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Z-Man Games edition, includes The River expansion
Your Price: $34.99
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from 163 customer reviews
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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!
Players: 2 - 5
Time: 30 minutes
Ages: 13 and up
Est. time to learn: 5-10 minutes
Weight: 722 grams
Language Requirements: Game components are language-independent. Manufacturer's rules are printed in English. This is an international edition or domestic edition of an imported item.
- 60 land tiles
- 12 River tiles
- 1 scoring track
- 40 followers in 5 colors
- 1 rule booklet
Z-Man (Temporarily Out of Stock)
Z-Man (Temporarily Out of Stock)
Z-Man Edition (Temporarily Out of Stock)
Z-Man Edition (Temporarily Out of Stock)
Average Rating: 4.4 in 163 reviews
I bought this game for my kids for Christmas last year (ages 11 and 13) and it soon became the family's favorite game. We play it all of the time. I actually bought the big box which contains 5 expansion sets. I was taking a chance by spending so much on a game I never hear of plus the expansion packs. What if we didn't like it? Well, not to worry, we loved it the first time we played. We have tried two expansions so far and they just make the game that much more fun. This game if full of strategy, yet is so easy to understand that it can also be played by a younger crowd. We have shared this game with everyone who will play and they become hooked too.
The best thing about this type of game is that it is different every time you play. You build the playing board as you go and no two games are the same.
We love this game and highly recommend it to anyone who likes to play games.
Carcassonne is easily the most popular game in my closet. Simple rules. An ever-changing game board, hence a game that is never played the same twice, and a strategy that is always evolving. I think the one thing that makes this game the most popular in my group of players is that anyone, I have yet to have one that I have introduced into this game not like it and want to play it again, can pick this up learn the strategy and game mechanics in the first go through, and easily desire to play again.
Very good game to relax after a long week and laugh with some friends.
Carcassonne is a tile-laying eurogame, which was designed by Klaus-Jurgen Wrede in 2001 and was awarded both the Spiel Des Jahres and the Deutscher SpielePreis that year. Carcassonne is often touted as one of the best “gateway” games (along with Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride) for introducing non-gamers to the hobby of strategy board games, and it’s true that the game can definitely be used as a “gateway” game. However, this review is meant to explain how Carcassonne can be played as a deep and heavy game along the lines of Tigris & Euphrates and Caylus. If played under the following conditions, Carcassonne can become a highly strategic and extremely replayable game with no more luck than a game of Tigris.
First things first, what do you get in the box? For a retail price of $24.95, you get the following components: 72 land tiles, 40 wooden followers (a.k.a. “meeples”), 1 scoring track, and 1 instruction booklet. The components are not spectacular, but they get the job done very well and don’t leave anything to be desired. Although the scoring track is not necessarily the best way to keep score because it can get bumped during play and is not as reliable as paper and pencil. I’m going to reference two expansions for Carcassonne below, so I will mention their price and components here as well. First, Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals (a.k.a. I&C) retails for $14.95. I&C comes with 18 land tiles, 6 scoring tiles, 8 gray followers, and 6 large followers (a.k.a. “gianteeples”). The new land tiles match the originals nicely, the scoring tiles and gray followers are essentially useless, but the gianteeples are crucial to the game as discussed below. Second, Carcassonne: Traders & Builders (a.k.a. T&B) retails for $14.95 as well. T&B comes with 24 land tiles, 20 trade goods, 6 builders, 6 pigs, 1 cloth bag. All of these components are up to par with the original and are necessary additions to the game. Both of these expansions are a bit pricey, but can be found at discount online retailers. Both are integral to fully enjoying the game as I think it should be played.
How do you basically play this game? Carcassonne is a tile-laying eurogame, meaning that on each turn your basic action is to draw a random tile from the pool and add it to the board, which starts off with only one tile, but will be composed of 114 tiles by the end of the game. When adding your tile to the board you will have many choices as to where you want to place the tile and how you want to rotate it, but there are some restrictions. In puzzle-like fashion, you have to make sure that like sides match like sides. There are three land features to consider when matching up the sides of the tiles, which are farms, cities, and roads. This is an extremely intuitive system that must people can pick up and understand very quickly because it just feels natural to make sure that the green farms, brown cities, and white roads match up consistently across tiles. After adding your one tile to the board, you can either end your turn right there, or you have the option of placing one of your “meeples” on that tile. If you place a “meeple” on that tile then you have to decide where on the tile he will go. You can turn your “meeple” into farmers on the farms, knights on the cities, thieves on the roads, or monks on the cloisters. Cloisters are the fourth possibility for scoring points in addition to the first three, but are not a feature to consider in making tiles match because they don’t touch the edge of a tile. Play will continue in clockwise order with everyone placing a one tile on their turn and having the option of placing one “meeple” on that tile, until all 114 tiles have been placed, at which point the game ends and final scores are tallied.
How do you score and win this game? You can score points throughout the game as features are completed and you can score additional points at the end of the game for uncompleted features as well as farms. First, roads are the simplest because they give you 1 point per tile and are completed when they have two end points. Roads also give you 1 point per tile at the end of the game even if they are not completed. Second, cities give you 2 points per tile and are completed when they are completely enclosed. However, cities only give you 1 point per tile at the end of the game if they are not completed. Third, cloisters give you 9 points and are completed when they are entirely surrounded by other tiles on all sides (including diagonally). Cloisters give you 1 point per adjacent tile (including diagonally) plus 1 point for the cloister itself at the end of the game if they are not completed. Finally, farms are the most complicated, but also often the most important scoring feature. Farms give you 4 points per completed city that they touch at the end of the game, but do not give you any points during the game. There is also an alternate farm scoring rule that has been designed since Carcassonne was originally released, which involves giving 3 points per completed city, but I will not get into that here because I don’t think it’s as good as the original rules personally.
What does I&C add that’s so important? First, the 18 new land tiles add more possibilities, options, and variety to the base game with new configurations of farms, cities, and roads on them. In addition, these new land tiles add two new features, which are the inns for roads and the cathedrals for cities. Inns make roads worth double, and cathedrals make cities worth three points per tile. However, roads with inns and cities with cathedrals are worth zero at the end of the game if they are not completed. So there is some additional reward but obviously some risk as well. Knowing whether to place the tile with the inn or cathedral on one of your own scoring features to increase your score or whether it's late enough in the game to place the inn or cathedral on an opponent's scoring feature to make it worth nothing in the end is obviously very important, and takes practice to fully appreciate and understand. Second, the large followers (a.k.a. “gianteeples”) are crucial for making the game more strategic. They function like normal meeples except that they count as two meeples for purposes of controlling a scoring feature. While the rules do not permit you to place a meeple on a city, road, or farm that is already claimed, the rules do allow you to place a meeple on a separate city, road, or farm and later join that feature to another feature for purposes of sharing one larger feature. However, if you manage to either join up two meeples then you will take all of the points because you have more meeples on the scoring feature than anyone else. The “gianteeple” is extremely important because it allows you to join up a single nearby city, road, or farm to take control of a valuable scoring feature from your opponent.
What does T&B add that’s so important? First, the 24 new land tiles add even more variety to the base game with even more configurations of farms, cities, and roads on them. Second, the builders are as crucial as the gianteeples for making the game more strategic. The builders are units that you can add to an existing city or road that you are working on, which allow you to immediately take a bonus turn on any future turn that you add to that city or road. These bonus turns really add up, and make clever placement and use of your builder crucial for success in this game. Finally, the trade goods are an important addition to the game because they give you an incentive to complete an opponent’s city sometimes. There are three trade goods (i.e., wine, grain, and cloth), which appear on various city tiles. When you complete a city with tiles that show these goods then you get a marker representing the goods on the tiles. However, you don’t need to actually control and score the city, you just have to lay the last tile that completes the city. At the end of the game, the person with the most markers in each type of trade good receives 10 points. These 30 points awarded at the end of the game can often be decisive, and so you need to constantly monitor the tally of trade goods that you and your opponent have throughout the game.
Finally, these are my tips for making this game as strategic and deep as possible:
1) Three’s a Crowd
Always play with just two players. The game claims to work with anywhere from two to six players (when you add in the I&C expansion), but the game really shines with just two players. With more players there is too much going on between each of your turns, and your level of control diminishes greatly. With only two players, the game becomes zero-sum so that hurting your opponent is just as good as helping yourself, whereas with more players it’s not worthwhile to hurt an opponent’s position because this will simply result in the third player gaining an advantage. The luck of the tile draw is reduced significantly if you can use tiles that don’t help you to simply block and opponent, but doing so is not as good a play when you have multiple opponents. Moreover, with only 2 players you will be able to place 57 tiles during the game, whereas with 3 players you will only be able to place 38 tiles per game. This increased number of tiles placed per game is significant not only because it increases the importance of managing your supply of meeples so that you never have too few in your supply but you never have too few on the board, but also because it reduces the luck of the tile draw by increasing the number of tiles drawn. I’m not statistics expert, but I’m pretty sure that the larger the sample size, the more likely that your distribution is not skewed, so in a two-player game you are less likely to draw all of one type of tile for example.
2) Vanilla is just too Plain
Always play with both the I&C and T&B expansions. Not only are the additional 42 tiles crucial for adding variety to the tile mix, but also the two new unites (i.e., gianteeples and builders) add a significant layer of strategy to the game. Using your gianteeple and builder effectively is crucial to success. First, the gianteeple is critical because it facilitates stealing cities, roads, and farms from your opponent, so the game becomes much more about clever placement to take over an opponent’s scoring feature or to block an opponent from stealing your valuable scoring features. Moreover, if you can lock-up your opponent’s gianteeple early in the game in a position that is unlikely to allow your opponent to reclaim the gianteeple then you will often win, so it is very important to prevent your gianteeple from getting trapped on the board. Second, the builder is also critical because maximizing your number of bonus turns is extremely important to winning. It’s pretty clear that someone who takes twice as many turns as their opponent will almost always win, so if you are constantly adding to the scoring feature with your builder then you will do very well, and if you can trap your opponent’s builder on the board where he cannot add to the builder’s scoring feature then you will also do very well. Deciding whether to place your builder on a road or a city is very important, and deciding whether to complete the feature with your builder on it to reclaim the unit and replace it elsewhere is also a very interesting decision.
3) There’s no such thing as too Aggressive
The most important thing for making Carcassonne as deep and highly strategic game is to play as aggressively as possible. This means that you need to realize that stealing an opponent’s city, road, or farm is often much better than simply starting your own. This means that you need to always be conscious of how your opponent may try to steal your own cities, roads, and farms, and you need to try to build these scoring features so as to minimize his opportunities for sneaking onto your features. You should constantly be thinking about how to get meeples into your opponent’s cities, roads, and farms, especially once the cities are a couple tiles big, the roads are a few tiles long, and the farms are worth more than 12 or so points. In addition, if you draw a tile that isn’t much use to you because you can’t add it to anything you’re working on and you’re not in a position to start something new, then you should absolutely find the best place to play it to block your opponent. You should even think about block your opponent even if the tile could be used to help yourself because in a two-player game hurting your opponent is often as good or better than helping yourself. This means that you should minimize the number of tiles that would work for your opponent in a specific situation. If he needs one tile to complete a city then trying to place tiles adjacent to the space where he needs to place that final city tile. You should dictate whether the edges of that final city tile must have roads or farms on them so as to minimize his chances of completing the city. This is even more important if the city has either his gianteeple or builder in it. If you simply work on your own scoring features, ignoring what your opponent is doing, not only will the game not be very interesting or interactive, but you will lose consistently.
As the review title says, I think this is a great game for 2-3 players. It is light-hearted, but with complex strategies. It can be played with up to 6 player, but can bog down as most games with more players. Between my girlfriend and other friends, I'm playing at least two games a week. A two player game can easily be played in under an hour(45min), and a three player game in just over an hour.
Well, worth the price, and one of the first games I would add to my collection if I had to start all over again.
Over and over and over we play this game. While I did not used to admit this was the best game around, I now realize that we play this one much more than the rest combined. I guess that says a lot. We have extended family that have played it with us and now bought it for themselves, along with expansions. Lots of fun, and a very good 2 player game.
Although I normally only rate games that I enjoy playing, I do not give 5 stars out easily. This game deserves high praise because it packs a huge punch for its price and simplicity of rules. The only difficult aspect to the rules is in understanding how the Farmers are scored but after a few quick games, it is never an issue again.
I have had this game in my closet since it came out several years ago and it is still one that comes out to the game table on a regular basis. If you are trying to decide between all of the expansions and the original, I say go for the original. It is by far the cleanest and most elegant design.
This is one of those good games that good press but for some reason I've held off on buying it. I don't know anyone in my area who owned it and just did not have anything but online reviews to go by. Given the cartoonish nature of the artwork I guess I just never felt very inspired to pick it up.
Well I was needing a 2 player game the other day and after all the good things that have been said about Carcassonne as a 2 player game I felt I had to give it a fair shake and see what it was all about.
I'm very glad I did.
The simplistic game play of and ever changing board of this game means that even as a 2 player game it stands the test of replay. As a 2 player game goes there are none out there of this caliber that I've come across at all. Start adding players and while just as fun your anticipation level climbs. Will the next player pull the piece I need or will he block what I'm trying to build?
The only complaint that I could possibly muster about this game comes in the fine nuances of the rules. The way roads and fields work can be slightly muddled and confusing, but given that after careful explanation my 11 year old daughter got it I think it's not an insumountable thing in any fashion.
My bottom line on this game is that if you are like me and have been holding off on Carcassonne because you've not seen it demoed and don't believe it lives up to the hype you read online....believe it. This is not that expensive of a game (heck it's just a bunch of tiles and a few wooden tokens component wise) so the next time you've got some spare cash handy take the risk on it. Like me I think you'll be glad you did.
I love when you finally play a game that has gotten lots of hype, and you grow to realize why the game has gotten so much hype.
Carcasonne is that game. It is fun to assemble the city and watch it grow, the decisions are few but tough to make, there is tension between immediate gain and long term strategy, and best yet, it is FUN to play! This is one of the best games availble to mankind (especially because womenkind also like to play it!).
I bought this game a couple of years ago, since it was highly reviewed and not very expensive. And since then it has been the best game in terms of bang for your buck, I have played it now hundreds of times, and the set still looks good. Impressive for only 17 bucks.
But this game has also been the only game I have which just everyone who tried to play it liked it. Even people who don't really like to play or learn any new games, and just stick to a couple cards games and monopoly, seem to like Carcassonne.
The game can also scale nicely to how complicated people want it to be. For kids it can become easier by just ignoring the fields and farmers and not worrying about number of "meeples" that count an area when completed. Also with the expansions there are added pieces with new rules that might make it too much for people to keep it all in mind, like the pig and the builder. So when I start the game we first have a discussion of which rules to use for that match, and this seems to work well for a wide range of players.
But this is still my favorite of the games I have bought, and actually the one game I would recomend to anyone.
The basic tension of the game lies in getting points in the short run, and preparing for the long run with farmers. Since farmers remove a meeple (people markers) from play for the remainder of the game, managing your meeples so that you always have one when you need it is also a standing concern.
This game is my favorite introduction into the wonderful world of Euro games.
This is a great game for introducing non gamers into the world of strategy games. The pieces are well made and eye appealing. The game mechanics are simple and can be taught in a few minutes. Players easily figure out the strategy to placing followers during the game and will figure out how to use farmers after completing their first game. This is a good game for 2 players as well as multiplayer. Well worth the investment and people will want to play again and again.
Agree with most of the reviews here. This game is great. Easy to learn and play, but there are many options during play and random appearance of tiles means no two games the same. My wife hardly plays games, but loves this one. And the review titled 'This should be called Crappasonne' is actually a crap review.
Great game! It's easy to learn the simple rules, and there are plenty of different strategies that can be employed. I've taught my family and several friends, and they've quickly picked it up and love it too. It's simple enough that beginners enjoy it and at the same time complex enough that experienced Carcassonne players can play again and again! Because of the variety of strategies involved and the options available with the pick of a tile, interest and enjoyment is maintained throughout the game. The expansion sets (Traders & Builders and Inns & Cathedrals) are definitely a must. They increase the strategy and fun of the game. Carcassonne has become a favorite with my family and friends.
