat (http://www.carcassonne.cat). Each team consists of between 5 and 10 players (although you can only play 5 of them at once). Teams have been split into two groups and each group is playing a round robin so that every team plays a single match against every other team in their group, these have been split into rounds so that every team plays one match per week/ round (unless they are having a "sitting out" week in the case of groups with an odd number of teams). Each match consists of 5 duels, and is settled by whichever team wins 3 or more duels. Each duel is played between two players (one from each team) and is a simple "best of 3" games. Games are basegame only, and all 5 duels are scheduled to begin at the same time.



It's very nice to be in second place for now, but Russia and France play each other on Sunday so one of them will be pushing us down into third before the end of the round. There's also the fact that we haven't had our "sitting out" week yet, which will come in round 6 after we've played Spain and have just Russia to come (Ukraine and France also still have their sitting out weeks ahead of them).

Round 1:


The Netherlands are always a tough opponent for us with players like Bekse (former national champion) and humske (former world champion) who always seem to get the better of us, as was the case in this match. Jackface triumphed over Johnnoordwijk with relative ease (2 - 0), whereas my win over hulpspuppie was less clear-cut after I lost our first game by one point. Thankfully I was able to contain my opponent more effectively over the next two games and took the duel 2 - 1 as a result. Elsewhere, our team's newest player statmatt lost to Bekse in straight games while wallaceprime vs. Zwollywood and ted the notty bear vs. humske both went to third games. I was cautiously optimistic and watched both games very closely as a win in either would give us our third duel, and the match. But sadly it wasn't to be. wallaceprime played as well as always, but simply couldn't generate enough points with his last few tiles to outscore Zwollywood's powerful farms and... well, I'm not quite sure what happened in the other game. It all came down to a fight for the main farm in the end, and while it looked (to me) as though ted the notty bear drew the required tiles to win it outright, things didn't quite go according to plan and all was lost :(

Round 2:


The Ukrainian team have been a bit of a surprise to our group of this competition. I have a good record against Samuelsson so was fairly confident that this would be a duel in our favor but the other matches were hard to call. ted the notty bear and I were both successful, winning our duels in straight games. Revelations (@halfling) was unfortunate to have his debut game settled by Carcassonne.cat's unusual "starting player loses in the case of a tie" rule and went on to lose the second game by just 9 points. statmatt struggled to put anything past Lawyer too, losing their duel 2 - 0 and bringing the match score to 2 - 2. The final duel was being played between Han Shot First and Jubjic. I didn't watch it live, but it seems Jubjic won their first game fairly convincingly and was equally unrelenting in their second...

We tried to be optimistic about everything, but to have won just four duels from two matches wasn't where we wanted to be, and it wasn't the start we needed either. :-[ :(n)

Round 3:


This match taught me that while I thought I'd been helping the team by winning literally every duel I'd played in both the World Team Championships and now the European Team Championships up to this point, I'd actually been hindering them. Apparently, my less than impressive loss to Boulym inspired everyone else to win their duels and we took the match 4 - 1 as a result! This included a win for ted the notty bear against one of the highest-ranked (and current #1) player at BGA - "viv-" which was nothing short of incredible! :o I don't remember watching many of the other games as they were being played, which is most likely because I was too busy crying, or had gone canoeing, but there was much celebrating and mutual virtual back-patting as we finally took a long overdue "big point" for our first match win. :(y)

Round 4:


My first game with Antoniospqr1970 was a comfortable win after he allowed me to trap two of his meeples at a cost of one of my own, and then went on to invest three farmers in the main field (against my two - one of which never joined up). Since we each had another meeple locked up in another city, this meant he played most of the game with only one meeple at his disposal whereas I had three. This meant I could take more risks, and as a result I was able to build up a decent lead and take my own farm which was almost as valuable as the main one without ever feeling like I was in too much trouble.

Antoniospqr1970 was much more cautious in our second game and played far more safely. He got off to a great start with lots of short roads and built an early lead, whereas this time I seemed to be the one not managing my meeples very well. I wasn't at all confident that this was going to be another win after the first 20 or so tiles, but gradually I was able to start trapping his meeples while generating some points for myself and as we got towards the final 20 tiles or so it was too close to call. I thought it was over when my opponent drew the remaining ccff splitter and cut me out of his big city which was completed with the same tile, but I completed my half of the city a few turns later to pull things back a little. Towards the end I was able to block a bold attempt by Antoniospqr1970 to take the main farm outright, but he'd grown a 9-point farm elsewhere so I knew I was still in trouble despite this. Thankfully, I drew the final crrf tile towards the very end of the game, which I had been in desperate need of for most of the game! This allowed me to finish a worthwhile city and claim a road. And with my final tile of the game I finished another small city and farmed the other side, which all added to my winning score of just 7 points in a game that could very easily have gone either way at several points. With this, the duel was mine.

Having played both games in just half an hour, it was no surprise to see that the other four duels were still some way away from completion. However, I was slightly discouraged to see that the Italian players had won the first game in all four of them! I was starting to prepare myself for being on the receiving end of another crushing 2 - 3 defeat (or worse!) but thankfully wallaceprime and ted the notty bear both won their second games, whereas Jackface and statmatt lost theirs. The two deciding games were quite similar in nature and were won thanks to a large farm. wallaceprime's opponent had played tremendously but was a little too keen to put all of his eggs in one basket. On this occasion, that basket was a large but uncompleteable city which he controlled with 4 knights of his own against 3 of Chris'. The most valuable feature besides this was the main farm which was tied with two meeples each. However, Chris demonstrated a real masterclass in farming which enabled him to win the main farm outright with a third farmer. This was enough to take the game, and our second duel, which meant the match would be settled by ted the notty bear in his third game against Lorenzo79. Although he was some way behind on points when I started watching, it was clear that this game was all about the farm which ted was able to hang onto until the end of the game. It was an awesome moment, and for a second week in a row we could cheer and celebrate on our Facebook messenger chat group!

Full details of the competition can be found on Carcassonne.cat's website. Games can also be replayed/ watched through BGA and some are being streamed live either through meeplewizard's youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisInsaneTV) or on occasion through BGA TV (look for "boardgame arena" on Twitch). All in all, it's definitely taking Carcassonne as a spectator sport to a new level! :(y)

9
News and Events / The Book of Carcassonne: Strategy, Tips and Tactics
« on: July 01, 2020, 08:08:41 AM »
In August last year I received a PM from someone here to say that he was working on a book about Carcassonne, and to ask if I might be interested in collaborating with him on it. A Carcassonne strategy guide was something that I had been thinking about for years, but it wasn't until I was given this opportunity to work with an established author that I decided it was finally time to do something about it. I didn't have to think about his offer for very long, and responded to his message with a resounding "Yes!" the next day...

It's been a very eventful year (almost) since then, but we've persevered regardless of everything that 2020 has had to throw at us and I'm really excited not just by having my name on the front cover of a published book, but in terms of everything that we managed to cram into its 200+ pages!

