Sneaking onto the board (not into the opera)
This article is part of our ongoing series on Carcassonne strategy.
Welcome to a new series of articles about Carcassonne which will discuss expansions, tactics, rules clarifications on a regular basis. This first article talks about our newest release, the Phantom expansion.
The Phantom expansion adds a new game piece (the Phantom), that you can place in your turn in addition to a normal game piece like a follower or a builder.
Aside from letting you place it in addition to another piece, the Phantom works exactly like a normal follower.
A point of rules clarifications: When placing a tile with a magic portal (from the Princess & Dragon expansion), you can only send one follower through the portal. You can choose whether you want to send the Phantom or a normal follower through.
Also, placing a Phantom on a city or road will not allow you to put a builder on that area in the same move. The same goes for pigs and fields. To be able to place a builder or pig, there must be a follower on the city, road or field before your move.
Let’s talk about the tactical considerations for the Phantom.
You want it back sooner rather than later
The Phantom is most effective when you can use it again and again. So when you can, prefer placing the Phantom on areas you complete, or that are going to be complete very soon. Don’t place it on fields, except in extreme circumstances.
Trap your opponents’ Phantoms
Of course, your opponents will also try to get the most out of their Phantoms, so if you can, trap them by making areas impossible to complete.
It’s one more meeple
At the most basic level, having the Phantom means having one more follower at your disposal. Keep this in mind and be a little more liberal when placing followers.
Combine with Princess & Dragon
The Phantom goes together very well with the Princess & Dragon expansion. you can use the phantom much more liberally because both princess and dragon let you get the Phantom back in case it gets trapped on an impossible area.
Overall, the Phantom is a pretty straightforward game piece, but used deftly, it can have a great impact on the outcome of your game.