We scrapped the official Tower rules and instead use the following:
- Whenever a player doesn't place a follower, builder, or pig, they may place a tower piece on any tower or foundation.
- Each tower piece added to a city tile is the equivalent of a shield (e.g. a 3 high tower on a city would add 3 points if uncompleted at the end, or 6 points if completed).
Whenever a player doesn't place a follower, builder, pig, or tower piece, they may place a follower on any unclaimed tower to claim it.
a. A claimed tower can't be made any higher.
b. A claimed tower in a city that you own (i.e. have the most followers in) is protected, in that you still count each tower piece as specified above.
c. A claimed tower in a city that you don't own, ceases to count towards the scoring of anyone (this adds some nice tension—the taller/valuable you make a tower in your city, the more likely your opponent will claim it!).
When a city is completed, the tower pieces remain on the board but if there's a follower on top of it, that's returned to the player.
The kids and I think the above works really well, however, we're still testing what to do with the foundations on a road, cloister, or in the one in the middle of field… currently we are using the same rules as the city tiles.
For example, a 4 high tower on a road would add 4 points to the road, regardless of whether or not it's completed (unless you're playing with inns, in which case it would be 0 points if uncompleted or 8 points if completed). Likewise, a tower on a cloister would add 1 point for each tower piece added. We treat the one in the middle of the field as not doing anything, although I guess you could build a tower on it to waste tower pieces if you really wanted to.
I'd be interested to hear how the above work for you, and if you think of any improvements to them.