Board Game Fridays: Carcassonne - The Farmzilla Emerges

(about board game fridays)

Even though Carcassonne is the perfect game to taunt people and annoy each other with irrelevant small talk, I'm surprised how often we're willing to help each other with advice. At least I think their intentions are to help ... hmmmm.

Game 1 (out of 1)

Number of Players: 5

Inns and Cathedral Expansion

After 3 rounds

I (Grey player) drew the right to go first and capitalized with an inn. I also started off hot with double shield city pieces, but Black immediately moved to block off my city development. Blue player built some micro-cities, which turned out into an unexpected thing later in the game. Most intriguing was yellow player's decision to lay a farm marker on the north-most, triple city tile after placing it. Triple city is new to me, and I really liked that play.

After 9 rounds

I managed to draw and complete 2 Cloisters in the center. I was challenged to draw a Cloister for Green player and I obliged by pulling a Cloister for him (amazingly enough) ... Blue continues to build a village with a mix of farms and mini-cities, while working on a bigger one at the same time. Yellow and Green players are banking heavily on roads and farms. Green at this point was lamenting his lack of city pieces and cloisters. Black player completed a very nice city, taking the lead, all while playing its surrounding farmland heavily.

It would be an understatement to say that a farmland battle has erupted, as most of the land has connected into a singular blob and the abundance of microcity farm points too tempting to pass up. Current roundup on said farmland - Blue & Yellow 3 markers, Green 2 markers. Black has 3 markers on disparate lands ...

After 12 rounds

The most apparent change after the next three rounds, Blue has managed to build out a nice city to the west. Green decides to mess with my city, which I failed to seal off when I had the chance. I also drew a 3rd cloister (4 out of the 7, including Greens) to a chorus of jeers. Black is building out another city to the northwest, but is foiled by a Cathedral (unfinished cities with Cathedrals score 0).

But pay attention to Black. He places an elbow road and has one chance left to connect his "Big" marker (worth 2 markers) to the giant farm below - the last road cloister. At this point, there are ~25 pieces remaining and he has ~5 opportunities to draw that one tile. I don't know what the exact probability is, since 4 other players draw in between his draws and the number of tiles decrease each time. Why is this even important?

After 15 rounds

Because, Black manages to draw that last road cloister. He still needs a road to connect his three farm markers to Pangaea though ... Blue finishes his large city and amasses mega points to take the temporary lead. My attempts to finish my cities have unfortunately stalled. Green and Yellow do nothing of note for the second update in a row, mwahahaha.

Final Board

And somehow, someway; Black has managed to connect his farmers to the mainland to singlehandly take control of all the farm. His four beats out everyone else's three. Simply devastating. I would compare these events to a runner-runner-full-house of all things.

Final Board, Farm Battle

Here's a better look; all the work Blue and Yellow and Green put into farms were destroyed by the northern invader (Blue's got removed from this pic). The value of this conquest? 8 cities on the farm x 3 points = 24 points to Black, with the addition of minus 24 to Yellow, Green, and Blue. I'm unaffected because I didn't even try farmland this game ^_^

Final Score and Analysis

Black: 66 points, Grey: 62 points, Blue: 60 points, Green: 54 points, Yellow: < 50 points (haha).

I can't be too mad about Black because his denial of Blue and Green of 24 points actually allowed me place second. He managed one good city, pulled one cloister, didn't really dabble in roads, but most importantly, won the farm war (I called him the Farmzilla afterwards for his last minute destruction of everyone's plans). As always, luck in drawing the right tiles can help produce wins, but more often than not, a balanced strategy wins this game. Black caught a bit of both this game. He also sabotaged my city at the beginning of the game ... Overall, a good win for him.

Lesson I learned today

Don't give that winning Cloister to another player. Plan out my cities better. I should also have looked for farmland opportunities outside of the main piece that everyone fought over.