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New World: A Carcassonne Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Surveyor rules rss

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Matt Fayers
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Now, I've only played a couple of games of New World (compared to hundreds of Vanilla(+I&C)), so perhaps I haven't figured out how best to deal with the surveyor rules, but I'll give you my half-baked opinions anyway:

1. There is far too much luck in this game.
2. The surveyors move too fast.

You're entitled to disagree, but don't reply just saying "I disagree"; constructive replies only, please.

Several other people have made the second point, pointing out in particular that it's very difficult to score farms; the surveyor moves on before you've had a chance to complete the farm.

I'll list some suggestions here, which I don't think anyone has suggested so far.

Variant 1: farmers do not get removed when the surveyors move.

This actually adds a touch of realism, too - what do surveyors care about farms? We tried this last game, and it seemed to work pretty well. You could argue that this makes farms too easy to complete, so here's a variant-on-the-variant: you're not allowed to place a farmer to the east of both the surveyors.

Now, let's think about how to slow down the surveyors. These are suggestions I haven't yet tried. Some people have suggested a third surveyor, but have pointed out that this can give huge surveyor bonuses when the surveyors are lined up. My alternative: have only two surveyors, but with a gap between them: the lead surveyor is always three or four columns ahead of the trailing surveyor. In other words, if the gap between surveyors is four, you move the easternmost surveyor, and if it's three then you move the westernmost, as long as there's somewhere for him to move to. (Perhaps "three or four" needs to be adjusted to "two or three", but you get the idea.) Note that this removes the possibility of the double surveyor bonus, which I think will reduce the luck factor of the game.

An alternative surveyor-movement mechanism: a surveyor occupies a specific tile, rather than just a column; the player who triggered the surveyor movement moves one surveyor to an adjacent tile, either north, south or west. This creates possibilities for moving a surveyor north or south to a position where he can't go west (if you're trying to hold the surveyors back to complete your town), or even for trapping the surveyors.

Another thing I really don't like is the fact that surveyor moves are triggered by scoring roads and towns. This leads to a lot of scoring very small roads and towns (which for me is the less fun aspect of Carcassonne), especially if you're allowing fast scoring. It also makes the rules complicated when two features are scored at once. Here's my suggested variant: when you're setting up the game at the start, put the face-down tiles in stacks of five. On your turn you can take a tile from any stack. If you happen to take the last tile from a stack, then a surveyor moves. (I'm thinking the surveyor should move as soon as the player picks up the tile (i.e. before placing it), but I'm not sure about this.) Again, the number "five" is something which needs to be adjusted by trying this rule in practice.

There you go. I'll report more when I've had a chance to try these out.
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Kyle Bailey

Whitehall
Pennsylvania
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I think I'll use both of your farm suggestions, Thanks.
As far as movement rules, I think I'd go for something a little simpler. My biggest frustration comes when there is a strip of max 4 tile colums stretching west. I am testing the rule that a column must have x tiles for one surveyor to enter it, and y tiles for both surveyors to enter (obviously x less than y, right now I'm thinking 3 and 5). I guess the thematic justification would be that if there isn't enough land, the surveyors don't care.
I believe gameplay would also be improved by giving bonus points for larger features, since the surveyors make them so risky.
 
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Peter Fayers
United Kingdom
Coulsdon, Surrey
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Good ideas, here.

We also came up with the "farmers aren't affected by surveyors" rule, and took it to its logical conclusion: as well as not being removed if the surveyors go west, they don't score any extra points for in-line surveyors, nor do they cause surveyors to move, when they are completed. I don't agree with the restriction about not deploying them east of surveyors though - let's be consistent!

Regarding surveyor movement, at our last session we tried, successfully:
- The surveyors start in New York and Plymouth.
- The player completing a road or a city (but not a farm - see above) can then move a surveyor, either to any adjacent tile, or any distance along a road (ignoring junctions)
- Any meeple in a city or on a road is removed if, at the end of the owning player's turn, both surveyors are to the west of it.

This last twist, "at the end of the owning player's turn", we found enhanced the game significantly; if a player's meeple gets abandoned he or she gets one more turn to either complete the feature it's on, or complete another feature elsewhere and move a surveyor back east to rescue it.

For completeness:
- if a surveyor is moved along a road into a city, it may be placed on any tile within the city
- a surveyor leaving a city along a road may leave along any road serving the city.

This still leaves the problem of scoring very small cities and roads, which, as you say, also exists in vanilla Carcassonne*. But with the above rules the effects aren't so drastic - a surveyor is just as likely to be moved eastward as westward, and in any case players get an extra chance to rescue abandoned meeples.

Bonne chance!


*(For this we have tried a variation where (American) football-shaped two-tile cities don't score - it's an improvement, certainly).
 
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Chris Binkowski
United States
Rochester
Michigan
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One rule addition I think I would add to meeples being purged that are east of the surveyors is that you can place a meeple east of them....

-edit-

I actually play tested the game with this a bit, and came up with something a little more involved and 'interesting' for my tastes:

The surveyors do start in Plymouth and New York as per the original poster's variant, and must move one square in any direction orthogonally after every scoring. They can also move any number of squares inside city walls once they are on a square that has them. They can move along any continues roads for as long as they are connected, but must stop at the intersections.

If a road section is adjacent to a city gate -as per the graphics art-, the surveyor may enter the city and continue to move to any square that has city walls connected.

Surveyors may move back eastward if the moving player so chooses.

Meeples are only removed on the turn following surveyors being moved to the west past them. To notate that a meeple is 'expiring', tilt it on its side (as opposed to laying it on its flat side to denote it is a trapper).

Meeples may be placed back east of the most easterly surveyor, but will again be in danger of 'removal' by the aforementioned rule should a surveyor get moved. Again, denote this by tipping the meeple on its side, allowing the player one turn to resolve the endangered meeple.

Trappers and Farmers do not benefit from the surveyor bonus, nor are they removed by being east of a surveyor. Completed farms get a bonus point if completed (all 8 squares are filled), bringing their completion total to 10 points (to counter the loss of surveyor points benefit).

Two tile cities only score 2 points, plus any surveyor bonus. They do, however, still cause a surveyor to move. (This reduces 'football spam' scoring, and keeps the game more strategic.)
 
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Rebecca Smith
United States
Florida
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I agree with your comments. The game does not play real well with the current rules; however, we played it with following two changes and it was fun: 1) farmers are not removed by surveyors moving. 2) when a surveyor moves, only meeple behind the 2 surveyors (robbers and shopkeepers) are effected.
 
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