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Carcassonne: Amazonas» Forums » Variants

Subject: If two huts are not enough... rss

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Laszlo Molnar
Hungary
Budapest
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I like this new Carcassonne series (Carcassonne Around the World, but also Star Wars and Over Hill and Dale) which do not only add interesting ideas to the world of Carcassonne but also try to make the family even more accessible to newcomers than the original. For some reason, farm scoring has always been the achilles heel of Carcassonne, as the concept is slightly harder to grasp than the rest of the scoring, and especially for newcomers, it can cause a bad first impression when they think they are doing fine during game, then bang, someone scores 50+ points with their farmers. So most spin-offs use a simplified idea for farms - score for items on the farm, like animals (in Hunters & Gatherers, Mayflower/New World, South Seas, Over Hill and Dale and now Amazon) which makes scoring easier but still does not solve the bigger problem. Last year's Carcassonne Star Wars, in response, had no farms at all, and Over Hill and Dale also had some simpler but fun solution instead - two huts that were like a mix of cloisters and the animal farm scoring: these huts scored only for the animals on and around the tile. It worked great there.

Now Amazonas tries to use these huts for a more general 'farm scoring with animals'. It does succeed in some ways - having two 'meeple' (ie. huts) that can be used only for farm scoring does press the importance of farms (here: jungles) for novices. On the other hand, I find it limiting. Unlike in Over Hill and Dale, where you could not mess with others' huts (well, not by using your huts), here it can be a lot more lethal.

Let's say you found a nice jungle section for yourself in the first half of the game. For some reason the jungle gets slightly abandoned while the other player's jungle just starts to grow a lot, at an unhealthy rate. Anyone who's played Carcassonne knows what to do: try to join the fun! And let's say you even manage joining. Then this player places joins with their second hut, so they have the majority there. So what can you do? You need to join... but you can't, as there are no more huts!

I see, you're saying it means you played badly. You should have blocked the other player's jungle grow, you should block the other player joining with their second hut. Well, that's not so easy here, when possibly all you do in the second half of the game is drawing those damned Amazon tiles instead of having any impact on the rest of the gameboard. Really, those Amazon tiles, while introducing an interesting mechanism to the game, make the rest of the game a bit more luck-dependent. So, if there comes any possibility, why can't you place a third hut on the board? It just feels too... limiting without any really strategic consideration.

Of course I can see Carcassonne is more of a mass market-oriented game so it needs to be as simple as possible, but here I suggest a slight additional rule:

When you have run out of huts (you have already placed them) but still want to add wooden figures to jungle areas, you may use your meeple instead.

That's it, really. I think it would slightly improve the strategic possibilities.
 
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Bartosz Popow
Poland
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...or replace one of your huts already on the board?
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Laszlo Molnar
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Budapest
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BartP wrote:
...or replace one of your huts already on the board?

I'm not sure that would make a difference if you mean replacing it with a meeple. Or do you mean I place an already placed hut somewhere else? That could also work, although you might have to give up a more or less fruitful area for this (and give it to some lucky bastard) while there's no guarantee your replaced hut can ever get connected to where you want to connect it to.
 
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Bartosz Popow
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Yeah, I meant move one already placed hut to a new place. I have not played the game yet, just throwing ideas around ;].
 
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