 

For anyone who may be interested, here's a quick breakdown of the main areas the book focuses on:
  • How Carcassonne came to be, and the influence it has had over modern boardgaming
  • Competitive Carcassonne
  • Carcassonne Strategy: Basic and Advanced
  • Expert tips from 5 Carcassonne world champions
  • Carcassonne's 10 major/ boxed expansions - descriptions and tips
  • Timeline of Carcassonne spin-offs
  • An exclusive interview with Klaus-Jürgen Wrede about his feelings towards Carcassonne and how it has changed his life
Our hope is that we've included sufficient breadth and depth of detail as to ensure that the book appeals to new and long-standing Carcassonne fans alike, regardless of what specific areas they may be interested to read more about. It is now available through Amazon and costs a mere £7.95 so should be within most people's budgets.

If you do happen to buy a copy of the book and enjoy reading it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon and encouraging your friends/ family/ colleagues/ random people in the street to buy a copy too! As always, I'm truly grateful for all the encouragement and support that I've received through the Carcassonne Central community with regards this project and I'm really looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks of the finished article, so please be kind ;)

10
News and Events / World Team Carcassonne Online Championship
« on: April 30, 2020, 07:05:56 AM »
This looks very interesting to me so thought I'd share it here in case anyone else wants to get involved...


"In recent weeks, different Catalan players have had the opportunity to play online against a team of the best Japanese players in Carcassonne. The experience has been so enriching that Carcassonne.cat has thought of encouraging this type of confrontation that began the Japanese team a few months ago.

And what better way to do it than in a global format and online, given the current context generated by Covid 19. Thus, although the individual world championship held every year in Essen has been canceled , we are in a good time to launch a new game mode that in the future can become a classic and official event, the World Team Carcassonne Online Championship.

In this first edition of the World Team Carcassonne Online Championship will be able to participate those countries or regions in which the game has been published in its official language presenting a single team. Players of these teams must have or create a profile on the online platform www.boardgamearena.com, where the competition will take place.

From Carcassonne.cat we want the largest possible number of teams to participate in this championship, for this reason we will contact international players. At the same time, we leave our contact email for those teams that we can not reach and also want to participate in the championship: carcassonnecat@gmail.com.

The championship will be divided into two phases. In the first there will be groups with different teams, where they will all play with each other. In the second, the semifinals and finals will be played between the best teams in each group. The number of rounds will depend on whether 2 or more groups are made."


Full details can be found at the website here: http://www.carcassonne.cat/2020/04/28/world-team-carcassonne-online-championship/

11
General / Carcassonne FAQ
« on: April 29, 2020, 03:48:49 PM »
Carcassonne FAQ

I've written this FAQ as a means for answering a number of common questions relating to Carcassonne and the significant place that it holds in the rich history of modern boardgaming. Its purpose is not to offer any particular guidance relating to Carcassonne's increasingly complex labyrinth of rules, and as such I would recommend that those with questions relating to these check Carcassonne Central's excellent wiki (http://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/Main_Page) or ask directly on the Carcassonne Central forums if an answer can't be found elsewhere.

I'm hoping that anybody who wishes to add their own questions (with or without answers) will post them below so that the main post can be updated and may in time become a useful resource for newer players. Over the course of the week that I spent writing it, the FAQ approximately doubled in size as questions were shared with me or occurred off the back of other questions that I'd tried to answer. In this sense it may never be considered "complete" since there will always be new questions. Even now there are at least two questions I still need to answer and add, but I had to start somewhere so here it is!

I hope it's useful and/ or interesting to everyone. Enjoy!


#0: Index

#1: What is the connection between Carcassonne the place and Carcassonne the boardgame?
#2: I've heard that Carcassonne was the first game to use "Meeples". Is this true?
#3: Why don't my Carcassonne tiles look the same as my friend's tiles?
#4: What is the best number of players to play Carcassonne?
#5: Why does the player that goes last always get to place one tile less than the other players? Is this fair?
#6: Is it against Carcassonne's rules to create a gap/ hole in the landscape?
#7: Are players allowed to team up or make special deals between themselves?
#8: What happens if I draw a tile but can only place it somewhere that benefits my opponent?
#9: How do I get my meeples back if they get stuck or I run out?
#10: What happens if I run out of space on my table or want to place a tile that doesn't fit on the table?
#11: Is there too much luck in Carcassonne?
#12: What is "Tile Counting"?
#13: What house/ unofficial rules are commonly played?
#14: What apps exist for Carcassonne?
#15: Where can Carcassonne be played online?
#16: What's a good score to aim for in Carcassonne?
#17: How can I improve my chances of winning at Carcassonne?
#18: Where do the best Carcassonne players in the world come from?
#19: Which are the best expansions for Carcassonne?
#20: How many officially recognised expansions are there for Carcassonne?
#21: Which is the best spin-off game for Carcassonne?
#22: Where can I find more detailed information about Carcassonne's expansions and rules?
#23: Why are there so many different versions of the Carcassonne basegame?
#24: Where can I buy Carcassonne stuff from?
#25: What are the rarest/ most valuable Carcassonne items, and why are they so expensive?


#1: What is the connection between Carcassonne the place and Carcassonne the boardgame?

Klaus-Jürgen Wrede was visiting the area of Carcassonne in Southern France when he first came up with the ideas and core-mechanics behind his best-selling boardgame. Although he hadn't gone there planning to create a game (he was actually researching a book he had published in 2015: "The Secret of the Ghent Altarpiece") he was inspired by the landscape and sought to create a game where players were able to recreate it for themselves. This said, the theme no longer fits as tightly as it once did following the release of subsequent expansions that bring German, Dutch, Belgian and Japanese buildings to the familiar French landscape!


#2: I've heard that Carcassonne was the first game to use "Meeples". Is this true?

The answer to this question is yes and no. It's yes in that Carcassonne was the first boardgame to use the wooden tokens that millions of people around the world would instantly recognise today as "meeples". These were designed for Carcassonne by Bernd Brunnhofer of Hans im Glück (HiG) who originally published Carcassonne in Germany and who still "own" it today some 20 years later. However, they were never referred to as meeples by HiG and it wasn't until an American boardgamer named Alison Hansel first referred to them as meeples (a contraction of "my people") in 2000 that the term started to become more commonly known and used around the world.


#3: Why don't my Carcassonne tiles look the same as my friend's tiles?

In 2014, Hans im Glück decided to reboot the Carcassonne series with new artwork illustrated by Anne Pätzke rather than Doris Matthäus who had been Carcassonne's much-loved illustrator up until that point. A lot of die-hard Carcassonne fans were initially reluctant to rebuild their Carcassonne collections in the new art, and some were put off the game altogether when brand new expansions started to appear exclusively for the new art edition (besides Abbots). However, official advice from HiG and their international partners has always been that the different art styles remain compatible and can be mixed together as the "C" logo on the backs of the tiles is consistent. Not everyone is convinced by this, but new players certainly seem to be enjoying the new version just as much as those of us who first fell in love with Doris' original artwork ever did.

