Under the Big Top

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General info and comments

Expansion symbol

Under the Big Top was released by HiG in 2018.

You can integrate this entire expansion into the game, or only parts of it if you choose. You can also combine this expansion with any other Carcassonne expansions.

Contents

  • 20 Land tiles including
    • 12 Circus tiles with one circus space each
    • 8 Acrobat tiles with two acrobat spaces each
Circus space
Acrobat space
  • 16 Animal tokens: 1 Elephant, 2 Tigers, 3 Bears, 5 Seals, 4 Monkeys, 1 Flea
Animal Tokens with a different number per type
Animal Token Back
  • 1 Big Top
ReferenceFigure Roundtop.png
  • 6 Ringmasters, 1 in each color
Ringmasters C2.png

Rules

Preparation

Shuffle the 20 new Land tiles with those from the base game (and any other expansions you wish to use). Shuffle the 16 Animal tokens and place them in a facedown stack within easy reach of all players. Place the Big Top near the stack of Animal tokens. Finally, players add the Ringmaster in their color to their supply of meeples.

Circus tiles, animal tokens and the big top

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1. Placing a tile

Circus tiles are placed like normal Land tiles.

Special case: When the first Circus tile is placed, take the top Animal token from the stack, place it facedown on the circus space, and place the Big Top on it. From this point on, the Big Top moves only when a player places a new Circus tile (after 3. Scoring a feature.)


2. Placing a meeple

After placing a Circus tile, you can place a meeple on it as a highwayman, a knight, or a farmer as usual. However, you cannot place a meeple on the circus space.

You place the first Circus tile and place a meeple on the road. Then you put a facedown Animal token on the circus space and place the Big Top on the token.


3. Scoring a feature

Whenever you place another Circus tile during the game:

1) Score any features that were completed when the Circus tile was placed.

Example 1): You place this new Circus tile, which completes Blue’s road. Blue scores 3 points and takes her meeple back.

2) Then score the circus on the Big Top’s current tile:

First reveal the Animal token on which the Big Top stands. Then, for each of your meeples on the Circus tile itself and the eight surrounding tiles, score points equal to the value on the revealed Animal token.

Note: Ringmasters also count as meeples so, if they occupied a space surrounding the Big Top when scoring the circus, they would score points.

Example 2): You reveal the Animal token. The seal is worth 4 points per meeple. Since you have three meeples on tiles surrounding the Big Top, you score 12 points. Blue’s one meeple scores 4 points.

Important: When scoring the circus, meeples that score points are not returned to their owner’s supply. Instead, they stay on their tile.

3) After scoring the circus, remove the Animal token from the game by placing it faceup next to the scoreboard. Finally, take the top Animal token from the stack, place it facedown on the new circus space, and place the Big Top on it.

Example 3): Put a new Animal token facedown on the circus space of the new Circus tile and stand the Big Top on the token.

Game end

At the end of the game before final scoring, score the circus one last time.

Note on circus spaces

Circus spaces close roads and separate fields from each other.


Acrobat tiles

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1. Placing a tile

Acrobat tiles are placed like normal Land tiles.


2. Placing a meeple

After placing an Acrobat tile, you can place your meeple on the road or in the field, as usual.

Example 1): You place this Acrobat tile and place your meeple on one of the two acrobat spaces.
You also have another option: you can place your meeple as an acrobat on one of the two acrobat spaces.

On a later turn, if you place a tile adjacent to one or more Acrobat tiles (horizontally, vertically, or diagonally), you may place a meeple as an acrobat on one of those Acrobat tiles.

Example 2): Blue places this tile and places a meeple next to yours.

If the two acrobat spaces are already occupied, you can add a third meeple on the shoulders of the other two meeples. At that point, the pyramid is complete, and no more meeples can be added to it.

The color of the meeples in the pyramid does not matter. Pyramids can have meeples of one, two, or three colors.

If you place an Acrobat tile adjacent to one or more Acrobat tiles and you wish to place a meeple as an acrobat, choose on which of those Acrobat tiles to place your acrobat.

Example 3): Later in the game, you place a tile diagonally adjacent to an Acrobat tile and you complete the pyramid by placing a meeple on top.


3. Scoring a feature

When there are three acrobats in a pyramid, it is ready to be scored. However, pyramids are not scored immediately after completion because the acrobats wish to display their skills for a little while.

