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New World: A Carcassonne Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Carcassonne: The New World - No lemonade rss

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Chris Salvato
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Let me start off by saying I am a huge fan of the original Carcassonne, and almost all of its expansions (I'm looking at you, Count). I was excited to try this seemingly faster-playing and more condensed version of the original game.

We played a 4-player game, with all four players well-versed in the original game. Final scores: Bernie, 119, Tony, 82, Chris 53, Brad 49

Sadly, this game has removed a great deal of what I love about Carcassonne, and is no substitute for the original.

The Good:
* Surveyors reduce the incidence of large cities and roads, forcing small scoring increments and (theoretically) closer games.

* Trappers (Farmers) are much less important, as they score fewer points relative to the Farmers of the original game.

* Fast. With a small number of tiles and not a lot of player interaction, turns tend to go quickly.


The Bad:
* Luck-driven and no long-term strategy. When you draw a tile, If you cannot immediately score points with it, you have to try to place the tile where nobody else can profit from it. In a 4-player game, the surveyors can move 3 or more times before you get another turn, meaning that there is no option to try to cultivate a city or road across multiple turns. In fact, if you do attempt to cultivate a long road or large city, the most likely result is that the surveyor will move, your meeple will be removed, and another player will get the piece that ends the feature, scoring them a huge number of points.

Essentially, our game came down to who drew tiles that allowed them to score points that turn. For my part, I drew a ton of open roads for most of the beginning of the game, and watched as others drew the end caps to close my former roads after my Settlers were removed by advancing Surveyors. Wheee.

Occasionally, you'll draw the perfect tile that allows you to close a feature east of the surveyors on your turn. This is the only reason I scored over 50 points this game, as I lucked into a 9-point Farm (monastery) very late in the game.

IMHO, the Original Carcassonne is about taking advantage of lucky draws that allow short-term scoring, and trying to use non-scoring draws for long-term scoring strategies like building up cities, overtaking other peoples' farms and cities, and clever maneuvering through tile laying.

New World removes all of the long-term strategies, leaving a hollow, multiplayer-solitaire feeling experience.

(Upon further review, the following statement has been redacted, as, having never actually read the rules to the original Carcassonne, this statement exists in all Carcassonne games as a tongue-in-cheek recommendation.)

In fact, the rulebook actually encourages players to work together the find each players' best scoring opportunity each round:

"First a player must draw a land tile from one of the face-down stacks. He looks at it, shows it to his fellow players (so they can advise him on the "best" placement of the tile), and places it on the table, using the following rules."

This is ridiculous. It becomes some weird cooperative experiment in finding out who has the best luck in drawing tiles. Rather than trying to encourage sneaky maneuvers where you overtake a farm or city, the game is actually trying to snuff out competitiveness.


Perhaps we simply don't "get" the strategies of the new game, and we're thinking too much along the terms of the original. However, I don't see any strategies aside from "Hope to get lucky" and "hope your opponents leave lots of potential scoring opportunities."

In the original Carcassonne, you could take lemons (non-scoring tiles) and try to turn them into lemonade (long-term scoring opportunities and tricky maneuvers).

There is no lemonade in the New World.

Shidara
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Geoff H
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shidara wrote:

In fact, the rulebook actually encourages players to work together the find each players' best scoring opportunity each round:

"First a player must draw a land tile from one of the face-down stacks. He looks at it, shows it to his fellow players (so they can advise him on the "best" placement of the tile), and places it on the table, using the following rules."


Wasn't this quote in the rules to the original Carcassonne as well? I always took it as a tongue-in-cheek suggestion, and I assumed they meant you could "lobby" on other people's turns so they placed the tile in a position to your advantage.

Geoff
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Mike Mead
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I must say that I really enjoy the New World Carcassonne. I think the surveyors add a lot of player interaction (contrary to what you mentioned above). I have also found myself winning a game with the trappers racking up a lot of points at the end. Thank you for the writeup.

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Caleb Frazier
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gheintze wrote:
shidara wrote:

In fact, the rulebook actually encourages players to work together the find each players' best scoring opportunity each round:

"First a player must draw a land tile from one of the face-down stacks. He looks at it, shows it to his fellow players (so they can advise him on the "best" placement of the tile), and places it on the table, using the following rules."


Wasn't this quote in the rules to the original Carcassonne as well? I always took it as a tongue-in-cheek suggestion, and I assumed they meant you could "lobby" on other people's turns so they placed the tile in a position to your advantage.

Geoff


That's what I thought as well, though I only have Carcasonne: Discovery

::: Digging out the game to read instructions :::

Yep, that's the wording in Discovery.
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Chad Stierwalt
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You might give it another try. Most of our games have very close scores at the end.
 
