Welcome to another review from my A Year With... series, where I review games I have had for at least an entire year. This month adds a couple new games and expansions, mostly for the Carcassonne series as I was a beginning gamer last year and really got into this game and wanted everything available for it.
I had a hard time deciding if I wanted Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune. I had the base game already, and wouldn't have minded just shelling out for some new tiles and the wheel itself. But to get a whole set of tiles that I already had? In the end I picked it up because the mix of tiles was slightly different than what is included in the base game, and since all the other expansions were also compatible with this one, I viewed the Wheel of Fortune as an expansion in itself that I would use instead of the base game if I wanted to include it, otherwise I would just leave it out.
To date, I have played this game 5 times (I'm surprised I have played it so few), which includes 1 time combining it with the base game and every other expansion for a massive 6 hour game of Super Carcassonne!
The citizens of Carcassonne have apparently decided they wanted to add a little bit of gambling into their lives. So they constructed a giant wooden wheel with 6 sections that they force a pig to run around (they're version of Vanna White?). When the pig stops, points are awarded with the slight chance that one's meeples will be removed.
More of the well constructed tiles that Carcassonne is known for. 72 tiles are included as well as the single piece wheel itself which takes up the space of a 4x4 grid of tiles. Since this is a standalone version, it also comes with 8 meeples in each of the 5 player colors. You will still need to get Inns & Cathedrals if you want the pieces to allow a 6th player. Last, you get a pink pig meeple that is used to move around the wheel and keep track of which segment was last accessed.
Wheel of Fortune follows all the same rules of base Carcassonne with some extra rules to account for its namesake, the Wheel of Fortune. The wheel itself starts on the board as the start tile, and due to its size, allows for a lot more options in playing pieces at the beginning, instead of the cramped single tile of the base game. Personal preference will decide if that is a good or bad thing.
The wheel is broken out into 6 different segments, with each segment having a different name and effect once the pig lands on it. There are also crown spaces on the outer edge of the wheel, with each segment having either 1 or 2 crown spaces available. The pig starts on the Fortune location.
As the normal rules dictate, players will choose a tile at random on their turn, and place it in play, with the opportunity to place a follower on that tile. However, if they don't place a follower on the tile, they can instead place a follower on one of the crown spaces around the wheel for a chance to earn some bonus points when the segment their crown space is in gets activated.
The wheel gets activated by certain tiles. Some tiles have a wheel symbol with a number printed on them (either 1, 2 or 3). When a player chooses a tile with this symbol, the game pauses momentarily to activate the wheel. The pig is moved clockwise the number of segments based on the number of the chosen tile. The segment that the pig stops in will determine which action to take. Here is a breakdown of the 6 segments:
Fortune - The player whose turn it is gets 3 points.
Tax - This one is a little confusing. For each city what has followers in it, you add up the number of followers a player has in a city along with the number of pennants in that city. You then get that many points for each follower you have in that city, so basically it becomes (followers + pennants) x (followers). Each city is done independently and each player only counts their own followers in the equation. But all players get these points, not just the active player. You also do not need to have control of a city to get these points.
Famine - each follower on a field gets one point per completed city that their field is touching. Again, this is for all players, and each follower gets these points, even if on the same field. You do not need control of a field to earn these points.
Storm - each players gets a point for each follower they have in their supply (meaning not on the board).
Inquisition - each players gets 2 points for each follower they have on a cloister.
Plague - each player must remove a follower from a land tile on the board (not from crown spaces on the wheel) starting with the current player and going clockwise.
After the wheel action occurs, then players with followers in crown spaces for that segment get points and are then returned to the players. If there is only one crown space in the segment, then the player who claimed it gets 3 points. If there are 2 crown spaces, and both claimed by 2 different players, then they each get 3 points. If there are 2 crown spaces, and only one or both are claimed by a single player, than that player will get 6 points.
Once the wheel action and bonus points are awarded, the current player continues the turn as normal by placing the tile they chose and placing a follower if they choose. the rest of the game is played just as it is with the base game.
I enjoy the Wheel of Fortune now and then, which as I mentioned, I just think of it as another expansion to add. I think its fair to let all players know that the numbers on the tiles that activate the wheel are such that the pig will go around the wheel 3 times and will end on the same space that it starts on. This helps reduce the blind luck and will allow players to make a more educated decision on whether to gamble on the wheel with their followers. It also let's those paying attention not waste followers on the wheel if all the numbers are used up and the pig won't be moving anymore since there is no way to get those followers back unless that segment is activated.
It adds some fun and variation, and includes a large start tile for those that prefer less cramped starting pieces. And since all other expansions are compatible with this, you can still add more variety as needed, and are not stuck with the wheel only. However, as more tiles get thrown in to the mix, the wheel activates less often throughout the game, so you have to be cautious with placing followers on crown spaces as they might be unavailable for longer periods of time.
Another cool thing is that you can still use the wheel even if you don't want to use it as a starting piece. Just place it to the side and allow the crown spaces and pig to be used as normal, and just start the board with a regular tile or use something like The River or The Count.
Other than the confusing Tax segment, this is a simple to use variation on the base game and can add some fun and randomness for those looking for a less serious version with some gambling/lottery type game play.
Following the BGG guidelines, I keep this in line with the base game of Carcassonne and will also give this one an 8.
Thanks to those that made it all the way to the end!
- Last edited Tue Sep 6, 2011 5:43 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Tue Sep 6, 2011 4:53 pm
No, thank YOU for... making me spend money on Carcassonne expansions? fffFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU--