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Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Cathedrals as spoilers... rss

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Martyn Fookes
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OK, we're not exactly expert gamers here, having only broken through the Monopoly/Scrabble barrier about 6 months ago.

But, Carcassonne is now a firm family favourite and last night saw the first airing of our new Inns & Cathedrals expansion.

I guess there's already been discussions and examples of most things to do with this expansion on BGG, but I thought I'd share last nights game because it struck me as interesting.

Most of what I've read regarding Carcassonne seems to lean towards the Count being the expansion that brings conflict to the table, but last night hinged on a Cathedral being the cause for conflict: I scored big on a city (containing a cathedral) and then I added the second cathedral to a large city that my wife was bulding. I then proceeded to add every city piece I could that expanded the boundaries of her city (as oppossed to bringing it closer to completion). The upshot of this was that the city was incomplete at the end of the game and she lost big style as it didn't score.

I now realise this was ultimately a big gamble, but was I just lucky or is it a reliable strategy?

CD
 
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Brent Mair
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I agree with Drew.


And I have played many games where the cathedral was used to deny players points. Very good.
 
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Chris Hawks
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My group pretty much views the Cathedral tiles (there are only 2, as I recall) as obstacles to city-completion.
 
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Matthew Harper
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CatDonkey wrote:
…is it a reliable strategy?

It is, but it really comes down to knowing your expansions well.

The smallest possible cathedral city consists of five tiles, although if the cathedral is played as a spoiler then the city will obviously be bigger than that. But it is important to try and work out how many tiles a city will need for completion, and judge whether the player has enough chance to do so.

I'd use the cathedral as a spoiler in two cases:

i) when there are so few tiles left in the stack or bag that completion is virtually impossible;
ii) when playing the cathedral in that position requires a specific tile for completion which has already been played.


Of course, the more expansions you play with, the more difficult it becomes for you to judge whether either of those two conditions are met. In a game I played over Christmas, Lucia used the cathedral as a spoiler against me, but too early; I deployed a builder to the city (from Traders and Builders so that I could have a second turn, was able to finish off the city without undue difficulty. She effectively gifted me a high-scoring city; and the upshot of that was that I leap-frogged into the lead and won the game.

So, although the cathedral can be used as a spoiler, unless you're fairly certain that one of the two conditions above are met, I'd advise finding a open city somewhere off to one side and quietly finishing the cathedral city yourself; just aim to make it as small as possible!
 
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Martyn Fookes
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Thanks for the comments everyone!

My wife did indeed come back for another game , this time she brought the kids for backup and we decided to use all our expansions last night (Count, River, T&B and I&C).

This time, oddly, both cities with cathedrals were finished off by players other than those controlling the city (and not me I might add) just so they could get their hands on extra goods tokens.

IMHO using all the expansions diluted the experience somewhat as there seemed to be too many strategies to go for. For example, I was the only player who had remembered to play their pig by the end of the game...




 
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Luke Morris
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A better spoiler tactic is 'helping' your wife to finish her castle, while lying a couple of famers in fields as you do it, and then it being linked to the biggest field in the game giving you complete control! Mwahahahahahaha!

My skill with fields has left my wife probably only a couple of defeats away from never playing again, so I might have to tone the farmer-fest down (I usually lie 5 farmers down throughout the game)
 
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Martyn Fookes
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HamsterOfFury wrote:
My skill with fields has left my wife probably only a couple of defeats away from never playing again, so I might have to tone the farmer-fest down (I usually lie 5 farmers down throughout the game)

I find the "farmer-fest" tactic (great name for it btw ) works best when playing against my son.

He likes nothing more than to be in the lead from as early in the game as possible. He therefore shuns any opportunities to build something big that will score big later in the game in favour of zooming off down the score-track by building as many 2 and 3 tile cities as he can.

This of course provides ample opportunity for a keen-eyed farmer (and his pig!)

devil

My wife, on the other hand, seems quite capable with the "farmer-fest" tactic herself - I often waste valuable time trying to fence her farmers in with roads - only to fail miserably...


 
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Matthew Harper
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CatDonkey wrote:
IMHO using all the expansions diluted the experience somewhat as there seemed to be too many strategies to go for. For example, I was the only player who had remembered to play their pig by the end of the game...

That should improve as you get used to all the various strategies, expansions and new rules. By the time you start using ALL the expansions there are so many rules to take account of that no-one can win by simply going all-out on one strategy (such as the field-fest the others mentioned) but have to master several. And that makes for more rewarding play, in my opinion.
 
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Martyn Fookes
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mjharper wrote:
By the time you start using ALL the expansions there are so many rules to take account of that no-one can win by simply going all-out on one strategy (such as the field-fest the others mentioned) but have to master several. And that makes for more rewarding play, in my opinion.

No doubt. I think it's going to take a few games to get to that stage though!

One thing using all the expansions did do was to turn our usual winner-loser placings upside-down so at least my daughter (who usually plays such a "nice" game she comes last) managed to beat her little brother which gave her a confidence boost. She enjoys playing but I think she was getting a bit fed up always finishing in last place...
 
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