This game is a very good 3 or 4 player game, only OK as a 2 player game. The strategy involved is more similar to the ancient game GO, where you can hem other players in. Often when a tile is drawn, it may be better to play it to prevent another player from finishing their building projects, rather than improving your own. Also, playing to work into others nearly completed building projects is another important strategy. I would argue that this is the best 1 hour (or less) strategy game around. There may be better strategy games, but they often stretch to 2-3 hours.
It took about 5 minutes to read the rules, about 10 minutes to figure out the nuances, and we've spent every day since we've bought the game (two weeks ago) perfecting our strategies.
The game is easy to learn, but very difficult to master. There is a deep level of strategy to the game when it comes to developing the land, cities, and cloisters; however, there is also a 'screwage' factor for messing with opposing players. But, there is also a cooperative element when cities, farms, and cloisters are built close together.
The 1st expansion is awesome, and adds more complexity and ingenuity to the game. The 2nd expansion was a bit much and introduced too many new rules and pieces to be practical.
However, for our family, Carcossonne is a classic and we continue to be excited about playing it.
This game was first introduced by my friend in Germany. I love it a lot. Carcassonne is an interesting game. It is suitable for all people from age 8 to 80. It is fun and yet it doesn't only depend on luck. It requires strategy and thinking. I have also bought this game to some of my friends as present.
After I brought back this game to Hong Kong, I never met anyone who didin't fall in love with this game. And many of my friends have brought new set to introduce to other people too. We have a lot of great time together playing with this game.
I think it would be great for parents to play this game with their children. It is much better for children than playing computer game and watching TV.
A wonderful tile-laying game that I have seen win over every person who has tried it. I have played this game with over a dozen different people, and every single one has been impressed.
I would have to say that while the expansions aren't required, they surely add amazing depth to the game, not to mention several accessories (such as a bag to draw the tiles from). The expansions are also exceptionally cheap, making them a good buy if you like the game.
If you play Settlers or Puerto Rico, then I would say that if you haven't already played this game, you need to give it a shot. If you don't, play it any way.
I normally don't write reviews of games; I just play 'em! But I'm making an exception to defend one of my favorite games of all time, Carcassonne. 'A Gamer from Hong Kong''s 1/19/04 review was so off-base that I felt that a reply was necessary.
Carcassonne does have a 'luck' factor, as do most games, but certainly NOT 70-80% as Gamer suggests. In fact, its actually 70-80% strategy. There are no dice in Carcassonne! Just because Gamer's friend drew most of the more valuable city pieces does not guarantee his friend victory. All Gamer had to do was use some strategy to steal those valuable cities from his friend by playing more knights in the cities around the valuable city and then connecting them. Simple, huh? Unfortunately, a player who is convinced that this game is luck-based would not think of that strategy in the first place.
Purpose of the game.
It's a game! A great game but still a game! Does it need a purpose? Read the rules, understand the rules, and have fun with it! We're not solving world hunger here! Does checkers have a purpose?
Balance of the game
Yes, knights and farmers do seem to have more power than thieves and monks but each player has the same number of pieces and no one is forced to play any of them as thieves or monks. That sounds pretty balanced to me! The pawns in chess seem to be less powerful to me, but I haven't seen anyone removing them from that game!
Interaction with other players
Successful Carcassonne playing requires paying attention to what the other players are building. If an opponent is working on completing a large city, you should be looking for ways to move into that city or blocking its completion with impossible pieces. If an opponent begins placing farmers, you should be countering with farmers of your own. Paying attention to only your own agenda (like Gamer says he does)is a sure way to lose.
Finally, I've played many games over the years, but have never come back to one game as often as I have for Carcassonne. The strategy, the never-the-same-game-twice factor, and the down to the wire scoring make this game a winner. Gamer should give this game a second look and play against a few good players ( and learn from them!) to begin to understand what makes this game stand out.
Carcassonne is a brilliant game to play. We have bought the game and so have 9 or 10 friends and we all love it. No one game is ever the same and there may be some luck in which tile you pick up but the skill is in where you place it. I would love to meet the man who dreamt it up, and shake his hand and thank him. We have spent many happy hours playing Carcassonne.
One of my 2 children does not have the attention span to play most games but is a very bright & strategic thinker when something catches her interest. I began searching the web for a game she might enjoy. She will rarely join in playing most games & when she does she frequently loses because of not paying attention to what is going on. I stumbled across the reviews for Carcassonne & decided to give it a try... She LOVES it!
Turns are short, each players move affects everyone so it holds her interest between turns, play is relatively short (30 min to 1 hour depending on how much discussion goes on), & best of all we have finally found a game she will stay focused on enough that I am not constantly reminding her to play when it is her turn.
She has won more often than not when we have played & is actually asking when we can play next. Great for her self esteem, great for finding something our family can do together & all of us enjoy, great to see her light up when she wins (something that rarely happened with other games).
I bought this game to have something more to do than dinner and a movie. My wife an I both love it. It is very simple, yet fun. There is plenty of strategy if you know how to play and it doesn't take very long. The game is always different and everyone we have played it with likes it. It's great for 2 players and just as good for a group of 4 or 5. Highly recommended.
Well, someone wrote that there was no interaction between players in Carcasonne, and I think that indicates he hadn't played it enough to see that when played well, there's tons of interaction, particularly where the fields are concerned.
At first my family and I liked Carcasonne because it was pretty, simple, and fun. But I thought it was possible that we would exhaust the strategic aspects of the game relatively soon because, after all, the rules are really quite simple.
However, after playing a few dozen times now, it is becomming clear that there are deep strategies and that it can take a while to appreciate them. This is what makes this game so excellent: the strategies and possibilities keep opening up, despite the simplicity.
And I also simply love the tile nature of the game: this beautiful and complex picture develops before your eyes.
I do not think I have ever recieved more entertainment value for my money than in buying this game.
My sister rarely wants to play Settlers because of how long gameplay tends to be. Granted, her boyfriend is the world's SLOWEST player and we have to yell 'GO!' to get him to stop his hemming and hawing when he's 'thinking' about what he's going to do his turn.
Carcassonne is great. The rules are simple and the play is fast. We played this game 3 times in a row last night, which is completely unheard of.
It's good value for the price. I really enjoyed it. I plan on getting the expansion pack and Hunters and Gatherers.
It takes quite a bit of playing this game to really appreciate the subtleties of strategy involved. People who have only played a few times against the same opponents almost certainly haven't seen all it has to offer, and understandably have a negatively biased view of the gameplay. Only after playing the pc version (from carcassonne-online.de) against the highest level computer player did I fully realize the complexity of play involved. My human opponents never made plays like the computer did, and I had totally missed out on a whole dimension of play.
While it is true that the mechanics of gameplay are simple, the strategy is anything but. The manual doesn't really hint at that though, it leaves you mostly with a sense of, 'I need to score points to win.' However, just as important as scoring points for yourself is denying your oppoents from doing so. Until you've mastered the skills of 'stealing' cities/roads/farms from other players, blocking completion of your opponents' structures with specific tiles that can't match a neighbor (which often requires memorizing what tiles haven't been played yet), and defending against said blocking, you haven't really played Carcassonne.
My wife and I are big fans of The Settlers Of Catan, but since she picked up Carcassonne for me, we're wondering if Carcassonne will take over as the favorite.
As a two player game, this is much better than The Settlers Card Game. Also, right out of the box Carcassonne can fit up to 5 players. This makes Carcassonne much more cost efficient than the Settlers series.
Now onto game play, we believe there is plenty of strategy in Carcassonne. Even though you just get one random tile to place, there are usually several options to placement, and after that you have to plan ahead for the best position of your followers. I think one of the hardest decisions is where to place a farmer, since they will give you great rewards in the end with proper placement, but you could miss opportunities for quick points that you can get in other areas.
All in all, if you're looking for a great game for a varied number of players, I highly suggest Carcassonne.
It seems so simple, but my husband and I love this game. We also have both expansion packs! Each game turns out differently and we love it...we figure out how to be more strategic with each move. It is seriously addictive and much more fun than any of the other games in our closet (and we have alot).
I've been playning wargames especially strategy games since the 1980s. This game is fast and yet challenging, a unique combination. Just buy it, it's easy to learn and not too expensive.
Children likes the idea of building a map and since it's easy to learn the family can play as well as us games fanatics.
Peter, 30, Sweden
For those stuck on card games, this is an easy introduction into the world of tile/board games. Easy to learn, easy to teach...Play till you drop! :) Everything in the box is of the highest quality. I even got a chance to contact a support person at Hans Im Gluck, and they were most helpful! Have fun!
What can I say it's, 'Carcassonne'. I wasn't going to write a review for this title but I thought what he heck I really want to be part of the huddled masses reviewing this now classic. It plays good with any number and it is simple to learn. Children will enjoy the ever expanding landscape and can easily understand the concepts of the game. An excellent game to start out with to transition them from, Candyland to real games. I have played this game with scores of individuals and the only people that didn't seem to enjoy it were beer drinking, 'the cheaper the better', pretzel chewing, every sports game watching, reliving high school days type of people. I am sure they would have enjoyed chugging a beer and playing a sports type game. Highly Recommended.
I bought this on a whim -- it's an instant favorite. There's something addictive -- I often play several games in a row. And it's very simple to learn but not so simple to master. I'll probably buy the expansion soon to make the game last longer.
I would definitely recommend this game. And I think the price is certainly reasonable.
This is a truly great game, but you absolutely MUST buy the expansion pack, which provides much needed balance to some of the weaker pieces, adds drama with the double/triple or nothing pieces and the 'two-man piece' and adds unique tiles for even more variety. I've played it around 30 times, and enjoy it more now than when I started. Destined to become a well-deserved classic! Gamers in the L.A. area should contact me.
My family plays this game constantly and everyone we show it to loves it. Easy to learn, but hard to get bored of!
We originally played this game last Christmas and my husband walked 10 blocks in a blizzard to get it so that we could play it while being snowed in the house.
Definitely a great game!
Just opened Carcassonne and played it for the first time with my ten year old daughter. It didn't take us long to enjoy the game and begin to learn strategy. My eight year old daughter learned my by watching and now she is ready to play :) I highly recommend it. The online reviews are correct.
At first I was skeptical as I am usually not one that likes games low on strategy, but this game blew me away. The luck may be a downside for some but I find it nicely balances with the strategy of the game so neither dominates the other and you dont feel like your not in control. The only flaw as far as game mechanics seems to be at the end with the farms as they give way too many points and turns the endgame into a grab for farms. But aside from that this game is a light game that everyone can enjoy and the playtime is nice and short.
This is such a well thought out game. I play it with my wife all the time and she not a gamer. I usually like the strategic game (Torres), while she like simple, brainless games (Cities of Gold). This is one of the few games we both enjoy to the same degree. I even got my parents to buy. After they played it once with us, the ordered it with in the week. They NEVER buy games (I think they have an old copy of Monopoly somewhere). I can't imagine anyone not getting there money's worth on this game.
I'm 10 years old and I played this game for the first time today. It's really fun, especially when you get a big city started. I played it twice with two players and it didn't get boring!!! I'm also going to play it tonight with three players. The game was especially easy to learn and keep score. Since there's some luck in the game, you can make a house rule where you score all nine points for a completed cloister or zero points for a partially completed cloister (or only apply this rule to the parents. Ha.). The other games I like right now are Blink, Stack, Target, Monoply, Chess, and The Very Clever Pipe Game.
I got this game for my birthday, and played a very long turn of it with my husband. Now the whinnie refuses to play again with me because he said I got 'mean,irritable, overreactive, awfully screeching in a bad mood' -- which means this game is awesome and I loved it. Why can't he get that? If I look miserable, I am having a blast!!! Isn't that so with everybody? The idea of the game and the way you slowly build cities and areas, and claim them, is so very smart. I didn't even get the chance to play with rivers! Apparently I scared everyone away of ever playing with me again. My kids tried to hide the game after my birthday. It's THAT serious. I still open the box once in a while and play with the pieces... My birthday was November, and it's February, maybe they will forget by June and play with me again? :D
Are you an overly competitive gamer? Does your family nervously decline when you suggest playing a game?
Pick up Carcassonne and heal thyself!
I've never played a more social, well-paced, strategic game. And as each tile is laid, the board becomes a work of art...something beautiful and different every time. Although we dutifully keep score at our house, you would never know who won or lost by the end of the game, because we've had such an excellent time playing together. My nine-year-old daughter loves it and each time we play, I see her grasp of strategic planning grow.
So just one question: Why are you reading this review when you could be playing Carcassonne with your family?
Carcassonne is a fabulous game. Simple rules, fast-moving, quick-finishing, and loaded with strategic possibility. And it looks really neat too.
Like other great German games, it allows the players to decide on the level of competitiveness. Some groups will be always on the lookout to backstab each other, and other times people will give free and honest advice to each other on possible best moves. The game works both as a fun, low-stress sociable diversion and also as a high-stakes, intricate-strategy epic battle of wits.
Carcassonne makes for a great family game, as the rules are easy enough for kids, but there is plenty enough substance to keep adults interested. And the zillion-odd possible combinations of the board makes for fresh intrigue each time out.
This is probably the best game for introducing people to the new potential of what board games can be, and is an excellent first step towards creating new German-game enthusiasts. And the wonderful economy and depth of the design will keep it prominently in their list of favourites.
This game is, without a doubt, one of the best games I ever played. The game comes with 72 tiles with which you construct a map, consisting of roads, towns and monestaries. I have bought a second game to extend the number of tiles to 144, making it even more fun.
An absolute must for everyone who enjoys playing games with friends or family.
An interesting tile-laying game with more strategy then at first it seems, especially when you have more than two players. However, it is also great when played by two people, as I more often play it. There is a lot of luck involved, because of how you draw the tiles, but if you are smart about it, (quite unlike myself) you should be able to use it in your advantage. Other reviews on this page have explained the rules, and at least one other mentioned that there isn't much conflict as to who owns a road or city. But when I play, I plan ahead and create it. So, for any level of thinking, this is a great game. One last note. I've won twice and I still love it.
I used this as a vehicle to introduce my wife to the joys of gaming. She is a non-gamer to the extreme; the engineering type. I'm a flaming right brainer- highly creative and playful.
She kicks my butt with this game.
But it doesnt matter. Win or lose- it's insignificant. Watching a wonderful ever evolving map and being amazed at the possibilities of gameplay are what this game is about. This game is one of constant amazement, change and pleasure. The more you play, the more you enjoy it. My nearly 5 year old joins us too.
I've introduced many friends to this game and all have either bought it or have asked me to buy it for them for Christmas, birthdays, etc. This game is consistently on Funagains top 10 for a reason.
Do your self a favor, pick it up and relax with your family and friends. They'll love you for it.
In fact, I'm ordering a second copy to add to our current one. My table is big enough to handle two sets going at once. It's going to start looking like medieval Luxembourg in my kitchen pretty soon!
This is probably the best 'quick' game I've ever played. A game only lasts 30 to 45 minutes and we rarely just play one. It's easy to explain the rules and there is a very nice strategy/luck balance. I have never been a huge fan of tile laying games but this game has changed my opinion. I'll be picking up the expansion soon and until then we are going to continue enjoying this fascinating game.
Carcassonne was the first game of its type that I have ever played. Its well worth it -- I am an avid gamer from computer games to board games to sports, and this is an excellent addition to my game collection. Its so fun and easy that even my hardcore gamer friends love this game as well as my wife (who is not a hardcore gamer--far from it) and even co-workers, who ask me to bring it work all the time (much to the chagrin of the manager :).
What a beautiful and fun game!
Create a beautiful midevil map of castles, streams, farms and cloisters. Even if you took away the game, it's fun to build an appealing landscape that is unique and different every time.
Then, add the game on top of it. Simple to learn. Quick to play. Yet challenging to master. This game has more appeal, to more types of people than any game we've ever played. Kids, adults, grandparents and neighbors can all join in on the fun and the beauty.
