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Messages - Whaleyland

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News and Events / Re: Carcassonne Central's New Owners
« on: January 18, 2022, 04:26:17 PM »
Congratulations Dan, Tom and Hector! You three will handle the forum and website well and a triumvirate should mean that the site management never completely collapse again as it has at least twice before.

As somebody who has been a member of this forum since 2008, when Gantry and Matt Harper were still active daily, I must say that this is a promising new development. I joined this forum about a year after buying my first Carcassonne product: the original Big Box, as well as the Games Quarterly Expansion. I immediately became addicted and this game quickly came to replace my earlier addiction to The Settlers of Catan (which I haven't played in many years). This community has certainly led me to spending hundreds of dollars over the years, but in many ways it saved me money since I also had early or day one knowledge of almost every Carcassonne product released. This meant that I was able to get every C1 expansion shortly after it came out and I have more or less continued to do so with new C2/3 content, after an initial hesitation.

I have seen at least three waves of management come and go, with Gantry and Matt gradually replaced in everyday moderation by Scott, kettlefish, and Novelty Nostalgia. Following the combination of a massive forum crash several years ago, the forum's migration to a new server, and the resignation/departure of many of our Hans im Gluck contacts not long after C2 released, the forum simmered for many years. Danisthirty was instrumental in keeping the group alive at this time, with me providing semi-regular weekly polls to encourage discussion and engagement. However the drift toward online tournaments, which I had no interest in, and my own personal life led me away, although I always checked in regularly (mostly to see if any new product has been announced).

I suspect I am now the seniormost active member of the group, if the fortnightly comment or post can be counted as "active." That's kind of a cool distinction and I truly wish I had more time for the hobby. My original interest in the forum came directly from Matt, who told me about his combined rules soon after they were uploaded onto BoardGameGeek (which I also joined as a result of the CAR). I volunteered to make the covers for them in those early days because his covers were not visually appealing and I had some experience from Catan rules booklets I had done. I stopped making covers after he did a major refresh for, I think, the 7th edition of the CAR. In those years, I also made a few fan expansions (most of which I never actually played myself) and published two Carcassonne campaigns (which I have played, although I've never done all 50 scenarios in the second edition). During the 2020 lockdown, I planned to work on and release a third edition campaign using the C2 expansions as a template, but I quickly ran out of time as my work role was reassigned. I haven't really had any time to work on it since and, as many of you may have noticed, I still don't engage heavily on the site despite checking in daily.

With all that being said, I am unbelievably happy that the torch has finally been passed. Gantry was a very active member for the first few years that the forum operated and then he became more of a behind-the-scenes tech support for when something went wrong, as well as the site's financial backer. It was never fair to him that he was saddled with the site once he lost interest and/or ran out of time to run it. But that is the nature of the internet: so many good websites are gone now because the person who paid the bills no longer wanted to. I am very glad such is now the case here. So I raise a glass of mead to you three to a long reign and an amicable power-sharing agreement. May your meeple towers never fall and may your tile towers runneth over. Salud!

Edit: Just for nostalgia's sake, here is the list of original admins, moderators, and staff from the old forum. Lots of old-timers I haven't heard from in many years...

General / Re: I love the postman...
« on: January 11, 2022, 04:07:22 AM »
Wish I was loving the postman. My Cundco order has been sitting awaiting departure in Germany since the 2nd of December.
Yeah, I got notified on 10 December that it was "awaiting information" (which, for the record, WAS included on the original order, as my receipt attests). Despite two replies, I haven't heard anything. I know they've been closed for the past three weeks, but I really hope they get on it soon and that my Spiel '21 tile is in the parcel.

General / Re: Meeple Stickers
« on: January 06, 2022, 05:24:25 PM »
Since the 20th Anniversary Edition provided me with an extra *cough* fifth *cough* set of meeples, I did apply them. They are of identical quality to the Spielbox stickers from about eight years ago, which I applied to my Wheel of Fortune meeples back then. My advice for applying them is carefully position them on each side of the meeple and then use your fingers to squeeze the meeple for about five seconds. Make sure your hands are on the warmer side, too. This will get the sticker's glue nice and deep into the meeple. I have done that with all of the meeple from this set (as well as a pink set sans the pink Abbot, which I am still waiting for from my Advent order of over a month ago now). I don't think any of the stickers have fallen off or gotten loose. That being said, the stickers are fairly obvious. The sides are thick enough to be visible on the meeples and because the wood grain is not flat, there are small air pockets across the sticker. I personally think they look fine and I prefer these stickers far more than the Spielbox stickers, but I recommend applying them only if this is your second (or more) set of meeples.

