Bruce's Carcassonne Variants & Wonderments

Musings and explorations related to my favorite board game.

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Variant #11: Collectives (a Farm/Cathedral Scoring Variant)

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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Definition (What?)
• For farms and cathedral cities (Expansion #1, I&C), award points for the feature in proportion to the number of meeples that a player has in the feature at the time the feature is scored.
• Detailed procedure: sum the total number of meeples in the feature, then round up the number of points earned so that it is a multiple of the number of meeples. Each meeple earns an equal fraction of the total points.
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Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:58 pm
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Variant #10: Pious Plaza (a Cathedral Surrogate)

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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Definition (What?)
Use only tiles from the base game. Set aside the solid city ("plaza") tile from the rest of the tiles in the bag.
• When a player draws a monastery with no road, they may return it to the bag in favor of placing the plaza tile, if it remains available.
• The plaza follows the same rules as the cathedral from Inns & Cathedrals (Expansion #1): A city with a plaza scores 3 points per tile and pennant when completed, or zero points if incomplete at the end of the game.
• If the fourth FFFF monastery is drawn and no player has chosen to place the plaza, return the plaza to the bag and treat it as a cathedral when drawn.
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Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:02 pm
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Variant #9: Mason’s Lodge (a Builder Surrogate)

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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From gallery of kothmann

Definition (What?)
A "growing city" is a city with at least two open edges. Each player begins the game with one Mason’s lodge.
• When a player places a tile with a city segment that is part of a growing city after the tile is placed, the player may place a lodge in the city.
• A lodge modifies the tile on which it is placed, like placing a bridge from Expansion #8, so it happens during tile placement (phase 1 of the turn). The player may place a meeple on the tile as usual after placing the lodge.
• A lodge modifies the tile for all players equally and has no effect on control or scoring of the city. The lodge remains in the city until the end of the game, regardless of whether or not the city is completed.
• On any turn in which a player adds a tile to a city with a lodge and in which they had a meeple at the beginning of the turn, the player completes their turn and then immediately takes an extra turn. The player may not take two extra turns in a row.

See below for tips on what hardware to use for the lodges.
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Tue Mar 30, 2021 7:46 pm
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Variant #8: Guesthouses (an Inns Surrogate)

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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From gallery of kothmann

Definition (What?)
An "open road" is a road with two open ends. Each player begins the game with one Guesthouse piece.
• When a player places a tile with a road segment that creates or extends an open road, the player may place a guesthouse next to the road. The guesthouse has the same effect on the road segment as an "Inn by the Lake" from Expansion #1 (Inns & Cathedrals).
• A guesthouse modifies the tile on which it is placed, like placing a bridge from Expansion #8, so it happens during tile placement (phase 1 of the turn). The player may place a meeple on the tile as usual after placing the guesthouse.
• A guesthouse modifies the tile for all players equally and has no effect on control of the road.
• A road with a guesthouse scores exactly like a road with an Inn: two points per tile if completed and no points if incomplete at the end of the game. A road with multiple guesthouses and/or Inns scores in the same way as a road having only one of these elements.
• When the road is completed, the meeple is returned as usual, but the guesthouse remains in place until the end of the game.

See below for tips on what hardware to use for the guesthouses.
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Tue Mar 30, 2021 2:41 pm
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Variant #7: City Gates & Walls (a T&B Tiles Surrogate)

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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Definition (What?)
From gallery of kothmann

A city that contains at least one pennant is a regal city. Each player is given one city gate and one city wall at the start of the game.

Gates: During tile placement (phase 1) of their turn, a player may place a tile such that a city edge meets a road edge, provided that the city edge is part of a regal city. The player must place their Gate along the edge to remedy the incompatibility.
Walls: During tile placement (phase 1) of their turn, a player may place a tile such that a city edge meets a field edge, provided that the city edge is part of a regal city. The player must place their Wall along the edge to remedy the incompatibility.
• Gates & Walls close the features on either side of the incompatible edge. The tile on the “other side” of the gate or wall does not score for any road or city that is closed in this way. This is analogous to any single edge of an Abbey tile from expansion #5. Unlike the Abbey, gates and walls have no effect on the scoring of monasteries.

Note that a player does not need to have nor place a meeple on any feature in order to deploy a gate or a wall.

See below for tips on easily making your own gate and wall pieces.
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Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:35 pm
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Variant #6: Pennant Keepers (a Trade Goods Surrogate)

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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Definition (What?)
A city containing at least one pennant is called a "regal" city.
• When a regal city is completed, the player who placed the tile that completed the city collects a number of tokens (e.g. coins) equal to the number of pennants in the city. No tokens are awarded for the pennants in a city that is incomplete at the end of the game.
• The pennants never contribute to the points earned by a player for having the majority of knights in the city, regardless of whether the city is scored as completed during the game or incomplete at the end of the game.
• At the end of the game, the player or players (if tied) with the most tokens earn 3 points per token. All other players earn 2 points per token.

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Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:06 pm
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Variant #5: Highways (A Minor Bridge Variant)

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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Definition (What?)
Follow official rules for placing bridges and meeples.

In scoring, a road with a bridge is modified in exactly the way same as a road with an Inn by the Lake (from Inns & Cathedrals expansion):
• When completed, the road earns two points per tile.
• If incomplete at the end of the game, the road earns no points.

Any road with two or more inns and/or bridges scores the same as a road with only one of either of these features: the score is not further increased for additional inns or bridges.

Regardless of what other expansions we use, we almost always include the bridges with no other elements (tiles, castles, bazaars) from Expansion #8. We call roads with bridges "highways".
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Mon Mar 22, 2021 4:13 am
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Variant #4: Alternate Trade Goods Scoring

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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Definition (What?)
In the Traders & Builders expansion, score trade goods at the end of the game using proportional scoring with bonuses:
• Each trade token earns 2 points.
• A group of three identical tokens earns a bonus of 6 points.
• A group of three distinct tokens earns a bonus of 6 points.
• Each token may only be counted as part of at most one group.
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Sat Mar 20, 2021 9:20 pm
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Variant #3: Castles in Germany as Starting Tiles

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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Definition (What?)
Place the usual starting tile in the bag or tower with all other tiles. On their first turn, each player randomly draws a German castle which must be placed with a follower as lord of the castle.
From gallery of kothmann

• All castles, except the first, must be placed to share at least one edge with a previously placed castle, but may not share a city edge. (The official rule prohibiting neighboring placement of castles does not apply.)
• The castles score according to official rules, except that each half of the castle counts as a single tile, even in scoring the neighboring castles, so all of the castles will be worth 12 points when completed and any neighboring monasteries will be worth 9 points when completed.
• The lord has the power of an Abbot on a monastery: on any subsequent turn in which a player does not place a meeple, the lord may be removed and score points as it would at the end of the game. The lord is never "trapped" in the castle.
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Fri Mar 19, 2021 5:04 am
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Variant #2: Biding Abbot’s Absolution

Bruce Kothmann
United States
Pennsylvania
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Definition (What?)
After a monastery has been completed, an Abbot may optionally remain in place to become a biding Abbot, with the meeple turned on its side. The biding Abbot may be removed on any turn in which the player does not place a meeple, and optionally may at this time absolve any one of the player’s other meeples from its obligation to remain on a feature until completed. When removed, the biding Abbot scores for the completed monastery, but the absolved meeple is removed with no score.

Note that if the player completes their own monastery and places no meeple, the biding Abbot may be removed and confer absolution on that same turn.
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Sat Mar 13, 2021 6:44 pm
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