And there's enough strategy to provide the game with a couple levels of depth and a long life of playability. It's rather clear how to earn points through building your roads and cloisters. Building cities can be more challenging and offers a risk-reward. Try to leverage one knight to build a large city and you may get stuck with an uncompleted city. Place too many knights on the board and you may not be able to capitalize on your next cloister because you're out of meeples.
Farming is more challenging still. Play farms too soon and you risk depleting your resources and not being able to place knights, thieves, and monks to work your way around the board. Wait too long to farm and you risk being shut out and being lapped by those farmers who were plodding slowly behind you.
While there is luck to the draw of the tiles...a clever player realizes there's plenty of strategy to be leveraged when drawing a 'bad' tile. Don't just look at the tile for its offensive, point scoring capabilities. Think defensively to thwart your opponents next move. Play a river tile to block the completion of their city or abby and leave their knights and monks stranded and of little value. Look at the grass on the tile as a 'greenway' that links farmers to additional cities. Shut off competitive farmers from cities by blocking their greenway access with roads and streams. There's plenty of thinking required to master the game. And, as others have suggested, playing with a hand of 3 tiles and 'paying' points to use a different tile can add another dose of strategy.
Carcassonne is simply beautiful...a 5 star winner.
Many words have been written about this game, so what more could I say that hasn't already been said? How about this?
My wife loves this game!
Sure, you say, many wives do. But my wife hates games in general. She finds standard children's fare too simplistic. She finds my wargames far too tedious and complex. She finds 'adult' games too silly and too juvenile for her tastes.
But she loves Carcassonne. That, my friends, is enough for me. But what about those who are new to the game, who want to know more? Please, read on ...
Carcassonne is, in its simplest form, a tile-laying game. Players draw and lay tiles to form roads, cities, fields, and cloisters. But the game also adds a strategy element, too. They're called 'Meeples'.
'Meeples' are the little wooden people tokens that come with the game. The strategy is to place your Meeples in such a way that you control the very cities, roads, fields, and cloisters that you are building.
Points are scored whenever a city, road, or cloister is 'completed'. Players who have a Meeple controlling the completed terrain feature score points. The player with the most points at the end of the game is the winner.
The 'real' strategy comes when placing Meeples on fields. You see, a Meeple's field can supply food to all of the completed cities it borders, even cities the controlling player didn't build. One Meeple field can span many tiles, passing by many cities. That's where huge scoring can come in, because Meeple fields are scored at the very end of the game.
The river tiles that come with the expanded game help alleviate the problem of a Meeple owning a seemingly endless field, which supplies a ton of cities. The rivers cut the board in half, so that this anomaly is less likely.
The game plays quickly, and can be over in 45 minutes or less with three players. My nine-year-old picked up the game quickly, and wins on a regular basis.
Carcassonne also has one very redeeming feature, and that is that the maps you create during game play are unique. Some of them are, quite literally, works of art. That's the 'beauty' I spoke of in the tagline.
Give this game a chance. I guarantee you that your family will enjoy the game immensely.
After 80 reviews there's not much more to say about Carcassonne being a fun game. We just played three games tonight with the expansion and now enjoy the game even more. We do play a version that I think enhances play, especially for two people. We lay four tiles out, three face up and one face down. You may choose any one of the tiles but if you look at the face down one you must play it if possible. A tile is replaced as soon as one is played, replacing face-ups with face-ups and face-downs with face-downs.
This seems to work better for us than some of the suggested versions below where players hold a hand of two to three tiles. For one thing you must agonize over not just choosing the best one for your needs but also making sure you don't leave one for your opponent that will help him/her even more. But if you miss the luck factor, or all the face up ones are duds, it's always exciting to reveal the 'mystery' tile.
I especially enjoy the large 2-point meeples, they add some new strategies for the farmers in particular.
WE LOVE THIS GAME!
After my sister got us completely hooked on this game, my husband walked 25 blocks in a huge snow storm (we got 7 feet in two days) just to get this game. We bought the last one in Buffalo!
We play it constantly. The best part about the game is everyone we show it to, loves it as well. We play it without the river tiles as well and that's fun, but we prefer the river tiles. My brother and his friends play it all the time as well and they are purists - they prefer the game without the river.
They make it fun sometimes my combining two games.
It's fun with two people, and with five. The game changes depending on the number of players. We have the expansion set on order and can't wait for it to come.
Get this game you will love it and play it constantly.
My game collection was incomplete before I owned Carcassonne! It's such an all around good game; perfect for people of all gaming levels. It's particularly nice to pull out on those evening when you have gamer-types mixed with non-gamers, that is, those friends who have a low tolerance for games with complicated rules. It also plays rather quickly - even when maximizing the number of players, you should be able to finish a game in an hour. It's also a great value. The pieces are high quality - the markers are made of wood, not plastic!
What I like best about this game, is that it's a great game for two. There are so few strategy games that work well for two people. There are even fewer that work equally well [even though the strategies change] with more than two people. This is one of those games.
Of course, since it's a tile laying game, ever game is different. As mentioned in a few other reviews, the scoring is a little quirky, but everyone I've taught it to picks up on it pretty quickly.
I'm always dependent on reviews before I buy any games, and Carcassonne deserves to be claimed one of the 'better' games out there. It's certainly a wise investment for anyone who enjoys table-top games.
I always require the games I buy to be portable (that they can fit in my bookbag), and Carcassonne is perfect (I put the pieces into an 'Ohne Furcht und Adel' game box).
The best thing about this game is the unique scoring, and the nice looking pieces. The final scoring at the end is fun (for me!). I wouldn't complain too much about the farmers having too much power (like other reviewers have said), because clever placement of tiles can be beneficial later on in the game...and what seems to be a successful farmer now may not be so successful at the end.
This game may not be drenched with strategy, but you will be able to see that it still maintains a good balance of elements. My friend and I have come up with many of our own new variations to the game.
Scoring can be confusing at first, but you'll memorize the scoring values after about the first two games. The only other problem I've had is that my friend DESPERATELY wanted to have another game (during our 45-minute lunch break). The bell rang, and we lost one of the wooden guys!
I'm tempted to purchase another set of Carcassonne, to see how an even bigger set works! Five players can be confusing (five players would probably be better with two sets). Overall, two players is excellent. I never use the included score-keeping board, because I think using a pencil and paper is much easier.
I hope to get the expansion set soon as well!
Just to chime in, this one is an excellent game only suffers from the slightly weird 'farmer scoring' rules (just TRY and explain that rule to a first time player... they never get it and always misplay the farmers)
Aside from that tiny glitch, it's a true classic.
The addition of the expansion adds some nice strategic 'burns' to the game and chances to rack up some monster castle scores with cathedrals.
Super, every game you play is different !
No matter if you play with 2 or 5 it is always very exciting (however your tatics must change drastically).
Since the duration of the game is also limmited due to the fact of the amount of cards, this also alows you to play easily more games in one night, what again will help to boost up de competition between players who still think they can become overall winner, so you want to keep on playing that 'last' game ...
Some games are great with 2 players, some with 4 or 5. This game is great with any number of players and is the game my wife and I play most together. I'd highly recommend this game as a post dinner game with someone special in your life, or just a fun quick game to enjoy with friends around the game table. If a player uses foresight in how they'd like to develop their cities, roads, farms, and/or monasteries, the successful development of complex strategic possibilities although not guaranteed, do exist. (Some elements of luck exist as well) The game mechanics are not very difficult to pickup and the excitement builds as the colorful 'puzzle' of Carcassone is built. Other top games like Princes of Florence (2001 Gamer's Choice Award) are great city building/development games, but I feel that Carcassone reaches both serious gamers as well as non-gamers. Maybe that's why this game won both the Speil des Jahres and the Deutscher Spiele Preis 1st place awards for 2001.
This is one of the games where any amount of players are still fun. !Warning! This game becomes very addictive. Every time you build a different city. This is the best 30min game out that you will have fun with. I play it 3 times a day in the game club at my school. Funagain has the best prices for this game and it takes a lot of strategy and alliances between players. Also it takes teamwork to share a city.
How often do you find a game that plays as well with two players as it does with five? I don't think I've ever found a game that can make that claim. Carcassone succeeds in just that.
Draw a tile, place it, and choose to play a follower or not. Pretty simple little system that works wonderfully. The city slowly emerges, looks great, and provides you with a bunch of different potential scoring decisions on every round.
Followers are few and must be placed carefully. Until they are scored, they're removed from your control, so if you place them about willy-nilly, you'll end up with no followers to place and desperately trying to score the ones that are out there (as was the case in my last game.....)
One of the greatest things about Carcassone is how the strategy can change. I had the original and played it quite a few times with my wife. We both loved it and developed strategies that seemed to work. A couple of months later we introduced it to another couple, and our strategies were completely useless. It was like we were playing a completely different game, which was great! Since then we've gotten the river expansion, and once again, that has changed the entire dynamic of the game.
The only downside, which has already been mentioned, is that the scoring track is terrible - WAY too short, especially in a two player game.
Carcassone is a very clever little tile laying game that plays equally well with any number of allowed players, which is a HUGE bonus in my mind. It looks pretty and it's fun to play. For the price, you really can't beat it.
It can be played quickly and there is always a lot to think about. My only complaint is that I do not like having to wait to flip a tile because it slows down the game play too much. Why not maintain a hand size of 1 so that you are ready to play when it is your turn?
My girlfriend and I usually play with each player having 3 tiles at all time. I wouldn't say the game is absolutley better this way but we enjoy having more options. Another interesting variation is to have as many tiles in your hand as Meeples not in play. It sounds strange but it leads to interesting resource management possibilities.
Nice game, we play this one alot. We have played this game with adults and children. The youngest player is 8 and he does very well. Easy game to understand and play. I have played the game several times and have won twice. The game is balanced well. The final scores are always very close. The games we have played have all been 4 or 5 player games.
On first playing this game, what is striking is the amazing visual impact the game makes as the play progresses. Convoluted catles, roads leading nowhere, with the odd monastry. Appearances can be deceptive. After playing the game a few times, it is clear that there is an element of luck of the draw in picking tiles. What only becomes apparent after playing the game many times is that lurking behind the beautiful facade is a murky world of intrigue, strategy and deception. Should you build your own castles and roads, should you capture others. Do you hold back your counters for a late counterattack on the fields or get the counters earning all the time, or in particular should you sabotage others attempts at completing theirs?
We have tried altering the rules. We have even played with multiple sets. Whatever you do, there is a lot more to the game than meets the eye.
I was introduced to 'German-style' board games a little over a year ago with The Settlers of Catan card game and Lost Cities, I've been hooked ever since! I've gone on to purchase many more. I've been particularly impressed with the quality of workmanship and interactive nature of most of the games. They've even pulled me from the grips of computer games ,and my wife no longer thinks she's a widow.
I would place Carcassonne at the top as a family and friends get together game as well as a light stategy, multiple play in an evening game, with my gaming friends. Every one I've introduced it to has loved it.
I like pure strategy games with little or no luck but find it difficult to get others to play those types of games with me more than a couple times. As mentioned by others the luck factor in this game can be an obstacle to some, therefore we always play with a 2 tile hand drawn from the start and drawing the third tile at the begining of your turn. This calms the luck factor down enough to satisfy me yet leaves enough to give others a fighting chance.(or me a chance/excuse if I make a mistake or meet my match)
We have also done away with the score board, finding it cumbersome and difficult to keep track once you've lapped it 3 times! We just use a simple piece of paper and pencil and keep a running tally.
To speed up an already speedy game to set up and take down, we use a small cloth bag(similiar to the one used in Scrabble but about 3 times the size) to keep the tiles in and to draw from. This is much easier than making piles of tiles around the board that frequently have to be moved or get easily knocked over on a rickety card table.
I love the wonderful art work on the tiles, it makes a beautiful scene each time you play. It amazes me how well the picture on each tile matches the others no matter what combination you use. It's almost like flying over the French countryside visiting a different county each time you play. That is one of the things that appeals to me about tile laying games is it is never the same board each time.
Some have balked that the luck of the draw ruins their planning, well you don't always get the tiles that you want to finish a particular city or connect that farmer and so on. You just have to have several projects going on all the time so if you get stuck on some plans,you have others to fall back on. If you aren't getting the cloisters or city pieces you want, concentrate on farmers or lots of small roads. If someone is trying to corner the market on farmers use roads to cut up or isolate the farms. There are many tricks to learn and try and they don't always work, but it only lasts about a half hour and the game is over and you can try again. It's also fun to try and horn in on some one elses city or farm or road, or to play that tile that makes it impossible to complete that cloister or city. But, beware many times it will back fire on you, particularly if your opponent is your wife!
I've been keeping track of all the games I've played this year, just for the heck of it. As of today, Feb.9th, I've played Carcassonne 35 times, 3 times that of any other game.
In conclusion, it's alot of fun to play, it's quick, it usually doesn't strain your brain too much, it appleals to a wide variety of players, it's less than $20.00, it makes a beautiful picture(I'm thinking of getting a copy, pasting it to a board, framing it and hanging it on the wall, what a great conversation piece that would be), and it's a great way to introduce your friends to 'German-style' board games!!!
I am looking forward to the river expansion as well as any other expansions that I hope come out!
This is one of the best games to come along in a while and we're enjoying it more and more everytime we play.
It's great for kids, as the decisions make them think of many possibilites, which increase each time you play.
I'd love to see some expansion sets available for this game, because it sometimes seems to end too soon, leaving you with incomplete cities.
One nagging little thing I must mention is the wimpy score board. It should have been larger, as most everyone goes beyond 50 points, but perhaps that would add more to production and increase the nice 'lowish' price of this game.
This game will be coming off the shelf a lot in the upcoming months... potential to become a true classic!
This game has it all: light strategy and nuances for the gamer, easy rules and a quick play for the non-gamer.
I have played it with 2, 3, 4, and 5 and every game was fun. Most games go 20-35 minutes, and it gets asked for most days we play games.
The strategy lies in placement of tiles, possibly connecting your small city to a neighbor's unfinished ones, and the placement of your little men, including when to hold your little men in reserve for later use. Many games we find ourselves without a man to place since we used them all on earlier turns.
All in all, it's a lot of fun for the family or as a short filler game for gamers.
When you get this game, there's not much in the box (tiles, wooden followers, scoring track, and rulebook), but this game has the workings and intrigue of any of the other classics. The immediate temptation to pre-judge the game based on its contents will suddenly kick in, but believe me, this is a VERY well designed game. Do not pre-judge it!
The strategy may not be as heavy as some of the more hardcore German releases, but there is enough strategy to keep people interested and coming back for more. The games are relatively short and play really well with 2 players. However--as usual--the more, the merrier!
When you first play the game, you may not like it as much. I would have only given it 4.5 stars last week but now that I've played it more than once, I will easily rate it a 5 star game. This game gets better and better as you play it more and more.
The rules for this game are easily explained in a few minutes to anyone. Even children can play this! The board develops into a beautiful landscape as you place more and more tiles. There is never the same land twice! And with the River expansion, it's even better.
It's tempting to buy two copies and have an even bigger game with more tiles and followers. This is one game I want more expansions for. I really hope they release more and more tiles, rules, pieces, etc. That would be really cool!
I will say this. The scoring track is a little too short. There should be more numbers, but you can turn your marker on its side to show you have been around once.
To sum it all up, this game has two features which will appeal to all gamers and non-gamers alike: VERY easy on the wallet, excellent gameplay and replayabilty!
Go and buy it--enough said!
The game that knows no boundaries may spill over the table's edge, so watch out! This is a great game and anyone who says otherwise might have to deal with my knight invading their city.
This is the game with just tons of options. Do you place a thief, knight, farmer, or nothing? Where do you place the tile? In what orientation? Do you play passively building your own roads and cities, or do you seek to 'invade' or 'coexist' in your opponent's city? However you play may determine how your game goes more than any limitation of the game itself. Do you go for lots of small cities and farmers, or big cities and knights? There is no end to the possible strategies side, all of which can be viable given the situation and the proper execution.