Apart from the art style, the most significant difference between the two versions of the game is that the new art version includes "gardens" on some of the tiles which score in the same way as cloisters. These are a special new feature that can only be claimed by a player's "Abbot" figure which were the first new-art exclusive expansion that has always been included with copies of the new-art basegame.

You may also notice that even when using multiple expansions belonging to the same artwork version, the shades of green used to represent fields doesn't always match very well between the different expansions and the tiles of the basic game. This isn't by design and is more to do with various subtle inconsistencies between artists, printers and publishers that either weren't picked up until it was too late, or were picked up but weren't deemed important enough to warrant a reprint. It seems to upset some people more than others, but it certainly doesn't affect my enjoyment of the game personally.


#4: What is the best number of players to play Carcassonne?

The basegame includes five sets of meeples and a sixth is added with the first expansion: "Inns & Cathedrals". However, while full sets of Carcassonne meeples (including all the extra pieces that come with the various expansions) can now be bought in 20+ different colours, this isn't to say that Carcassonne should be played with 20 players! Although it can be played with larger groups, the downtime between turns can become significant when you start to go above four players, especially if one or more of those players tend to overthink their turns. The other downside is that since you have fewer turns in larger groups, your influence over the game also diminishes to the point that luck can become too much of a factor for some players.

Competitive Carcassonne players would view it as a strictly two-player game. While some tournament organisers still insist on including three or four-player rounds as part of their national competitions before proceeding to a knock-out stage between the players with the most points at the end of these rounds, this is not a popular format among Carcassonne players themselves. My personal belief is that Carcassonne can be enjoyed with any number of players (even solo), but any games I play against two or more opponents are usually taken far less seriously than the head to head games I play.


#5: Why does the player that goes last always get to place one tile less than the other players? Is this fair?

This has always been a strange quirk of Carcassonne that I've never really understood. Considering that the basegame consists of 72 tiles, which can be divided equally between two, three or four players, it just seems odd to have the game played with 71 tiles (once the start tile has been removed) as this is a prime number i.e. it won't divide equally between any number of players other than 1 and 71. This bothers me more than it seems to bother most people.

In terms of the starting player having an advantage, I have always felt that this was the case. Not only does the starting player go into the game with a 31% chance of drawing a tile featuring a city cap that can be used against the start tile to get a four-point head start, but the starting player also gets to place one tile more than their opponent. It isn't rare that games can be won or lost over a matter of one or two points, and while it isn't always necessarily the starting player who wins on these occasions, it doesn't seem unfair to suggest that the outcomes of many such closely-fought games could have been different if the second player had been given the opportunity to place the same number of tiles as the starting player.

EDIT:
Although it's not common, I have known competitions where the advantage of being the starting player is balanced out by a tie-breaker stating that in the event of a draw, the player that went first loses.


#6: Is it against Carcassonne's rules to create a gap/ hole in the landscape?

In short, there are no tile placement rules provided that roads, cities and fields are always matched against roads, cities and fields respectively for every tile that the tile being placed is directly adjacent to. Not in the basic game anyway. This means that gaps can, and often do form quite naturally, but it's also common to see holes created deliberately either to trap meeples in any features that border the hole, or to prevent a meeple belonging to one player joining to a feature belonging to their opponent. This isn't always good for the aesthetic of the landscape, but is entirely in keeping with the rules.


#7: Are players allowed to team up or make special deals between themselves?

There are no rules suggesting that players shouldn't (or should) team up in games of Carcassonne so it certainly isn't forbidden. In games with three or four players, it often makes sense for two or more players to work together if a feature they're sharing can give them a lead over any players that aren't included in this. However, it's also entirely within the rules for one of those previously co-operative players to swoop in at the last minute with an extra meeple to win the feature outright, so be careful who you trust!

With regards to "special deals" being made between players during games of Carcassonne, this is not something that the rules cover. While it will be to the detriment of the game, especially for players who aren't involved in any such teamwork, every player's decision regarding where they place their tile is 100% theirs and isn't bound to whatever they may have agreed to earlier in the game in exchange for another player using one of their tiles to benefit them. It can be similarly frustrating when certain players try to influence the decisions of other players to subtly benefit themselves, but these all come from the social aspects that are common to many boardgames and which aren't addressed by Carcassonne in particular.


#8: What happens if I draw a tile but can only place it somewhere that benefits my opponent?

Carcassonne's rules state that if the drawn tile cannot be placed then it is discarded. Some people prefer to put unplaceable tiles back into the tile bag rather than let it go to waste, but this is classed as a "house rule" which is unofficial (see #13). But in any case, if your tile CAN be placed then it MUST be placed even if it helps your opponent more than it helps you. Tiles to look out for that are often unplaceable include those with road or city on all four sides, but it's usually only if they're drawn early on that they might be eliminated as the number of potential locations will increase as the landscape expands throughout the game.

In the event that a drawn tile cannot be placed and is discarded, the player who drew the tile draws a replacement tile and takes their turn as normal with that tile instead.


#9: How do I get my meeples back if they get stuck or I run out?

Certain expansions such as The Festival, The Tower and Crop Circles (to name but a few – there are plenty of others) introduce new mechanics to the game that can be exploited to recover meeples from the landscape and get them back into your hand for deployment elsewhere. However, in the basic game meeples remain on whichever feature they were used to claim until that feature is completed. If the feature can't be completed then the meeple will remain where it is until the end of the game. This can be especially frustrating for novice players but is an important tactic employed by more experienced players to limit their opponent's scoring opportunities and give themselves an advantage. This is why it's also important to learn how best to minimise the risk of your meeples becoming trapped, to recognise when they are being threatened and to defend them wherever possible.


#10: What happens if I run out of space on my table or want to place a tile that doesn't fit on the table?

There aren't any official rules covering what to do if you run out of space so it's up to you how you deal with it. You may be able to shift the landscape back towards the middle of the table to free up space closer to the edges, but this can be impractical especially for larger games. In the event that you decide to do this, it's worth taking a few quick photos before you move anything so that you can make sure everything is back where it's supposed to be before play resumes. Depending how this goes though, you might want to play on the floor next time!

EDIT:
Meepledrone has reminded me of some rules clarifications from Georg Wild of HiG in 2013. Surprisingly, he stated that according to Carcassonne's official rules tiles should not be shifted as the start tile must be placed in the centre of the table and any such shifting would displace it from here. However, if you do happen to have another table of appropriate height lying around then you ARE allowed to add this and continue the game onto it provided that everything stays in place. He goes on to say that while technically playing Carcassonne on the floor isn't in keeping with the game's official rules (since the start tile can't be placed in the middle of the table) this is still acceptable if you haven't got a table and don't try to place tiles under sofas, cabinets or shelves. His full list of clarifications can be found here: http://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/Base_game#Use_of_a_Table


#11: Is there too much luck in Carcassonne?

