The Count of Carcassonne
English language edition of Der Graf von Carcassonne
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Players who complain that Carcassonne doesn't have enough interaction will love the Count of Carcassonne. A small expansion, the twelve tiles composing it are used to build the actual city of Carcassonne, which is used in place of the start tile. But these are more than simply tiles - the city is the home of the Count. Players can now place their pawns in this city whenever they score an opponent's feature. These pawns can be added to future cities, roads, monasteries, and farms when they are scored, allowing players to share or even steal points from other players. Movement of the Count pawn can be used to stop some of these invading pawns, but this expansion really increases the interaction and competitiveness of the original game. A lot of value in a very small box!
Anybody reading this review probably already has this expansion. BUT, if you don't and you've already played Carcasonne a million times, this is definitely a great expanision, and much better than playing with the "King and Scout" variation.
Basically, the Count of Carcasonne converts Carcasonne into a much more interactive game...it adds a new layer of strategy that takes some time to feel out. It's also interesting conjunction with Traders and Builders, because now there's two reasons to finish someone else's city/road/etc...
And like the best Carcasonne pieces, the City just looks nice.
No need to think about this one, given the price. If for some reason you don't like it then just throw it in the garbage, because it's not like you paid a lot for it. In other words, no risk.
We tried this expansion set with the enclosed rules and with an assortment of our own made up rules. In the end we usually use the tiles without the rules just to prevent the whole countryside from turning into one big farm. (At our house, one big farm = an angry spouse.) To better accomplish multiple farms, we suggest you also require the start of each river you have (we have three) lies next to the big city and with at least one road entering the city between it and the next river start.
Here is a second idea if you are playing with someone who doesn't like the negative aspects of this expansion set. Score an extra point (or two) every time you place one of your 'guys' on a feature matching the count's location (sort of a goverment tax incentive). Then when you finish someone elses feature, you get the added bonus of moving the count's location based on what you want to work on.
The Count of Carcassonne comes in a small box, containing twelve tiles and a wooden purple “count” figure. The expansion is a small one with some interesting changes to the game - some of the most interesting of the series. I’m not a big fan of the way the game was packaged, but I did understand why they did it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea behind the expansion, and the city the tiles form makes a tremendous centerpiece for the game. It is possible that it adds a bit too much “fiddliness” for some people, but I didn’t mind at all. Will I play it with Carcassonne fanatics, myself included? Of course! But for the average person with whom I play Carcassonne, it’s probably best just to ignore this expansion unless they need “more” added to the game. Besides, it adds some nastiness to the game that, while present in the base game, is just a bit out of touch here for many people.
The twelve tiles are put together to form the city of Carcassonne. The tiles are numbered for the puzzle-challenged folk, and I wondered why they used tiles at all - why not a board? I suppose it was for the packaging, but it means that setup is that much longer. I personally superglued all of mine together; they still fit easily in the base game box, and it’s a snap to set up. The twelve tiles have the city in the interior, with the outer ten tiles also having other features, such as roads and cities; so the whole thing acts as one giant start tile. (The river can still be used effectively). The city is divided up into four quarters - the Castle, cathedral, market, and blacksmith). The Count figure is placed in the castle quarter, and then game play begins - using the city as one gigantic start tile.
Game play occurs as normal, with one notable exception. Whenever a player places a tile that scores points for another player - and none for themselves - they may add one of the meeples to Carcassonne. They may place the meeple in any of the four quarters of the city, and they may also move the count to any of the four quarters they like. Each quarter of the city matches a feature on the board (the Castle - cities; the cathedral - cloisters; the market - farms; and the blacksmith - roads).
Whenever a feature is scored in the future, players have the option (before the scoring occurs) to move their followers from the matching quarter in Carcassonne to the scoring feature. Meeples that are in the same quarter as the Count may not move. This is the only way to use the meeples in Carcassonne, but it certainly can be done to a devastating effect. We affectionately call these meeples “paratroopers”, as they seem to appear out of nowhere.
The strategy that this adds to the game is wonderful. Now players have yet another reason to finish off other player’s features, as they get to place paratrooper meeples in the city. One must be careful when building a large city or road, because another player might come along and share in the points - or even take them all for themselves. This really makes the “Geeples” (giant meeples) even more potent. As paratroopers, they are extremely dangerous and effective. Fortunately, players can stop this by making sure that the Count is in the right section of the city, tying up the meeples who are most dangerous to them.
As you can see, this expansion adds a lot of confrontation to the game. Since the game was fairly mild to begin with, I don’t mind this at all. In a two-player game, this expansion adds a good bit of depth. In a multi-player game, the expansion adds a bit of nastiness that some people might want to avoid. I personally enjoy it, and think that - bang for the buck - this is probably the most I’ve gotten for my money from a Carcassonne expansion. However, the “attack” feeling the expansion gives may turn off some players. Whether or not to get this expansion depends on how confrontational you want Carcassonne to be.
“Real men play board games.”
This expansion pack adds an interesting dimension to the game, as noted by other reviewers. We found the rules somewhat ambiguous, however. Not a big deal, if you're prepared to fill in the missing parts.
1. You can add one of your followers to the city when "a player places a tile that causes at least one of his opponents to score at least 1 point..." Is that scoring a point IMMEDIATELY or just increasing the score the player WILL have. Stated another way, do you have to finish off a city/road/cloister in order to add a follower to the city. This is the way we play it, on the theory that it should be pretty hard to add a following to the city.
2. It's not at all clear how to score fields at the end of the game. It became very clear in our first game that if we simply went around the table once, one person would have a significant advantage. We ultimately decided to score fields one at a time. For each one, if anyone was interested in moving followers from the city to the field, everyone so interested would indicate how many AT THE SAME TIME. I think this worked well.
That is essentially what this expansion does, it adds an element of war to this otherwise benign city building game.
This is one of the minor expansions, I call it minor as it came in a small roughly landscape tile sized box, and only had 12 tiles and the lone Count meeple. Basically what this is, is a starting tile/spine. Normally you start Carcassonne with the start tile, if you don't have the river. If you have The River, and/or The River II you start with that, which is essentially a starting spine. Same concept for this except you are building the "suburbs" which will surround the main city, where the Count hangs out. You play the game as normal, and try to score points. If however you cause another player to score points (and score nothing yourself) you get to put a meeple in the city walls. You can place him on the market, on the castle, on the cathedral, or in town. Meeples on these features can "paratroop" into other features that are about to be scored. You can drop in on a farm (market), castle (castle), cloister (cathedral) or road (town). You may place your meeple in there at anytime, provided you do not place a normal meeple that turn. These meeples can ignore the normal placement rules, meaning I can drop a guy in on your 33 tile "3 point castle" and not have to "sneak in". This is an overwhelmingly powerful expansion, and I can't speak for everyone, but I'm sure if you have this one, you've probably only played it once, ok maybe twice, but certainly not more than thrice. I think that's the literal truth, we used this expansion about 3 times and then abandoned it. The tiles aren't even good enough to use as regular game tiles, so it's truly not worthwhile, then again it's only a few bucks out of your pocket so it won't hurt your budget if you wind up hating it. 1 star for effort 0 stars for usefulness. If the 12 tiles could be doubled up as regular landscape tiles that might be worth something, but the game is cheap so what's it going to hurt?
Oh and don't forget, you can't pass GO if you're not in the game!!!!