Bunker Project Log

11 Mar

Queen of the Castle

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In a typical fit of diva-esque luxurizing, Mrs. G refused to play anything unless I made it possible for her to do so without getting her ass off the couch.

I don’t know if it is slavish devotion, or just pure will to play, but I managed a solution which involved moving my matching couch (don’t ask… these couches were her idea) opposite hers, and then clever placement of a card table. In the end, it worked just fine. (Except for the stresses of playing a board game from a supine position, since I am 6ft+. She, being about three apples high, had nary a problemo.)

We started with Pandemic, and cured three diseases before being munched alive by the black cubes of Karachi. I was ready for another go. She was stressed out, so I went to the couples stash, and found Carcassonne: The Castle.

This is one of the more highly regarded couples games on the geek, and in my never-ending quest to consume the universe, I bought.

First off, I love Carcassonne. It was the first board game I bought for my collection, and started the whole obsession rolling. (In actuality, it was a present for Mrs. G, and I keep the receipt around to remind myself of how simple purchases can really enhance screw up ruin affect your life.)

This game, however, is not Carcassone. Or at least, you better not play it like Carcassone, or you will be boned, as I was.

I’ll start with the scoring track. Unlike Carcassonne, this is actually the boundary of the play area. No more wandering around willy nilly.

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(That’s cardboard shavings, not a dandruff explosion, for those of you wondering.)

Another interesting feature are the special tiles placed face down around the scoring track. If you happen to land on one of these spaces, you are awarded the tile. There are several different varieties, granting special scoring options. Some of these are used during the game, but most used at the ending scoring session.

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Placing tiles is also a little weird. You are given a lot of latitude, and the only real rules are that:

1) you must place a tile next to an existing tile, or project from a wall start area, like you can see at spaces 74 and 75 in the picture above.

2) roads must connect to other roads, or may be terminated into castle walls.

Placing meeples is similar to the original, except, there is a new kind of structure, the house (shown with the red roofs) and the farmers have become merchants.

The biggest difference is… there is no scoring for incomplete stuff!

I always thought it was a little weird in Carc, that there is almost no penalty for incomplete structures, other than your follower is locked up until the end of game. Not so with Castle. Here you are double-boned. No returned meeple, and you get jack at the end.

In the pic below, I have a massive kickass castle that would have netted me at least 30 points, but I could never get that final piece in. Same goes for my wicked road with lots of point-enhancing wells. 

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In the end, Mrs’ G’s cheap four point moves (like the one-point castles in the original) ended up winning the game for her. She scored a massive 116 points! (That’s a complete go around the track.)

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My serpentine ginormous half-ass castles, houses, and roads got me a whopping 35 points. I was pwn3d.

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Of course, Carcassonne: The Castle has rocketed up to the top of Mrs. G’s favorites list.

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