There is certainly an element of luck to Carcassonne; it would be remiss of me to suggest otherwise. But generally, people are quick to dismiss things that they see as being heavily luck-based without taking the time to get to know them. These same people don't like losing, and it's easy for a weak player to blame their defeat on bad luck simply because they're unaware of what measures their opponent took to maximise their chances of victory.

You win at Carcassonne by scoring more points than your opponent. This is achieved by generating as many points for yourself as possible, whilst simultaneously trying to limit your opponent's scoring opportunities either by anticipating their most valuable features and sharing them, or by trapping their meeples in features that will never be complete. After just a few games, novice players might have become quite good at building their own score while leaving their opponent to build theirs and hoping for the best, but these types of games are very different to the ones played between experienced players who know when to build or expand and when (and how) to threaten, attack, trap or defend.

If I had to sum it up in just three words, I'd say Carcassonne is a game of decisions, priorities and pressure. If you make good decisions, prioritise correctly and can keep your opponent under pressure then the "luck" will (almost) always be on your side!


#12: What is "Tile Counting"?

"Tile Counting" is an umbrella term covering a range of skills that can be used to a player's advantage in games of Carcassonne. While most intermediate players will be sufficiently familiar with the tiles to tell you how many of each type of tile appear in the basic game, this knowledge alone isn't especially helpful during a game unless combined with a mental record of which tiles have already been placed in order to deduce which tiles are left in the bag/ stack.

During untimed games, players who meticulously check the entire landscape before committing to their next turn can be difficult to bear which is why thinking time is limited in most competition games. Even so, many top players are so proficient in their tile counting that they will know exactly what's left at any point during a game almost instinctively and can use this to their advantage. For example, they might not waste a meeple on a particular city if they already know that that the tiles required to complete it have already been placed elsewhere.


#13: What house/ unofficial rules are commonly played?

I've listed the Carcassonne house-rules that I'm aware of below, but this should not be considered exhaustive or complete by any means! Please let me know if you play any rules variations that you'd like me to share here:

- Pre-drawing
Rather than waiting for the player immediately before you to complete their turn before drawing your tile, pre-drawing your tile for your next turn in advance can speed up the game for everyone as it affords you extra thinking time while the other players are taking their turns. This is generally quite commonly accepted/ played, even at the world championships, but It's important not to reveal your tile before your turn as this knowledge may influence how other players would choose to place their tile.

- Return unplaceable tiles
Instead of discarding drawn tiles that can't be placed (see #8), simply return the tile to the bag that you drew it from so that it may be drawn again later when perhaps there are opportunities within the landscape for it to be placed without leaving it out.

- Three-tile variant
Some players prefer to play with three tiles in their hand and draw back up to three at the end of their turn. Obviously this gives more tile placement options with each turn and some suggest that it also reduces the impact of luck (which I struggle to agree with). I'm not a fan of this particular variant as I don't feel like it's entirely in keeping with the spirit of the game, but that's just my opinion. I am however confident that Klaus-Jürgen Wrede would say that if the game is more enjoyable for you to play in this way then you should do it!

- Starting player plays the start tile
To get around Carcassonne's awkward 71-tile issue (see #5), some players like to play that the first player places the starting tile and may place a meeple on it in the same way as they would any other tile (this is instead of the start tile already being on the table before the starting player draws and places their tile). The advantage of this is that every player gets to place the same number of tiles (depending on the number of players of course) and the possibility of the starting player grabbing an easy four-point head start on their first turn is also removed.

- Table edge auto-completion
Although it isn't commonly played as far as I'm aware, I've known some people play that if a feature on a tile borders the edge of the table then it is considered complete where no further tile could be placed (without falling onto the floor). This is instead of shifting the tiles back towards the middle of the table as the game spreads out (see #10) but is easily exploited and can lead to some unusual landscapes where players deliberately extend their features towards the edge of the table so as to complete them as quickly as possible.


#14: What apps exist for Carcassonne?

There are currently official Carcassonne apps for both Android and iOS devices provided by Asmodee Digital. While the Asmodee app has been around on Android for a little while now, it is only within the last couple of months that it has replaced the previous version of the iOS app by The Coding Monkeys. Some good news here is that The Coding Monkeys' version of the iOS app will continue to run in parallel to the new and (in my opinion) inferior version although it has now been removed from the App Store and consequently isn't available to new customers.

If you search for Carcassonne on either Android or iOS devices you will find various unlicensed copies of Carcassonne as well as companion apps such as score trackers so be careful what you download!


#15: Where can Carcassonne be played online?

The Android/ iOS apps for Carcassonne (see #14) support online play and can be used to play against friends and randomly selected opponents alike. However, there are also downloadable implementations of Carcassonne and websites that offer the ability to play Carcassonne online against live opponents. I've listed some of these websites below:

- BoardGameArena (http://www.boardgamearena.com)
- Yucata.de (https://www.yucata.de/en)
- Your Turn My Turn (https://www.yourturnmyturn.com)
- Brettspielwelt (https://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele)

Most of these websites are free, although you may find certain features are limited unless you upgrade to a paid account as is the case with BoardGameArena.

Alternatively, JCloisterZone (https://jcloisterzone.com/en/) is Java-based which means it runs on many different platforms including PCs and Macs. It's free to download, offers an unrivalled range of expansions and features surprisingly tough AI/ computer opponents. It probably isn't quite as polished as some of Carcassonne's other implementations but the interface is perfectly usable and has been used to play hundreds if not thousands of online games between members of Carcassonne Central for over half a decade.


#16: What's a good score to aim for in Carcassonne?

It's a mistake to assume that your final score is any kind of indication of how good you are as a player. Because your score isn't a personal constant, it's the result of many factors of which certainly include but are by no means limited to your particular skill level.

For one thing is the number of players. Your score in a four-player game won't typically be as high as you might usually expect to score in a two-player game for example. But the strength of your opponents is also significant in that you wouldn't expect to be able to score as many points against an experienced player as you might against someone who has only just started playing the game. Strong players will look to frustrate you and try to keep your score down so that they don't have to work so hard to generate points for themselves in order to win the game. It doesn't matter if they win the game with 50 points or with 150 points; a win is still a win!

It's also worth remembering that every game of Carcassonne is different and is influenced uniquely by the order of the tiles and the decisions that each player (not just you) makes along the way. A consequence of this is that some games typically tend to yield more points than others. Maybe the game included the completion of one or two big, shared cities or an especially valuable farm, or maybe the tiles were scattered and completed features were few and far between. A score of 50 points in a game like this might be the victorious result of a hard-fought battle between two expert players.

I'll leave you with one final thought. A year or two before I started regularly participating in the UK Carcassonne championships, the competition was run in a subtly different way one year that turned out to be quite significant. Three preliminary rounds of four-player games were held, as had been the case in previous years, but the ranking at the end of these three rounds was ordered by each player's total score across their three games. In this respect, competitive play was out the window as coming last with 80 points was far better than winning with 50 points. The results were a little chaotic as most players started co-operating simply to generate as many points as possible for themselves in order to increase their chances of finishing higher up the ranking. This was not something that the organisers repeated!


