Customer Reviews: Carcassonne
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Format: Kitchen|Change
Price:$48.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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on December 4, 2003
Most people come to this game after they have already been introduced to the European Designer Games by Settlers of Catan. This is a different kind of game than Settlers but in some senses it shares a lot of commonalities.
The game is easy to learn for a wide audience, it is reasonably quick to play (30 - 40 minutes) and is a very "immersive" game i.e. there aren't long periods of boredom. There are elements of strategy and luck, which makes for a "fun" game experience.
This game is fun for children and adults. For children the "farmers" are a little too complex, but the game works very well without that element.
The game consists of laying tiles to build cities, roads and monasteries in the South of France. Points are gained by creating long roads, building large cities or farming multiple farms. It draws elements of building jigsaw puzzles together with a strategy game of competing for territory.
I have played this game with family members who aren't really into board games and they enjoyed it just as much as gamers.
There are many expansions to this game which add a few more dimensions as you get more advanced. There is a very high replay-ability.
I would high recommend this game to people who are bored with standard Monopoly or Cranium type board games that are popular in the US.
If you loved Settler's of Catan this a "must"!
o 2 - 5 Players
o 30 - 40 minutes Playing time
Audience -
o Children & Adults
o Serious and Casual Gamers
o Tile Laying
o Combines Strategy & Luck
o High Replay-ability
o Quality Components
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VINE VOICEon January 12, 2005
Okay, so the game has been around for awhile, I was just looking in the wrong places. I don't remember how I was led to this game, I was looking at a game site on the Web and they said how this game is consistently rated #1. So I clicked on it, and in a carefree mood I purchased it. I LOVE IT. Even my husband who usually rolls his eyes when a game is pulled out , has said he enjoys this game. We often play it with a 9 and 11 year old, and they are easily able to grasp the concepts, although their strategies could use some work.

What is so nice about this game is that there are no dice, no money to count and no constantly moving a piece around a board. Instead each player on his turn picks a cardboard tile(nice thick quality) and places it on the table, which acts as your board. You basically create your own puzzle each game, so it is never the same. Rivers match up to rivers, or city to city, road to road. You have to decide the best place to put the piece you just picked.

Sometimes the games are lopsided, with one person building a huge city and getting tons of points, but that is often due to the other players error and not a game fault. We have only been playing it 2 weeks, but so far I have learned/figured out something new after each game to help with future strategies. It's a quick game, and high quality. I have been so impressed with this one, that I have already purchased some expansions and Rio Grandes new game of Ark of the Covenant and Hunters and Gatherers, both using the same concept of Carcassonne but with variations.

This game definitely beats out the common store favorites of Clue, Monopoly, Life, Stratego and blah blah blah. There is a reason why it has been a #1 game, try it out!
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on June 12, 2006
This is a tile-placement game. Square tiles have roads, monasteries, cities and farmland printed on them. Each player in turn reveals a tile and places it such that all edges match edges already placed. For instance, a road has to connect to a road, it can not just stop. Once a player places a tile, they can claim part of the tile (road, farmland, city, or monastery). As these features grow the player gets more points. Monasteries do not grow, points are gained by filling in the nine surrounding spaces.

The skill comes from knowing just what to claim. Each player has a limited number of claim tokens. Once a feature is completed (road, city or monastery), the points are collected and the claim token becomes available for use again. Players must balance their use of the tokens and work to complete features so they can claim even more. One trick is to complete a short road or small city (just two tiles, sometimes three) and then claim it, thus getting the points and getting the claim token back immediately.

This is a quick game. Playing time is relatively short (thirty minutes or so) and play is easy. No two games are ever the same thus keeping the game fresh. A fun game for two to six players. The game is reasonably small and easy to transport. Pieces are cardboard tiles and wooden claim tokens. If you are looking for a fun game that doesn't take hours, then this one might be for you.
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on September 26, 2008
I bought this for the family to play and I (Dad) love to play it on a lazy/quiet day. It is not much fun for parties. My wife thinks it is tedious but she does not care for strategy games in general (she prefers Uno). My nine year old daughter plays it with me and she enjoys it. My daughter (as other parents have mentioned about their children) does not do farmers for two reasons: farmers are just complicated enough that she avoids the concept plus she is very sensitive about not running out of followers and very much understands that farmers once placed are not recoverable until the game ends. For this reason I tend to outscore her handily (fortunately for me she understands that the farmer issue is why I always win but she loves to play strategy games with Daddy and she is closing the scoring gap over time).

This game is not a "hoot" nor is it quickly paced. It is more of a moderate intensity strategy game. It is not however an overly complicated game that is hard or boringly slow to play. It is both easy enough that truly anyone could play (and enjoy) it yet engaging enough that serious thinkers can have fun with it.

This game does take up an entire dinette table to play and is not suitable for playing in the car for example. We put it in our RV and play it whenever we are camping. It is perfect for that.
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on December 20, 2008
Cult, Siege, and Creativity is a small expansion pack for Carcassonne that combines two previously released small, special edition expansions along with two new "creativity" tiles. There are three parts to this expansion.

Cult: Six tiles that act like the Cloisters in the full game, scoring nine points once completely surrounded by other tiles. The twist with this piece is that it can compete with a cloister. When a cult piece is placed adjacent to a cloister the two pieces begin a scoring race. Whichever is completed first gets the nine points while the other scores none and removes the player piece from the board. It adds an interesting element but largely depends on when and where the cloisters come into the game. Sometimes it's a major factor. Other times, it doesn't matter. We like it.

