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Subject: Carcassonne Intrigue rss

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Stephen Brandt
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Let me start by saying I've never tried a variant for Carcassonne and only know about a couple of them. I came here to check if the idea I have has already been done but there are a lot of posts here, and I wasn't going to go through them all. So, if my proposed variant has already been done, my apologies to the creator.

The Situation: My fiance and I will have two other couples at game night tonight, and only a few games in my small-ish collection support six people. Some of these we've played enough recently, and the others I just don't really want to play. However, I have never tried Carcassonne with more than 4, and have the meeples to make 6 (actually up to 8) work. However, some of us, including myself, are a bit AP, and with 5 players to play between turns when you don't even know what your tile will be, I thought I might need to spice it up a bit to keep people engaged when its not their turn.

The Variant: The first half of the variant is nothing new, just kinda a run of the mill team variant. Blue and Red on Team 1, Yellow and Pink Team 2, Black and Purple Team 3. At the end of the game, teammates combine their points for a total team score. Now I probably would have stopped there, except I just got into House of Cards in the last month and have spent some time thinking of ways I could make a social intrigue game inspired by the show. So that circuit in my brain just switched itself on, and I got a little devious. So, the twist is, to win the game you must be the highest scoring player on the highest scoring team.

The implications are you're going to need to work with your teammate enough to have a higher team score than your opposing teams, yet if you help them too much, or they are not reciprocal enough, you'll be setting them up for victory and yourself defeat. You may have to pick opportune moments to play saboteur to your teammate to give yourself a leg up or prevent them from running away with points. There's also still the sort of metagame where the two trailing teams can help each other complete features etc to build up points and compete with the top team, and now they have 4 players to do that. Thus, even if you're the top team you might not be able to get away with all out conflict with your teammate as other teams are gunning for your top spot.

I hope this will make for a tight, back-and-forth game that will keep people engaged outside of their turn as you think about how to help your teammate while simultaneously planning backstabbery shenanigans (for those wondering, couples will NOT be placed on the same team, as that would add strategic gameplay outside the scope of Carcassonne). I'm also intending on playing this with Inns and Cathedrals, Traders and Builders, and the mother of chaos Princess and Dragon. I normally don't enjoy the princess tile and portal tiles from this expansion as its wildly random and despite my devious variant I'm actually not a very cutthroat player; but I think these features will be good fun in this sort of game. We will see! Hopefully I can get this to the table tonight and share what happens later.
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Runcible Spoon
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If AP is partially the concern your suggestions will make the AP go way up because you have so much more to monitor and the game will drag on longer.

Second, carc with 5 or 6 is basically just a luckfest anyway. If you have vanilla carc only and play with 6 you have to play a meeple almost every turn in the hope of completing a feature and getting at least a couple back for a second play. If you draw a bunch of roads you are hosed.

Have people draw a tile at the end of their turn so at least they have something to think about. Having a hand of 3 tiles is even better.

Or try a game that scales better than carc. Dixit, codenames and their ilk are cheap and widely available and much more fun than carc with 6.
 
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Stephen Brandt
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Yes I was planning on taking 2 or even 3 meeples out per player, so with all the other tiles from those expansions (and also rivers I and II which I forgot to mention) it should end up being a similar ratio. I don't mind length of games or AP and our group doesn't either, but that's as long as you have something to be thinking about when its not your turn, which I'm hoping the shifting alliances and almost necessary betrayal elements of this variant would provide over official Carcassonne play.

Having three tiles is something I want to try at some point, and maybe the draw your tile while others are playing. I haven't done so yet because its still fun for the whole table to be looking to see if you got that tile you've been pleading for the last 10 turns. And with 3 tiles which can each go in so many places, adding just that alone makes the AP problem that much worse for everyone who is not having their turn at the moment. But thanks for these suggestions, I do plan on using these variants at some point.

I have tried tried those two games, and I especially like Dixit, though our group has played it a few times now and we don't have expansions as of the moment. But I'll see if this ends up being a cool variant first--I do really enjoy Carcassonne as a 2 player game, I would be thrilled if this turned out to be a way to get the same game to the table at higher player counts. It could end up being a bust--who knows!
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Gláucio Reis
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Drawing your tile at the end of the turn speeds up the game and doesn't change it in any significant way. I don't consider it a variant and do it all the time. I have never tried having a hand of three tiles (and see no reason to try), but I agree that it would certainly increase the AP.
 
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Désirée Greverud
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GSReis wrote:
Drawing your tile at the end of the turn speeds up the game and doesn't change it in any significant way. I don't consider it a variant and do it all the time. I have never tried having a hand of three tiles (and see no reason to try), but I agree that it would certainly increase the AP.
it really doesn't. We almost always play with this version (a hand of 3, draw after you place). The thing is, of the 3, the is usually a pretty clear hierarchy. If you get that building tile in the weird shape you need, you play that and ignore the 2 road tiles you are holding. If you can play that monastery in a gap with 5 around it already, you do that. The decisions are generally pretty straight forward and you have everyone else's turn to plan.
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