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This goes for many games where players take turns to draw cards, but I specifically wondered about Carcassonne:

Do you allow players to pre-draw tiles? So they don't have to wait until it's their turn, but somewhere between their last turn and their new turn, they can draw?

I myself don't like this tactic too much, as the players now possess information which the game rules did not intend them to possess yet. Especially if you allow "discussion" or "persuasion" (no, lay your road there and take it - aha, now I got the perfect hole for my cloister!).

Pro's

  • Players can think ahead
  • Game advances faster

Con's

  • Unintended possession of early information
  • (only if the original order of drawing is broken:) less drawing choice for other players
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"less drawing choice for other players" <-- this is plain wrong, since the draws are all totally random. –  Lohoris Nov 13 '10 at 13:12
    
@Lo'oris, I think the OP means that if you draw tiles out of order, a key tile could be drawn by someone else when it would've otherwise been available to you. –  Kristo Nov 14 '10 at 2:00
    
@Lo'oris: offcourse you are right when totally random. But when out-of-order drawing, 2 factors come in to play here: 1/ People are superstitious and believe that "their drawing choice" has an influence "whoah, look at that stack always giving me cloisters" and 2/ Unless the shuffle was perfect, tiles might not be entirely random (influenced by previous games). But it's mostly about the perceived drawing choice for the other players. –  Konerak Nov 14 '10 at 10:45
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@Kristo: yes, what you say is just plain wrong, please study a bit of probability. @Konerak: if they are superstitious it's their problem, and it's a problem you should ignore anyway if you talk about game fairness; same goes with imperfect shuffling: you must assume it was shuffled fine. –  Lohoris Nov 15 '10 at 0:03
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@Lo'oris, please be nice. I have studied probability. Suppose you have 6 tiles remaining and one particular tile can win you the game. If a player draws out of order, there's a 5/6 chance he won't get it, leaving you a 1/5 chance to get it. But in the 1/6 case he does get it, you have a 0 chance to get it. So the overall probability of getting your winning tile is 5/6 * 1/5 + 1/6 * 0 = 1/6, just like if you didn't draw out of order. The problem is that most people will perceive the 1/6 * 0 case as unfair because you "lost" the chance to draw the winning tile. –  Kristo Nov 15 '10 at 15:04
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8 Answers

up vote 19 down vote accepted

We've played it slightly different than tttppp; we allow pre-drawing of tiles, as long as the drawing order remains unchanged, and there is no discussion of the tile you have pulled.

For example, if we have players 1, 2 and 3, and it is player one's turn, player 3 can draw their next tile as long as player 2 has already drawn their next tile. Yes, tile drawing is random, but we prefer that the tiles are still drawn in order.

The no-discussion portion keeps the spirit of the game I think, because normally you wouldn't have pre-drawn a tile, and you wouldn't have that extra information from the pre-drawn tile.

Pre-drawing makes the game go much faster, since your decision making can be done in advance, as long as a player before you doesn't take the space you wanted, and our groups have no problem with it.

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Only allowing early drawing if the previous player has drawn also avoids some of the confusion I've found occurs when some people draw early and others don't and either people forget who's turn it is, or at the end of the game when someone picks up a tile early when they shouldn't have another turn. –  ICR May 25 '11 at 8:17
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I would say that this is similar in nature to the question I raised about taking back turns / forgotten privileges

Take Back Turns / Forgotten Privileges

The excellent answer given was

If no new information has been disclosed since a decision, then a player is allowed to take back any action or inaction where this is practical.

So, in this context, I would say it is fine to take tiles early, as long as it does not give a player any unfair advantage. I think this situation is fairly reflected across all games, and not just carcassonne.

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Agreed. See also: shuffling before your turn in Dominion to help speed up play (specifically, when you will be playing a card to draw and your draw pile is empty) –  keithjgrant Nov 13 '10 at 17:52
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I have done this in the past.

The rule I put in, is that anyone who looks at their tile in advance of their turn cannot speak about the game. You don't want that person trying to influence the play of other folks tiles.

Once a person has looked at the tile, they have advance knowledge and it would unfair to allow them to exploit it.

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Allow it? We require it. In vanilla Carcassonne, that is. In versions where you could make material use of that information (e.g. The City, once walls come into play) we disallow it. We just assume that a person giving you advice is using the information on his tie to slant it to his benefit.

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You've pretty much summed up nicely in your question, but I thought I'd answer anyway. We've played three different ways with different groups of people.

Usually we play the original rules - that is tiles must be drawn at the start of a turn. This works well with smaller groups of players who don't insist on studying all the options.

With a large group of friends we have played that players are allowed to pre-draw and discuss. This leads to faster play and advice based on tiles that are seen early. It also causes a small amount of suspicion (are they recommending based on what they've got in their hand?), which can also be fun if not over analysed.

The third way is how we play with some of our friends more prone to analysis paralysis. We allow pre-drawing, but once a player has seen their tile they may not give advice on where to place the current tile. This is less fun as there is less conversation, but tends to speed games up.

One more thing to consider is pre-drawing near the end of the game. For example if a player has their builder in play (Builders and Traders), then they may use two tiles in their turn, instead of one.

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When I play with a larger group, we usually have the face-down tiles in a bag instead of on the table. It's often simpler to draw your next tile right after you've played your turn. In effect, the bag follows the turn order around the table. You just need to be careful that you don't accidentally draw a tile when you already have one. Also, you'll want to avoid pre-drawing when you're close to running out of tiles. It's important that endgame tile draws happen in the correct order.

If your group has a lot of "aggressive negotiation" over tile placement, I would discourage drawing your tile until it really is your turn. Otherwise you risk changing the outcome of the game.

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We allow pre-drawing of the next tile, but the drawer can't even look at it. He just speeds things up by having it in his hand ready to go.

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2 problems I see with it:

  1. In standard Carcassonne play, you have choice of stack. this reduces the choices ever so slightly
  2. If you do not also limit kibitzing, you are allowing negotiation to improve playability of your next play as well as their current. It's a subtle but powerful change with a strong personality. One should also note that kibitzing is in fact part of the game by the rules.
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