Carcassonne is a classic, I’m sure there aren’t many board game aficionados that don’t know it or don’t have it in their collections.
Carcassonne is a game of tile placement and meeple management. You will take it in turns to draw a tile and add it to the ‘map’ of tiles already in play, in hopes of creating longer roads, bigger cities, more farmland or unearthing a monastery. You’ll need to use your meeples wisely in order to maximise your points to win the game.
The setup for Carcassonne is so easy there’s almost nothing to it. Dish out you meeples to each player after they’ve picked which colour they’d like. Then find the starting tile – indicated on the back by having a darker pattern to it, shuffle and place all the remaining tiles face down in a pile or a few piles. Place the started tile down. That’s it… You’re ready to go.
Each player then takes a turn to pick a tile, and place it down to build up your map. There are a number of options available to you when placing tiles. You could start a new city or increase the size of an existing one – the same applies for road and farms, or you could find a monastery which will generally need to be placed in the ‘open’ surrounded by grassy fields, but each tile must connect to another and essentially expand on what is already down on the table.
Each option has a different way of scoring you points. In order to start scoring you’ll first need to place a meeple, you can put them in a town/city when you find a new one or empty one for them to become Knights. You can also place them on roads and they will be highway men. Lay them down in an open field and they will become a farmer. Or place them in the monastery for them to become a monk.
If you’ve got a Knight, you will be able to score points once your city is completed .i.e. once all the walls have been connected and it effectively becomes closed off. You get two points for each tile that has a piece of city on it.
For the highway man you will score one point for each tile that has road on it between two points. So it could be between two cities or between a city and a crossroad.
With the farmer you will score a point for each bit of grassy land that you occupy and touches a completed city.
Finally you have the Monk who scores when the monastery is completely surrounded by land. You’ll get nine points in total for this.
The game ends once all the tiles have been used up, the player with the most points wins – obviously…
In terms of the boxing and quality of the product, generally it all feels good. However I do feel like the card board tiles could become damaged or frayed at the edges a little easier than some other games. The meeples are all made from wood so will stand the test of time.
There is a ‘Rivers’ expansion included in the box where, instead of starting with the normal first tile you will instead lay out a river by each taking it in turns to place a tile. Once you’re river is created you carry on as normal. It’s a nice little addition to the game and adds an extra level of playability to mix things up for you.
I don’t know why, but for some reason I felt like Carcassonne was going to be a fairly difficult and complex game to learn. But it turns out that, actually, it’s really simple and quick to get to grips with. The ease in which a game can be set up and started makes the game very accessible and a great choice for any groups game collection. It’s such a simple design that has been executed extremely well, you can see why it’s become so popular and it will definitely be making more appearances in our group. Carcassonne would be a great addition to any board game group with its easy to learn mechanics, simple set up and enjoyable gameplay that offers a lot of replayability.
You can find your own copy of Carcassonne here.