#17: How can I improve my chances of winning at Carcassonne?

A colleague once bet me £5 that he could beat me at Carcassonne after another colleague mentioned to him that I was obsessed with the game. Afterwards, I found out that he thought he could beat me because he'd Googled "how to win at Carcassonne" which clearly wasn't sufficient to protect his £5 in this case. No amount of research can fast-track you through your first thousand or so games towards becoming a great player; as with most games, sports and other disciplines, the key to success is to just keep playing/ practicing...

At first you may find it useful to play on apps or websites (see #14 and #15) against AI/ computer opponents if you struggle to find real people who will play as often as you'd like. I still play at least two or three games against the Witch or The Count on the old iOS app every day! You will eventually reach a point where familiar AI opponents no longer pose any kind of challenge though, which suggests that you've probably learnt as much as you're going to learn from them and that it's time to up your game! Again, you can make use of apps and/ or websites to find suitable opponents online, and play as often as you can. When you lose, think about why you lost and what you could have done differently that might have changed the outcome as there's always something to learn from every defeat. Don't be afraid to lose either; it's as necessary as it is inevitable if you're constantly pushing yourself to improve. This is something I struggle with personally as I don't always take it very well when my opponent scores more than I do, but my games in the old days against the likes of Jéré, Leven, Merlin_89 and MrNumbers have certainly helped me to get used to it!

Every time your opponent places a tile that doesn't make sense to you, pretend that you're in their position and ask yourself why you might have done that. What are they hoping to accomplish and what tiles might they need to do so? It's hard to stop someone from achieving something if you don't know what it is they're trying to achieve so take the time to establish your priorities. Don't underestimate how worthwhile a process this can be as it can be a significant advantage to you if you learn to understand your opponent's thought process and can work out how to use it against them. This is often easier to do in person as you can read your opponent's body language too, so don't be afraid to enter tournaments or competitions even if you don't feel ready for them. Every UK championship I've played in has been a great opportunity to play, learn and to become friends with some wonderful people.

Finally, unless it's something that you're already doing, tile-counting (see #12) and trapping (see #9) are key skills that you will need to develop over time if you want to be able to compete with strong players. The better you are at using your knowledge of the tiles to your advantage and your opponent's disadvantage, the more your chances of winning will improve. Good luck, and enjoy the journey!


#18: Where do the best Carcassonne players in the world come from?

Carcassonne's first five world champions were all from Germany with Ralph Querfurth taking the title on four of those occasions and Sebastian Trunz taking the other. In fact, in 2008 both Germans placed within the top three so it's fair to say that Germany has produced some truly world-class players! However, since Els Bulten won the world championships for the Netherlands in 2011 only two countries have claimed the top spot more than once. For Greece this was Panteli Litsardopoulos in 2013 and 2015, and for Japan it was Takafumi Mochiduki in 2014 and Genro Fujimoto in 2018. Other world champions have hailed from the Czech Republic (2012), Russia (2016), Poland (2017) and Romania (2019):

2006Ralph QuerfurthGermany
2007Sebastian TrunzGermany
2008Ralph QuerfurthGermany
2009Ralph QuerfurthGermany
2010Ralph QuerfurthGermany
2011Els BultenNetherlands
2012Martin MojzisCzech Republic
2013Panteli LitsardopoulosGreece
2014Takafumi MochidukiJapan
2015Panteli Litsardopoulos    Greece
2016Vladimir KovalevRussia
2017Tomasz PreussPoland
2018Genro FujimotoJapan
2019    Marian CurcanRomania

So while it's clear that the best Carcassonne players came from Germany in Carcassonne's early days, it does appear that the rest of the world has caught up somewhat now and that, in theory, the next world champion could come from anywhere!


#19: Which are the best expansions for Carcassonne?

With so many expansions available for Carcassonne it's hard to know where to begin if you're looking to reach beyond the basic game for the first time, and it's easy to be overwhelmed by what's available!

Assuming that you've already discovered The River and The Abbots (which are included with the basegame), a good way to start expanding your games is via the first two major expansions; "Inns & Cathedrals" and "Traders & Builders". These can be played either individually or together and bring a great selection of interesting tiles that can be used either to build points for yourself, or to thwart your opponents. Plus they bring a selection of new types of meeple to give you more options during the game. The rules are easy to understand, and considering how mixed reviews can be for some Carcassonne expansions, very few people have anything bad to say about either of these expansions.

If you're already familiar with these expansions and feel ready to move on again, your choice should be guided mostly by what elements of Carcassonne you enjoy most. If you enjoy the cut-throat aggression and want more "take that" in your games then either the third ("The Princess & The Dragon") or fourth ("The Tower") expansions may be good choices for you. The fifth ("Abbey & Mayor"), sixth ("Count, King & Robber") and eighth ("Bridges, Castles & Bazaars") expansions bring a wide variety of new components to the game which all add to the depth of strategy in slightly different ways. For example, Barns (exp. #5) significantly change how farms/ fields work, the King & Robber Baron tiles (exp. #6) add extra bonus points and Abbeys (exp. #5) and Bridges (exp. #8) bring new ways to help complete awkward features or get your meeples onto those valuable farms. On the other hand, if you prefer to keep things friendly and enjoy closing your opponent's features for them, The Count (exp. #6) may be perfect for you. Not to forget the unique tile configurations and push-your-luck mechanic of "Hills & Sheep", or the high-scoring shenanigans of "Under The Big Top" (the ninth and tenth major expansions respectively).

Ultimately, there's something for everyone so it's worth thinking about who you are before you make your decision, and to try before you buy wherever possible.


#20: How many officially recognised expansions are there for Carcassonne?

This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, to the point that there probably isn't even an answer that won't be disputed and argued about between the many Carcassonne enthusiasts to whom this seems to matter. How can there not be an answer to such a straightforward question? Consider the following list and tell me how many expansions you see:

- The Count
- Cult Places/ Shrines
- King & Robber Baron
- River 2
- Count, King & Robber

Some would see five as these can be viewed as five unique expansions, but others may see just one as all of the first four expansions are included together to form the fifth. But let's also remember that in the same year, Cult Places/ Shrines were later available as a promo with a special edition of Spielbox dedicated to Hans im Glück, then as part of Rio Grande Games' "Cult, Siege & Creativity" boxed mini-expansion which also added a sixth tile. And what's more, all three versions of this expansion had different watermarks! So it's somewhere between one and seven, until you also consider that the "City of Carcassonne" from The Count is available either as a set of 12 numbered tiles, as one 3 x 4 tile or as two 2 x 3 tiles for the new art edition. It goes on like this.

