Wednesday, September 5, 2007

BG Wednesday: Carcassonne

As I've mentioned before, my coworkers and I have an organized session every Wednesday which we call BG Wednesday. People can vote, there is a ladder of successful plays per vote, records of wins, session logs, etc. My buddy Jack and I organize it.

Today, I had voted to play Pillars of the Earth (would have been my second play), and Jack voted for Carcassonne, his favorite game of all time (and he's played a lot of games).

Only one of us (out of 5) hadn't played. So after teaching him briefly, we started laying down tiles. Jack and Jeff are both Carcassonne pros, owning several expansions. The general trend during this game was:
  • Adam was cursed by the luck of the draw, accusing the game of being "broken" (a classic joke at our table).
  • Jack made sound plays each turn, maximizing his potential as always.
  • Jeff played wisely and solidly, always feeling the bag to gauge how much time remained.
  • Leif, the Carc noob, was instantly playing like a veteran, as is his knack. He can always compete with the best right off the bat.
  • I was just drawing and laying. On the flip side of Adam's coin, I think I was getting all the lucky draws, and had good places to play.
Now, I'm not a big fan of Carcassonne. I'm willing to play, and enjoy it more against bots online than against human opponents because of the incredibly short playtime with bots. The design and mechanics of Carcassonne are original and very well-crafted, with quality art and nice components. I certainly think Klaus-Jürgen Wrede did a great job with this game. It has rightfully earned its fame. And yet, I'm just not wild about the game. Jack and I have analyzed this preference of mine to some extent, but I still haven't landed on a good reason for not appreciating the game on a higher level.

So, when I play, I tend to just lay tiles wherever seems immediately best, trying to avoid AP. Today, my draw must have been good because I won, which was not expected against Jack and Jeff. But I think that is a feature I like in a game: noobs and non-pros (casual players) have a shot at winning.

Final scores: Timothy - 121, Jeff - 117, Leif - 80, Jack - 76, Adam - 66.

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