Wednesday, June 15, 2005

2004-11-18: Carcassonne and Kohle, Kies & Knete (I'm the Boss)

Historical Session - November 18th, 2004


This game has players building the medieval city and countryside of Carcassonne with randomly drawn tiles. When placed, the tile must match the adjacent tiles it is placed next to. Some tiles contain sections of roads, or castles, or just grass.

The tiles are placed one at time in player order and continues until all tiles are placed forming the completed city. When a tile is placed, the player can place a meeple (pawn) on that tile. Where they place it will define how that meeple will score. If he places it in a castle, it will score two points per tile that has any part of that castle in it. If placed on a road, it will score one point per tile. There are also single monasteries that will score nine points when it is completely surrounded by tiles. In all of these cases, once the castle, road, or surrounded monastery are completed, the player scores and retrieves the scoring meeple.

The last placement possibility is farms. If a meeple is placed in a grass field on a tile, he will score four points per castle that is touching that field. Naturally, fields can get pretty large as they are only separated by castles or roads. However, meeples placed as farmers will not score, and therefore return to the owner, until the end of the game, thus lowering your total usable meeples. While grabbing a farm early can score big at the end, it can also mean less flexibility for scoring elsewhere during the game.

One last rule for placement, if a castle, road, or farm already has a meeple placed on it from an earlier tile, you cannot add your meeple to it. However, if you place a tile that is not connected to an owned castle, road, or farm, and you do place a meeple on it, they can be connected with a later tile. Whoever has the most meeples will score the section, and ties are shared.

Final Comment:
Carcassonne is what I'd consider a light, beginner game. It's simple to grasp the strategies, and the luck of the draw plays a big part. Considering those two points, it's not the type of game that will hold your interest if you are looking for something with a bit of meatiness to it. I will say that the game is greatly improved by having a three-tile 'hand' per player.

Kohle, Kies & Knete (I'm the Boss)

Kohle, Kies & Knete is a game of negotiation. Not quiet, sinister negotiation as in Intrige (to be reviewed later), but loud, raucous negotiation. If played correctly, this will reach high levels of discussion (a.k.a. yelling), so it's not the right game for a group of introverts.

The players start the game with one investor. Each turn the player can either draw some cards, or get a deal started. The deal is shown on the board and will depict the total payout and what investors are needed to make the deal. Usually they will need specific investors, or at least a specific amount of investors involved. The player who started the deal is considered "The Boss" and is in charge of getting the deal through. Needing the help of fellow players, he will have to make a split everyone involved can agree with. If he can't get a compromise, then the deal is off.

Also coming into play are the cards which can mess with the deal. They can play a temporary family member of another investor thus making them eligible in the deal, or send someone else's investor away, or even steal another player's permanent investor. Also, someone can play "I'm the Boss" putting them in charge of the deal and, therefore, a cut of the payout. Imagine several of those cards coming out at various intervals during an already intense deal making and I'm sure you can see how this could lead players to louder-than-usual volumes.

This is one of those games that I call "an experience". The game itself is pretty chaotic, it's pretty hard to make any real attempts at a strategy when the cards start flying. But that's where the fun is, it's all about the craziness that will ensue if the players are really into it. And thus, it's real problem, it is only as fun as the players make it.

Final Comment:
Not really my type of game, and there are many that I'd consider to be better (and more 'pure') negotiation games. But with the right group, this might be the most 'fun'.


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