97: Carcassonne

CarcassonneCarcassonne - table view

 

Carcassonne is another one of my top gaming picks on multiple platforms. The rules are very simple, but it’s strategically different every time!

From the manufacturer:

Carcassonne is a clever tile-laying game. The southern French city of Carcassonne is famous for its unique Roman and medieval fortifications. The players develop the area around Carcassonne and deploy their followers on the roads, in the cities, in the cloisters, and in the fields. The skill of the players to develop the area will determine who is victorious. The game is for ages 8 and up and 2 to 5 players.

For the board gamers:

  • Carcassonne – standalone. Some people have just this one bit of Carcassonne and are just as crazy about the game as those of us who have everything made related to the game! You will need this game in order to play any of the expansions.
  • Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals – expansion. The Cathedral triples the value of a city, and the Inn doubles the value of a road – but only when they are completed. Players may use the new large follower to double their chances of controlling a city, road, or field. This set also includes all necessary material to allow for a sixth player! Finally, there are 6 point tiles to make scoring easier when players score more than 50 points!
  • Carcassonne: Traders& Builders – expansion. Traders can earn players extra points and builders enable players to place extra tiles, allowing the cities and roads to grow faster. A pig, properly placed, can enrich the value of a farm. Also included is a small cloth bag for the tiles, making it easier to shuffle and draw them during the game.
  • Carcassonne Abbey & Mayor – expansion. Abbey and Mayor adds 3 new wooden piece types, 6 abbey tiles, and 12 landscape tiles. The Abbey tiles act as Cloisters but do not have to match adjacent tiles and they complete adjacent features when placed. Mayors can be placed only in cities, with their strength determined by the number of pennants in the city. Barns allow players to score fields during the game rather than just at the end. Wagons are placed on roads, cities, or cloisters, and can move to an adjacent open feature when their current feature is completed.
  • Carcassonne: Bridges, Castles, and Bazaars – expansion. Traveling peddlers come into the country and organize bazaars, where haggling as art is performed. At the same time, engineers with new bridges drive road construction and small castles are built everywhere to secure the region.
  • Carcasssone: The Tower – expansion. Ever upwards in Carcassonne, in this Carcassonne expansion, players have the opportunity to build upwards. The lords of the region around Carcassonne erect towers to strengthen and promote their power and influence. They employ followers to stand guard on the towers, watching over the land so they can inform their lords of all who travel and move throughout the area. Players may capture opponents’ followers, holding them in prison. Later, the players may arrange a prisoner exchange, to the advantage of the players involved. Also, a player may arrange to pay ransom for the return of an imprisoned follower. Fans of Carcassonne will enjoy the new tactical opportunities offered by this expansion. The expansion also includes a special tower for storing the landscape tiles, giving players a convenient way to draw tiles during the game.
  • Carcassonne King and Scout – expansion. The King and Scout expansion is quite unusual – it’s an expansion for both the original Carcassonne game, and its first variant, Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers. It consists of a small pack of twelve tiles, seven of which are for the original Carcassonne game, the other five for H and G.
  • Carcassonne: Princess and The Dragon – expansion. The land around Carcassonne is being visited by a dragon, making life very difficult for the followers. Brave heroes venture forth to face the danger, but without the aid of the fairies, their chances are not good. In the city, the princess seeks help from the knights, and farmers build secret passages to move about undetected by the dragon.
  • Carcassonne: Catapult – expansion. It’s fair time in Carcassonne. A traveling salesman arrives and brings his newest invention: a wonderous catapult. His demonstrations amaze the crowds and inspire the creative to find many uses for this new contraption. Of course, not every planned use is well thought out or successful…
