Bridges, Castles & Bazaars: are the Castles useful? any house rules?
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Author Topic: Bridges, Castles & Bazaars: are the Castles useful? any house rules?  (Read 7277 times)
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« on: January 28, 2013, 02:50:43 PM »

Hi, I just wonder ... what was the sense for introducing castles in the game? Normally, you get 4 points for competition of a small city, what is the probability that you get much more if you have a smart opponent? you can get even less for a small road in neighborhood. I can image that castles are very useful when you would like to play 1st version of the rules, but would you like to do so? not really. Putting your follower on a castle seems to me not smart action - simple blocking your follower.

I think 1 point extra for farm owner is too less to make this feature interesting, so I am wondering if I should for my purpose introduce a house rule: an owner of the castle gets 2 x points for the completed feature in neighborhood.

what is your opinion? am I mistaken? maybe you agreed with me and you have figured out some other house rule for?

I just don't want keep castles left - not used during the game. It is big waste that such nice item is not the play.


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« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 03:25:22 PM »

With the castles you can score many points by placing it beneath a big city of your opponent. If this is the first feature to be completed, you earn as much points as your opponent. If it is your own big city, you double the score of it.

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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2013, 07:07:08 PM »

Part of succeeding with the castles is knowing when to play them. I don't create a castle if there's not a big and almost-completed feature nearby, because it's too easy for an opponent to score a puny road (just as you said, Maciej). But if there's something big nearby that just needs 1 tile to be finished, it's often worth the risk. If the opponent immediately completes something small, you haven't tied up your meeple very long, and you're not out too many points (maybe you get 2 instead of the 4 you would have gotten). But if that city (or other big thing) finishes in the next couple of turns, it's a big payday. Either you keep pace with your opponent with minimal effort (if it was someone else's big structure) or you create a big lead (if it was your big structure).

It's even safer if that big feature is the only feature in the region left to be completed.

On the flip side, it can be crushing when your opponent performs the castle double-dip. I've been on the wrong side of a 120-point cathedral city-castle combo where I wasn't lucky enough to finish a little nearby road in time to neutralize the castle. We still had almost half of the tiles left to go in the game, but at that point it was all over for me.

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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 03:13:03 AM »

We still had almost half of the tiles left to go in the game, but at that point it was all over for me.

That has been our experience too. Sometimes the scoring with the castle is too much for the game to bear - it can break the game. I personally think the rule should have been written to allow a player to only score for a completed feature that he does not own. So the game play is he is trying to glom the scoring of an opponent's big feature, while the opponent is trying to ice him out. Then there is no potential for breaking the game. We have house-ruled it this way but I can see how the rules loyalists will not like it. It's a matter of opinion.

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