Now onto aesthetics. This is probably one of the most beautiful games to watch unfold. This city looks like a butterfly! This one looks like an octopus! Be prepared--you may feel an urge to purchase a plane ticket to Carcassone after playing this game.
I haven't yet found someone in my circle of friends who hasn't enjoyed this game, but its real beauty lies in the fact that you can get so lost in it that the score no longer matters so much! Yes, everyone is trying to earn the most points and everyone enjoys winning, but, at least with the people I have played with, the games are close and the end-scoring means that no one really knows who will win until then. I've been beaten more than I've won, but this doesn't leave me frustrated like it does with some other games.
My suggestion for a great game with friends: if everyone immediately shows his/her piece when drawn, everyone gets a chance to think through placement. With friendly opponents, this means you can make suggestions, participating and discussing each move and its benefits.
Finally, Carcassonne is just as wonderful with 2 as it is with 4 (the max I've played with). Unlike other games that have problems with fewer than the ideal number of players, this one seems to work no matter what, and its quick play means that a couple of games can fill an hour or so of time. My favorite game right now.
From the past reviews, one can tell that either they love or hate this game. I love it! Carcassonne is one of the best games I have ever played. It's great on many different levels. Easy rules--it can be played and enjoyed by gamers or non-gamers. Fast gameplay--it ends in less than 30 minutes. And it makes a great 2-player game. If you're ordering something anyway, get a copy of this one.
Anyone who says that there is no strategy to this game did not take it serously enough. True, Carcassonne does have a luck element, but the strategy is to get to score from the other players' tiles.
One of the complaints about the contents is that the scoring track only goes to 50 points. What we have been doing is this: when he gets to 50, lay the follower on his side to show one lap around. If he gets around again, stand him on his head. (Try it. With a little help from his arm, he will stay up.)
Though I've only played the game once, it seemed an excellent game for both kids and kids-at-heart. The simple mechanics of the game make it easily accessible, and yet the deferred rewards make the game strategically challenging for those who need that. I'd recommend this game to families with children around ten and up.
This game is easy to learn, as you just need to place a tile onto the board. Apart from this, you need to decide whether you should place your followers or not. This requires some strategy, as it will affect your later scoring.
I have played this game quite a lot, and we have changed some of the rules in order to balance the game and to have more strategy. First, turn faceup a number of tiles equal to the number of players (e.g. reveal 5 tiles for 5 players). After that, the first player chooses a tile from these 5 tiles and places it. For later turns, there always should be 5 tiles for players to choose from, unless there are no new tiles to turn up. This version of the game will give players more chance to choose tiles and thus will require players to use more strategy in selecting which tile they play.
I bought this game because it won the award, because it was cheap, and because I felt like taking a risk based on some comments from other reviews (too much luck, variants holding 2-3 tiles, farmer strategy is a sure win, etc). What a deal! It plays fast, it's worth the money, and we have played it with 2, 3, and 4 players and everyone has had a great time.
We had one blowout (won by a guy on his first game when he drew all cloisters), but other than that, luck didn't get in the way of fun. We had games won by farmers, others by cloisters, others by cities. Today I felt that by not putting down farmers and not drawing cloisters I was out of the game, but to keep it honourable I went for some cities (completed just one) and roads (had 3 unfinished). To everyone's amazement, I won. I couldn't believe it.
This game gives you lots of ways to skin the cat. Plus if your tiles can't help you, they can sure slow down someone else (e.g. by using roads to fence off farmers, or tiles to prevent the closing of cities... ). And if it were to all fall apart, the game is quickly over and you can play it again. The 'lapping' on the scoreboard seems a design oversight, but we found that the danger of getting 'lapped' by someone adds some spice to the game. What do you want for a couple of bucks? Well deserving of Game of the Year.
All the other reviews cover the mechanics well enough. I'll just say that I have friends both in and out of a gaming group, and this is one of those games that both like.
For the die-hard gamers, this is a great warm-up or end-of-night game. For the non-gamers, this is close enough to [page scan/se=0447/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Dominoes that the concepts are easily grasped after the first game.
Add to this the low cost of the game, and you have a great present for your family or your 'fringe gamer' friends.
This game plays as advertised, it doesn't matter how many players are involved. You could probably even play it solitaire--like a jigsaw puzzle, but I digress. :)
The game's simple and elegant mechanics belie a very meaty game. It's essentialy a tile-laying game with some very interesting scoring mechanics. After my first game (which took less than an hour), I wanted to play again.
This is one of the best uses for a $20 dollar bill that I can think of.
I am writing in response to some of the negative reviews that surfaced recently. This is a very good game and not nearly as 'light' as some would want you to believe. One review stated that farmers didn't come into play. What? That reviewer obviously did not play enough times to learn the stratagies involved. When we play, the largest point scores come from well placed farmers.
The game is great as is, but one version we play does away with the rule where you may not place a man on a road, field, or city occupied by another player. This leads to 'arms races' for larger cities, fields, or roads, when more than one player jockeys for control. This puts great strains on your limited supply of men, making for a more competitive and cutthroat game.
I apologize for the awful pun, but I had to share it. :)
This is truly a great game, and I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said. Just buy it.
One strange thing to be aware of if you care: The newer printings have a completely different (and shorter) scoring track than the one shown above. It's styled as castle ramparts instead of stepping stones. I don't know why. Doesn't impact the game at all other than to give more people the satisfaction of rolling over to zero points.
Draw a tile. Ponder where to place it. Should you place a figure on it? You might run out too fast--maybe you should hold on to your pieces. Okay, so you decided to play one. But where? If you play it in the city it is a knight, but one on the green is a farmer. The knight might be more valuable in the short term, but a farmer might score more in the long term. Okay, so you decided for a knight. Should you start a new city or try to build into one of your opponent's cities?
This is just a small sample of the strategy in Carcassonne. I like it a lot with any number of players, though it seems to be a little more luck oriented with more than two players (but not so much that there isn't plenty of advantage to the player who is playing more skillfully).
This is a great game for strategy and just for watching the beautiful terrain layout. Ooh! That city looks like a butterfly. That one looks like an octopus!
Watch out--you may end up with a craving to see Southern France. A word of warning: this game may be better played on the floor than the table. For you might think you know which way the tiles are going to be placed, but you might be wrong. The game board sometimes seems to shape itself. If you like this one, you may like La Citta or Settlers of Catan.
As a game designer myself, every now and again I come across a design that makes me wonder... Why didn't I come up with that?
Carcassonne is a simple, subtle and truly enjoyable game!
My two children (8/boy & 10/girl) are having a great time playing this game with both my wife and me.
I will agree with the previous poster that the well placed farmers are the way to go. I would say that that has not diminished the fun factor of the game, in fact it has enhanced the enjoyment. I think the reason for this is that while well placed farmers can win the game, we have yet to play a game where any one player had much more than half of his points earned from farming.
One of the reasons for this is that among the 'serious' or competitive gamers, there is almost a cooperative tendenancy to 'cut off' another player's farmers and to try to leave him/her high and dry.
My gaming group has had Carcassonne for over 8 months, and due to its quick play, it has been our #1 game for most of that time. I wanted to write a few words about the style of our games, and a few custom rules, that might serve as rebuttal to some of the complaints I've seen in reviews here.
First off, the most obvious place to put more 'skill' into Carcassonne is in tile-drawing. We quickly decided to implement a 'hand-size' of two tiles, so that you'd have more ability to plan in advance, as well as having fewer instances of no good tile to play. After much experimentation, we settled on a system where you have 3 tiles in hand, play one--DON'T draw a new one--next turn, you play one of the two remaining tiles--THEN draw your hand back up to three tiles.
We found this to be the best balance of giving more options, but not being too burdensome and prone to overanalysis (as were games where we could all look at all our tiles--don't try that!)
Secondly, a word on strategy. We went through a phase playing Carcassonne where most people considered farmers to be all-important. Then the better players in the group realized that it was incredibly easy to punish players who overcommitted to farming early--by using the road tiles in particular, or by the very simple method of playing to harass efforts to complete cities, especially the numerous 'little cities' that the farming-committed players so desperately want.
One common feature of our games sees a player with no farmers in the one (or two) big areas trying to build a little micro-area of small cities and farmers on the outside of the board, usually on the far side of a perimeter road, safe from the large farming area.
The main point is, in a quality five-player game, it is quite feasable to screw the farmers--who find the endgame very rough going with so many meeples already committed on the board.
While playing, bear in mind that every tile you play will have a bearing on the shape and expansiveness of the farming players' powers. Three tiles in particular, the two 'road-into-cloister' tiles and the 4-way intersection have a tremendous power to either jam up or expand the farmers' strengths and should be played with extreme caution.
At any rate, try the 3-2-3-2 hand-size next time, it will expand your options greatly. And try to be aware that the farms grow at your expense, and that playing a tile for a point or two less than the maximum feasible may be worth it to stick it to the early farmers.
I bought this game a week or so before it won the 2001 Game of the Year award. It was very enjoyable. We don't have a huge selection of games (about 15 non-Monopoly style), but this was an instant winner. Instructions didn't take an hour to read and explain to everyone, like some of our other favorites, so it was easy to sit down and pretty much start playing 10 minutes later. I would post some other technical comments, but they have all pretty much been stated already.
Definitely a winner and worth the price.
It isn't hard to see why this game is rated so highly: the game plays easily; scoring, while initially complicated, makes great sense after a few games; you can vary how many tiles are in your hand to limit the amount of luck in the game; plays quick; looks great; it's cheap. I am not going to fight the tide on this one--it's a great game with a great theme. Families should love it (except for the complicated farmer scoring), gamers should love it, and I know from past experience that new-to-German-gamers love it.
Five stars might be a bit high, but it's the best connect-the-tiles game I have ever played, it's such a good deal, and anyone can learn how to play and enjoy it, and that is worth an extra star right there. The only thing I don't like is the 'thief'. (Since I prefer not to place a 'thief', I instead place 'tax collectors'. Some would say there is no difference (especially in Canada) =) ) but in any case, I just like the idea of placing tax collectors better than placing thieves.) That is my only nitpick of the entire game.
What are you waiting for? If you play German games, you should have this one; if you've never played German games before, this should be one of the first ones you try (along with Settlers of Catan, Big City, and [page scan/se=0027/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Bohnanza, or (for something really meaty) [page scan/se=0899/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Princes of Florence, Tikal, and Union Pacific).
Simple mechanics, quality bits and design, plays well from 2 to 5 players, plays in less than an hour, and priced right!
Both my wife and I enjoy playing this game and feel we could win every time. This is important for 2 player games, since if one starts to dominate the game, then the other party would no longer be inclined to play.
It scales well for 5 players, and our group loved it. Just like Settlers of Catan, we kept on playing and playing.
As a bonus, this game is easily adjustable in terms of luck/strategy (just see variants), interaction between players is not direct (for quiet types), but nothing prevents you from interacting/influencing other players (for the not-so-quiet types). Truly this is a game for everyone.
I broke down (without going broke) and bought a second copy of Carcassonne... my wife & I play with 10 'Followers' but only one starting tile... we keep a tile to play or swap (facedown, similar to Auf Heller und Pfennig)... make sure you have a large table to play on because the board will grow!
This double version plays pretty well with two and will easily absorb 5 players. With just the two of us, even with the second game coming with the improved scoring board, I find that using a cribbage board is much faster, accurate and less prone to tracking errors for managing the scores as they accrue.
Heck, for less than a movie ticket and bucket of popcorn, you can enjoy twice the enjoyment from having two sets of Carcassonne. Order up!
Carcassonne is the kind of beautiful, elegant game that doesn't come around but once every few years. The mechanisms are simple but innovative, the scoring system lends itself well to tactical and strategic play, and the theme seems well-integrated into the game (esp. for a German game).
Carcassonne has so many things going for it: nicely-illustrated tiles, an easy-to-learn set of rules, high replayability, and the guarantee that no one game will ever be identical to a previous one. There is some basis in luck (failing to draw a single cloister tile in the course of a game is particularly frustrating), but once you play the game a couple of times, you can begin to figure out ways of remaining competetive in points without having to depend on getting 'that one tile'.
Also, Carcassonne scales beautifully from 2 to 5 players. As a two-player game it is particuarly good, but it's enjoyable all the way up to the max. 5 players.
Finally, if you don't like the little bit of luck in the game, you can help to re-emphasize strategy over luck in the gameplay balance by using a 'refreshable three-tile hand' variation. That's pretty self-explanatory, so I need not go into what that entails. However, I think this game is amazing, anyway, without the variant.
Bottom line: Carcassonne is a New Classic, a game that's easily-accessible, highly replayable, and will be pulled out of your cabinet many times over the years. Carcassonne belongs in your possesion.
It is difficult to find a game that plays as well with two as it does with several players. Carcassonne is such a game. In fact, it is one of the best I have encountered in this respect. It makes a very good two-player game, and the players do not feel they "are not playing the real game." The game also accommodates multiple players without bogging down.
Carcassonne has something else going for it that is important to me. My wife likes it, and even asks to play it, which makes it worth its weight in gold. Here is a game that can be enjoyed by both the jaded grognard and the non-gamer. It has simple mechanics, intriguing strategies, beautiful components and a short playing time.
Some have intimated that farmers are too powerful. I don't agree. A farmer is a long-term investment, and ties up a follower that could be gaining points in other ways. They can be a game winner, but can also be neutralized. I wouldn't change a thing about them, or any other aspect of the game. Carcassonne is an excellent system in an attractive package that can please a wide audience. I highly recommend it.
This is the most fun game I've played in quite a while, perhaps since Settlers of Catan came along. It's simple in concept, yet very engaging to play. My games group doesn't usually play the same game more than once in a night, but we've been playing this one over and over. Highly recommended!
I am always looking for games that play well even with just 2 players and Carcassonne is among the best! My wife and I can play a game in less than 30 minutes by each taking a tile (and doing most of our planning) while the other person takes their turn.
The board is pretty to look at as you and an opponent spread tiles across the dining room table; and the strategy, while not as intense as a chess or Go, is stimulating enough especially after work. Clever planning can bring in unexpected point revenue and the game has tremendous replay value... in my opinion, Carcassonne has one of the highest 'instant replay' values of any game I own (and I have many, as my groaning, sagging bookshelves will attest to!).
Price, quality, replayability and strategy wrapped up in a package at this price... you cannot go wrong with the purchase of Carcassonne.
First time I played this game I was hooked and had to buy it. I have played games from Risk to Illuminati to Advanced Civilization. This game is a must if you are a casual gamer or a gamer extreme. Game play is simple (took no more than 5 minutes to explain) and contains enough to make the game highly replayable.
I've played this game nine times so far, in three sessions--it's a quick game--and really enjoy it. It works as well for two as it does for four, and in some ways is even better with two. The more we play, the more tense the game becomes as we learn new strategies--especially for the placement of farmers. Don't miss this one.
This game is TERRIFIC! I decided to buy it because it seemed interesting. Boy, was it ever! The pieces are really sturdy and top notch. My game night friends are a picky bunch, but this game won them over. Though there is a certain amount of downtime which can't be avoided (unless you agree on a time limit), the game plays smoothly. I agree that farmers can be strong followers, but remember, you're limited to the number of followers you have and making them all farmers could work against you. Knowing when to place a farmer is crucial, but just trying to figure out when to use your followers can be excruciating and exciting at the same time. Some people have complained about the luck factor and scoring in this game. The luck is only there when you have to pick a tile; strategy is figuring out where to place it and that plays more heavily in this game to me and my group. As for the scoring, we thought the scoring system worked just fine. Incomplete cloisters, cities and roads make for interesting scores, especially if you're behind and desperate. We will definitely be playing this again.
I just got this game for my nine year old daughter. It is as much fun for her as for the adults. The rules are easy but the tile-laying strategy can be challenging. Although it is recommended for ages 10 and up, my five year old is getting the hang of it.
I have to agree with all of the reviews. This game is excellent! I'll skip the mechanics as they have been covered, instead I would like to address the scoring and the previously mentioned scoring variations. The scoring variant of subtracting points for uncompleted cloisters and roads will have 2 detrimental affects on the game:
- Players will stop adding pieces before the end stages of the game to avoid losing points. This will result in players placing only farmers and knights the last 1/3 of the game or so.
