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Carcassonne» Forums » Variants

Subject: extra turns rss

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Matt Posey
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Bakersfield
California
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Carcassonne is a fantastic game and will probably be my favorite game for quite a while. However, there is something I realized a couple games ago. Because one of the 72 tiles the game comes with is the starting tiles, there will be 71 turns and at least one player will always have an extra turn. 72 is divisable by 2,3, and 4, but 71 is not divisable by 2,3,4, or 5. This might not seem like a huge advantage, but I have played a few games where someone's last move completed their large castle or greatly increased their farm. I was trying to think of ways to negate this advantage and I came up with two possible solution.

1) Do not play with all the tiles. At the beginning of the game, remove enough tiles so that everyone will have the same number of turns. These can be random tiles or a few simple road pieces. Either way, the players should know what was removed so their strategies will not require pieces that are out of the game.

2) The first player has the option of placing a meeple on the starting tile. The second player actually draws and plays the first tile and play then continues as normal. This essentially allows 72 turns in the game.

So what do y'all think? Are either of these options good ideas? Maybe the problem should be fixed in another way? (Please explain.) Perhaps there really is no problem at all. Let your fellow geeks know!

Poll
What should be done to fix the problem of some players getting an extra turn?
Remove some of the tiles.
Allow the first player to place a meeple on the starting tile.
This is a problem, but your ideas are silly. Something else should be done.
This is a feature. It is not a problem you moron.
      40 answers
Poll created by mst3k4L
 
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Richard Dowdy
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I personally don't worry about it, since I haven't noticed any advantage in the games I've played to going first or not.

Another possibility in addition to the ones you mentioned is to include features from some of the expansions like the Builder or Abbey that make the number of turns each player have vary slightly, so there's no longer a guarantee of one player or the other getting more turns.
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(ʇllıʍ)
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Spokane Valley
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If you want to make sure that the game is always fair, no matter how many players are playing, you will need to play with an infinite number of tiles.

Seriously though, a one tile advantage does not unbalance the game, especially if you use a random method for picking who plays first. And as was already stated, some of the Carcassonne expansions make it impossible to "even out" the tiles.
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brian
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Cedar Lake
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The number of tiles has nothing to do with winning. It is the number of features you complete that determines your score. Drawing the exact piece you need to complete your city (since roads and cloisters score the same regardless) at the end of the game is a rare event. But nothing that unbalances the game.
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Matt Posey
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Bakersfield
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Quote:
The number of tiles has nothing to do with winning. It is the number of features you complete that determines your score.

I see what you are saying, but that would be like saying that white does not have an advantage in chess because the number of turns has nothing to do with winning. A person of greater skill who plays black could easily beat someone who plays white. But with two equally expert players, white does have an advantage because they go first and will never have fewer turns than black.

Similarly in Carcassonne, a person of greater skill can easily beat someone of inferior skill even if the person of inferior skill gets an extra tile. But with two very good and equal players, the person that goes first has an advantage because he/she has more chances to score. It is not that much of an advantage, but in close games determined by a few points, an extra tile could easily determine the game.

Yea, I know that comparing Carcassonne to Chess is a stretch, but I was trying to think of something most people could relate to.

Besides, even picking up a road tile as the final tile can give you some extra points if you place it on an unclaimed road or are able to steal a road from someone else.

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Just Huck, No,
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Sperry
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I say play with the river expansions (drawing tiles from the bag randomly and never knowing how many tiles are going to be placed) and get the traders and builder expansion. Viola! "problem" solved!

TOH
 
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Geoff Burkman
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My group noticed this "problem" fairly early on, and soon decided to make the starting tile the first player's turn. Once we started incorporating "The River" expansion, as well as "Mayor & Abbey," "Trader & Builder," and "The Tower," we realized it really didn't make much difference.

Our problems center more on the five sets of GQ expansion tiles we've accumulated.
 
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For the record, I doN'T think you're a moron. The first half of that choice is what I agreed with.
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Aron
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Well, I play always with the bouwmeester (baumeister) so we all get extra turns. Some more then the other because of good placement and all.

 
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Edy Ferreira
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Ottawa
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I think your questions are valid. If you want to play Carcassonne in a "competitive" way, you have to take that into account.
Indeed, the old Carcassonne software version made by Meridian 93 Corporation has the option to "force" equal amount of turns for all players. What they do in that case and that some titles are omitted, and I think it is best solution.
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Brad Weage
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Atlanta
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Well, you could remove some tiles before play - but don't forget that you can (not often) have a situation where a tile is unplayable and is put out of the game and another one chosen in its place. Same thing would unbalance the starting player plays the starting tile concept.

