Gates and Walls

A full meeple trap is a four sided hole that a player has to fill to complete a feature, SO, before we talk about a new way to un-trap a meeple, let's look at some of the standard expansion features that already work to un-trap a meeple:

  • The Abbey tile fills any four sided hole.
  • Halflings change the hole from four sides to only two sides.
  • Bridges might allow you to alter one of the four sides.

Or, maybe you can't score the feature, but you might get your trapped meeple back:

  • The Dragon does not fix the hole, but you might get your meeple back.
  • The Princess also allows you to remove a trapped meeple.
  • Crop Circles also allow you to remove a trapped meeple.

OK, Let's look at the new way!

Gates and Walls are part of a personal Carcassonne expansion created by the user "kothmann" on the Carcassonne Central forum. The full expansion is called Old City, but I think the only sub-expansions we might be interested in are the actual Gates and Walls.

When we were having trouble getting the Bridges, Castles, and Bazaars expansion, we cut a strip of quarter inch oak trim into small tile sized strips to use as temporary bridges. Then we replaced the 1/4 inch strips with 3/16 inch strips.

What if we also allowed our Fake Bridges to be used as a Wall to allow a city edge to connect to a field or a Gate to allow a city edge to connect to a road?

In this example from our Basic Game Strategy page, Red placed a tile that created a four sided trap where the missing tile does not even exist in the basic game's 72 tiles, so Blue will have two meeples trapped on the board until the end of the game.

If we decide to allow our Fake Bridges to also be used as a Gate (connecting the edge of a city to the outside world), then a simple straight road tile can be used to complete the city. There are only 3 tiles when scoring the city and the city is not counted as a tile when the road is scored. BUT, the city's meeple is free and depending on the tiles under this example the Monastery meeple will most likely be free.


The current rules state that you can only place one bridge on the board per turn. We need to decide if the same rule stays in effect for all Tile Modifiers, or for each Tile Modifier. If we allow one bridge and one wall to be used in a single turn, then this example is allowed. If we limit the use on only one bridge or wall, then this example will be against our house rules.

Another option might be to continue with four 3/16" Bridges and add just one 1/4" Gate or Wall per player.

Our proposed rules for Gates and Walls

The original Gates and Walls rules said that they could only be placed on a City Tile that also had a pennant on it, and they could be placed at any time during the game. An alternative to this rule might be that they can only be placed against a Four Sided Empty Trap, basically, the same rule that currently exists for placing an Abbey Tile.

If we decide to try the Gates and Walls, let's change the name for the oak strips that we currently use as Bridges to "Tile Modifiers".

We currently start each game with four 3/16 inch oak strips to be used as bridges during the game. What if we started each game with only three 3/16 inch oak strips to be used as bridges plus one 1/4 inch oak strip to be used as a city wall or gate during the game? Also, we could restrict the use of the wall/gate to only be places when filling a Four Sided Empty Trap, just like the Abbey Tile! All four wooden strips would be referred to as “Tile Modifiers”, and like the basic game rules for bridges, only 1 modifier can be played each turn.

A Modifier can only be placed on a city tile edge as a Gate or Wall when a Road or Field tile is also being placed in the Four Sided Empty Trap next to that city edge at the same time. It cannot be placed to block a city connection when another City tile is being placed next to it, and it cannot be placed on a city edge when that city tile already has a Gate or Wall placed on it.

Basically, we are already playing some of our games with 4 custom Bridges / Modifiers. What if we decide to also allow those custom bridges to be used as city Gates or city Walls?

  • Bridges: Change a tile to have a road from one field side to the oposite field side. Farms can cross the elevated road while cities and Monasteries can exist and grow under the bridge.
  • Gates: Closes one solid city side of a tile as if there is also a gate in the middle of that city side so that a road tile can be placed next to the closed city.
  • Walls: Closes one solid city side of a tile so that a field tile can be placed next to the closed city.


Let's look at another example of how this could be used!

Blue has created a very valuable city that extend beyond the left side of this tile map, but is having tile issues on closing it. Red has taken advantage of the situation by creating 2 cities that will rip-off the city from Blue if Red can get a CCCC, CCCF, or CCCR tile to close the 3 sided hole. Blue draws another Road tile, and uses it to convert the 3 sided hole into a 4 sided hole so that the Modifiers can be used on the city tiles.


Option A:

If we are playing with the rule that only one Tile Modifier can be played each turn, and we are also playing with Traders and Builders, there are two CFCR tiles that would save Blue's city while connecting both of Red's attempted rip-off cities!


Option B:

If we amended the proposed rule to allow one Wall and/or one Bridge, then this second option would be legal, but that is not the proposed rule!

The addition of Gates and Walls is being suggested as another method for Breaking Traps. An easier alternative would be to merely each player one Abbey Tile at the start of each game, but that takes a lot of the strategy away.

If the road tile in this example was placed in the opposite direction, then Option B would be legal because the Bridge would no longer be required.

Our thanks to kothmann for this expansion, we will discuss how we can implement it during our next game night.

It seems as if the original Old City expansion was designed to create shorter games. Our group likes longer games, and some of the members of the group have become very adept at sabotaging the games of the others, a very aggressive strategy that we should all work towards.

The addition of Gates and Walls is an excellent way of undermining that aggression. Why work so hard to create a trap to sabotage someone else's game when they will have a relatively easy way out!

Our thanks again to Daniel Hill from the BoardGameGeek forum for his suggestion: "For the reluctant competitive players, it might sweeten the pot for those that love making traps if leftover bridges netted a player points at the end of the game. Like the stations in Ticket To Ride: Europe."

Ticket To Ride is not a Carcassonne expansion, but the concept that each unused Modifier would be worth 5 extra points during the end of game scoring, similar to the scoring rules for Goods Tokens, does have merit!

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