Instead of placing a meeple or any other figure during 2. Placing a meeple, you can score a completed pyramid. Each acrobat in the completed pyramid scores its owner 5 points and then returns to its supply.

On a later turn, you do not place a meeple and instead choose to score this pyramid. You score 10 points. Blue scores 5 points.

Additional rules:

  • After a pyramid has been scored, players can start a new pyramid on the same tile by placing a meeple as an acrobat on it.
  • You can score a completed pyramid even if you have no acrobats in it.

Game end

During final scoring, each of your acrobats scores 5 points, regardless of the pyramid’s size.

Note on acrobat spaces

Acrobat spaces close roads and separate fields from each other.

The ringmaster

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2. Placing a meeple

You can place your ringmaster (instead of a meeple) on a road, in a city or a monastery, or lay him down in a field. The ringmaster counts as a normal meeple in all cases except that it cannot be used as an acrobat.


3. Scoring a feature

If the feature with your ringmaster becomes completed, first score points for the completed feature.

Then, for each Circus and Acrobat tile that your ringmaster is on or adjacent to, score 2 points. You also score these ringmaster points even if your ringmaster did not score any points from the completed feature (e.g., someone else had majority). The Big Top and acrobats in a pyramid do not affect ringmaster points. After scoring, return the ringmaster to your supply.

Example: You complete the road that your ringmaster is on. First, you score 5 points for the road. Then you score 8 points for the 4 Circus and Acrobat tiles (2 points each) for a total of 13 points.

Game end

At the end of the game, ringmasters in fields or on incomplete features score ringmaster points.


Other expansions

This section contains additional information about the interactions with other Carcassonne expansions.

Circus tiles, animal tokens and the big top

  • Exp. 8 - Bridges, Castles and Bazaars:
    • You can build a bridge on a Circus tile (with or without the Big Top) following the normal rules.
    • If at least one tile forming a castle is adjacent to the Big Top, a meeple in that castle will score points when a circus is scored.

Acrobat tiles and acrobats

  • General: Only normal meeples can be part of a meeple pyramid. Neither the large meeple (Exp. 1) nor any other figures are allowed.
  • Exp. 3 - The Princess and the Dragon:
    • You may assign the fairy to an acrobat, in which case it counts for all acrobats in the pyramid (regardless of color). If the fairy is still there at the beginning of your turn, you score 1 point for each of your meeples in the pyramid.
    • You can use a magic portal to place one of your meeples on an acrobat space/pyramid.
  • Exp. 4 - The Tower: If you capture an acrobat with the tower, you can choose any meeple in the pyramid (regardless of its position).
  • Exp. 8 - Bridges, Castles and Bazaars:
    • You can build a bridge on an Acrobat tile only if no acrobats are on it, and you cannot place an acrobat on an Acrobat tile with a bridge on it.
    • A meeple pyramid in a castle’s fief does not count as a "feature" that can cause a castle to score.

Ringmaster

  • General: The ringmaster counts as a normal meeple. He has the same uses as a normal meeple in all expansions.
  • Exp. 4 - The Tower: You can place your ringmaster on a tower (even if it will be a little wobbly.)
  • Exp. 5 - Abbey and Mayor: If you use your ringmaster as a farmer, you score his ringmaster points in all cases (during final scoring, after a barn is placed in the ringmaster’s field, or after the ringmaster’s field is connected to a barn.)

Tile distribution

Total Tiles: 20

Under The Big Top C2 Tile A.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile B.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile C.jpg x3
Under The Big Top C2 Tile D.jpg x2
Under The Big Top C2 Tile E.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile F.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile G.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile H.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile I.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile J.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile K.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile L.jpg x2
Under The Big Top C2 Tile M.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile N.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile O.jpg x1
Under The Big Top C2 Tile P.jpg x1

Total Tokens: 16

Under The Big Top C2 Token A.png x1
 Flea
Under The Big Top C2 Token B.png x4
 Monkey
Under The Big Top C2 Token C.png x5
 Seal
Under The Big Top C2 Token D.png x3
 Bear
Under The Big Top C2 Token E.png x2
 Tiger
Under The Big Top C2 Token F.png x1
 Elephant