My first copy was prior to the inclusion of the river, and I found that I could fit 62 tiles into a PKK card box (whichever one is just slightly taller than the side of a tile - maybe 100 count) in two rows standing up on edge. Noticing the proximity to the magic 60 that divides by most things, I trimmed 10 tiles from the set to produce an "easily portable set" and we would play until one tile was left. Normally, that left the last person with a choice of tiles, and one tile that was never played. I also carried 4 sets of meeples (though we most often had 3 players), and printed a scoreboard on 8.5 x 11 paper to fit in the cover slot of the slim "view binder" that I carry with me with translated rules, etc.

At that time, I remember there being a few companies that would sell you individual tiles (breaking up a box) - and I heard that several people purchased one or two just to avoid the uneven turns. So people were concerned about this at one time. (If you ARE crazy, at least you have company.) I don't think it matters that much in the long run (though I made it a habit when playing with less-experienced friends to try to make sure I was the one with one less turn), but I think it seems more fair to casual gamers when everybody gets the same number of turns and that may have value for your group.

All the latter sets I have tried allow for 64 tiles to fit in the same box (and for some reason Hunters & Gatherers allowed 66) - so if you wanted to try such a trimmed down travel set you could leave three unplayed. The short tile set worked well for game length and table size with co-workers on business trips in a 3 or 4 player game, but it is too few tiles for 5.

I still throw my travel set into the suitcase now and then (last play back in early July while waiting for a pizza to arrive at the hotel room) but other than travel, I haven't played an unexpanded game in 3 or 4 years. If I had to pick a solution now - I would go with just stopping the game when the turn would rotate back to the starting player and there weren't enough tiles left for everyone to get a turn. No set-up hassles and it preserves some unknowns even for the last player. (Always fun when the tile he really needs is still there but he doesn't draw it.)
 
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Hunter Johnson
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Dayton
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mst3k4L wrote:
Because one of the 72 tiles the game comes with is the starting tiles, there will be 71 turns and at least one player will always have an extra turn.

Maybe the problem should be fixed in another way? (Please explain.) Perhaps there really is no problem at all. Let your fellow geeks know!


We add a single tile (the piece with three unconnected city sides and one field side) to the mix to make it come out even (unless a tile is not playable when drawn).


 
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Mark Biggar
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Given the extra turns for the builder and the "if you can't place it, it goes out of the game" rule, there is no way to adjust the tile count before the game starts to ensure that every player gets the same number of turns.

So use some variant the following rule: keep track of which player went first. When you get close to the end of the tile set, when the first player sees that the remaining tiles are equal to or less than twice the number of players, he just declares the game over instead of taking a turn. You have to stop at twice because enough builder extra turns or dead tiles in the final round would unbalance things again. Actually, you could check for less than or equal to the number of players + the number of builders on the board + 1 (to allow for a very infrequent dead tile), but twice the number of players is close enough and easier to compute.

This also makes tile counting to see if that tile you really need is still available need harder.
Yes counting helps, why add more tiles to that city with the Cathedral, if there's no way to finish it.
 
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Jonathan Warren
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Wisbech
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This is absolutely valid, but only if the game is competitive, as previously said, and only when playing the game without the Traders and Builders expansion. The player who plays the last tile usually will have the ability to score at least 1 extra point, which could be deemed an unfair advantage! But only, as said, as a highly competitive game.
 
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Randy Wilburn
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I cannot agree with you more. Our group saw the same thing. We love the game, but early on we noticed that one player would win by a point or two just because he got an extra turn. A one turn advantage can be huge. It can give you that one extra turn you need to get the tile to hook into a field or city that someone else does not get. As you know that can be worth many many points. I have heard people say, we do not care, we just play for fun. Yes, that is fine, but you can play for fun and still make it even too with a simple change. I always play for fun or I would not be playing, but I like the games to be as equal for all playing as well. The extra turn is a problem in a lot more games than it needs to be. Sometimes it is hard to fix, but I think in this game it is fixed easily. We usually give everyone an equal number of tiles to start and throw out the rest, or we will play on the starting tile. If we play with the builder we play until we get to a point where there are less tiles than players. When the last player takes his turn and the game ends and the extra tiles are not played.
 
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