Carcassonne Big Box
2009 edition, AKA: Big Box 2
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from 3 customer reviews
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This is in the same size box as the previous Big Box, but with a different mix of the expansions. This big box includes the basic game, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, Princess & Dragon, Abbey & Mayor, River II, Count, King, and Cult. The components, if purchased separately, have a combined MSRP over $100!
Note: Does not include River 1.
First of all this is a GREAT game I played with three of my friends and the game didn't take that long at all we didn't play with the expansions but I'm sure that it will be MORE fun I highly recommend this game I know I didn't say much but this game is just FUN.
Ok SO I am a huge fan of Carcassonne, so much so that I commissioned a leather smith to create a handy carry pouch for my Carcassonne game. The bag is not yet finished, but I wanted to be able to carry the WHOLE game at once on hikes, and on other outdoor activities like to the Md. Renaissance Festival or the Shore-Leave convention. But I also wanted to be able to compartmentalize the game so that I could have it kept in it's separate components.
When the leather smith made it clear the bag would be way to expensive for that I opted for a large chamber that can hold all of the tiles (base game and all expansions). Yet I still wanted to be able to take the expansions out. Currently I have both the Big Box and the original plus all of it's various expansions. Why you ask? Simple, I've had all the expansions mixed in with my basic Carcassonne since I got them but, sometimes I don't want to play all the expansions at once, which can detract from the game, and make it take longer to finish.
As it is now my "mixed" Carcassonne game is 205 tiles large and takes about 90 minutes to play with 2 players and only observing the Traders & Builders rules but then, add 15 minutes for each rules set you DON'T ignore after that. So now observing all rules and expansions you're looking at a game that can take up to 3 hours to complete, which is 1 game of Axis & Allies! ONE!!!! So, to simply ignore certain rules is a good way to play with all the tiles mixed up, but then you forget which rules to ignore, or you forget and ignore rules you meant to observe. So I've always wanted a way to bring the game "back to its basics". The Big Box let's you do that. At first I thought it would just be all the expansions in separate boxes as sold in the store, but that's not the case. What you get are all the games mentioned on the cover, minus all the extra boxes and cardboard. You have to pop each tile away from it's cardboard tree and then put them together in separate slots. It's ingenious this set.
are separate places for each set of expansions, and one large area to hold the base game
tiles. There are also 2 large wells to hold all the meeples, and wooden tower pieces as well as
a spot to hold the Tower itself. There is a small section to hold all the 50/100 scoring tiles,
and the main Starter Tile....apparently this is meant to be kept out of the game when using
the River I expansion, however my friends and I have been using the starter tile as a normal
tile and have had no paradoxes as yet. The ingenious part is that....every tile (except for the
original tiles) has a symbol on it's face to identify which expansion it was a part of. In this
way you can easily take those tiles out when you put the game away. Now of course it's
going to make putting the game away take a bit longer, but so what? Here's what you can
do... put all the tiles away without segregating them by expansion (speedy put up), and when
you play the next time you can remove those expansions you choose not to use. OR! You can
simply be completely anal about your games as I am and separate them after each game
(slow put up), making sure each expansion set gets put into it's proper slot. What you don't
get with this game are quite a few things;
You do not get
1) The cloth bag as originally offered in the Traders & Builders set.
2) The King & Scout expansion set.
3) The Count Of Carcassonne expansion set.
4) The River II expansion set.
5) The Cathars (Die Katharer) expansion set and.
6) The new 12 tile set from the #11 Games Quarterly (GQ#11) magazine.
Otherwise you are getting a good value in buying this set.
The main drawback is this....I did go ahead and buy the Count of Carcassonne, River II, King & Scout, and the Games Quarterly #11 expansion for the Big Box, and guess what???? I don't think this boxed set was thought of by Hans Im Glück because they would have made room (niches) to hold all the other expansions too!!!! While there is ample room inside the compartmentalized interior to hold all the expansions (even those not yet produced) they won't have their own niche as those tiles which come in the set do. In adding the 12 new GQ#11 tiles (actually only 10 since 2 are river expansions) the main tile area is now filled to capacity and can hold no more tiles and in fact not ALL of the tiles now fit in this niche. There is room in the expansion set niches to hold more tiles (1 or 2 each max.) but I choose not to mix the expansions with the base tiles until it's game time now. The other drawback is that there is NO and I do mean NO special area to hold the River I expansion. This is disturbing to me as the River I (If you play it) must be laid down first and therefore must remain separate from the main tiles just as the original Starter Tile must remain separate. Rio Grande is obviously the main proprietor behind this boxed set, and they did a great job, however it does need a little tweaking.
So is it worth it to you? If you already have the basic game and all the expansions don't bother with this. If you want to give it to a friend who's interested in it, but unfamiliar with all the expansions this is a great gift for that. If you hate trying to separate your current version of Carcassonne from any, or all of the expansions this is the set to get. Or if you are a masochist and want to double the size (and playing time) of your game you can get this and add it to your other games if you wish. I read somewhere (in the Spielbox mag I think) that someone somewhere played a Carcassonne game with more than 5,500 tiles! 5-THOUSAND!!!! I don't know about all that but I do know this set is worth having. Personally I now own two sets, 1 travel set (for the leather pouch) with every expansion including the GQ#11 and Die Katharer expansions to take with me. And the Big Box to keep at home, and keep as the modular set, all I need for the Big Box is Die Katharer....by the way guys I'm the one who bought the last Die Katharer here, sorry but don't worry It's coming out soon from Rio Grande as an expansion set later this year!
Oh and if you have both the River II and the new GQ#11 tiles you can make a "Three-Rivers" starting scene, I've tried it, it adds a definite new "dimension" to the game. Here's how I work it. There are 2 methods you can try.
Three Rivers Set Up:
A) Put the 3 sources "back to back" in such a way that each travels away from the other, following the standard placement rules for tiles. This means making the GQ#11 source be the "backbone" surrounded on the left and right by the other 2 sources. Or....
B) Place the sources 1 tile apart in a line using the "Pond" tiles as temporary spacers until the end of the 3-Rivers set-up phase. Placing the Spacers ("Pond" Tiles) "Grey Side" up will alleviate any confusion. Or you can use the 50/100 tiles as spacers until such a time as suitable "playable" tiles can fit into the "spacers" place.
1) For 2, 4, 5 or 6 players, each player in turn must place a tile on a river segment in a
clockwise fashion. There are no "U-turns" allowed and you do not use the "T-Intersection".
You may not place a tile on a river that has just been added to, in this fashion it becomes less
likely to create any paradoxes. The last player to place the "Volcano" starts the game with
the next tile from the bag or tower. If you are observing the Dragon expansion the dragon
comes out, the player moves him, then finishes with his first tile from the tower.
2) For 3 players, each player picks a river to complete. Place your builder (temporarily) on the source of the river you choose. Players take turns placing a river tile on their river only. If a player cannot legally place a river tile, he selects again until he can legally add to his river. Player MAY NOT place river tiles on an opponents river. The player who places the "Volcano" tile first starts the game. If you are observing the Dragon expansion the dragon comes out and the player moves him, then takes his turn.
The basic set is fantastic, and everyone that has played it from ages 9-41 loves it. All games are competitive with the youngest beating the oldest often enough to keep everyone coming back over and over.
With this large box containing the basic game plus 5 expansions, you can dive right in within 10-15 min, play a few games, and add expansions one at a time with just one or two added pages of rules as everyone masters the earlier rules.
The expansion rules and pieces are well integrated into the basic game so adding the expansions feel very natural, and really keeps things fun while maintaining playability.
This game is wonderful, and I give it my highest rating.