Thursday, October 6, 2016

Reflections after a Carcassonne tournament

While I have played Carcassonne for many years, I recently played in what I'm pretty sure was my first Carcassonne tournament. (Not sure what it says about me that I can't remember all the tournaments I've played in. And, compared to some of my friends, I'm not a tournament player) It was also the first time in ages I played basic, no expansion, vanilla Carcassonne. 

Some thoughts 

1) Brevity. With four players and just the basic set, everyone gets fifteen to sixteen turns, depending on their seating. That makes for a pretty quick game, which is handy for a tournament where time is a definite limiter.

2) Small Foot Print. With only 72 tiles, including the starting tile, you have a fairly small board. I would even go so far as to say claustrophobic. Again, handy for tournament purposes.

3) Luck. Since each player only drones at most 16 tiles, lock can be a Euge facture. If you are looking for the perfect tile, the odds are against you. Luck will play a big part in who wins. That isn't so handy.

4) Cloisters. By the time I started playing Carcassonne, back in the mist of time, the first two expansions were already out and I usually played with those. With a bigger tile mix and more ways to score points, cloisters didn't seem that extraordinary. However, with just the original set, cloisters suddenly become strikingly powerful. Drawing a cloister in vanilla Carcassonne can be big.

(Yeah, I know that that's just a subsection of point number three, walk. However, it was still striking) 

I don't know if Carcassonne is suitable for high stakes tournament. However, it was fun for a light, casual tournament. After all of these years, even the vanilla version holds up well.

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