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Subject: Do Monks Win the Game? rss

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Matt Halowell

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I've played my copy of Carcassonne about 8 times now, and I keep getting the feeling that whoever draws the most monetary tiles has a significant advantage over the other players. It seems like the easiest way to gain even 7 or 8 points in a single turn, with no way for other players to stop that from happening.

Have you guys found that to be true?
It makes me feel a little discouraged from playing the game more as it can feel too luck driven as a result.
 
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Kārlis Jēriņš
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Sure other players can stop (some of) it. Once you know what tiles exist in the game, you can start using that to your advantage to create spots that can't be filled. It's less harmful than against cities, but it does deny a point or two and locks a meeple up until the end of the game (unless, of course, it's an abbot sitting in the monastery).
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Kevin Salch
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No monks are not OP. Often they get tied up for long periods of time waiting to finish them. There is no incentive to partner up on a monastery like there is for a city or even a road. Compare that to 2 points per city section.

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Joshua Ryan
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The disadvantage of monks/cloisters is that your meeples are tied up until the end of the game if you can't complete all eight of the surrounding tiles. So someone may end up with a few at the end that are worth 6-8 points, but they gave up any opportunities to use those meeples elsewhere in the process.

If this is becoming an issue, I'd suggest playing a few strategically placed tiles whenever you can that make it harder for your opponent to complete their cloister. Or, alternatively, what I'll do with a cloister of my own (if I'm lucky enough to get one) is play it next to someone else's and piggyback off of some of their tiles.
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Nick Shaw
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I agree with the other responses so far. I've played Carc well over a hundred times - probably closer to 200 - and cloisters are not overpowered. If anything, they're slightly underpowered as their max scoring potential is only 9 points, yet your meeple is locked up on that tile for potentially the entire game. Compare that to a large city with a cathedral which could net you huge points (I've had one score over 80 points once) which may take just as many turns as a single cloister to complete.

mhalowel wrote:
It seems like the easiest way to gain even 7 or 8 points in a single turn, with no way for other players to stop that from happening.


Well, firstly, you only score once the feature is complete, OR at the end of the game, not "in a single turn" (well, you could in theory place it in the middle of 8 surrounding tiles and score it immediately - very rare though). Want to stop another player from abusing the cloisters? Put your own cloisters next to them, thus any time they add a tile next to theirs, it's likely to also be next to yours. Even better, put TWO cloisters next to theirs. Or put a farmer down on farmland adjoining their cloister, so any time they add to the cloister, they're expanding your farm's reach, potentially joining onto lots of cities, or merging other farms (which can net big points when using the Barn from Abbey & Mayor).
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Matt Halowell

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Good points! That definitely puts it in perspective for me. I guess I need to play the game more! Haha

I don't have any of the expansions right now. Might stick with the base game, but not sure.

Thanks for the feedback guys! That will definitely come in handy next game.
 
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Matt Halowell

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Carcassonne keeps surprising me. It seems so simple and luck driven, but there's actually quite a bit of subtle strategy to it.

I'm assuming the depth is only improved with Inns and Cathedrals, and Traders and Builders?
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Nick Shaw
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mhalowel wrote:
Carcassonne keeps surprising me. It seems so simple and luck driven, but there's actually quite a bit of subtle strategy to it.


Absolutely. Easy to learn, hard to master, as the saying goes. There's a ton of strategy, but a lot of tactics as well due to the random tile draws.

mhalowel wrote:
I'm assuming the depth is only improved with Inns and Cathedrals, and Traders and Builders?


Yep, absolutely. I&C make the roads more worth pursuing (they can be ignored a lot with just the base game) and boost cities too, but with the possibility of not getting ANY points for them if they're not completed by game end. The big meeple is ok (good for taking over other people's cities/roads), and the pig is great (adds +1/city to the farm its on).