So we're still no closer to answering the question, and I've only briefly touched on the whole ugly area of watermarks and all the spanners these have thrown into the works over the years. For the sake of getting an answer though, which may or may not be correct, I went to the very knowledgeable Hector Madrona (AKA Meepledrone) who knows far more about these things than I do. His opinion is below:

Old artwork edition: 44
Major: 10 (9 major + Wheel of Fortune)
Minor: 34 (including La Porxada and counting Monasteries in the Netherlands & Belgium only once)

New artwork edition: 35
Major: 9 (numbered expansions go up to 10 but 7 is missing as The Catapult was never released for the new artwork edition)
Minor: 26 (including each of the Spiel promo tiles separately)

This brings the total number of expansions across the entire Carcassonne series to... 79. So there we go. Happy now? No, I thought not. Just please, don't even get me started on the spin-offs...


#21: Which is the best spin-off game for Carcassonne?

This is a lot like asking whether cheeseburgers are better than pizza. Sometimes you want a cheeseburger, other times you want a pizza; you can't really compare them directly. This said, certain spin-off games are better for certain purposes which could be relevant. I have recommended Kids of Carcassonne/ My First Carcassonne (it's the same game) to a lot of people with young kids who are starting to show an interest in boardgaming. While it may be perfect for people in this position, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else unless I really didn't like them.

Most of the spin-off games have a particular focus or appeal, which in many cases is designed to combat specific complaints that people have made about the basic game. Carcassonne: The Castle for example is a popular spin-off that is strictly 2-player only making it a good choice for couples. Carcassonne: South Seas meanwhile is one of the only spin-offs not to include a scoretrack which makes it very difficult to determine who is actually winning until the game is finished and scores are counted up. Then of course there's Carcassonne: Star Wars edition which can be played in teams and involves dice-rolling "battles" to determine ownership of planets (cloisters).

I wouldn't say that any of the spin-offs are more popular than the basic game, but few are especially unpopular either. Games like Carcassonne: The Discovery and Carcassonne: New World may be more easily forgotten than others but everything from "Hunters & Gatherers" (2002) right up to "Safari" (2018) has something to offer and is worth trying out if you ever have the chance.


#22: Where can I find more detailed information about Carcassonne's expansions and rules?

Considering the number of expansions that now exist for Carcassonne, the state of the "official" rules has become rather confusing where rules from various expansions overlap or occasionally even seem to contradict each other. With the old art version, Hans im Glück attempted to bring clarity to any specific examples that were brought to their attention but these clarifications occasionally made things even more complicated in ways that weren't immediately anticipated. As did the mere existence of expansions like Halflings and German Castles which required players to treat these half/ double sized tiles in the same way as any other tile!

Despite incredible efforts over a number of years to keep all of Carcassonne's official rulings, special cases and footnotes together in a single document, this increasing confusion has meant that Carcassonne Central's "Complete Annotated Rules" (CAR) document hasn't now been updated since May 2015 and as such is considered obsolete for the purposes of many newer players. HiG meanwhile have started using a disclaimer on all newly released expansions stating that they are for use with the basic game only, and any other expansions are included at the player's own risk. In other words, they're leaving it up to the players themselves to decide what to do if any awkward situations arise. So that's super.

Thankfully, a group of Carcassonne Central regulars were determined not to let the CAR go to waste and successfully brought it back to life in the form of a wiki. The wiki features detailed information about every expansion including tiles, rules and more general things such as Carcassonne's history and timeline of releases. It can even generate a customised turn sequence breakdown based on whichever expansions you select, thus providing an ideal companion to help you to play your games correctly regardless of which expansions you include.

The wiki can be found here: http://wikicarpedia.com/index.php/Main_Page and is considered recommended reading for any aspiring Carcassonne enthusiast!


#23: Why are there so many different versions of the Carcassonne basegame?

If you're in the business of publishing and selling games, how do you make people re-buy games they already own? Simple! By repackaging your game as a "limited edition" with a brand new expansion or combination of expansions. Big Boxes aside, Hans im Glück have produced at least five such versions of their basic game: with Traders & Builders in 2004 (tin box), with Princess & Dragon in 2006, with Crop Circles in 2009, with special meeples and The Festival in 2011 (meeple-shaped box), and with Count, King & Robber and Die Belagerers in 2013 (tin box). At time of release, Crop Circles, The Festival and Die Belagerers were brand new expansions that weren't available in any way other than through these special boxes.

There have also been six different "Big Box" versions of Carcassonne released so far; five for the old art version, one for the new (although some might say it's more like seven if you class the 2003 "Limited Edition" gold box as Big Box 0 but that's a matter of opinion). These represent great starting points for new players who want to kickstart their Carcassonne collection with a good selection of expansions for a reasonable price. However, Big Boxes 5 and 6 have both contained exclusive content that remains unavailable outside of these Big Box editions. In the case of BB5 this is literally just a couple of modified tiles from the River expansion, but even this was enough for some enthusiasts to declare it a brand new expansion and as such River 3/ 1b was born. But with BB6, seven of the eleven included expansions remain unavailable for the new art version unless through purchase of this box. Frustratingly, these aren't even new expansions and are merely reprints of the mini boxed expansions that were available for the old art version of Carcassonne in 2012. Being a Carcassonne completionist is expensive!

Finally is Wheel of Fortune. This is a bit of a weird one as it doesn't really fit the mould as either a major or a minor expansion, and is just as much a spin-off/ stand alone game as it is anything else. This has only ever been available either with the basegame, or through Big Box 5 which includes a slightly modified set of tiles. My favourite thing about this expansion (or whatever it is) in particular though is the inclusion, with German versions, of a romantic novel written by Helene Luise Köppel. Named after the expansion, this undoubtedly provides players with an ideal companion to the game to be read between turns against players who like to make sure they've considered all of their options very thoroughly!


#24: Where can I buy Carcassonne stuff from?

Unless you're lucky enough to live near to a particularly good boardgame shop, eventually you'll need to look online when it comes to expanding your Carcassonne collection. You can generally buy the new-art basegame and most of the major expansions for it from Amazon or various online retailers at mostly sensible prices. Old-art tiles are now in very short supply though, and are stocked so scarcely that your best bet will probably be to visit eBay for a second-hand copy. Sometimes, it's also worth visiting German eBay (www.ebay.de) even if you don't live in Germany or speak German. Google translate can do a pretty good job of helping you to navigate your way around, and most sellers are prepared to ship internationally if you message them (albeit for a slightly increased fee). Rarer items seem to become available here far more often than they do on any other eBay sites and the prices expected are often more realistic so it's worth checking here at least weekly if you're looking for something in particular.

The best place to buy many of the less well-known items for Carcassonne is via Hans im Glück's online web-shop: Cundco (www.cundco.de). Cundco sells various games (including some non-Carcassonne games), Carcassonne spin-offs, expansions, mini-expansions, promos and other rarities such as coasters, blank tiles, meeple sets in unique colours, meeple-shaped keyrings, magnets, candles, luggage-tags and even cookie cutters! They also offer a handy tile-replacement service which can be used to replace lost or damage tiles from any of their games for around half a Euro per tile. Their prices are mostly very reasonable, although shipping costs can be prohibitive to the point that you might not want to order any more frequently than you have to.