General / Re: Carcassonne English Release History
« on: December 30, 2021, 03:46:56 PM »
I guess you could also argue Darmstadt doesn't have a watermark
I consider Darmstadt more of a waste of tiles than an expansion. Thematically it doesn't work, the rules are slapped on without much thought, and the visuals are inconsistent with anything else in the game (except arguably The School). The ugly fleurs de lis are just icing on the cake. That being said, I consider the fleurs de lis to be a terribly inept attempt at a watermark, but I suppose they also fall into the category of "otherwise useless symbols on tiles that tell a player that a ruleset is in effect." Although I do own Darmstadt, it is probably my lease favorite expansion so I apologise for pretending it doesn't exist.

General / Re: Carcassonne English Release History
« on: December 30, 2021, 02:20:57 PM »
Back when I used to update the BGG wiki entry for Carcassonne, I paid attention to this sort of thing. I haven't done so for a while, but I think this is the complete list of German- and English-language Doris Matthäus expansions that have been produced without watermarks:

The River (never printed with watermark until Big Box 5 [2014])
Inns & Cathedrals
Carcassonne Limited Edition (2003)
Trader & Builder
The Princess & the Dragon
The Tower
Games Quarterly Mini Expansion
The King and the Robber Baron (reprinted with watermark in Count, King & Cult)
The River II (reprinted with watermark in Count, King & Cult)
Cult, Siege & Creativity (Cult printed with watermark in Count, King & Cult, and Spielbox; Siege printed with watermark and new art in The Besiegers)
The School
The Windroses (both versions)
The Cathars (if you don't count the Cathar icon as a watermark [I don't])
The Festival (I don't consider the stylised fireworks a watermark)

Anything Else / Re: Be careful what you wish for...
« on: December 23, 2021, 01:19:41 PM »
Granted, but they are now so flammable that they spontaneously combust just above room temperature.

I wish CundCo would hire more people for their annual Advent sales event.

General / Re: CundCo won't answer
« on: December 23, 2021, 12:48:56 AM »
To necro an old post, CundCo messed up my order, asked me for a clarification, and then promptly has not done anything with my response.

I placed an order the morning of November 29, within an hour of the Spiel '21 tile becoming available. Two weeks later, I received an email stating that they couldn't find my address and didn't know what figure I had requested with the order. For the record, of course they had my address since it was required to calculate shipping, and both that and the figure that I ordered (a pink abbot) were clearly visible on the receipt that I received from them for my order. The customer service person (Simone) had cancelled my order (twice for some reason) and placed the exact same order, erasing the clarifications that were on the original. So what I suspect is that this person accidentally deleting my order, but somehow knew the line-level entries in it so was able to redo it, but then they realized that I had ordered a replacement figure and that my address was now missing, so they cancelled that order too and reopened a new "open" order so that they could insert the missing information. So I don't know what is happening at CundCo, but somebody clearly doesn't know how their systems work.

In any case, I replied with the clarifications within two hours and that is where my order now sits on the website: Order status: "Clarification needed". I never received a reply from Simone thanking me for providing the information and I don't have a clue if it's been shipped, is still waiting for someone to fulfil, or if it is stuck in some other place in the processing order. It's very frustrating.

The hopeful news for me is that the Spiel '21 tile is still listed as a part of the order, but I know others have been deprived a Spiel tile when their order got screwed up so I *really* hope that doesn't happen to me. 75% of the reason I place an order this time of year for this many things is to qualify for that tile, so not getting it would be a slap in the face and I would not let the matter drop quietly. I have collected every single Spiel tile faithfully since 2014, sometimes buying many more things than I wanted or intended, so I am hoping for a Yuletide miracle that this package arrives with the tile included whenever it gets here.

The Carcassonne universe has seen lots of conflicts over the years, but The Cathars, The Siege, and The Besiegers are probably the most blunt in their intent. The Peasant Revolts returns to this classic theme and perhaps attempts to replace it, since none of those earlier expansions have been re-released in the newer art style. Yet peasant revolts were a very real thing in the Middle Ages, so how well does this expansion recreate the revolting serf experience?

