Under the Big Top

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Box ManegeFrei C2 ZMG.png

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
Figure Roundtop.png
  • 6 Ringmasters, 1 in each color
Figure 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

Figure Roundtop.png


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 (and return the meeples scored to their owners' supply). [1]

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, you and the other players will score points for the meeples on the Circus tile itself and the eight surrounding tiles. Each meeple will be worth the value on the revealed Animal token. [2]

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 scores 4 points.

Important: When scoring the circus, the meeples involved 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

Under The Big Top C2 Banner Acrobats.png


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. [3]

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 is worth 5 points. Then return the scored meeples to their ownwers' supply. [4]

Example: 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 is worth 5 points, regardless of the pyramid’s size.

Note on acrobat spaces

Acrobat spaces close roads and separate fields from each other.

The ringmaster

Figure Ringmaster red.png


2. Placing a meeple

You can place your ringmaster (instead of a normal meeple) on an unoccupied feature on the tile just placed: 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). You will receive 13 points in total from these two scorings.

Game end

At the end of the game, ringmasters score fields or incomplete features as normal meeples and also 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

Any of these meeples can be considered for circus scoring when:
  • It is on a tile surrounding the circus. There is no restriction about their role or position: the meeple can be placed on a feature on a neighboring tile (even if it placed as an abbot), placed on a tower, or trapped (in a bathhouse, on the Vodyanoy tile, or the Solovei Razboynik tile).
  • It is in a castle overlapping any of the tiles surrounding the circus.
Any of these meeples cannot be considered for circus scoring when placed on special areas not considered on a particular tile: The city of Carcassonne, the city of Leipzig (by analogy), or the Wheel of Fortune.
  • Exp. 4 - The Tower: A meeple placed on a tower will receive points when scoring a neighboring circus, the same as any meeple placed on the same tile.
  • 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.
    • A meeple placed on a bridge will receive points when scoring a neighboring circus, the same as any meeple placed on the same tile.
    • At the end of the game, the last circus scoring should be carried out before removing any remaining castle lord from the playing area.
  • Castles in Germany: A meeple placed on any feature on a German castle tile will receive points when scoring a neighboring circus.
  • The Barber-Surgeons: A meeple trapped in a bathhouse will receive points when scoring a neighboring circus, the same as any meeple placed on the same tile.
  • Halflings: A meeple placed on any feature on a Halfling tile will receive points when scoring a neighboring circus.
  • Russian Promos: A meeple trapped on the Vodyanoy tile or the Solovei Razboynik tile will receive points when scoring a neighboring circus.

Acrobat tiles and acrobats

  • General: Only normal meeples and phantoms (The Phantom) [5] 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. [6]
    • The acrobats in a pyramid are not entitled to get the 3-point bonus from the fairy if next to any of those acrobats. [7]
    • 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.
  • Mini #1 - The Flier (Flying Machines): You can use a flying machine to place one of your regular meeples or your phantom on an acrobat space/pyramid.

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 its 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).
  • Exp. 8 - Bridges, Castles and Bazaars: If you place your ringmaster on a castle, you score its ringmaster points considering the 6 tiles in the castle fief. [8]
  • Castles in Germany: If you place your ringmaster on a German castle, you score its ringmaster points considering the 10 tiles adjacent to the castle. [8]

Tile distribution

Total Tiles: 20

Under The Big Top C2 Tile A.jpg x1
(G)
Under The Big Top C2 Tile B.jpg x1
 
Under The Big Top C2 Tile C.jpg x3
(P;-;-)
Under The Big Top C2 Tile D.jpg x2
(H;F)
Under The Big Top C2 Tile E.jpg x1
 
Under The Big Top C2 Tile F.jpg x1
(C)
Under The Big Top C2 Tile G.jpg x1
(G)
Under The Big Top C2 Tile H.jpg x1
 
Under The Big Top C2 Tile I.jpg x1
(F)
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
(H;W)
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
(W)

Several tiles have a small illustration on them. The letters in brackets show which illustration is on each tile:

Feature Garden C2.png
G | Garden
Feature Farmhouse C2.png
F | Farmhouse
Feature Cows C2.png
C | Cowshed
Feature WaterTower C2.png
W | Water tower
Feature Highwayman C2.png
H | Highwaymen
Feature Pigsty C2.png
P | Pigsty

Total Tokens: 16

Token UnderTheBigTop Flea C2.png x1
 Flea
Token UnderTheBigTop Monkey C2.png x4
 Monkey
Token UnderTheBigTop Seal C2.png x5
 Seal
Token UnderTheBigTop Bear C2.png x3
 Bear
Token UnderTheBigTop Tiger C2.png x2
 Tiger
Token UnderTheBigTop Elephant C2.png x1
 Elephant

Footnotes

For Icons licensing and explanation please visit Icons page.

  1. Icon World Black.png This last sentence in brackets is present in the German rules but is omitted in the English version. This action is implicit to the scoring but it is important to note that the meeples in the scored features will be removed before the big top is scored. Therefore those meeples will not be eligible for big top points.
  2. Icon World Black.png Note that each player scores the total points for all their meeples at once. There is no individual scoring per meeple.
  3. Icon World Black.png Note that you will not be able to add an acrobat to an incomplete pyramid if the Acrobat tile has no empty spaces adjacent to it. In this case, the meeples in the pyramid will stay there until the end of the game.
  4. Icon World Black.png Note that each player scores the total points for all their acrobats at once. There is no individual scoring per meeple.
  5. Icon Locked Red.png As per the rules, only normal meeples can be placed as acrobats and all the other meeples in Carcassonne II are not permitted. Phantoms work as normal meeples in Carcassonne I, so the interpretation of the rules should allow them to be placed as acrobats too. An official clarification would be required.
  6. Icon World Black.png Note that you score the bonus points for your acrobats at once. There is no individual bonus scoring per meeple.
  7. Icon World Black.png This restriction is not included explicitly in the rules (only the 1-point fairy bonus is mentioned) but it comes from the interpretation of the rules:
    • During the game, acrobats are scored in phase 2. Placing a Meeple and players receive the 3-point fairy bonus when scoring completed features in phase 3. Scoring a feature. Since both actions take place in different phases, acrobats cannot receive this fairy bonus during the game.
    • After the game, acrobats should not get the 3-point scoring bonus when scored for the sake of consistency. An acrobat pyramid is not a tile-based feature but a meeple-based scoring, so no feature is scored either at the end of the game in this case and no fairy bonus should be applied. (4/2020; updated 7/2020)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Icon Locked Red.png This interaction is not included in the rules. This case is treated as an adaptation of the ringmaster points for a monastery. An official clarification has been requested. (12/2019)