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Tactical Tuesday -- Week 04

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kothmann:
See the series introduction here.

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Configuration: Base game only (72 tiles & 7 meeples per player)

Players: Black, Gray, Red, Yellow (order of play as listed, alphabetical by color name).

Score: B=11, G=21, R=25, Y=12

Previous Turns & Scoring:
 1. B[ 0;-1] FFFF / monk /
 2. G[ 0;+1] FCCF / knight /
 3. R[ 1; 0] CRFR / knight /
 4. Y[ 2; 0] RFRR / thief /
 5. B[ 2; 1] RRRR / thief / B+2
 6. G[ 1;-1] FRFF / monk /
 7. R[ 2;-1] RCFR / thief / R+3
 8. Y[ 3;-1] FCFC / knight / Y+4
 9. B[-1;-1] RFCR / knight /
10. G[ 2;-2] FRFR / thief /
11. R[ 4;-1] FFFC / knight / R+4
12. Y[-2; 0] CRRR / knight / Y+4
13. B[ 0;-2] FRRF / thief /
14. G[ 1;-2] FRRR / / G+9
15. R[-2; 0] FRRF / thief /
16. Y[-1; 1] FFCC / knight / Y+4
17. B[-1;-2] CFFC / farmer / B+9
18. G[ 1; 1] RRCC / farmer / G+12, R+12
19. R[-1;-3] CRRF / knight / R+6
20. Y[ 0; 2] CCFF / farmer /
21. B[ 1; 2] CCRC / knight /
22. G[-3; 0] FFCC / knight /
23. R[ 1; 3] CCCC / /

Current Decision (photo below):
Yellow has now drawn the FRFR tile.
Where should they place the tile?
Should they place a meeple and if so, where?
Feel free to comment on previous moves, but the emphasis is on Yellow's current move.


NOTE: Due to the large landscape and number of move options, I added an orange box around tile placement to help clarify.

Option A (photo below)
[-2;-2], RFRF, meeple as thief on the road.


Option B (photo below)
[-2;-2], RFRF, meeple as farmer west of the road.


Option C (photo below)
[-2;-2], RFRF, meeple as farmer east of the road.


Option D (photo below)
[-2;-2], RFRF, no meeple


Option E (photo below)
[-2;-3], RFRF, meeple as farmer east of the road.


Option F (photo below)
[-1;-4], RFRF, meeple as thief on the road.


Option G (photo below)
[1;-3], RFRF, meeple as thief on the road.


Option H (photo below)
[4;-2], FRFR, meeple as farmer north of the road.


Option I (photo below)
[3;1], FRFR, meeple as thief on the road.


Option J (none of the above)
Please describe a better play in your reply.

Linkback: https://www.carcassonnecentral.com/community/index.php?topic=5483.0

Bumsakalaka:
Hmm, for strategy to invade botom field, Option E and Option H are my favorite.
For invade top central field, option B only one. But it's risky because in game are 3x CRRR (1 already used) and 4 FRRR (2 already used). But tile RRRR was used, so no "change" to close meeple untouch.
It's 23rd turn, so it kept 48 tiles. - 12 per player. Black has 4 meeples placed. So bit motivation to close road and full fill Option B gap.
Red one, have still 6 free meeples and highest score. He will not have motivation for close it and give points to Black and Yellow.
For invasion I guess Option H is most safe. But there will be at at least 3 different meeples on that field in future.

kothmann:
I chose D.

I want to play at [-2;-2] because I hate big farm wars, so I want to make it very likely that the upper and lower farms are separated.  This narrows it down to A, B, C, or D.  I did not notice that Red will not be eager to play at [-2;-1], for the reasons @Bumsakalaka gives.  So, only Black and Yellow want to play there, and, again echoing @Bumsakalaka, there are just 4 tiles remaining that can fill that gap as it is.  Another consideration is that there are 11 CRxx tiles remaining that Gray might play at [-3;-1] to create a hole at [-2;-1] (because the RRRR tile is already played) while enlarging the Gray city.  If you took C, you could still connect to the bottom farm via two tiles connecting around the bottom. But overall, I think the best option is D (no meeple).  Patience is a virtue?

I see the value of H, and agree that is a good choice for invading.  Even if [3;-2] is never placed, there is still a good chance to connect via [3;0] and [4;0].  Or just extend the farm out to the east with more cities.  But because this field is still pretty open, I don’t yet feel pressure to commit to the battle which would surely ensue.  I like Yellow’s mostly isolated farm at the top and think it is okay to hold off on invading the other farms.

I also think it isn’t terrible for Yellow to just claim a road, to go with their city and farm.  So either G or I don’t seem like bad plays to me.  G has the advantage of making life a bit tougher for Black.

I’m still wondering if I am too reluctant to fight the farm wars in a 4-player game….

Bumsakalaka:
Hmm, it will be. You have limited tiles to place. So not a lot changes to earn points by road/cities.
I remember my two last games. I was not able to finish any roads for 10 round. I alwes get city/field tile or tile without end of road.

unclewill:
I think there is another variation worth mentioning: the tile is placed like Option F (-1,-4) but with a farmer on left-hand field.

Like E and H this still requires a single tile to connect into B’s farm, but the long unclaimed road may be enough to entice B to connect it.

Both E and J are more vulnerable to a blocking move than H.

I am not saying this I think this is the best, but it is certainly one I have considered over others.

----

Y needs to gain points against everyone and dominating a second farm seems the best route to me.

Y should leave R to worry about ensuring the farms can’t connect and to sacrifice a turn to achieve it, but options ABCD ensure this can’t connect and only Y will try to connect into B’s or G’s farm afterwards.

For this reason, I prefer EHJ. E & J have a more vulnerable connection (easier to limit/ surround) than H which I think is the safest bet.

Whichever is chosen, the other invasion locations will still be available and are getting more desirable as the farm war develops. Y needs to get in while there are options to achieve dominance.

With all that in mind, I think I would choose H but it is a close call.

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