- Subtracting points for uncompleted roads and cloisters makes farmers too powerful in comparison (a number of players have commented that they are already too powerful, although this can be overcome by careful attention to farms throughout the game).
The scoring variants we came up with are based on the same reasons: why should unfinished roads count the same as roads finished to completion during the game and why is a finished cloister (very rare in our games unless the cloister is drawn very early) only worth 1 point more than a unfinished cloister of 8 at the end of the game?
Our variants on scoring are:
Cloister: Worth 10 points if finished during the game (we were toying with 12 points but felt that was too much, although we might try it with 3 or more players as less tiles are drawn with more players making it more difficult).
Roads: A road completed during the game is worth the number of tiles, as normal, plus 1 point for finishing it. (again we might try using a variant on this were a road of 6 or more finished receives a 2 point bonus in addition to the number of tiles; but we also do not want to introduce too many rules).
- Completed roads of only 2 tiles recieve no extra points; therefore they are only worth 2 as in the normal game. (we thought that since a 2 tile castle is only worth 2 points, the 2 tile road should not be worth more than a castle and perhaps should only be worth 1 point)
- with this variant the theives could be thought of as builders--a road built to completion is worth more than an unfinished job.
End game scoring is the same as the original rules.
After playing Carcassonne about ten times, we've discovered that an alternative to the Farm scoring rules seems to work well.
In the original rules, when the game ends, each city is considered individually to see which person has the most adjacent farmers.
So say that midway through a game, the red player has two farmers in farm region 1. If this region is large (there often is one large farm territory), then is it really worth it for a Yellow player to establish a small, separate farm in a city adjacent to farm region 1? Under the current scoring rules, not really.
But suppose each farmland is counted individually. Whoever has the most farmers in a given region scores the 4 points per neighboring city. In this manner, the red player is still rewarded for a majority of farmers in a large farmland. But now each separate farmland is its own battleground. So the yellow player (and others) have reason to fight it out in another farm region.
Aside from this alternative, we thought it would be fun to mix two sets together.
Carcassonne is indeed beautiful to look at and enjoyable to play. To me, however, the heart of a good game is a good scoring system, and although I have found Carcassonne to be delightful, I did not feel any tension or any sense of achievement in completing roads, cloisters or cities when playing according to the rules provided. This is because at the end of the game, points are awarded for incomplete cities, roads, and cloisters. Perhaps I am over-influenced by games such as Lost Cities, but where is the element of risk here? Yes, cities only score 1/2 their regular value when incomplete, but roads and cloisters still score the standard rate of 1 per tile. Thus, the difference between a completed cloister and a cloister one tile short is only a single point. Why not instead make it a risky investment to start building and make expanding and deciding when to stop a more tricky decision to make? To do this, I recommend as a variant that one penalize followers at the end of the game who dominate incomplete roads, cloisters, and cities at the rate of 1 point per tile belonging to the incomplete road, cloister or city. (You just subtract what you would have added.) This lends a real nailbiting Lost Cities feel to the game and makes choices that much harder to make.
I've played this several times now with 2 and 5 players, and I love it! There's something about tile-laying games and dynamic maps that appeals to me in general, so you could say I'm biased towards games of this genre from the start.
The rules are simple and can be explained in a few minutes (my experience says you should stress what a 'field' is and how far it can reach, as that's sometimes a tricky issue with new players). The components are great--nice thick cardboard tiles that fit together countless ways to ensure no two games will ever have the same map, and cute stocky little wooden figures in bright colors.
With larger numbers of players, budding metropolises will not get completed as often as with fewer players, so the key seems to be knowing just how much to bite off and when to start placing farmers in lieu of highwaymen, knights, and monks. Some fields can stretch over 2/3 of the map if roads and cities don't block them, so the need for offensive farmer placement and defensive field capping comes into play in the middle game once several cities are completed.
The easy-to-explain rules, dynamic tile map, and good blend of luck (in tile drawing) and strategy (in placing followers by role) make this a winner for me. I'll be scheming to get this out every week when we have game night!
Carcassonne is one of my favorite games of 2000. I've only had it for about 6 weeks now, but I've managed a dozen highly-entertaining games. I won't go into rules synopsis as it has already been nicely covered in some of the other reviews. Here are the reasons I recommend it:
- Is scalable. I've enjoyed playing with 2, 3, 4 and 5 players--and it works well in all cases (although I slightly prefer it with 4 or less).
- Is quick. I think the 30 minutes on the box might be a bit of an underestimate, but we do tend to finish in about 45 minutes. The longest game took about an hour.
- Is simple. Rules can be digested within about 15 minutes of reading and can be taught in minutes to gamers and non-gamers alike.
- Is enjoyable. It has that 'just play once more' quality. I always think I could have done something just slightly different to alter the outcome and am eager to give it another go. Each game the board unfolds differently.
In addition, I'm a bit of a sucker for a tile laying game--and this one is quite good. The game is somewhat luck heavy (not necessarily a bad thing!), but there are plenty of tactical opportunities in tile placement (often forcing you to react and adapt a tile just drawn to make the best of the situation given the current board layout). There are also some longer-term strategic elements in the use of farmers which only score at the end of the game. Carcassonne really packs quite a bit into such a short play time. Highly recommended.
Based on some earlier reviews I ordered a copy of Carcassonne. It arrived when I just happened to have a friend over, and we soon opened the box to look it over. We read the rules (5 minutes max, even with going over the examples) and started a game.
Three games later we both agreed the game was excellent. It's very easy to understand, but lots harder to play well. You really start seeing all the possible scoring chances, and before you know it you are engrossed in the game.
I took the game over the New Year's weekend and played it several more times, and everyone who played it also agreed how much fun it was, yet very engrossing.
I love the components too. Solid, thick and graphically pleasing tiles, nice little wooden figures, sturdy box. Like others have already said, a real bargain.
I have to rate this as good as some other favorites of mine--Hera and Zeus, El Grande, Caesar & Cleopatra, and Torres. Perhaps not as in depth as a few of those mentioned, but certainly on par for enjoyment, replayability, fun, easy to understand and teach, etc.
If you want a very good game at a decent price, this one would be very hard to beat.
I wasn't expecting a whole lot when I bought this game. I figured it would be one that would be pulled out every once in a while, but I was wrong. During the last month my group has played this game at least once a week, and often time more. We've played it with two, three, four, and five players, and it works well with any of those numbers.
This game is a bargain with an MSRP of $20. Buy it, you'll like it.
At first a gave this four stars; I guess I felt there was some insincerity in the presentation. This is a connection game, a sophisticated Waterworks or Pipeline. It's dressed up with Knights and Castles. Yet, last night I played it again, and I must admit that it was a lot of fun as well as a good test of wits. So what more can you ask of a game? My only gripe is that we have had to play this on a pool table because the roads may soon run into the onion dip or off the table completely. Still, it's worth the extra effort.
I found Carcassonne to be very enjoyable.
The game components (map tiles, scoring board, pawns) are up to the high standard we've become accustomed to (and spoiled by) in "German games". The tiles and board are of sturdy, four-color, textured pressboard; the pawns are painted wood.
GAME PLAY SYNOPSIS
The object of Carcassonne is to lay down map tiles in such a way that your various pawns can score as many victory points as possible. The map tiles themselves come in many different varieties and depict combinations of fertile grassland, cities, roads, and monasteries. Depending on how the tiles are placed, they can join together to form large fields, expansive cities, long roads, etc. The tiles are designed such that features originate or terminate at tile corners or midpoints, and only a tile that successfully matches the edge features of the tile next to it may be played. For example, if an existing tile has a road coming off the side, then only a tile that continues that road may be played at that edge.
On each turn, a player draws a random tile, places it, and then has the option to place one pawn on the tile just laid. Players may place their wooden pawns on the tiles in several different ways: Highwaymen, Farmers, Villagers, or Monks. Highwaymen are placed on roads, and will end up scoring points based upon the length of the road they are on; Farmers are placed in fields and score points at the end of the game based on how many completed cities are adjacent to that field; Villagers are placed in cities and score points based upon how large the city becomes before completion; Monks are placed in monasteries and score points if the monastery becomes completely surrounded by other tiles. Some pawn placements can score points during the game (Highwaymen, Villagers, Monks) whereas Farmers only score at the end of the game.
Players only score points, though, if they are the dominant player (meaning they have the most pawns) on that particular feature (city, road or field). Once a player has placed a pawn on a feature, no other player may challenge by placing one of their own pawns on the same feature. HOWEVER, players may come into contention when two separate features become joined together by tiles being played to connect them. For example, opponents might have pawns on roads that end up becoming joined together. When this happens, only the dominant player scores, unless there is a tie. This makes for a great deal of strategy in placing pawns in locations that you will try to join to other locations via shrewd tile plays. This whole sub-game is most applicable to fields, which can become very large, touching many cities, and therefore very valuable.
One interesting factor is that each player only has a limited number of pawns to play, so you have to be careful not to get all your pawns tied up on the gameboard or else your strategies will become severely limited. Luckily, as roads, cities, and monasteries become completed, players score points immediately and can retrieve their pawns that were on those completed features.
The game ends when either there are no legal tile plays left, or when the last tile is placed. At the end of the game, a final scoring round takes place and the person who ends up with the most victory points wins.
COMMENTS AND OPINION
I was very impressed by Carcassonne. I think it will appeal to many different gamer types, from the hard-core strategy type to the casual boardgamer. The rules can be taught quickly and there isn't much to remember. However, like chess, the options and true complexity of the game belies its simple appearance. Strategy is very important in the game but is slightly mitigated by the luck factor of tile draws. This makes for a balanced, approachable game because the casual gamer still has a chance of winning and can therefore have a good time playing in a casual fashion while the power-gamer sits brooding over each tile placement.
I enjoyed the interaction between players, which can have healthy doses of both cooperation and backstabbing. I also particularly liked watching the map unfold as we played tiles.
The game components are great quality, and I liked the theme (medieval walled cities). To top everything off, the price is decent (not one of those $50 imports).
I am giving Carcassonne five stars not because it is perfect, but because it is one of the real gems I've played in recent months and I believe it represents exceptional value. Plus it is a flexible enough game that I can play it with a variety of different gaming groups, including the spouse and parents.
One last note: our foursome took considerably longer to play than the 30 minutes implied by the box. However, we can tend to be fiercely competitive and I am one of the slowest strategy gamers I know, so your mileage may vary....
For at least the last seven years, we've been looking for a tile-laying game worthy of the now-unavailable Pipeline (well worth tracking down, if you can). Finally, we've found one--Carcassonne.
Unless you have a very big table, this is a game you should play on the floor. As you lay down the attractively-printed cardboard tiles with roads, cloisters, city walls, and farm land, the size of your playing field grows in unpredictable ways. In one game, you might have a collection of small cities clustered closely together. In another game, your cities might grow large and be separated by expansive fields. Purely from an aesthetic perspective, this is a beautiful game to watch unfold.
Strategically, we've read that the game is very light and can be finished in 30 minutes. In the two 2-player games we've played, both lasted about an hour. While there certainly is an element of luck in the choice of tiles you pick, skill does play a significant role in the game. For at least half of the tiles we picked, it was not immediately obvious where to lay the tile nor whether to place one of our cute little wooden figurines onto it.
Gaining control of farmland is crucial for collecting points, and there are sneaky ways to accomplish this. Farmlands that begin as disconnected can be merged through the appropriate placement of tiles. One of us (no names here!) fell victim to this clever tactic (grrrrr...).
Our final scores topped 100--a larger value than the top amount provided on the scoring path.
With easy-to-learn rules, some tough tactical decisions, and an ever-changing playing field, Carcassonne is a pleasure to play. We look forward to trying it with more players.
I didn't think this game would be much, to be honest. Seemed too simple to challenge someone that likes mentally challenging games. However, I find that this game grows on you. The more I've played it, the more strategy I see. And though the strategy is limited--there is something intriguing about the game. Here's what I like:
- this game plays great with 2 players. (I have only played it with 2 and 3 players.)
- it takes 5 seconds to set it up for play.
- it takes no more than 5 minutes to teach someone to play.
- it takes little more than 30 minutes to play a game.
- though luck plays a major part, the game is generally won by the player who makes the best use of his luck.
- when I finish, I want to play again.
For these reasons alone, Carcassonne will probably be one of my most often played games, despite the fact that I'm a long-time wargamer. As much as I like deep strategy, I don't find that many people who do! So, I end up playing the less competitive games. Carcassonne fits the bill, yet it is fun and mentally interesting to play.
This game is not a gut-wrencher (no sweaty palms or knots in your stomach as you play).
Rather, it is a quiet, relaxing game. It would never be the 'main attraction' on game night with a group of highly competitive gamers. But it will be an excellent 'filler' game--even for the 'out-for blood' guys. And it will be a great game for those not-so-determined to win at all cost. It has quickly become one of my two or three favorite 2-player games (along with Battle Cry and Hera & Zeus).
Even my wife will play it--and she generally hates games for all the things Carcassonne isn't (too long, too involved, too much thinking, too much 'war,' or 'blood', or 'tension').
The game board grows as players add tiles in almost puzzle-like fashion. Gradually, roads, villages, cities, abbys, and farms unfold. In like manner, I have found my enjoyment of this game grows. Each time I play it, I like it more.
An instant classic. No wonder there are so many variations and expansions of this game: It’s excellent.
The basic game is so fun because of its simplicity: Draw a random tile, examine the board, play it where you see fit. Then place your piece if you can score some nice points. Sounds easy? It is.
Pro’s: Short and sweet game. Takes 45 minutes to play. Multiple players are great, but it still holds satisfaction for just 2 players. High replay value. Clear and concise rules with diagrams so there is no confusion.
Con’s: The logic of scoring the farmers at the end of the game can be daunting, but consulting the rules will help you figure it out. Read the “points-sharing” section a couple times to make sure you’ve got it figured out.
Notes: You’ll notice there are tons of expansions for this game. A warning: It can make the game overwhelming leaing you to Carc-burn- out. There’s some great expansions out there but the more you add, the longer the game takes to play. I’d suggest adding them in slowly. My favorite is the Princess & the Dragon because it adds a very random variable to the game which can foil even the pro’s. ~Lou Rocco Centrella
There are plenty of reviews of Carcassonne, but as a newcomer to the game, let me add my own new perspective...
I was introduced to Carcassonne a few months ago by a friend who had downloaded a free version of it onto his XBOX 360. I enjoyed playing it, but I was afraid that after seeing those cool graphics and animation on the 360, something would be lost when I was holding the little cardboard tiles in my hand. I ordered a copy of the "board" game anyway. It arrived a few days ago and I have been playing it non-stop with friends... and playing solitaire, too!
The components of this game are very high quality - the cardboard tiles are very thick, sturdy, and beautifully illustrated. The wooden pieces (meeples) look nice. The box art does not do justice to how nice this game looks laid out on a table. I now prefer this version to the XBOX download, because there are a lot more options (i.e. expansions).
Great game. I love it.
I did a lot of research before jumping into the boardgaming world again after an eight year hiatus and everything I read said buy Carcassonne. I was looking for games that are fun with 2 players and more... Carcassonne is a great 2 player game and we've played with 3 and 4 and it's good with those numbers as well. I was looking for relatively easy to learn games that are mostly strategy but involve some luck (not abstract) and Carcassonne fits the bill.
The gamers and non-gamers that I play with like this game and it comes out as often as any other game in the stack.
I first found out about this game at my friends house where we were having a playdate and he got it as a present. Then we played and found out how good it was. I haven't gotten it yet but I hope a can soon! Definitely worth its price.
We got this game based on a mix of curiosity and price - I'd heard some good stuff about it so wanted to see what the fuss was about & it was within the limit of the cash in my wallet at the time. It was well worth the chance & the money paid.
We have kids & this game was perfect for us!
It's an easy game to pick up and an easy game to play. It takes us about 30mins to get through one game & we sometimes play a round before bedtime, or one just after school/before dinner.
