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Rules for an Apprentice variant of Carcassonne.
-It is suggested to use one Apprentice for a game with less than 100 tiles, and a second Apprentice if available with more tiles in use. The presence of big followers and phantoms should be taken into account perhaps by removing a regular meeple.
-Apprentices learn from and are counted for majority purposes as half a regular follower, and count as zero if there are no such followers present to train them during the scoring of that feature. They may be represented by a minimeeple from the travel edition of Carcassonne, a cube, or whatever else is agreed upon.
-Placing a tile is the same as always except that now one Apprentice may be placed instead of another piece.
-One Apprentice may be returned to the owner's hand at the end of their turn. Even from the City of Carcassonne. An imprisoned Apprentice does not get an early release.
-A feature with only Apprentices on it is considered to be occupied but not scoreable.
-An Apprentice may be placed on a feature which is unoccupied. A Follower cannot be placed on a feature which already has an Apprentice. A Phantom cannot be placed at the same time as an Apprentice since phantom Apprentices do not exist... yet!
-A Pig or Builder may be placed on a feature with a lone Apprentice.
-*Special Rule: When only a Mayor and Apprentice, now an Intern, are in a city without pennants, and no other player has a full-fledged follower in the city, then they count and score as a one vote follower. Any tie with another Mayor and Apprentice is treated as a normal tie.
-A Novice, which is an apprentice Monk, may be placed on a cloister, but the Novice will only score half as many points as a Monk would, and the number of the scoring shall be rounded down. Such is the cost of being able to score and leave at the end of any turn. The Novice can earn an modest Indulgence by completing the cloister to receive 5 points instead of 4. Novices are unique because they are the only kind of Apprentice that can score without a trainer present.
-An Apprentice cannot cap a tower, ride the Wheel of Fortune, nor receive points from the Gingerbread Man.
-An Apprentice can be eaten by the Dragon, seduced by the Princess, and die of the Plague. But not all on the same day!
-Towers can capture Apprentices. The prisoner exchange is the same, but the optional ransom is 2 points instead of 3.
-Placing an Apprentice means that the Fairy cannot be moved on that turn. A Fairy gives bonus point(s) to the Apprentice at the same rate as a regular follower. Fairies are just nice that way!
-An Apprentice can utilize a crop circle and go through a magic portal.
-The City of Carcassonne may be visited by an Apprentice the same as any other follower. General education is important!
-The above guidelines are flexible for a game mechanic with a small percentage of Apprentices, and compatibility with current and future expansions could always become an issue.
ver0.9 ScottV 11/2012 - part of a Carcassonne Apprentice series.
I also tried playing that an Apprentice must join with a feature already occupied by at least one of that player's pieces, but that can lead to completing and winning a feature in a single play which is a bit heavy handed and random. We liked the separate placement better, and it also eliminates a few lines of clarifying text.
Months after I&C came out with the 2:1 Megameeple, I have been refining a way to work in a 1:2 Minimeeple. Best of all, it is compatible with farm rules edition 1 thru 295723025!
This variant has worked well even with only Inns & Cathedrals and the Phantom. The meeple saturation was not too bad.
I have written and posted Apprentice versions specific to all seven versions of Carcassonne and posted in the respective variant forums if you have any interest.
I haven't found any conflicts to date, but that could change with the strike of a printing press. Does anyone see anything that might need final adjustments, or want to try it out yourself?
Sounds like a good little variant. I will give it a go and let you know!