Bruce's Carcassonne Variants & Wonderments

Musings and explorations related to my favorite board game.
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Variant #18: Urban Warrener

Bruce Kothmann
United States
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From gallery of kothmann

Wild rabbits (coneys!) have invaded Carcassonne! Earn points by capturing them from roads or gathering them into urban warrens, or lose points when they linger on farms at the end of the game.
Definition (What?)
Place about 36 coney tokens into a bag by the side of the playing area. Rules changes:
• Phase 1 (Tile Placement): Tiles are placed as usual. If a tile has a single field with no roads, a coney is placed in the field. A coney is also placed in any field region on the tile being placed that contacts a field region on an adjacent tile that already has a coney. No field region on a tile may ever have more than one coney, but a tile may have multiple coneys.
• Phase 2 (Placing a Meeple): A player may "move wood" as usual. If a player has a warrener (placed in step 3 of a previous turn, see below) and the player does not deploy a meeple or otherwise move wood, the player may move one coney from a neighboring field into the warren, with each coney placed on a different tile in the city that houses the warren.
• Phase 3 (Scoring): There are three new elements for scoring:
i. The score for a completed road is increased by one point for each coney on a tile that is counted in the road score, provided that the coney is on a field segment that borders the road being scored. After all roads are scored, the coneys that were counted for scoring are removed from the landscape and returned to the supply bag.
ii. Completed cities score as usual. If a player is the only player to score points for a completed city, they may create a warren in the completed city, leaving a meeple in the city as an urban warrener, placing the meeple prone in the city, in the same way that a farmer is placed in a field.
iii. If each tile in a city that houses a warren contains a coney, the warren is complete and scores two points for each coney. The warrener meeple is returned to the player and the coneys are returned to the supply bag.
• Final Scoring: There are also three new elements here:
i. Coneys have no effect on the score of incomplete cities or roads.
ii. An incomplete warren scores one point for each coney in the warren.
iii. Farmers score as usual, except that one point is subtracted from the total farm score for each coney in the field.

Examples (How?)
Example #1: The image below walk through the first dozen turns of a game. These were taken from the rules PDF posted at Carcassonne Central.
From gallery of kothmann

From gallery of kothmann

From gallery of kothmann

From gallery of kothmann

Example #2: The image below shows a more fanciful scenario that further elucidates important rules:
From gallery of kothmann

Example #3: Endgame scoring.
From gallery of kothmann

Explanation (Why?)
Unlike almost all of my other variants, this is not derived from an official expansion, but rather is an adaptation of The Zoo variant proposed by Ker42 on Carcassonne Central. It is playful with some simple but interesting tactics.

Options (What if...?)
We added the road capture and scoring after play-testing showed too many coneys otherwise! But you could try playing without it...

Interactions (With Whom?)
This seems to work fine with I&C, T&B. If you play with Dragon, you would have to decide if the Dragon eats the coneys (probably)?

I really like this variant! The mechanics are simple and fun, and completing a city presents a decision (should you make a warren?) with a very clear risk-reward balance. Early on, coneys populate the fields. When a small city is completed, players are likely to have enough meeples available to justify creating and waiting for the warren to be completed, roughly doubling the points earned by the city. Completing a road permits some defense against opponents' warrens. As the game goes on, meeples became more scarce and the coney population drops, so there is more risk in creating a warren.

The interaction with farm scoring also adds some additional tactics: you can try to place coneys on opponents' fields throughout the game, and again the road scoring allows the farmer to play defense.

The coneys change the total points scored by about 30-50 points, so they cannot be ignored, but they don't dominate the game, either. Perfect.

We bought the wooden coney figures on Game Crafter, but you could also just use coins or any other small object. The original Zoo variant on Carcassonne Central used a mix of animals from

2021-08-15: Original Post

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