Simply Horrendous
* The Upsidedown – The entire premise of this expansion is that the peasants are revolting. There are three ways you can tell this on the tiles: by the pitchfork watermarks, by the marching army of peasants carrying said pitchforks, and by the crappy little sepia icons on each tile. I have never been a fan of instructional icons on Carcassonne tiles. Indeed, both the 20th Anniversary Edition expansion and the newest Signposts expansion includes terribly-themed icons that make me wish for anything else. But even thematic icons like those in The Princess and the Dragon or the Carcassonne Minis expansions are ugly. These are no exception. And the fact that all three of them look the same at a glance doesn’t help. Anyone with the slightest vision problem will need a magnifying glass to see whether the icon shows a City, Road, or Monastery. Surely the designers could have thought up a better, more thematic solution.
* Predictably Annoying – There’s a randomization mechanic used in many games where a certain number of cards or tiles or some other object is shuffled and then a small percentage of said item is discarded unseen. No matter what the game, the mechanic is always clunky and annoying for the person setting up the game, but the payoff is usually increased randomization. While it usually doesn’t bother me, in Carcassonne, it seems to go against the very nature of this countryside-building game. During set-up, players are instructed to shuffle the 12 tiles together and then discard three at random, without looking at them. This is done in order to vary the number of each type of bonus in the game. But I want to play with all my Carcassonne tiles, darn it! The Hills expansion from Hills & Sheep at least puts those tiles to some other use that fits the theme without entirely sacrificing the tile. Discarding three and never seeing them in any shape or form for the rest of the game just seems like a waste that could have been avoided.
* The Inevitable Incompatibility of Expansions – Hans im Glück has repeated since 2015 that it would not provide FAQs or instructions regarding how to play promo expansions with each other. They encourage it, but they don’t support it. For the most part, that has been easy enough to work around, but this is the game that finally breaks compatibility entirely, namely with one of Hans im Glück’s very first non-Spielbox promos: The (German/Dutch/Japanese) Monasteries. Namely, when you “protect” a meeple from revolting peasants, you set it down flat on the board in the same manner as a Farmer in a Field. The only problem is that Monks placed in The Monasteries as Abbots (Goodness, Hans im Glück has to get its terminology worked out!) need to also be placed a certain way. What if you want to protect a Monastery with an Abbot So, in situations where both expansions are used (and I would argue The Monasteries is one of the best and simplest of all promo expansions so it should be used a lot), players now have to determine a third way of marking a protected Abbot in a Monastery.

Hiding in the Springtime Grasses
* Meeples in Repose – The extension of reclining meeples to all standard features is long-in-coming and, despite the misstep mentioned above, is overall welcomed. While I am not certain this was the best use of the mechanic, I think the idea of laying meeples down to “protect” them is quite visually useful, especially since the Farmers are always protected from the peasant revolt tiles. By the end of my two play-throughs with this expansion, most of the meeples were lying flat, fearing the inevitable arrival of a peasant revolt that had already passed them by. The randomness of the revolts, while annoying, also ensures that players aren’t able to count precisely how many of each type of revolt may strike, so it is usually a safe move to protect a meeple unless you are certain that a specific revolt type has run its course.
* Long-term Investments – Carcassonne has traditionally not been a strong push-your-luck game. There have been auction elements, dexterity mechanics, various forms of randomness, and aggressive attacks, but this expansion allows players to take a gamble. They can choose to save their points and leave their meeples unprotected, or spend some points in either fear that someone will draw a revolt tile or hope that someone will pull several, in which case they may earn their points back (or even in excess). The more valuable the feature, the more likely a player will want to protect their meeple. This is truly novel for Carcassonne and can prove quite fun for people that like playing the luck game. By itself, the reward for surviving a single revolt is rarely enough to justify the cost of protecting the meeple, but compounded with the risk of losing the meeple and, by extension, the claim to the feature, now that can be costly. But, I mean, 4 points is 4 points, and that sometimes can make the difference at game end! Argh!
* A Revolt-load of New tiles – It may sound obvious, but I love myself some new Carcassonne tiles, and this expansion gives players a dozen new ones. While most are standard arrangements from the base game, there are a few stand-outs, including a “witch’s hat” City that is good at separating Fields, two disconnected Roads allowing a large Field to merge, and a dead-end Road with a Garden. And more Gardens are always nice. Ironically, this expansion doesn’t include a new Monastery even though most 12+ tile expansions do and this expansion in particular includes a Monastery-related mechanic. Still, the new tiles are nice, the art with the revolters is fun and welcome and nearly in scale, and I personally really like the new crowded Cities.