The game is light enough that our 5 year old has no problems playing along (and winning too)... and it's actually a good intro to heavier strategy games - getting then kids to think a few moves ahead as well as thinking about placement to further their own cities, or close down someone elses.. long term payoff vs. short term gains etc. etc.
The first few times we talked about where to put tiles but now we don't really play with 'discussion re. placement of tiles' as is noted in the rules.. we really only point out the validity of the placement, if required. After a game or two the kids start to see what you're doing & mimic the actions anyway. (then you have to change your strategy!)
We also like that there is no 1 way to play - We all play differently & we have similar win percentages.
The balance between engagement & duration is good - i.e. you can stay focused & interested for the 30mins it takes to play it.
We don't use it as a "meaty" game.. we use others like Siedler (Settlers) for that, but it certainly beats playing things like "Guess who" when you have some time to spare!
It's not going to be everyone's cup of tea (which is why I didn't make it 5 stars), but it's perfect for the mix of ages, experience, and time we have.
Carcassonne, by Klaus Jurgen Wrede (Mesopotamia, Carcassone: Hunters and Gatherers and many more), is a clever and fun tile-laying game for between 2 and 5 people. Carcassonne is a very attractive game with nice, high-quality, components that plays well, is easy to teach and quick to learn. This really is one of the very best ‘gateway’ games, a game that is different, attractive and fun, and one that shows people new to gaming that there is more to board games than Monopoly or the Game of Life.
In Carcassonne players pick up face down tiles, decorated on their face with images of castle segments, field portions, road sections or medieval cloisters, the player must then place the tile so that it matches with – or fits in with – the tiles around it. After the tile has been placed the player may choose to position one of a limited number of ‘followers’ (affectionately referred to as meeples by most Carc players) so that the follower claims the road, castle, field or cloister on the tile (as long as it isn’t already claimed). When such features as the castles, roads and cloisters are completed the players receive back their followers and score an amount of points depending on what it is, and how large it is. In this way a game of Carcassonne is much like a group of people constructing a rather nice-looking puzzle together, but scoring points for the sections of the puzzle that they completed and/or claimed for themselves.
Carcassonne is a light and fun game, it doesn’t require too much thought, is astonishingly simple, but deeper than it appears. One of the great beauties of Carcassonne is that it is very easy to modify, there are additional rules that will help make the game more tactical and slightly less luck based, and rules that can be dropped without too much impact on game-play and that will make it easier to play and learn.
Carcassonne scales very well, this is a game that can easily handle 5 and plays excellently with 2; it is a fun game that doesn’t take too long. The components are attractive (so much so that the poor meeple has a cult following!) and high quality; the tiles are nice thick cardboard, which are printed beautifully; in fact the game is a real pleasure to handle and look at.
One of the great things about Carcassonne is that there are many expansions available for it, none of them necessary, but all of them welcome. Inns and Cathedrals comes highly recommended as it adds some nice game elements and a 6th player, which is great.
Carcassonne is an easily learned and easily played game that looks great and scales well. If you are looking for a casual game, or a game for casual players, or even people who aren’t into board games, this game is for you.
This is one of those good games that good press but for some reason I've held off on buying it. I don't know anyone in my area who owned it and just did not have anything but online reviews to go by. Given the cartoonish nature of the artwork I guess I just never felt very inspired to pick it up.
Well I was needing a 2 player game the other day and after all the good things that have been said about Carcassonne as a 2 player game I felt I had to give it a fair shake and see what it was all about.
I'm very glad I did.
The simplistic game play of and ever changing board of this game means that even as a 2 player game it stands the test of replay. As a 2 player game goes there are none out there of this caliber that I've come across at all. Start adding players and while just as fun your anticipation level climbs. Will the next player pull the piece I need or will he block what I'm trying to build?
The only complaint that I could possibly muster about this game comes in the fine nuances of the rules. The way roads and fields work can be slightly muddled and confusing, but given that after careful explanation my 11 year old daughter got it I think it's not an insumountable thing in any fashion.
My bottom line on this game is that if you are like me and have been holding off on Carcassonne because you've not seen it demoed and don't believe it lives up to the hype you read online....believe it. This is not that expensive of a game (heck it's just a bunch of tiles and a few wooden tokens component wise) so the next time you've got some spare cash handy take the risk on it. Like me I think you'll be glad you did.
If you asked me the three best gateway games, I would without hesitation tell you Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, and Carcassonne. Each of the three games has their selling points, and Carcassonne has been one of my favorite games to suck more people into the fold of great board games. More recently, I’ve just begun to use the basic principles of the game to teach my four year old some tactics and strategies. Carcassonne looks fantastic when set up on the table, has a wide range of expansions available, and should be a part of every gamer’s collection.
I must say that Wrede’s later Carcassonne works are getting better, as the game now has had the benefit of hundreds of thousands of playings. If you’re not interested in the expandability of the game, then I would highly recommend picking up Ark of the Covenant or Carcassonne: the City. Both of them are slightly simpler and overall a bit superior to Carcassonne when played by itself. But when expansions are added, Carcassonne becomes a different animal, with a huge variety. Better yet, the expansions can be mixed and matched with little or no effect, allowing one to play Carcassonne with the rules of their pleasing. Lately, it has become fashionable to publicly declare disdain for Carcassonne online; yet I will contend that Carcassonne is not only bringing new gamers into the fold but offers fun, tactical depth with a mix of luck.
The base game comes with seventy-two land tiles - one of which is placed in the middle of the table to start the game. The rest are shuffled and placed in stacks near the board (or in a cloth bag - whatever the players prefer). Each player takes eight small wooden people markers (commonly known as meeples) of their color. A small board with a scoring track from zero to fifty is placed somewhere on the table, and one meeple from each player is placed on the track as a marker. The youngest player decides who goes first, and then play proceeds clockwise around the table.
On a player’s turn, they draw one tile and must place it adjacent to one of the tiles on the board. Each tile is a combination of roads, city segments, fields, and cloisters. Tiles can only be placed so that the terrain on adjacent tiles matches (field to field, city to city, road to road). All players may offer advice on where to place the tile, and the player may discard the tile if no legal placement is available (quite rare). A player may then place one of their meeples on one part of the tile.
- A player may place a knight, a meeple on a city segment of the tile. The knight may only be placed in a city that contains no other meeples, from any color.
- A player may place a thief on a road segment - again, only on a road that has no other thieves.
- A player may place a farmer on any field segment - once again only in a field that has no other meeples. Fields are separated by roads and cities.
- A player may place a monk on a cloister. If separate cities, roads, or fields are connected by a tile, then it is possible for two or more meeples to be in the same city, etc.
After the meeples are placed (optional), and completed feature is scored. A completed feature scores points for the player with the most meeples on it (or all players, if a tie occurs). The meeple(s) is removed and returned to the player(s). Fields are not scored until the end of the game, regardless of whether they are finished or not.
- A city is completed when the wall around it completely connects. A city scores two points for each tile in the city, unless the city is composed of only two sections, in which case each section is worth only one point. Some city sections have little pennant symbols - these are worth two extra points each.
- A road is complete when both ends stop at a crossing, city, or cloister. A road scores one point for each tile forming the road.
- A cloister is complete when the tile containing the cloister is completely surrounded by nine tiles. A cloister scores nine points.
When the last tile is placed, the game ends after that player’s turn. Final scoring then takes place.
- All incomplete cities score one point per tile, with pennants worth one point.
- All incomplete roads score one point per tile.
- All incomplete cloisters score one point each, plus one point for each adjacent tile (diagonal or orthogonal).
- Each farm is then scored. Farms score four points for players for each completed city that is adjacent to the farm. If a completed city has more than one farm supplying it, then the player with the most farmers in the adjacent farms gets the four points (in case of ties - all involved players score).
- After the final scoring, the player with the most points is the winner!
- In some versions of the game, the farmers score differently.
- In the Rio Grande version, a small river expansion is included. I’ve reviewed that expansion separately.
Some comments on the game...
1.) Components: The box is a fairly sturdy box, not too big, but large enough to comfortably house the base game and all expansions (thus far). The tiles are of good quality - the artwork on each is varied; and when placed together, they look really nice on the table. Many people add a cloth bag (which is not included in the game, but is in an expansion) or a tile tower for ease of drawing tiles, but neither is really necessary. The starting tile has a different colored back to allow it to be pulled from the rest. And the meeples are probably the most famous piece of “German” gaming. These little wooden men have become symbols for “Euro” gaming and make much more enjoyable markers than cubes, or wooden disks. The only problem with the components of Carcassonne (and it’s minor) is that the scoreboard goes only to fifty, and scores almost ALWAYS go higher than that. Again, this problem is fixed in a future expansion, with tiles that show when a player has passed 50 or 100.
2.) Rules: The rules are short and simple - taking up only four pages, with full colored illustrations. I’ve found the game very easy to teach, and players pick up on it right away. It often appeals to those who like puzzles, as the concept of matching like sections is enjoyable for them. The rules fall naturally into place, and only two need to be explained in any detail: the fact that meeples can only coexist if a tile is placed that merges two cities, etc.; and farmers.
3.) Farmers: Farmers are confusing to beginners; but when I teach a game, I take an extra minute to explain them in detail. Beginners usually don’t realize how powerful a farmer can be - an unchecked one can win a player the game. The expansions do cut down on how powerful a farmer can be, but they still cannot be ignored. The tile mix in Carcassonne is good, but the tile mixes in Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers and Ark of the Covenant are better, as they tend to check farmers more. Then, there is the confusion over which farmer-scoring rules are used. I’ve seen long debates over which rule set to use on the internet, but I’m perfectly content with those in the Rio Grande version - they may not be as simple as other variations, but they work for me. Farmers are only complicated if a player chooses to make them so.
4.) Tile draw: I often hear two complaints about Carcassonne: how lucky the tile draw is and analysis paralysis. There is a fair amount of luck in what players draw, to be sure. When you’re trying to finish a city, and all the tiles you draw have nothing but roads, it can be a bit frustrating. But I do believe that the luck evens out through the game. When playing with players who are more strategic in nature (i.e. they don’t like randomness that much), I play with an optional rule that gives each player a hand of three tiles - thus increasing their options. Of course, this increases the other problem - that of a player taking an inordinately long amount of time on their turn. I’ve found the best way to avoid this problem is to allow players to draw a tile as soon as they finish their turn, giving them a longer time to think upon their next action. This has caused my Carcassonne games to move at a quick clip.
5.) Strategy: Knowing how many meeples to put into farms is quite important; it’s important to put some in (farms can’t be ignored), but one doesn’t want to tie up all their meeples. A player’s playing style in the game can be one of opportunity (merely trying to increase their cities and roads), or one of attack (trying to muscle their way into large cities, or deliberately placing tiles that make it hard for a player to increase their cities and roads). Cities are certainly a keystone of the game, but roads allow a player some quick points.
6.) Fun Factor: Much of the fun comes from the building of the land of Carcassonne. Many times, after a game, players will sigh in satisfaction, looking at the cool map that has been built. Scoring a large city/road/farm also brings a smile to one’s face. On the flip side, an aggressive opponent can knock down the fun for some people, as well as bad tile draws. While the majority of people I’ve introduced the game to have enjoyed it, there are a few who really hate it. These are mostly people who just don’t enjoy luck much at all and make up a (vocal) minority. I’ve found that Carcassonne is at it’s finest, and most fun, when introduced to casual gamers.
7.) Expansions: I’ve stated above that I prefer one of the later Carcassonne evolutions when playing a vanilla game, but Carcassonne is still the king when it comes to expansions. I’ve included all of them in my games, and enjoy them all, although I’d never introduce them all at once to a new gamer. There isn’t one of the lot that I dislike, although Builders and Traders is probably my current favorite. They all add to the tile mix and add in some more strategic options. If someone doesn’t like Carcassonne because of the lack of strategy, they still might like it with one or more of the expansions added. (I’ve reviewed each expansion separately.)
Mr. Wrede certainly designed a classic game when he came up with Carcassonne. There are some that dislike it (mostly hard-core gamers), but most people I’ve introduced it to have enjoyed it greatly. Not only does it play well in multiplayer (up to five, six with the expansion), but it also makes a tremendous two-player game (though not as good as Carcassonne: the Castle). It’s simple, easy, and fun; and most people have asked me to try it again. I enjoy it, and with its expansions I find it one of the most fun games I own. It certainly would be one of the last I’d get rid of. Five years after it’s release Carcassonne still has expansions coming out and is rising in popularity. This is for good reason - if you haven’t played the game yet, check it out!
Real men play board games.
Carcassone is one of those games that never plays the same way twice because you have to keep modifying your strategy based on the tiles you get. I've added all the expansions - The River, The Trader, The King - and find that there are now many ways to win the game. While the concept of the farmer can be difficult for first time players to grasp, the rules are generally easy to understand.
The game is quite easy to pick up however startegies involved when laying the tiles provide endless gaming possibilities. The best thing about the game is that it won't take 3 days to determine a winner only about 1-1/2 hours and you start again and not ever reproduce the same cities. I would like to see some of the rules clarified if they reprint or provide english speaking website for clarification. All in all had a great time playing the game.
The basic mechanics are simple, but the actual winning of the game is fairly complex, much like chess. One complaint I've seen is the lack of strategy possible due to the random nature of the tile draw. The solution that works for me is to have each player start with a 'hand' of four tiles. Each turn they draw a tile into thier 'hand' and play one of the five they then have. When the supply of tiles run out, player deplete what they have left in thier hand until everyone is out.
I got Carcassonne because it was cheaper and appeared to be more loved than Settlers of Catan on Funagain and Boardgamegeek.com's review sites. (and that none of my friends had it or had heard of it) I was very pleased and have gone on to get the Inns and Cathedrals expansion and the King & Scout expansion. My friends like it a lot and have asked for it repeatedly at our game nights.
A great introduction game to non-gamers or people who think Pictionary and Monopoly are the only good games to play.
Dying to get a great 2 player game that can be played with more people as well. Carcassonne is a pretty good candidate for this area.
1) 2 players and up to 5!
2) Nice, short game. Game ends when tiles run out. Game time doesn't get drawn out with too many players.
3) Different every time you play it. Can't really decide on a stratgey right away. Must come up with new solutions all the time.
1) While the game doesn't get drawn out with more players, you have less options and essentially less playing time with more people. Strategies can easily be thwarted.
2) Can lose its appeal. Seems a bit pedestrian after awhile. Not a whole lot of startegy involved- a decent amount but not for serious gamers.
Overall, its fun, and I'm glad I can play something with just my girlfriend that we both enjoy. I still would rather search for more people and play something like Settlers of Catan. I haven't tried Carcassone expansions yet though.
I have to say that my favorite part of this game is the little wooden men. They look really funny and people are constantly putting them down wrong (standing on their head, on their side, etc.). The game itself is a lot of fun, with just the right degree of cutthroat along with a large helping of working together. The river expansion is cool, but I am anticipating playing the other parts of this game with a smile on my face.
Game is better with the river. You just got to know when to put your player on a farm to compete for the cities. More pieces for 2-5 players would be great. Developing the tiles takes some time, but overall it is a great game. Have recommend to other friends and will soon be getting the expansion.
We really like this game and find it especially fun for two people. Unlike most games, it's relaxing. The city that is built is different each time and always beautiful. The rules make the game interesting, but winning seems almost incidental to the feeling of satisfaction that comes with building the imaginative landscape.
Hmmmm we've played our first game on a very little table. We've quickly realized that we will have a lack of space to end the game !
You need a good observation sense, a little bit tactic and of course ... luck !
You can buy expansion pack to the game to add time and size to your game ...
Have fun !
Obviously, this game has been reviewed to death, but I thought I would add my opinions as to why you should purchase the game as well as a few thoughts I have on what could be improved.
1. Fast-moving and fun - this game should take no longer than 45 minutes and can be a great break between two longer games.
2. Very nice components (with the exception of the oft-complained about scoreboard) that hold up through wear.
3. Appeals strongly to non-gamers, and, as such, can be used as a gateway to get people interested in more strategic games. Most people I introduce this game to just love it.
