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
- 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
- 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
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
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
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.
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!
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!