  • Carcassonne Wheel Of Fortune – both standalone and expansion. It includes 72 tiles, consisting of 63 tiles released in the original base game, 6 from Inns & Cathedrals , 1 from Traders & Builders and 2 from King & Scout . It also includes a special replacement start tile which depicts the Wheel of Fortune, a new mechanic unique to this edition of the game. The new start tile is the size of 16 tiles, arranged in a 4 x 4 square and is built using some of the tiles removed from the base game. Nineteen tiles from the game have numbers printed on them allowing players to randomly spin the Wheel of Fate (between 1 and 3 spaces around the wheel). Otherwise, a player may choose to move a pink pig animeeple one sixth turn around the wheel if they decline placing a follower that turn. The results of the Wheel vary depending on which of the sixths of the wheel the pig lands on. Results vary from forcing all players to remove a follower from the board to rewarding the player who moves the pig with three bonus points. There are six outcomes in all. Play of this game does not require ownership of any Carcassonne base game. All expansions are compatible with this game. This game can also be played with the base game as an expansion, using its wagon wheel watermark to differentiate it from the base game.
  • Carcassonne The Phantom – expansion. This expansion to Carcassonne includes 6 new translucent followers, 1 for each player color and rules for the use in the Carcassonne game. The set will be released with 6 different colored transparent meeple-shaped boxes to choose from. Each player gets that phantom of its color. In the course, a player may place this phantom as a second follower on the board. In this way, he may place two followers on two different features on the same tile. When a player gets back the phantom, he may use it in a later turn as well. The phantom can also be used alone and always counts as a regular follower.
Other standalone games in the series:
  • Carcassonne Dice Game – standalone. Players cleverly use dice roles to try to build closed cities as large as they can – the bigger, the better.
  • Carcassonne Travel edition – standalone. Now you can take Carcassonne everywhere you go. The scoring track is printed on the cloth carrying sack, which has room for all the tiles and followers. Of course, all components are a bit downsized to make it more convenient to carry along, but the game is the same great game that won the Spiel des Jahres award in 2001.
  • Carcassonne: Hunters And Gatherers – standalone. This game is set in the stone age. Players build a prehistoric landscape with tiles depicting forests, rivers, lakes and grasslands. They then send out members of their tribe to hunt, gather, fish and establish fishing camps. It includes many of the familiar mechanics from Carcassonne with a few new options. One expansion available in the list above: King and Scout. Only 5 additional tiles for this game, and 7 for the original Carcassonne.
  • New World: A Carcassonne game – standalone. The New World has been discovered! Now it is time to explore and settle it. The players explore and develop the New World beginning on the East Coast and moving westward, and deploy their settlers on the trails, in the town, in the farms, and on the plains. The skills of the players to develop the area and use their robbers, shopkeepers, trappers, and farmers will determine who is victorious. The players place land tiles turn by turn. As they do so, the trails, towns, plains, and farms emerge and grow. On these, the players can deploy their settlers to earn points. Players score points during the game and at the end. The player with the most points after the final scoring is the winner.
  • Carcassonne: The Discovery – standalone. The Discovery is a new standalone Carcassonne game. The inhabitants of Carcassonne have discovered a new region far away from their homeland – one that consists of meadows, mountains and seas. The followers, of which each player only has four (with a fifth for the scoring track) get placed as robbers (in the mountains), seafarers (on the seas) or explorers (on the meadows). On a player’s turn, he must place a tile and may then place a follower on it. As in the original game, tiles may only be placed so that identical landscape types match up. A follower may only be placed when no other follower has been placed there yet. When the follower is removed, however, then the size of the region in which the follower is located brings points – regardless of whether the region has been closed off or not, although closed off regions score considerably more points. There’s also an additional rule that lets mountainous regions increase in value, even if they’ve already been completed. This is a distinctly simpler version of Carcassonne than the original. This was the goal during the development of the game. It should have simpler rules, but offer greater strategic depth. What is interesting about the game is that regions aren’t scored automatically any more (when they are closed off), this is a decision left to the player (the removing of the follower). Since the regions can only get more valuable, this ensures many agonizing decisions.

For the iOS users:

For PC users:

Gifts and Accessories

  • Meeple Source – You are sure to find something here for your Carcassonne fan who already has every expansion!

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