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Carcassonne – Review

February 14, 2013

I bought Carcassonne Big box 3 early this year as my initiation game into the Euro game club (not an actual club). It has been about a month and a half since the lid has been lifted and before the smoke has even cleared the room I can report that I have managed to clock nearly 100 games in the various ways the game allows itself to be played. Most of these battles have been on-line against players from around the world, but I have played against familiar faces too.  Just as the  hot  Thanks Giving turkey is brought out for dinner with a room of excited faces looking on, similarly so have I merrily carried in the big box stuffed with card-e goodness all while the guests oggle at it’s content.

What can I say it’s a fun and addictive game. Some have even branded it ‘crackassonne’. The rules are quiet simple. Most people pick up within five minutes of play. However the game contains depth and strategy. The old saying is very applicable; Carcassonne takes a minute to learn and a lifetime to master.

Carcassonne board

Type of game?

Tile-placement game.  No dice. The luck is in the draw of the tile, the strategy is how you place the tile and how you play your meeples.

Best amount of Players?

Carcassonne is for 2 to 6 (with expansion) players. I have mostly played a two player game, but also have played with 3, 4 and 6 players. The game scales well for all of those player combinations.

A two player game offers you the most control and can be very cut-throat. As you duke it out with the another player for the control of cities, roads and farms, there are many ways for you block or lock your opponent or have the same done to you while being mocked.

3+ players is more fun especially if you play in the same room with friends. You can share points, work together against another player and enjoy seeing others get trapped. The amount of players is inversely proportionate to the amount of control you have of the board. What I mean by that is you lose more and more control of the board as more turns take place before you pick up another tile. Still very fun.

I like playing with more people so 3-6 is my choice

How long is the game?

A game can last from under 30 minutes with experienced players to over an hour with newer players. Also with each added expansion the tile-count increases making the game longer. I have heard of people playing with a dozen expansions and the game lasting 3+ hours.

Expansion?

The wonderful thing about the box is that it comes with expansions, five of them. So if you get board of the base game crack open an expansion or two and add it in. Most expansions are compatible with each other. Most people agree that the two must have expansions are ‘Inns & Cathedrals’ and ‘Traders & Builders’. They add depth to the game without changing the core game play.

There are expansions that add completely new dynamics which is a crap-shoot with players, ‘Princess and Dragon’ is one such expansion.  Some love the completely fresh face to the game, while other traditionalists will gasp with horror seeing their game be tainted with wild ideas. I personally like all expansions I have played, some more than others though

And let me tell you Carcassonne has more expansions than the waistlines seen at a cake eating contest. You will never tire of the same game play.

What I don’t like about the game

I nearly like everything about the game. I would have to say the base lacks a bit of oomph. The selection of tiles doesn’t offer you the competitiveness that you would get with an expansion such as ‘inns and cathedrals’ but it can still be fun.

Cost

Considering that Australian prices on board games are higher than snoop dog with a blunt, Carcassonne is relatively cheap. The base game is under $30. I bought the big box for under $80, which is a great price.

Who would be interested in playing?

I think this game is for nearly everyone, even those who don’t play board games. It’s easy to learn and quick to play. You don’t have to invest hours into a game you may not enjoy.

Extra

This is me goofing around with the meeples

Carcassonne board game meeple gathering

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