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Carcassonne

Z-Man Games edition, includes The River expansion


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Ages Play Time Players
13+ 30 minutes 2-5

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Product Description

The southern French city of Carcassonne was founded on an important trade route between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Because of its strategic location, the city was often conquered and has known many rulers. As a result of this varied history, the city is famous for its unique mixture of Roman and Medieval fortifications.

The players develop the area around Carcassonne by placing land tiles. Each turn the area becomes larger as the players expand and add roads, fields, cities, and cloisters. The players may also deploy their followers as thieves, farmers, knights, and monks to control and score points for the roads, farms, cities, and cloisters. As the players have only a few followers, the wise player will plan his moves carefully and deploy followers when and where he can earn the most points.

If there is any game that will attract new players, Carcassonne is certainly it. Even if one ignores the multiple fascinating expansions, the basic game takes tile laying and makes it an art. Players feel as if they are actually building a large puzzle - with scattered cities and monasteries amongst a network of roads and fields. Placing "meeples," miniature people to claim these cities and farms, players must tactically attempt to control the biggest cities and longest roads. It plays well in multiplayer mode (up to five) but also makes a tremendous two-player game. It's simple, easy, and fun -- and most new players will ask to play it again immediately!

Product Information

Contents:

  • 60 land tiles
  • 12 River tiles
  • 1 scoring track
  • 40 followers in 5 colors
  • 1 rule booklet
Carcassonne has the following expansions available:

Carcassonne: Abbey & Mayor Z-Man Games, 2nd Edition Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals 2015 edition Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Traders & Builders New Edition Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Hills and Sheep Z-Man Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Castles, Bridges, & Bazaars Z-Man Edition Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Count, King & Robber Z-Man Edition Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Abbey & Mayor Z-Man Edition Out of Stock

Carcassonne: The Tower Z-Man Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Phantom Out of Stock

Spielbox Magazine: Hans im Glück, Der Almanach includes Carcassonne & Stone Age expansions Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Catapult English language edition of Carcassonne: Das Katapult Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Abbey & Mayor English language edition of Carcassonne: Abtei und Bürgermeister Out of Stock

Spielbox Magazine: Carcassonne Almanac includes Carcassonne: Die Katharer Out of Stock

Games Quarterly Magazine #13 (Summer 2007) includes Carcassonne: The Cathars expansion Out of Stock

Games Quarterly Magazine #11 (Winter 2006) includes a Carcassonne expansion Out of Stock

Carcassonne: the Tower English language edition of Carcassonne: Der Turm Out of Stock

Carcassonne: The River II English language edition of Carcassonne: Der Fluss II Out of Stock

Carcassonne: The Princess & the Dragon English language edition of Carcassonne: Burgfräulein und Drache Out of Stock

Spielbox Magazine: 2004 issue 5 includes Carcassonne: Die Katharer Out of Stock

The Count of Carcassonne English language edition of Der Graf von Carcassonne Out of Stock

Carcassonne: King & Scout English language edition of Carcassonne: König & Späher Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals English language edition of Carcassonne: Wirtshäuser und Kathedralen Out of Stock

Carcassonne: Traders & Builders English language edition of Carcassonne: Händler und Baumeister Out of Stock

Carcassonne: The Expansion English language edition of Carcassonne: Die Erweiterung Out of Stock

Carcassonne: The River tiles English language edition of Carcassonne: Der Fluss Out of Stock

Carcassonne: The River English language edition of Carcassonne: Der Fluss Out of Stock

You might be interested in these related products as well:

Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune English language edition of Carcassonne: Das Schicksalsrad Out of Stock

Fjords Out of Stock

Carcassonne: The Discovery English language edition of Carcassonne: Neues Land Out of Stock

Product Reviews

Stuart Dagger
November 30, 2000

Carcassonne is a free-form tile laying game, in the course of which the players create a landscape made of walled cities, monasteries, roads and fields. Each component of the landscape will belong to one of the players, who will score points for it. A scoring component will normally be spread across more than one tile and this will sometimes create tussles for possession. The player with the most points once all the tiles have been laid is the winner.

The tiles are square and each one shows between one and three features. Some typical ones are a monastery surrounded by a field, a section of walled city with a road leading to it and three road segments meeting at a junction, with the rest of the tile being field. On your turn you draw a tile and place it next to one of the tiles already on the table. It is your choice which, but you must place the tile so that like features match up. So, if you place a tile with a section of road/city/field next to another tile, then the feature must be matched on the tile it abuts--road segment joining up to road segment, city area to city area, and so on. Having placed the tile, you then have the option of placing one of your men on one of the features of the tile you have just laid. Put him in a city and he becomes a knight; in a monastery and he becomes a monk; on a road a thief; and in a field a farmer. Cities, roads and fields will, in the normal way of things, spread across more than one tile and there is a restriction on placement which says that you may not place a man on a feature that already contains another man. For example, were you to place a tile which extended a road and were there already a thief on another part of it, then you could not place your own man on the road and would either have to pass up the placement option or place him on one of the other features. You only have a limited number of men and so passing up a placement option isn't necessarily a disadvantage.

This restriction on placements means that there is not a lot of conflict for possession, but it can occur when parts of roads, cities or farms that began as disjoint fragments join up as the result of the placement of later tiles. When this happens, possession goes to the player with most men on the road--ties being resolved on an amicable, both/all players score the points basis.

Most city segments will show a piece of wall with an area of city on one side of it. Place a certain number of these together and you will create a complete walled city, at which point the owner of the city scores the points for it and all the knights in the city are returned to their owners ready to be re-used. Similarly with roads: the end of a road can be either a city, a monastery or a crossroads and as soon as a road has two legitimate ends to it, it is scored and the men on it reclaimed. With both roads and cities, the bigger/longer they are, the more they are worth. Monasteries are also scored during the game, though here the basis for "completion" is a bit different. Farms (collections of fields bounded by roads and city walls) don't score until the end. Uncompleted features also score points at the end, but not as well as they would have done had they been completed.

This is a simple and elegant set of rules which makes your general strategy clear, while still giving you plenty of tactical choices to make on where you place your tiles and where you put your men. Your aim is to build valuable cities, create long roads and 'complete' monasteries while not running out of the men that you need to take advantage of the placement options that the tiles you are laying are creating. As I said earlier, your stock of men is limited and you will need to keep up a steady "complete a feature, score and reclaim" production line if you are not to run out mid-game and see your score suffer as a consequence.

The simple "draw a tile and place it" mechanism means that the game has a luck element to it, in that there will be times when you may or may not succeed in drawing the tile that fits nicely with your plans. This would be reduced were you to allow each player to have a holding of 2 or 3 tiles and to operate on a "play and then draw so as to replenish your holding" basis, but doing this would inevitably lengthen the playing time and I don't think that the change is actually necessary. Much better to accept the game for what it is, an unpretentious and interesting, middleweight game that lasts exactly the right length of time for the amount of entertainment that it provides.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.
Daniel Scher
December 31, 2001

Germany's Game of the Year is an addictive adventure in which players lay colorful tiles depicting fragments of roads, cities, cloisters, and farms. Turns consist of picking a facedown tile, adding it to the expanding countryside, and optionally placing one of your pawns on the tile. You score immediately upon completing roads, cities, and cloisters where you have placed a pawn. The pawn then returns to your stock for redeployment. Pawns placed on farmland never return to your stock, but can yield lucrative scores at the end of the game--the larger the connected farmland, the greater the score. If you don't claim victory by having the most points when the last tile is laid, never mind; few other games let you enjoy such a gorgeous final canvas.

Note: this review refers to a different release of this product.

Other Resources for Carcassonne:

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