Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Carcassonne Game Session Report 17-Dec-04

A couple Friday ago, I had a chance to gather some of my friends to play some board game at my place. The game we played that night was Carcassonne. If you're not familiar with the game, you can check it out on FunAgainGames or BoardGameGeek. It was a good gaming session though I expect more people would be able to join the session. Anyway, following is the session report:

Carcassonne Session I

That Friday, I was able to ask Thomas, Rudi & Nita to come and play Carcassonne at my place. Even though we're still playing the basic rule (no farmers, due to Thomas & Rudi being a new player to the game), I have introduced new variants to the game.

The first variant was the "Monastery for All" variant created by Bernd Eisenstein. The variant rule is "In the beginning each player is assigned one monastery, which is discarded open. This monastery can be put into play instead of drawing a
new card at any point of time." I believe this variant can reduce the luck factor of the game, due to one player drawing more than one monastery, while another player have none.

The "Monastery for All" variant

The second variant I tried was "Collective Planning of Countryside" variant, also created by Bernd Eisenstein. The variant rule is "3 countryside cards are displayed open. The players can decide, whether to choose an open or a face down countryside card. After the move the open cards are completed to 3." I want to try whether this variant will add more strategic thinking into the game or not.

Anyway, after explaining the new variants to the other players, the game began. Nita started with Green, followed by Thomas in Red, then Rudi with Blue, and finally me in Yellow.

Thomas starts the game

The game started with Thomas (Red) and Nita (Green) working together to build a rather large city. Since we're playing the "Collective Planning of Countryside" variant, it's very clear to see three additional tiles, and this has helped both Thomas and Nita in growing their city bigger very quickly. On the other hand, I kept getting the tile with part of the city only on one side (small city tile), which makes it very hard for me to create a large enough city. So, the only way for me to gain actual points was to make an attempt on joining Thomas & Nita's city.

After a few turns, that attempt succeeded. I finally joined Thomas & Nita's city. To make matter worse for them, I tried to add more knights into the city, to claim majority in the city. If this attempt succeeded, then I'd have all the points of the city to me only, while Thomas & Nita received nothing. While we're fighting on that particular city, Rudi was happily creating his own city, noted by the first completed city was his.

When I finally able to dominate the city, Thomas & Nita immediately claimed the same domination of the city and closed it before anything bad (from me, I guess) happened. All three of us scored 22 points, while Rudi received nothing for that big city.

Interesting notes to the game were the "Monastery for All" variant did help to reduce the luck factor of the game, while on the other hand the "Collective Planning of Countryside" variant only boosted the early game because we had so many great options open for us, but the variant got stucked in the mid-to-late game because all three tiles were all showing straight roads, which meant almost nothing.

Anyway, the game ended with Rudi as the highest scoring player with 67 points, followed by Thomas with 64 points, then Nita with 52 points, and finally me with 50 points. I guess Rudi really wins by himself while we're too busy fighting over a single city.

Rudi, the winner of the first session

Carcassonne Session II

We decided to play one more time, but this time we're trying a new variant to replace the "Collective Planning of Countryside" variant, which Thomas & Nita didn't like. I decided to introduce my own variant. So, instead of having 3 open cards at all time which are available to all players, the new variant allows each player to have another card available only to him as an additional option after picking a close card, prior to playing any card. I believe this will add more strategic thinking & planning to the game without sacrificing many times wasted or the game itself being rather boring in the mid-to-late stage.

In the second game, again, my luck hasn't changed. I still received the small city tile, along with many roads. The only reason I was able to make any real points was because I was able to join 3 cities created by the other players, while scoring 2 cloisters and 17 points from the 3 roads I have.

Nita won the second game with 98 points, then I'm second with 94 points, followed by Thomas with 75 points, and former winner Rudi, with the same points as the first game.. :D

Nita, the winner of the second session

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