T&B makes the game more 'gamery' with the trade goods; it makes completing someone else's city potentially useful as YOU get the trade good(s) even though they get the points. And I love the builder (gives you a bonus turn if you add a tile to a feature on which you've previously placed the builder token).
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Matt Halowell

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Sounds cool!

I may have to give those a go a little later down the road.
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Joseph Betz
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The only time the monks seem more powerful is in a two player game with only the base set of tiles. You would each only have 35 turns and if you draw a majority of the cloisters it can make a difference.
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Jeffery Hudson
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We play base with Hills and Sheep and The River 1&2 (but no H&S rules...just the tiles) and have a great time with it. It's all we play anymore. But yes, with the vineyards (each adjacent vineyard adds +3 points to a monastery when scored) added in from the River 2 and H&S it can swing the balance if someone gets some lucky draws. We had someone make 45 pts one game between several monasteries that were together all surrounded by Vineyards.

But that's part of the charm of Carc. Yes, it's random...as it should be. Everyone has an equal chance to pull out of the pot so it's not like someone's getting cheated.

Besides, it's meant to be fun. Overcoming someone's luck advantage is part of the fun. There are so many ways to mess someone over in Carc that even if they have lucky draws you should still make them work for it.
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col_w
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njshaw2 wrote:
I&C make the roads more worth pursuing (they can be ignored a lot with just the base game) and boost cities too, but with the possibility of not getting ANY points for them if they're not completed by game end. The big meeple is ok (good for taking over other people's cities/roads), and the pig is great (adds +1/city to the farm its on).


Inns and Cathedrals doesn't have pig rules, that must be from some other expansion.
 
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Byron S
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col_w wrote:
njshaw2 wrote:
I&C make the roads more worth pursuing (they can be ignored a lot with just the base game) and boost cities too, but with the possibility of not getting ANY points for them if they're not completed by game end. The big meeple is ok (good for taking over other people's cities/roads), and the pig is great (adds +1/city to the farm its on).


Inns and Cathedrals doesn't have pig rules, that must be from some other expansion.

The pig is from Traders and Builders.
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Tom Hill
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I've never played Carcassonne with any Monks, but I assume they must be quite good at it, especially with all that solitary time for contemplation.
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Nick Shaw
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runtsta wrote:
col_w wrote:
njshaw2 wrote:
I&C make the roads more worth pursuing (they can be ignored a lot with just the base game) and boost cities too, but with the possibility of not getting ANY points for them if they're not completed by game end. The big meeple is ok (good for taking over other people's cities/roads), and the pig is great (adds +1/city to the farm its on).


Inns and Cathedrals doesn't have pig rules, that must be from some other expansion.

The pig is from Traders and Builders.


Whoops, yes, my bad. So many expansions makes you forget exactly which bit is from which expansion.
 
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A P
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mhalowel wrote:
I've played my copy of Carcassonne about 8 times now, and I keep getting the feeling that whoever draws the most monetary tiles has a significant advantage over the other players. It seems like the easiest way to gain even 7 or 8 points in a single turn, with no way for other players to stop that from happening.

Have you guys found that to be true?
It makes me feel a little discouraged from playing the game more as it can feel too luck driven as a result.


This was my initial experience, but as soon as I and the people I play against regularly worked out how to maximize farms, the feeling faded.

It probably originates from the fact they score quite simply and aren't difficult for new players to get their heads around.

However if you still feel it's an issue, you could try
- Adding (any) expansions; they will generally add extra tiles which will a) place more cloisters, meaning the odds of one player drawing a majority is reduced and b) the first two in particular add lots of city tiles, making cities a bigger part of overall scoring.
- Adding the above mentioned expansion Hills and Sheep, which features Vineyards, which add +3 to a completed cloister, but you HAVE to complete it to get the points, so you can use them aggressively against people with lots of cloisters.
- Adding the expansion "the cult", which adds "anti-cloister" type tiles which compete against neighbouring cloisters.
 
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