Spielbox Magazine: 2004 issue 5
includes Carcassonne: Die Katharer
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This edition of Spielbox Magazine includes Carcassonne: Die Katharer, the 4-tile expansion for Carcassonne.
Carcassonne: Die Katharer is the smallest and most difficult-to-obtain expansion for Carcassonne that I own. The four tiles that are included in the set are only found in a 2004 issue of the German board game magazine Spielbox. Since I can’t read German, this meant that I picked up a magazine I couldn’t use (except for the pretty pictures) for only four tiles.
And while I think these tiles are neat, I’m not sure that the time and trouble to find this expansion pays off. All four tiles have their artwork done by Doris Mathaeus, and look good - and add one rule to the game. Each tile shows a part of a city that is being besieged, with an icon of a monk on it. Whenever one of these tiles is placed, the city that the section on the tile is connected to is considered “besieged”. Besieged cities are worth only one point per tile (two if they contain a cathedral), and are worth nothing if not completed by the end of the game. This makes these tiles an extremely offensive weapon and helps keep people from building too large of cities - for fear of having one of these tiles added. People who don’t like “take that” play style should probably avoid this expansion, as these tiles are just begging to be played to hurt someone else.
There are a few positive benefits of the tiles, however. Besieged cities count twice for scoring farmers (they need a lot of food) - helping keeping the farmers useful in a game that continually seems to be making knights the strongest units. Also, if a cloister is directly adjacent (orthogonically or diagonally) to the besieged tile, then a player may have one of their meeples in the city “escape” - return back to their reserve pile. This allows a player to get out of a city, which is worthless to them - and gives the cloisters (which are becoming slightly underpowered) a little more usefulness.
A small expansion equals a small review. I’m glad that I have it, because I’m a Carcassonne junkie, and want everything that has to do with the game. But I don’t think the payoff is worth the trouble it takes to find the expansion. Unless you must needs have all things Carcassonne, then this one is one you can easily let slip by.
“Real men play board games.”