Look at that, less than a month into the new schedule and already I’m two days behind!
But enough chatter, lets get down to business. This week I’m going to be talking about a tiny little 10 tile expansion for Carcassonne, the Cult and the Siege.
Druid Groves, Celtic Stone Circles and Enormous Wicker Men are appearing all across the French countryside and quite frankly the devout Carcassonian Monks have had enough. Of course the Heretics aren’t about to take it lying down and so war has erupted, shattering the relative peace of renaissance France.
So what do you need to fight this religious revolution?
- Basic Carcassonne
- 6 “Cult Place” Tiles
Playing the Game
The Cult plays exactly like standard Carcassonne with Cult Places acting exactly like Cloisters, except when placed adjacent to an existing Cloister.
If a Cult Place is placed adjacent (diagonally or orthogonally) to an occupied Cloister then the Heretic and the Monk are placed on their sides to show that they are now locked in mortal combat. The first player to complete their feature scores 9 points, then both the Monk and the Heretic are returned to their respective players.
The same happens if a Cloister is placed next to an occupied Cult Place.
A Cult Place or a Cloister cannot be at war with more than one Cult Place/Cloister, so those features cannot be placed if it would add a second occupied Cult/Cloister to the current war.
The Cult is a little complicated considering what it adds. As a general rule players will place a Cloister in the area which will need the fewest tiles to complete, usually a large grassy area. The Cult places will also fit well into these areas and so this means that a war is a natural occurrence. However, once a war begins it means that you can no longer place certain tiles in areas that may be advantageous.
In most games I’ve played players would rather avoid a war (possibly taking a less advantageous position) than deal with the complication of where Cloisters and Cult Places can be positioned. Admittedly, with more play this could be easily ironed out and become second nature, but it’s certainly not beginner friendly.
What it does do well is add a little conflict to the game, less so than the Dragon or the Tower, but more than the base game. It’s not likely to cause arguments but it may add some additional player interaction for those that want it. Also it adds some more strategy when it comes to farmers. The Cult Place tiles are very similar to the Cloisters, meaning that you have more chances to stop Roads that are attempting to cut you out of the high scoring fields.
Carcassonne is under attack, the cities are besieged, the walls are crumbling and the buildings are ablaze. All across the land catapults fling great rocks and flaming balls of pitch, but luckily the defenders have built escape tunnels, of course, only a coward would flee a burning city.. oh wait… I forgot, they’re French!
Of course, even in times of war there are those that profit and in these dark times it is the Farmers of Carcassonne that reap the benefit, jumping up from lying on their backs in fields these greedy little Meeples are more than willing to supply the enemy with food and ale… at double the price of course!
What do you need for this scenario?
- Basic Carcassonne
- 4 Siege Tiles
Playing the Game
The Siege is simple. There are four Siege Tiles each shows a city and some siege equipment. When placed in a city that city will only score 1 point per tile and 1 point per pennant when complete. The siege ONLY effects the city containing the tile it is printed on, it has no effect on any other city.
A Knight in a besieged city can Escape (be returned to the players supply) from the City if there is an adjacent Cloister.
Finally, at the end of the game completed Besieged Cities score double points for Farmers after the effects of Pigs and Pig Farms are taken into account. i.e. 6 points or 8 points with a pig or 10 points with a pig and pig farm.
I like the Siege. It’s simple and easy to explain. It adds a little “Take That” style to the base game without being as mean spirited as the Princess or the Dragon.
The art on the tiles is very nice too. It may add a little too heavily to the farmer scoring, especially when combined with Pigs, Pig Farms (River II) and the Cult which enables bigger farms to be created more easily.
Thematically I like the idea of Knights being able to escape to nearby cloisters, although in game it makes little sense to do so unless you are in a city that is impossible to complete as scoring some points is better than no points.
Finally this expansion contains two blank tiles to allow you to add your own custom ideas to the game. In principle this is a nice addition but in practice it doesn’t work so well. For example most people can’t create convincing artwork that would match with their existing tiles. You could print designs out and stick them on but they could become scuffed or be easy to tell apart in the bag.
So, the best way to use the tiles is to leave the them blank and assign special rules to them. this way they could be any number of different tiles, rather than just the type you had drawn on them. For example they could act exactly like an Abbey or a Cathedral. As long as each player is aware of their effect on the game you can do whatever you like.
That’s it for this week, don’t forget to vote in our poll and let me know how many people you play your games with. Check back in Tuesday for the results and analysis.