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Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers» Forums » Variants

Subject: Variant for first time players? rss

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Kevin Heindselman
United States
Kingsport
Tennessee
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I'm leading a board game group at my church tonight and have been asked by one of the attendees to teach C:H&G. It was one of the games I had set up on the table the first night to showcase the bits and the variety of games now available and they thought it "looked interesting." The group is attended by adults whose game experience is mostly classic American games and card games. I am thinking about varying the game to remove some of the complexity and shorten it to make sure we can play in 45 minutes with rules explanation. Here's what I'm thinking of:

1) Remove bonus tiles from the game.
2) Draw tiles at end of turn instead of beginning of turn.
3) End the game when someone reaches a specific point count, then adding hunters and huts to the final scores.

Thoughts?
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Gláucio Reis
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Rio de Janeiro
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I think the game is fine for newbies the way it is. No need to dumb it down. But I will comment anyway.

heinzy57 wrote:
1) Remove bonus tiles from the game.

This removes an interesting incentive both to create forests with more than two tiles and to finish them (including forests of other players). But if you want to shorten the game, it may be OK.

Quote:
2) Draw tiles at end of turn instead of beginning of turn.

This should be standard for every Carcassonne game.

Quote:
3) End the game when someone reaches a specific point count, then adding hunters and huts to the final scores.

This may break the balance of scoring. I suggest you resort to that only if and when you are running out of time. It's hard to tell beforehand how long a new group will take to play the game.
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Dan C
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#2 is key to shortening any Carcassonne game, and the best way to play imho. Don't know about the other two, though.
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Andy Andersen
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Ada
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Agreed that tiles should be drawn right after playing. I wouldn't suggest changing anything else. They will likely enjoy it the way it's meant to be played.
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Davido
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I like H&G BECAUSE it is "Carc's greatest hits in a box".

TWO ways to score in game:
1) Rivers @1/tile + fish in lakes
2) Forests @ 2/tile

TWO ways to score end game:

1) all fish inRiver SYSTEMS w/ huts
2) Fields
a) tiger eat deer, 2 pts. for remaining animals (including deer)

Explain that the bonus tiles go to the person who COMPLETES the forest and are placed immediately. They score for the person who SCORES the forest. Let them know that you'll explain the benefits of the bonus tiles (and give hints as to good placement) as they come up.

Also, no matter how many nuggets you have in a forest (or completing 2+ forests), you only get ONE bonus tile to play.

I also like to set up some basic scoring situations
(river w/ fish at both ends, river w/ spring + one end w/ fish, 4 pt. forest, no bonus, 8 pt. forest w/ bonus).

Basic turn:
Place tile. Place Meeple. Score points. Remove Meeple. Place bonus tile (if any).

That's pretty much it.
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Laurence Parsons
United Kingdom
Bristol
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Play it out of the box. It's not complicated.

Having said that, I'm happy to remove the Sacred Altar tile from every game. But that's more to get rid of a random overpowered tile than to reduce complexity.
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Chris Shaffer
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Portland
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I always remove the Shrine bonus tile when playing with new players. It's difficult to explain and overpowered. With experienced players, you can expect them to use their knowledge of the game to balance out the power of the tile.
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Michael Nerman
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Winnipeg
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GSReis wrote:
I think the game is fine for newbies the way it is. No need to dumb it down. But I will comment anyway.

While I already thumbed his post, let me say that I agree with everything he said.
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Gláucio Reis
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TheCat wrote:
I always remove the Shrine bonus tile when playing with new players. It's difficult to explain and overpowered. With experienced players, you can expect them to use their knowledge of the game to balance out the power of the tile.

It's overpowered regardless of the players' experience. I just use a house rule: a follower placed on the shrine is worth two (like the big follower from Inns & Cathedrals).
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Kevin Heindselman
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Kingsport
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Thanks for the replies. The game was received well. I taught five new players. We got through about 1/3 of the tiles in a half hour before we had to quit for time. Being unable to finish was what I was most concerned with, but the players didn't seem to mind. The important thing is they should be able to pick up and play next time with minimal help.

I taught it out of the box as you all recommended. Realizing the bonus tiles only needed to be explained when drawn helped sway me to leave them in.
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