4. Can be very social, if you allow people to discuss where each player should place their tile. (This discussion can have two downsides: it slows the game occasionally, and it can lead to even less strategy, but my group believes the social aspect is worth it.)
5. Most importantly to me, this game actually plays well with 2 players, and great with any more than that.
1. Once everyone is experienced with the game, it boils down to luck more often than not. I like my games to depend on skill as much as possible and this one is, at least, 50% luck.
2. Farming can often be too critical... of course, once everyone becomes aware of this the problem dissapears. A first time player, however, always gets slaughtered in our games by underrating farms. Conversely, roads almost always have the least value.
I'm hoping that the expansion helps with the second problem, and with a game this fun, I can live with the first.
I certainly wouldn't say this is my favorite game; however, due to some of the positives listed above, it ends up being the one that I play the most.
Lots of gamers have said it, but I'll enforce the opinion: Carcassonne is a wonderful investment. While the game is no serious, in-depth contest of strategic wits, there is still room for tactics, yet the game is over in 20-40 minutes, making it something that won't exhaust your gaming brain for the night. While some might find the luck of the tile draw annoying, this can easily be altered by simply playing with 'hands' of 2 or 3 tiles (as other reviewers have suggested). It's hard to go wrong with such a wonderful game, especially if you're looking for something that's sort of 'in the middle of the road' in terms of complexity. It isn't super-simple, yet it won't take a whole evening to play.
I have played this game three times and it has convinced me to buy it. Though the game is deceptively simple, the scoring is what makes this game a winner. Just make sure that you have well placed farmers on the board! I would definetly recommend buying this game plus the expansion set which has recently become available.
2000 was a good year for games, so it should come as no surprise that the prestigious Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award was hotly contested in 2001. It's surprising, then, that the eventual winner turned out to be a quiet, unassuming tile-laying game that - honestly - seems pretty derivative, when you really think about it.
The game is incredibly simple: pick up a tile, join it to the growing board, and optionally stick one of your playing pieces ('meeples') onto the tile to claim the area as your own. Score points based on the size of the area, and the highest score wins. That's pretty much it.
So why has Carcassonne taken off, when other similar connection games (El Caballero, Entdecker, The Very Clever Pipe Game) have, comparatively, only found niche markets? Probably for two reasons. One, by virtue of winning the Spiel des Jahres, it has hit critical mass, and snowballed from there, and two, because it actually is a pretty cleverly balanced game.
It's certainly not highly strategic; with five players so much has happened since your last turn that the board may not be recognizable, and in any case your moves are often dictated by what kind of piece you draw. It's also kind of easy to be completely shut out through a series of unlucky draws. But as a light game, it's about the right length (half an hour and change) that it fits the bill as a filler with a bit of meat, much the same niche as Web of Power. The game also, surprisingly, promotes coorperation between players: if you and another player are both involved in an area, there is twice the incentive for it to be completed. On the flip side, there is not so much player interaction that it becomes profitable to go out of your way to hurt an opponent.
Clearly, from the reviews here, not everyone loves this game. That's perhaps because the hype about the game has inflated some people's expectations of the game. It is also unlikely to be popular in a group which likes more meaty tile-laying games like El Caballero or perhaps even Acquire. Certainly the wargaming crowd will see this game as far too chaotic to plan the least piece of strategy. These are all valid opinions, but I think they all try to make Carcassonne something that it is not.
Of course, it's pretty easy to come up with variants that increase or decrease the amount of luck in the game, such as keeping a tile in reserve, or auctioning off tiles, bidding for them with victory points. Such variants are good because they improve the appeal of the game with almost no effort expended.
Now that the game has become so successful, the inevitable flood of expansions is arriving, first with the free River expansion (twelve tiles now included in the basic game), and now with an official, non-free expansion which includes giant meeples and additional kinds of buildings on the tiles. Where it ends, only the game's popularity will determine.
We play all the great games from Risk to Settlers of Catan...This game is great quick and full of fun...takes little time to learn and instructions are stright forward....it does not take a grate deal stragey but among the right group you can add alot of stragey....also many multi player games dont play well with 2 people this is a good 2 player game to pass the time wiating for the late ones to arrive.....
Carcassonne is a medieval land capture game. Lay a tile, claim your land, and rack up points with your followers. Followers are farmers, bandits, monks, and knights. The tiles you lay connect together and form fields, roads, cloisters and cities. The River expansion adds alot of strategy and makes fields and roads harder to connect. It takes strategy but is relatively easy to learn. The only problem is that it is less fun with more people. Then, it seems to get a bit more confusing. All in all a real good game.
I played this with my brother who had played several times. I hated it. I played a few more times and still didn't like it. A few months later, I played and got the hang of it, and it was fun. Now I like it. The scoring is a little difficult to understand with the farmland, but once you figure it out, it really is easy and fun. My 9-year-old likes it a lot.
When my son was younger, we used to 'play' the Rivers, Roads, and Rails card game. Actually, we didn't follow any rules or have any particular object in mind, except to lay alternate tiles and see what kinds of elaborate networks we ended up with. It was a relaxing, quiet way to pass the time.
Carcassonne reminds me of those times. Although I have no doubt that good strategic play, or at least playing on sound principles, is at least as important as luck in winning the game, you don't have to tax your brain to enjoy playing. You're unlikely to lose your whole position with one ill-considered move, so you can just relax and enjoy watching the world unfold.
This is not to say there's no excitement. It can be tense when you're both working on cities in the same neighborhood, trying to establish a majority of knights before a megacity is formed. But this isn't a thinker's game in the category of something like Kahuna. Maybe that's why I like it--my son always beats me at those types of games!
Many reviewers seem to miss the point that this is a light, quick game. To add house rules which cause excess panic and penalties for uncompleted structures (roads, cities), particularly since a single person has little ability to ensure completion, destroys a fine little game.
Likewise, having any more tiles in hand will only bog down an otherwise well-paced game. The idea is to play the tile you have. Don't think too much, just get what you can with a lone tile. How simple can it be?
The only problem I have with this game (hence a one-star deduction) is that an otherwise clean scoring system has an added kluge which is simply unnecessary. It would be so easy and so clean to say that all completed cities are worth 2 points per tile and all incomplete cities are worth half that. But, as the game was taught to me, they had to take it a step farther and include what I call an if-it's-raining-on-Tuesday-and-you-stick-your-tongue-out-and-bark-like-a-dog... rule. If the complete city includes only two tiles, for reasons unknown, it's valued only at half value for the city scoring, but still counts as a complete city for field/farmer scoring. Makes a simple rule too cumbersome.
Otherwise, it's a must have.
This is a solid four star game. We really enjoyed playing this game, and we are excited about playing again. The issue the group has with the game is that it is a little light in the strategy department: as you are randomly selecting a tile and you must place that tile, there is more luck of the draw than anything else. We prefer games where you can control the flow of the game (e.g. [page scan/se=0042/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Modern Art and Java). A really fantastic game to start the gaming night with, or for a quick round. This game is a pleasure.
This is a great game for all ages. I have just recently gotten interested in excessive game playing, though I have always been somewhat hooked on games. I was introduced to this game by a friend of mine who collects games, and here I am on the site to purchase another game I have never heard of. Next to [page scan/se=0027/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Bohnanza, Guillotine, and Landlord, I now have to purchase this game for my own playing fun. I also, like others who have commented, feel this game needs an additional game for more building and fun. Thanks to Funagain Games for great games at an affordable price and quick shipping.
A great strategic game. We play the game by having two tiles on each hand to limit the factor of luck, but then again, a great tile with poor placement is not great at all.
TIP: When you can't use the tile to your advantage, try to find a spot that can screw somebody up--this will make the game even more interesting.
Some drawbacks: limited player interaction and the scoring board needs to be changed.
Overall, highly recommended considering the price!
We tried combining two sets to make a really big game. It works great! Stick with the same number of men as the single set version--giving people more just results in more farmers. With just 7 pieces you have to think harder about where and when to commit to a field. It also works with more players (either grab pieces from some other game or paint the pieces from the 2nd set a different color). People are already speculating about expansion sets with rivers, lakes, etc.
What this game really needs is a new scoreboard. We've rarely had a game of any number of players (even with the standard single set) which doesn't have somebody wrapping around the scoreboard.
I won't repeat the excellent comments made in earlier reviews, except to say that our group thoroughly enjoys playing it, and I suspect it will be a while before any of us feels like he/she has mastered it. Simple rules and multiple scoring options make it both challenging and fun, without busting your brain. If you want to introduce someone to tile-laying games, this is a great game to start with, and will get repeated playings. At $20 or less, it's real bargain for strategy gamers.
I have played a few games now, and I can say I will play it some more. It was fun & easy to learn, but luck does play a significant part in who wins. In each game I have played, people are waiting for that certain tile that fits perfectly to complete their big city, allows another farmer into a big field or completes that cloister for the monk. Most games I have witnessed are won by getting lots of points from big cities or having a big field with the most farmers at the end. Occasionally a long road or two gives some players a nice point boost.
One of the best things about the game is its price. It retails for only $19.99 (cheaper at Funagain Games)--at that price it makes a great buy. It's a great way to start or end a gaming session and its light strategy makes it a great game to play with your wife and non-gamer friends. The components are what we have come to expect from German games--nice wooden pieces and thick cardboard for the tiles.
Although luck plays a part there are some strategies you can use to improve your chances. One of the key strategies is to place your tiles in a way that encourages other players to help you out. Your odds of getting that certain tile are better when more than one player is looking for it. For example I placed a farmer that would connect to a big field once an opponent of mine completed his cloister for his monk. Getting in on a big city also works well when more than one player is trying to close it.
Another nice strategy is to place a tile that makes it difficult for your opponents to close a city, or place a road that cuts off a farmer's field. The right tile placed can ensure your opponent never surrounds his monk. These defensive plays come with experience when one knows which tiles are more rare or common than others.
Overall I give the game a solid B grade. It's one of those you are sure to play several times.
Here are some variants to try:
- One variant is to play with one tile face up and the rest face down, so you have the option of taking the face up one or a random tile.
- Another variant that worked well is that you draw another tile at the end of your turn. That way you can think about how you will play it while the other players are taking their turn rather than drawing a tile and then thinking a while with everyone waiting for you. Of course you must keep your tile secret until it's your turn.
Played this game a few times and really enjoyed it. I prefer games with stronger strategies, but if it gets too in-depth the wife complains. This one pleased both of us. We learned it in about 1 hour and were able to teach it to friends in 5 minutes. Like just about any game it's better with more players, but works well enough for 2.
Hint: Get that farmer planted early. You can intimidate others out of farming and it can pay big dividends in the end. Also always have 1 guy left for that quick 2 segment road or some type of irresistible deal.
We had great fun. Just like when Settlers first came out, as soon as we finished one game everyone said, 'How about another?' If you want a little more stragegy and a little less luck, let everyone have an extra tile. So each turn you draw a tile and either play it or the one left over from last turn. It allows a little more planning. Has anyone ever tried combining 2 copies to make a really large version?
Here's another example of the the triumph of simplicity over complexity (See Samarkand and Lost Cities) in a very affordable package. The rules and actions are uncomplicated and the tactics are deep and varied. This means you can really conentrate on the game itself and not on trying to keep track of lots of little rules, exceptions or special actions. Many people seem to favor some sort of variant that allows you to choose tiles from one or more face-up tiles, as opposed to the more luck-driven blind-draw in the rules. I have tried several of these variants and prefer 3 open stacks and one slightly larger face down stack. This results in more blind draws at the end of the game and heightens the tension appreciably, giving a nice climax. My wife and I play it often, and it is superb as a two-player. Don't want a 1.5 hour game? Just cut the amount of tiles in half! Very versatile, elegant and fun, this cool little tile-map game is a great buy and good intro to German games for newbies. I honestly can't think of any reason not to buy this game. What more can you say? It's not going to be a revered classic (I don't think), but it has a solid 8 out of ten for me. I'll be looking for the next game from this designer with interest.
This is a GREAT game... no doubt about it!
I have played this game with 2, 3 and 4 players. It is enjoyable with each. This is very much a tactics game with some long term stategy involved (place those farmers wisely...)
I think this game is a little bit more strategy oriented than many. I wouldn't consider this as a light game such as Guillotine or Democrazy, but right in the middle, more along the likes of Manhattan.
The other thing that is cool is the replay value. Because of the number of tiles, each game is unique!
I have only played this with 4 people, and it played really well. In the group I played with, everyone was helpful in explaining all of the plusses and minuses of the various places that you could play. (Of course, you had to be careful for advice that would help out one of your fellow players.) I think this is a really good game, but not quite a 5 star one.
Even though Carcassonne is just a revisited version of these good old pipeline/plumber type games with a medieval flavor, it is a good solid no-brain teasing game. It works particularly well with 2 players and has the advantage not to be too pricey (in Europe at least). A recommended buy though some die hard gamers might find it a tad too simplistic.
One of the too few good surprises of an otherwise dull Essen 2000 fair.
I purchased this game 1 week after Essen as it would have a dutch translation. With the translation it takes like 5 minutes to get all aspects of the game and you could start right away. This time I was particulary interested in 2 player games and the box mentioned that it plays very well with just 2 players (and it does). Also, for a change I wanted some games of a lighter class that looked like fun. A lot of people were buying this game so I thought it was worthwhile trying it myself. And yes, it was fun.
It is a straightforward tile-laying game. Each tile having land, road or piece of a fortress. With any of your 8 resources you can use them as a knight (for the fortress), thief (for the road) or farmer (for the land). Once in a while, if you get the monastery tile, you can use it as a monk. You do not lose your resources; they come all back to you once a fortress or road is completed. The farmer stays on the board until the end of the game.
We played the first game straight forward and everybody was claiming their piece of road, land or fortress. With the next game we knew better. This is were the tactics start. Do not let a fortress grow too big (points are multiplied by 2). It is better to join them to see a fortress grow, or better, help your opponent finish off the fortress before your opponent will expand. Also the farmers at the end of the game will give you an great number of points for every fortress your farmer is maintaining the surrounding land.
Without going too much into the rules, with every game, the strategy was getting better (even if you are not always lucky with the tiles you're drawing). Even if you do not feel lucky with some drawn tiles, the balancing of the game is good.
We played the first couple of games with 4 and it played very quick and I personally like that.
Do not expect a heavy game at all, but for those probably into playing with their wives and kids or relatives (instead of gaming groups) and for those liking games like Lost Cities (low complexity, some strategy) will most probably like this game a lot.
Ok - to be honest, I simply decided to try this game out since it was recommended so heavily on this site. At first this game seemed to stand up to its rating - my friends and I added it to our list of regulars that we play.
The story continues, and a month passes...
I don't ever give up in the midst of a game. Goodness, even Candy Land can keep me on the edge of my seat in anticipation of a possible victory. For some reason, I'm running in a close 2nd in Carcassonne, a position that I should make me strive even more, but I just can't get up the energy to flip over another of the pieces...In fact, I ask my friend to just flip over the piece and place it somewhere semi-beneficial for me as I lay on the floor in an apathetic, seemingly mono-induced state. No game should do that to you. Well, instead of just generally complaining, maybe I should be a bit more specific:
1) There is little interaction across the game board during game play. I come from a group that loves to talk and screw one another over, and although Carcassonne includes some of these elements, they are in the barest form. At times it seems like you're playing this game entirely independent of everyone else at the table, which makes it pretty boring when you have to wait through 3 or 4 other turns
2) Few options to commit to on your turn for a strategy game. True, I understand that there is some strategy to the game - but essentially it deals with where you place the piece you draw. In fact, that's where most of my focus ends up going. So I place my piece...and for some reason, it just doesn't make me feel very accomplished.
3) Little of the "Yeeeees!" feeling. Have you ever played a game where you actually felt that you had to make very wise decisions to make it to the point where you're at? Have you ever felt proud about your successful ventures? Have you ever made a move, or played a piece, and let out a victory cry? Well...this game kinda made me let out a small victory shrug every once in awhile - usually when I finally completed closing off a large city (something that happens few and far between when playing with 4 or more players). I just didn't feel my turns affected each other on a regular basis....No victory chants here.