Around half a dozen different expansions have been released as special promos for either Spielbox (https://nostheide.de/webshop3/index.php?language=en) or Spiel Doch! magazines, so it's worth keeping an eye on both of these for news of any upcoming editions that will include new content you'll want to be able to get your hands on while stock is still available


#25: What are the rarest/ most valuable Carcassonne items, and why are they so expensive?

Because of its age, there are certain old and rare editions of Carcassonne and its many expansions that tend to fetch higher prices than you'd normally expect to see boardgames selling for on eBay. Certain expansions such as the first few that came with Spielbox magazines were only released as part of relatively small print-runs and so are still highly sought-after now simply because they're rare and hard to find.

It may seem strange but it's worth remembering that a lot of Carcassonne enthusiasts are as much about collecting Carcassonne as they are playing it, and as such it isn't uncommon for some of these collectors to seek early or misprinted versions of certain expansions that they may already own several versions of without ever having played any of them!

I've listed below a dozen or so of the rarest/ most valuable Carcassonne items that I'm aware of, along with an indication of the kind of price I can last remember seeing them going for where possible. This list almost certainly isn't complete or exhaustive, and the prices I'm suggesting may have changed significantly since I last saw them for sale, but I hope it's of interest all the same:

- 70-point scoretrack (2000)
This was available only with the first edition of the basegame as it was quickly replaced with a 50-point scoretrack in subsequent reprints. It's hard to price as I don't see them very often but I'd be surprised to see a first edition box including this scoretrack go for anything less than around £70.

- Le Sac (2002)
This was first given away to Carcassonne players in 2002 as a fix for the mismatched backs of the tiles of the basic game and the first expansion which could be used to tell them apart when placed in stacks on the table. A similar tile bag now comes bundled with Carcassonne's second expansion or can be bought directly through Cundco (see #24) for significantly less than the €165 that was being charged for the only Le Sac I could find online presently.

- The River: Copy Protection edition (2002)
This was a special version of Carcassonne's River expansion that came with an early PC version of the boardgame published in Germany by KOCH Media. By way of copy protection, the 12 tiles have a series of codes printed on their backs which would presumably have been referenced by the program to ensure that you had the tiles to hand and thus that you were entitled to play it. This method was especially common among PC games in the mid-90s that usually required you to enter a word from a specific page/ line/ position of the game's instruction manual.

- Cathars/ Tunnels/ Plague (2004/ 09/ 10)
Spielbox (see #24) have released various items for Carcassonne over the years but these three seem to be the ones that people are most keen to get their hands on, especially if the original magazine is also included along with the expansion. Amazingly, Spielbox will discover boxes full of these in their warehouse every now and again and will sell them online at face value. Inevitably these soon turn up on eBay with prices settling between £50 and £100 per item depending on which edition of the magazine it is (and consequently which expansion is included).

- La Porxada (2010)
This was given away at Jugar X Jugar (a games festival in Spain) in 2010 as a sticker that had to be stuck onto a Carcassonne tile before it could be played. Since then it has somehow achieved semi-official status despite never having been released by Hans im Glück and is sought after by many. I can't quite imagine how much certain collectors would be willing to pay for an original Porxada sticker, or even how many of them still exist, but home-made replicas and reprints are typically quite cheap depending on the quality of the print.

- Crop Circles/ Die Belagerers (2010/ 13)
Both of these are expansions that were first released with special editions of the basegame (see #23). They were then released separately from the basegame through Cundco but sold out quickly and are now very difficult to find. For a short time in 2016, Crop Circles could be bought for a few Euros through abuse of Cundco's Tile Replacement service but they soon wised-up to this and stopped people from buying it this way.

- Black and Purple Teachers (2011?)
The School expansion consists of just two tiles and a special translucent meeple that plays the role of the "teacher". Evidently these teacher meeples had always been available in six different colours although blue, red, green and yellow teacher meeples were so much more common that most people assumed these were the only colours available. In 2015 however, Carcassonne Central suddenly discovered the existence of teacher meeples in black and purple and there ensued a desperate scramble as everyone tried to secure themselves these unexpectedly precious items. These never appear on the market anymore, and since I know the person who seems to have bought up most of the remaining few, that isn't likely to change any time soon.

- Misprinted Gingerbread Man (2012)
This popular mini-expansion for the Carcassonne: Winter Edition spin-off brings six new tiles to the game along with a little wooden figure who gives away a lot of points to players with meeples he shares cities with. However, the first edition of this expansion included a misprinted tile which is a duplicate of another tile meaning that while six tiles are included, one is included twice and another is missing! This was quickly fixed and a corrected version was released soon afterwards, but the earlier misprinted edition remains something for Carcassonne completionists to mercilessly hunt down regardless.

- Russian Promo Tiles (2013/ 16)
The first half of this set of four promo tiles were created by Hobby World (Carcassonne's Russian publishers) and given away to participants of the Russian Carcassonne championships in 2013. Two more tiles were added to the set three years later, and were quick to find a place among Carcassonne's most highly sought-after items. Within the last two or three years, even sets of just the two more recent tiles have been offered for around £100.

- Darmstadt (2014)
This 3-tile expansion was released not by Hans im Glück, but under license from HiG which made it difficult to get hold of unless you happened to be at the Essen festival in 2014. Despite this, it was unpopular even among those lucky enough to get hold of it owing mostly to the somewhat lacklustre artwork and uninspiring rules. However, this hasn't stopped it from becoming a must-have expansion for many and as such is still being actively sought after by collectors.

- Spiel Promo Tiles (2014 – 2019)
In 2014 Hans im Glück printed a special promo tile to be given away with any purchases from their stall at the Essen festival, and have done the same thing every year since. Although they typically also make them available with Cundco orders for a very limited time towards the end of November, I've seen the 2014 and 2015 tiles sell for as much as £80 (each) on eBay in recent years.

- Saint Nicholas scoretrack (2016)
This was a special version of the new-art scoretrack featuring two stickers and a set of rules allowing players to be granted extra turns under specific circumstances relating to the spaces with the stickers on them. It sold out quickly as there were only 150 to begin with, but I haven't seen any for sale since so it's difficult to estimate the kind of price one of these might sell for now.

- The Markets of Leipzig (2017)
This was initially released as a boxed mini-expansion and was only available from the "modell hobby spiel" fair in Leipzig in 2017. While the expansion itself consisted of just four double-sized tiles and a set of rules, the box also included a 2-tile mini-expansion for Carcassonne: Amazonas, a set of 13 differently coloured meeples and a signed certificate of authenticity as numbers were limited to just 600. Shortly after the fair, a shrink-wrapped tilesheet version of this expansion (including the 2 Amazonas tiles) was released to Carcassonne's international fanbase through Cundco, but it was the limited-edition boxed version that most collectors were after, preferably with as low a number on the certificate as possible!