This expansion is a mixed bag, much like most of those released from December 2020 to November 2021. Its core features are quite fun and provide nice new mechanics that are not like anything in Carcassonne before. But the execution is sloppy or even lazy, and the lack of consideration for other expansions is really showing a dirty corporate side to Hans im Glück’s operations. More generally, this expansion really needs to be paired with The Flying Machines or The Magic Portals from The Princess and the Dragon, because it will cause several tiles to become vacant with no way of easily reclaiming them (especially Monasteries). As a stand-alone expansion, it shows promise but also a lack of forethought, but some of those problems can be addressed through careful selection of companion expansions.

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

General / Re: Big Box 5!!! ;D
« on: December 14, 2021, 01:56:41 PM »
By far the most interesting Big Box ever released. I actually bought one despite already having the original Big Box, mostly to get the River III tiles (the watermarks sold them for me) and the unique set of Wheel of Fortune tiles. The language independent Wheel was also nice. I will probably one day sell the duplicate expansions 1, 2, and 9, but I don’t have access to the box currently.

General / Re: I love the postman...
« on: December 10, 2021, 05:13:16 PM »
Buy Carcassonne: Safari, of course!

General / Re: I love the postman...
« on: December 08, 2021, 04:10:26 AM »
And it just keeps coming  :o

Today i got a special parcel from New Zealand!

Thanks Whaleyland!
Yay! I saw that it was delivered so I am glad it is finally in your hands. One 1st (and only) edition of Carcassonne. That one is definitely one of the more obscure copies in the world. Enjoy!

You will be happy to know that with the purchase money, I have bought for my work team Unstable Unicorns, Guillotine, and the latest Exploding Kittens expansion: Barking Kittens. I would have bought more "gamey" games but we have to be able to play in under an hour with minimal setup or rules for new players, so sticking with some fun Ameritrash games works best. That being said, I bought them a Carcassonne Big Box 6 last year, hence why having a second copy donated by a departing coworker was unneeded.

General / Re: Products with the new tile design
« on: December 07, 2021, 12:22:28 AM »
Also the new base game, which should be arriving soon too.

General / Re: Maps storage
« on: December 07, 2021, 12:21:18 AM »
I keep mine upright behind my gaming bookshelf, with just enough peaking through on the side to pull them out if I want them. They are quite flat now.

General / Re: Best expansions to complement 20th Anniversary Edition
« on: December 02, 2021, 10:05:09 PM »
Welcome to the forum  :yellow-meeple:

I recommend the two first expansions ("inns & Cathedrals" and "traders & builders"), they really improve the game.
Maybe the best could be to get the 2021 big box
You'd have two versions of the base game, but with the two first expansions and 97 mini expansions.

You can see a list of every existing expansions here:

Hope this helps  :yellow-meeple:
I agree that getting the Big Box (2021) may be your best option, but don't overhype it with 9 expansions, corinthiens13: it includes 7 expansions and 2 lies. Both The River and The Abbot are inspansions always included with the base game, so they are not true expansions in the context of someone already owning a copy of the Anniversary Edition.

Still, definitely get the Big Box or perhaps wait until mid-next year when the expansions will inevitably all be re-released with the new tile design (boxes will probably be different too). In the meantime, you can buy The Peasant Revolts, The Signposts, or The Gifts from, the first two of which are already in the new style and the last doesn't matter.

News and Events / Re: Meeple Flags will replace scoring tiles
« on: November 29, 2021, 11:45:34 AM »
They've run out of stock of all of them now, so no more dilemma. While I like the concept, they look very brittle (are they made of balsa wood?). I think I'll stick to my normal scoring tiles. I ordered a second set of CI scoring tiles several years ago. I will likely order more CII/III scoring tiles once they are made available. They work adequately.

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