So, maybe this game would be good if there were only a few (say, 3) players in the game, and if they were all quickly taking their turns...otherwise it just drags on and ends in a silent stupor.
This is certainly a good game. I have enjoyed it. Whenever I have played, I have not felt that my time was wasted. But I don't know why I would choose this game over other, great games.
No matter what mood I am in, there is a game more fun to play. I keep coming back to Carcassonne assuming I have missed something, with all the five star reviews and the Game of the Year pedigree, that I am just playing it wrong. But time and time again it tops off at pleasant. So, choosing between this game and Settlers, Risk 2210, Elfenland, Dalmuti, etc., Carcassonne is always edged out.
I would recommend this game as variety, if you feel you play the games you already have too much. It won't be time wasted.
And maybe I'm just missing something; I'm certainly in the minority here.
I have played the game a few times and just don't see much to it. I see some of the underlying strategy but still find it somewhat boring.
I was looking for a game that I could play with my wife. She says she likes it but I would give it a mediocre rating.
After all the hype, awards and splendid recommendations my expectations were sky high. That may be why I feel a little uneasy with this game.
The concept and dynamics are really cool, but I still find it too static. I would rather stick to La Citta or Settlers.
I am anxious 'to get' this game, so I guess I'll try the expansions...
While Carcassone is a modern classic, it's a game that won't appeal to all. I first played Carcassone a few months ago with a friend, then purchased it from Funagain Games only a few weeks ago. While I can't truthfully say that the game is dull or strategy-free, there are a number of issues that I do have with the game. Firstly, it's a game that really isn't complex -- on the contrary, it's especially simple to the point of lacking the depth I crave in a game. Long term strategy, as others have pointed out, is also lacking, as the piece you're given on each turn is random. If there were some reasonable way to play with a three to five-piece 'hand', I'm sure the game would be more engaging (my attempts at this have so far not been entirely successful). Often you'll get stuck as the piece you desperately need eludes you turn after turn, which leads to somewhat conservative play.
On the other hand, the game plays fine with two players and yet also scales suprisingly well (although playing with five players can get a bit tedious). That is a major plus in my book. It's also short and easy to explain to the newcomer (apart from the scoring -- farms are good, roads are bad, in spite of what the gut reaction of new players tends to be). All in all, Carcassone is a game most everyone should try, but one that not everyone will necessarily enjoy.
I purchased this game with some high expectations and though its not a bad game, I don't find this very compelling compared to some other games that plays well for more than 4 people. As a two-player game, its actually pretty nice and fast. I think the board construction and pieces are excellent. It reminds of Pipe Dreams but this is definitely better. I would recommend this if you have a group of friends that wants to play something fast but it doesn't have the addictive qualities like Settlers to make me come back to play just one more time.
Carcassonne is a simple and fun game, very colorful and well-done, yet after several games I got bored, since the game didn't seem to present a challenge.
First, the positive things:
1. The game tiles and the markers are very well crafted and colorful, and are a pleasure to hold in your hands or lay out on the table.
2. The game doesn't take much time to play, and the rules are simple and straightforward - great when you don't have much time, and want to take a 30-minute break.
Now, what I don't like about the game:
1. There is no long-term strategy in the game, especially when there are more than 3 players involved. By the time it's your turn again, the board changes to much to plan. Thus there's no need to think too much - the game is about making good decisions on a moment's spur, and not planning a victory in advance (the only exception to this, I would say, is placing the farmers, which still is pretty straightforward after you get the hang of it).
2. The luck factor is too high. What you draw is what you draw - no options. It takes a bit of attention and detail to find the best spot to place the tile and a bit of decision-making as to whether place one of your seven game markers on it, or not, but that's about it.
3. There's almost no player interaction. Basically, the game can be played without a single player opening his/her mouth.
All in all, Carcassonne is a game which would appeal to players who don't like to think too much and prefer a 30-minute quick game to a 6-hour strategic nightmare. :) On the other hand, it probably won't be of any interest to an avid chess player.
Good but not great. It may appeal to younger players and people that like quiet games to pass time.
Pros: artwork, simplicity, nice theme, quick.
Cons: basically no player interraction, luck factor, no mid-term/long-term strategy, limited choices each turn, slightly imbalanced (abbayes are too strong for instance)
Please read Chris Farrell's review below. He makes some very good points.
We bought this game and proceeded to sell it on EBAY. Although the concept is nice, there wasn't enough depth to the game. We found that our scores were high before the game ended, so farmers really never came into play. This may be because we are used to games like Lost Cities or [page scan/se=0027/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Bohnanza.
Carcassonne is a good game, one that is relatively quick and which is well-suited for those who don't like things to get too drawn out or complicated. However, I think it would be worthwhile to convey to experienced gamers something which I would not call disappointment but maybe just a slight lack of enthusiasm.
The game is designed to be at once light and strategic, and of course, this is sometimes exactly what one is in the mood for. However, Carcassonne fails a little on both counts. For my tastes, a light game should have lots of player interaction, like [page scan/se=0027/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Bohnanza, and while Carcassonne does have some, it does not seem like much. Towards the end it can happen that all the players' followers are at different edges of the map. Meanwhile, I think there is just too much luck involved to really satisfy the strategy urge. You build up your little cities, almost get them completed, and then... for turn after turn, you get tiles you can't use, and nothing happens. If, on top of that, you're playing with slowpokes, you may find yourself considering alternative avenues of entertainment. To all this, a Carcassonne devotee might respond 'lighten up,' and perhaps they're right, but I think there will be others who have the same reaction I do. Perhaps the game gets an extra star if you play with one of the variations suggested on this page whereby the players have a 'hand' of tiles.
There is one other criticism I have. I hate to nitpick about components, but would it have killed them to make a scoring board that went higher than fifty? The first game we played was a washout because at the end we forgot who had gone around twice and who had gone around three times. I have yet to play where someone ended the game with less than fifty points.
All that being said, Carcassonne is a nice, light game that I'm sure I'll play again, one which I might even recommend in certain circumstances. However, hard-core gamers with the urge to lay tiles may want to skip it and find a copy of El Caballero instead.
I mainly wanted to address what Mr. Gough said in the previous review. This is exactly the same progression we had in our group, with almost everyone playing the farmers, but we then moved on to playing more defensively.
You can minimize the effect of farms by playing tiles in ways that hurt the farmers: make it hard to connect farms, don't let all the castles complete, use roads to cut off farmers. This hasn't eliminated the use of farmers, but it has lessened the degree to which players rely on them.
Overall, we still like the game for a quick filler, but it is not one of the 'great games' for our group. It's a great value for the money and an easy introduction for inductees into the German Game cult.
The first few games my group played of Carcassonne, we thought it could do no wrong. The combination of luck (drawing random tiles) with strategy (trying to figure out where to place that tile to maximize your benifit while hosing your opponents) seemed perfectly balanced, and having to choose between 'popping' your follower for points or holding out and stretching that road/city just a little bit further made for some great nailbiting.
The first couple of games I was the only player who really paid any attention to farms, because the rules for them seemed a little confusing and klunky, and seemed like sort of a side note to the rest of the game. Oddly, I kept winning by a long-shot. Then the rest of the players caught on.
Now the strategy element has fallen out of the game, and our games are comprised entirely of a few players scrabbling for farm supremacy and hoping they'll get the right tiles, finally ending up very close, with the winner determined almost entirely by luck of the draw. Those players who aren't interested in squabbling for the farms, on the other hand, end up far far behind.
Why has the game fallen apart? Because the farms are severely over-valued, and it throws off the balance of scoring. Why worry about controlling roads and cities and abbies when farms are all that really matter at the end of the game? I've been wanting to try Carcassonne again with the farms only being valued at 1 or 2 points per city they supply, instead of a whopping 4 points per city, and I think that might help bring back some of the fun that we had with this game to begin with, but at the moment, the rest of my group is too burnt out on it to try.
Good fun game- easy to learn. Tiles and board are very nice. My only criticism is that the end-game is somewhat unbalanced as farmers points are added up to see who wins the game - their totals are usually higher than lords/robbers etc making them the real power in this game which goes against the grain historically (excuse the pun!)... Worth buying - haven't tried any of the expansion games yet.
I bought Carcassonne and King's Gate at the same time. Both are tile-laying games. While I liked King's Gate a lot, I must admit that I don't like much about Carcassonne.
First, I don't know what I am doing with the game. What is the point of putting those human subjects around the map for?
Second, it is simpler than King's Gate. In King's Gate, you need to make many important decisions. Putting yourself in an advantage position now could also mean putting yourself in a worse situation later in the game. That makes King's Gate very fun. In contrast, such a factor is lacking, or at least minimized, in Carcassonne. Basically you draw a tile every time, and then you put the tile that you have just drawn on the table. THAT'S IT!
I can believe that so many people like Carcassonne. My suggestion is: if you like something with simple game rules but complex and interesting decision making, try King's Gate. If you like something simple (for kids), then try Carcassonne.
This game is not that enjoyable to me. Maybe it's because I've only played it with four or more people. I never have a strategy, but still win fairly often, so I don't really feel the need to develop any kind of plan.
Although the reviews for this game are outstanding, we played it, and we played it several times, hoping to eventually understand the greatness. We still don't get it. I guess we have different personalities than most people, and similar personalities to the others that gave this game a poor review. We just don't see this as a winning kind of game. As the kind of game, that if you win, you're like "Yeah, I won!" It's more like, "That was kind of boring. Want to go eat some cheese?"
I do not like this game, although my non-gamer friends like me for unknown reasons. I bought this game because of the hype of recommendation. However, I was disappointed.
The game depends largely on luck (70%-80%) and little on strategy. During the second game I played with my friend, he got all the valuable castle tiles while I got none. As a result, he won. Some reviews mentioned that the game can involve plentiful strategies which can be discovered after long period of gameplay, but this game just cannot motivate me to play it long enough to see its merits. In sum, the gameplay is rather mechanical and boring.
Purpose of the game (2/10):
The game is clearly devoid of theme: why can credit be given to the church surrounded by other tiles? The Ultimate question: what does it mean by the points earned? Does high points represents better city-building? The answer is NO.
Balance of the game (2/10):
One serious flaw of this game is that farmers and knights are too powerful, making thieves and monk useless.
Interaction with fellow players (3/10):
When I play Carcassonne, I often concentrate on my own agenda while other players build their own castles. It is not very often that my tiles can thrawt the plan of others. Obviously, this game cannot sustain my interest long enough for me to discover strategies to hinder other's plan.
For a better strategic tile-laying game without seriously tampering by luck, I strongly recommand 'King's Gate' (or, 'Lord of the Ring' German edition by Ravensburger). The strategies of 'King's Gate' is more obvious, and some of these techniques can be discovered after only a few gameplay, unlike those in Carcasonne. Another thing I like about 'King's Gate' is that your strategy usually changes each time other players ends their turn. In other words, you have to read others' mind. The last merit about 'King's Gate' is that it encourages you to develop long-term strategies to win, and even better, use the resources from other players for your own advantage. The winning methods of this game is numerous. For example, although the purpose of each round is to build up points around certain sites, a player can win the game with the lowest point tiles, ie. '1' in his or her hands, if he or she is clever enough.
My freinds and I bought this game on the advice of the store we bought it from - as newcomers to the board game addiction, we have just finished playing Settlers of Catan (our first game that wasn't Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit etc) for literally hours on end, we decided we were hooked and had to keep getting more. Carcassonne was terribly dissapointing in the light of Settlers. No doubt it is a clever game, and easy to learn, but it is irritatingly simple, with no interaction between players that can provide useful results, and barely any strategy to it. Yes, it is pretty, with nice wooden pieces, but it certainly pales in comparison to Settlers, and from what I can gather, El Grande, Puerto Rico and so on.
Buying this game has left us somewhat annoyed, and for the price (about $30 US to buy in Australia) we really didnt think it was worth it for any strategy gamer.
Draw a tile. Place it. Decide to put a man on it or not. That is it. About 1/3 of the time tile placement is obvious. Another 1/3 of the time tile placement is a choice between spots that aren't advantagous to the player placing the tile. Placement of men is obvious at least 1/2 of the time (except for new players who place men on roads far too often). Rarely is a dilema created because of an abundance of possibilities.
I generally trust the personal comments and ratings on Funagain. I bought this game because of the good comments and it seemed like a clever game. However, my opinion of Carcassonne is way out of whack with the masses. It is actually a 1 star game, but it gets an extra star because it is inexpensive and my wife likes it. (I would rather play a bad game with my wife than no game at all).
Yes, Carcassonne is a very simple game. I have nothing against a game simply because it is simple (not to be overly simplistic). Simple games with player interaction can be fun. Simple games can have deep strategy. Some simple games take a modicum of thought. Some simple games can be enjoyed by non-gaming friends. Some simple games put gamers and non-gamers on equal footing.
Carcassonne has no player interaction, little strategy, requires little thought, and relies on luck to a fault. As simple as it is people new to the game rarely do well. They underestimate farms and over estimate roads, even when told in advance not to underestimate farms and that roads are of little value.
Can expansions save it? The player comments on this site are good. I am now skeptical of player comments, but the price is still right.
OK, one thing I'll give you on this game: it's easy to play. The rules and the game are simple enough that you should be up and playing in 5-10 minutes. After that, there is enough there to keep you playing. If you really liked the simple, rather minimalist Web of Power (Kardinal & Knig), you'll probably like this game.
I must admit though that my bread and butter games are stuff like Modern Art, El Grande, Settlers, Aladdin's Dragons (Morgenland), Lord of the Rings, Quo Vadis--stuff that is both relatively simple to play and presents the player with a tantalizing array of choices. It's the latter that is rather weak in Carcassone, combined with the total lack of any interesting player interaction. With the draw-a-tile/play-a-tile format, combined with the imbalance of the tiles (draw most of the Abbies and you'll do pretty well), it ends up with a game that is too constrained to be all that interesting and too computational for too little effect. This is essentially a hugely stripped-down El Cabellero, and while I'll grant you El Cabellero not easy and is a daunting brain-buster, it's also a very good game that--in the words of a fellow-player--makes Carcassone look like Candy Land.
For me, a game usually has to be either intellectually egaging enough to be challenging (Tigris & Euphrates, El Grande, ZRTZ), or interactive or thematic enough to be fun (Lord of the Rings, Chinatown, Modern Art), or some combination of the two (Settlers, Battle Cry, Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage). Carcassone didn't have enough of either to be worth my time. Compared to the other relatively mediocre games of Essen 2000 such as Attila and Corsairs (and omitting the blockbusters--Lord of the Rings, Settlers Book, Sternenfahrer 5-6), Carcassone isn't too bad. Compared to the 2000 Nrnburg crowd, though, it hardly even rates a mention.
This game is horrid. Horrid. The gameplay is very hard to figure out, and once you learn it, it's too simple. It's dull, and awkward, and painful. We forced ourselves to play out one game, and by the end we never wanted to play again. It will bore you out of your mind. If you never played a german game and this was your first game, you would give up on gaming and possibly become suicidal. Do not buy!
I bought this game because the description really sounded good. There is no depth in this game, no fun, and your score will go max before adding up your farmers' points. I've played this game four times now, and that will be the end of it for me.
I couldn't find a nice strategy in this game. You keep each other from winning by placing the tiles ending your opponents' roads or finishing his cities. That's about all the strategy I could think of.
It could be a great game, but it ends like in midway - too few cards to create full country witch could really make player happy.
After ending you feel yourself like something has not been finished, field is like start of midsize puzzle with empty slots in it. I cannot imagine how could this game be played by 5 people - you can only start city or road, but you have only 14 moves. if you are not lucky, your cities or roads will be unfinished leaving you with sense of "dumb".
For the price of it you get too less enjoy. Of course, you can buy 2 or 3 boxes, but you pay money not for paper inside box, but for the idea. And it doesn't say you need 3 boxes to see and feel the full idea.
Thanks to creator for leaving me disappointed.
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.
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.