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Maxfield Stewart
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shidara wrote:

In fact, the rulebook actually encourages players to work together the find each players' best scoring opportunity each round:


For such a fan of the original game you failed realize this is the precise wording in the original manual to. You also missed the sarcasm and use of the "quotes" which is meant to be both humorous and a commentary on the word jockeying that goes on during a game. You are required to show your tile to other players before placing it. That's all the rule means. No one has to listen to what anyone thinks is a good spot for it. However a sportsmanlike game often involves many people pointing where the tile could go.

It's a shame your review spent a quarter of its time on this quibble, otherwise good review even if I disagree.
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Chris Salvato
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Vestas wrote:

For such a fan of the original game you failed realize this is the precise wording in the original manual to. You also missed the sarcasm and use of the "quotes" which is meant to be both humorous and a commentary on the word jockeying that goes on during a game. You are required to show your tile to other players before placing it. That's all the rule means. No one has to listen to what anyone thinks is a good spot for it. However a sportsmanlike game often involves many people pointing where the tile could go.


I must admit that I have never actually completely read through the original rules, as it was taught to me long before I actually owned game myself, and I had a full grasp of the rules after that, and never needed to refer to them. Had I actually been forced to read the rules, I'm sure I would have gotten the sarcasm.

As it is, my experience with the game was so dissatisfactory that I was convinced that we hadn't played correctly. Thus, I dived into the rules, hoping that we had missed some crucial rule. Alas, we had not, but I discovered this line and took it in completely the wrong way.

Vestas wrote:

It's a shame your review spent a quarter of its time on this quibble, otherwise good review even if I disagree.


The thing that I find interesting is that nobody has specifically addressed the issues I have brought up. I've gotten 'Try it again" or "Our game was close," but nobody has come to the game's defense in the points I have raised.

My main issue is that the game is so far removed from the original Carcassonne, that the strategies and long-term play inherent in the original are gone, which I think leaves only a shallow gameplay experience behind.

I much prefer Carcassonne: The Discovery, as there is still long-term strategic play, but the game moves more quickly and is much more forgiving while still retaining the cutthroat elements of the originator.
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Eric Seymour
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I played New World for the first time tonight and I agree with this review. It is a very different game than the previous versions of Carcassonne and, in my opinion, rather inferior. It might be nice as a change of pace if you play a lot of Carc, but if I want to play a game that rewards the ability to capitalize on the luck of the draw, there are better games of that type.

In our (4-player) game, people quickly realized that by far the best way to score points was to place a tile in a column with a surveyor and form an "instant" 2-tile road or city. You can get up to 12 points this way if both surveyors are in the same column and you make a 2-tile city--which happens pretty frequently. The second-best way to score points was to finish off a feature that had been left in the East, but only if you can finish it with a single tile.

The only way I can see to successfully plan ahead in this variant is if you can lay the first tile of a road or city a couple of columns ahead of the surveyors. Even then, you'll have at most 3 or (if you're very lucky) 4 rounds before the surveyors move past and wipe you out.

(I'd imagine that planning ahead is a little more feasible with 3 or 2 players.)
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Guy M
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I had a very different (and absolutely positive) experience with this game - although so far I've only had a chance to play it as a two players game, which might explain it.
In any case, we've had the exactly opposite phenomenon - instead of grabbing a 2-tile city or road next to the surveyors line, we both 'invested' in high-yielding cities/roads/farms a bit further on and reached a point where neither of us was willing to risk losing those investments by claiming a minor feature, so the surveyors got "stuck" about 3-4 tiles east of where the struggle was going on. This sort of fragile balance happened repeatedly during our games, and was broken either when one of us was down to his last meeple or decided he'd rather lose his own 'investment' than have his opponent win his.
One effect of this balance is that since all players are avoiding the completion of minor features, these features tend to grow as more open tiles are added to them, creating "future investments".

I actually like the New World version much more than the original one. It has a faster pace, and the surveyors have 3 great advantages:
1. They add a way to kick out opponents' meeples from tied cities/roads. And, if that fails, to score more than your opponent in a tied city/road by cleverly progressing the surveyors to your column.
2. They add a greater strategical weight to closing a feature and gaining points - since sometimes its better to avoid closing a small feature (and losing a bigger one to the surveyors progress), and sometimes you try to close 'junk features' only to rob your opponent from his big investment.
3. "Stuck" meeples get recycled - if your city/farm/road got blocked so it can't be completed, you get your meeple back as the surveyors progress. In the original game you'd just keep playing with one less meeple (and get a few lousy points for the incomplete feature at the end of the game).

As a side note, I think the other minor differences from the original are also an improvement - roads can earn more points now, and trappers are not tied to city completion as farmers in the original game are - IMHO this balances the game better.

At any rate, I suppose the dynamics are different with more players - perhaps slowing the surveyors down can solve some of the issues (by adding a 3rd surveyor or letting them start further east - outside the board...) - If anyone tries this I'd love to know how it went.
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