- Carcassonne in medieval book design (2018)
Although it wasn't what many of us were expecting, certainly in terms of price, Carcassonne's "ultimate" edition came in the form of this book-box painstakingly handmade over a 55-step process using only old handicraft techniques and natural materials. Other than the box itself, there were no exclusives to be found here which made it hard to justify the €649 price tag despite being limited to just 100 units (including 20 that were reserved for staff at Hans im Glück), and as such it is currently still available through Cundco (here: https://cundco.de/fanartikel/241/limitierte-sonderedition-carcassonne-im-mittelalterlichen-buch-design?c=17).

12
General / Carcassonne Cartoon Competition...
« on: April 09, 2020, 03:38:14 AM »
...well, it's not really a competition as such, I just wanted to provide a catchy title! ;)

There are lots of quirky little aspects to Carcassonne that many of us here know and love, and plenty of in-jokes which have all become a part of Carcassonne’s rich and wonderful culture. While I’m not an artistic person, I wanted to celebrate this in a slightly different way by creating my own little Carcassonne-themed cartoon:


:blue-meeple: :'(

It might not be very funny, but hopefully it is at least something that we can all relate to, especially those among us who are horrible enough to appreciate a good old-fashioned meeple trapping like this! >:D :(y)

I’m sharing my cartoon in the hope that others might enjoy trying the same (and sharing their efforts here of course) as it was actually quite good fun and felt like a worthwhile way of spending some of the extra time that many people around the world have got on their hands at the moment. If the end result is that we create a gallery of cartoons between us then it will have been time well spent, especially if our efforts help bring a smile to the faces of those who need it most at this difficult time.

So, what have you got?! C:-)

13
Upcoming Scheduled Games / Keep Calm and Play Carcassonne
« on: March 23, 2020, 04:24:27 AM »
Hello all.

In light of the fact that many of us are socially distancing ourselves at the moment, and consequently cutting back on the kind of social interactions that we normal get through boardgaming, I wanted to float the idea of bringing back our Weekly Online Game (see here for more detail about of what I'm talking about).

The games would be played using JCloisterZone (download from here) which is free and offers a wide variety of expansions. I think it would also be useful to have a live chat/ conference ongoing elsewhere that people can drop in/ out of as they like. There are lots of possibilities here, but I'll share details once a solution has been decided.

The purpose of these games would be threefold:
  • For a bit of friendly company and light-hearted banter (without leaving the house) :(y)
  • To have some fun in the process :(y)
  • To play some Carcassonne! :(y) :(y)
I'm looking to schedule a once or twice a week online Carcassonne evening for anyone who wants to participate, or more regularly if necessary. You don't need to be an expert player as these games are all about providing some fun and company for anyone who feels like they could use some... which has got to be pretty much everyone given the current global situation!

I'm hoping this will get a good response, so please post here a) if you're interested and b) what days/ times suit you best for a game. As I say, we don't have to limit ourselves to one slot per week, but lets take a consensus to establish when would be most possible/ useful for most people.

Looking forward to catching up with you! :) :(y)

14
General / Carcassonne: Online Gaming Options
« on: March 18, 2020, 02:34:19 AM »
Hey everyone.

For obvious reasons, I'm seeing a lot of talk on the BGG Facebook page about what options exist for playing various boardgames online at the moment. It's hard to think of a time within living memory when the existence of such things has ever been so important to boardgamers all around the world who are finding themselves increasingly isolated or cut-off from a hobby they normally enjoy so much :(

With this in mind, I thought it would be useful to put together a list of places where Carcassonne can be played online without leaving your house. Some of these will be more obvious than others, but an up-to-date list could prove valuable to many Carcassonne fans so I thought I'd attempt to put something together to get the ball rolling, and will leave the rest to you guys if I've forgotten anything!



:blue-meeple: Apps: :blue-meeple:

- For Apple users there is the ever-popular iOS Carcassonne app by The Coding Monkeys which was recently withdrawn :(. Despite this, if you already own it it is still possible to play against friends online, local games against a range of AI opponents or to enjoy a "Quick Game" against a random opponent. If you don't own this, I'm told it has been replaced by the iOS version of the Android app (below) although I couldn't find this in the App Store...

- There is of course also the Android app by Asmodee Digital, the catchily titled "Carcassonne: Official Board Game - Tiles & Tactics" which is currently available to all Android users through the Play Store. You can play against friends, random opponents and also AI (although the AI seems rather stupid).



:green-meeple: Websites: :green-meeple:

- Boardgame Arena (http://www.boardgamearena.com) is one of the best known boardgaming websites and is somewhere I visit daily. It has tens of thousands of users (including several former Carcassonne world champions), frequent competitions and tournaments, and offers a range of hundreds of games that can be played against others. The service has struggled somewhat recently due to the sudden spike in people wanting to play boardgames online, but it's well supported for something that is free to join. It's also possible to become a premium member for a monthly fee of around £3 if you want to help support the service.

- Yucata.de (https://www.yucata.de/en) doesn't appear to offer classic Carcassonne, but I've certainly played South Seas here and it also offers Hunters & Gatherers. In fact, back in the day, Hounk organised a South Seas tournament here which was great fun! I don't know it well, but it's well worth a look...

- Your Turn My Turn (https://www.yourturnmyturn.com) lists "Carcassonne" among its available titles, but this implementation of Carcassonne is actually Carcassonne: The Castle (not that this is a problem necessarily). I've never tried it, but perhaps someone can fill me in on their experience of it here if they have?

- Brettspielwelt (https://www.brettspielwelt.de/Spiele) is somewhere else I've rarely visited but which offers Carcassonne along with any of the first three expansions (Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders and Princess & Dragon). As above, please post below if you have any experience of this site.



:red-meeple: Others: :red-meeple:

- JCloisterZone (http://www.jcloisterzone.com/en) remains one of my favourite implementations of Carcassonne of all time, and is what we used to use for our tournaments here at CarcC. Its best points are that it's completely free, it features dozens of expansions, the AI opponents are surprisingly good and it's maintained by a member of our community here: farin. As long as you're running Java (also free: https://www.java.com/en/download) it's easy to download and install, and can be used to play against online opponents.



Hopefully this post will be of use to anyone who is stuck at home, looking for somewhere to play Carcassonne. Please feel free to add your thoughts/ comments about anything that's already listed if you've used them before, or post any links to anything new below if you're aware of anything I've missed.

Stay well. Stay safe. And enjoy your (online) gaming!

15
General / The best thing about Carcassonne is...
« on: June 27, 2019, 02:58:27 AM »
The best thing about Carcassonne is:


- Building meeple pyramids in between turns

- Watching my opponent drawing all of the tiles I desperately need

- Posting a photo of my river placement on BGG to ask if it's valid

- "Thinking" for 5 minutes before doing something exceptionally obvious

- Noticing that I have a meeple sat in a complete cloister still on the board and not remembering whether or not I've already scored it

- Knowing I could have won if only my opponent had drawn my last tile and I'd drawn theirs


Any other suggestions? :))

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