Siege: The four siege tiles are redesigned versions of the Cathars tiles originally released in Spielbox magazine in 2004. They are unique in that they can take points by placing an uncompleted city under siege taking one point in value from each tile upon completion. We like these tiles, particularly in games involving large cities featuring the cathedrals from the Inns and Cathedrals expansion. The threat of siege will usually discourage milking construction of a city to a massive level.

Creativity: This element consists of two white pieces with no artwork. The purpose is for players to create their own expansion for Carcassonne. You could draw on them I suppose but we leave them blank allowing us the option to do different things each time. It hasn't really added a lot to the playing experience but having blank tiles is nice. I actually wish they would have included four instead of two.

As with a lot of the Carcassonne expansions, there are situations that arise with these pieces that aren't clearly explained in the rules but that's easily solved with a little discussion as you play them a few times. For the price, Cult, Siege and Creativity is a worthwhile expansion for Carcassonne. It is by no means a must have like a few of the others but if you have the opportunity to pick up a copy, you'll probably enjoy it.
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on February 1, 2007
When I first read the description of Carcassonne, I dismissed it as something that I wouldn't really enjoy (I've never really liked how luck is the dominant element of tile-laying games). But there were so many fantastic reviews that mentioned how `strategic' it was, we decided to dig into our game fund and buy it! It was an instant hit with family and friends including my wife and daughter, who are not avid game players.

I won't waste time explaining the rules or details of gameplay, but I will say that learning the game is very easy. The game plays in about a half hour (a bit more with expansions), which is great because people can come and go as they please - no long term commitments here. Even adding `The River' (included in the basic game edition that we bought) and the `Inns and Cathedrals' expansion rules isn't a burden. The only area that can be a bit confusing is scoring for farmlands. We did it incorrectly the first night, but as I was re-reading the rules to clarify it, it became clear on how they should be scored.

The mechanics of gameplay can be tinkered with to produce variations that you may like. For instance, we don't use the standard rules for placing the river tiles at the beginning of the game. We shuffle all 12 tiles, picking and laying tiles to build the river only until the two ends (the spring and the lake) have been placed. This way, the length of the river (2 to 12 tiles) varies from one game to the next.

The tile laying aspect of this game is, of course, mostly luck. There's no strategy that can give you the tile you need - you'll either be lucky or not. On one game, my son and I were both waiting to finish cities near the end of the game, needing identical pieces. He drew the tile and scored, I ended up with a zero for that city and lost the game. Had I drawn the tile, I'd have won. Of course, the more players you have, the less chance you have of getting that tile that you really need.

Placing tiles carefully is the key to strategizing. Should you build a bunch of small cities, or a lesser amount of large ones? Should you finish that road or try to build it as long as possible? Should you expand your own farms, roads, and cities, or `steal' points from another player? There is no one strategy that is fail-safe (at least none that I've found).

Strategy comes in not only in where the tiles are places, but also in the placement of your followers (`meeples') to score points for roads (as thieves), farms (farmers), cloisters (monks) and cities (knights). Since you have only a small amount of meeples, so managing them wisely is of the utmost importance. .

When it's all put together, these elements combine to make a fun and unpredictable game that is different every time you play it.

We purchased the "Inns and Cathedrals" expansion, in which Inns can double the value of roads and Cathedrals score you additional points in cities. But if those cities and roads remain unfinished at the end of the game, the whole city (or road) is worthless! This set also comes with a large follower (worth 2 regular followers) for each color, a complete set of followers for a sixth color (gray), and `50/100' tiles to make keeping score easier.

There are several other expansions for Carcassone, each adding a twist here or there, as well as increasing the number of tiles. We hope to add some of those to our collection over time, but we don't really find the game lacking anything the way it is, either. While these expansions aren't necessary to enjoy the game, the additional tiles, rules, and strategies really modify the game up nicely. There is also a `big box' available which includes the base game plus five expansions.

I recommend this game highly. While I can't say that it will replace game nights of taking out a large board game for a 2-3 hour showdown, this game stands on its' own merits, being a fine game for 2 to 5 players (six with the I & C expansion). But more importantly, it's the kind of game that can entice non-gamers into the fold, and every person that I have introduced the game to (both gamers and non-gamers alike) loves it. Carcassonne is proof that a game doesn't have to be massive or have highly technical rules to be challenging and fun.
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on July 19, 2003
Carcassonne is the best strategy-based board game I've ever played. It's actually composed of about a hundred square tiles featuring roads, cities, farmland, and cloisters. Deploy your small number of settlers to take over each of these features, scoring points for their completion. Score points for your farmers and all your incomplete roads, cities, and cloisters in the end.
The game works great for two players as well as the maximum 5 players (six with the first expansion) or anywhere in between. The games are varied every time I've played (about 30-40 times so far).
This game is the most addicting game I've played since Magic: the Gathering was released 10 years ago. Try it and soon you will be scrambling to purchase the two available expansions - one with Big Settlers and new tiles and one with Builders & Traders.
The average rating for the durability is a result of the cardboard tiles. If you play a game enough times you'll likely wear out anything made of cardboard over time.
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on June 21, 2009
Carcassonne is a fantastic board game that I've introduced to many different groups of people, and they all seem to easily understand and embrace the game, asking me when I'll bring it back to the table. It is very simple to learn, but the strategy of how to best place your tiles and use your wooden figures will keep you coming back for more. Hopefully my description will give you an idea of what the game is all about.

Carcassonne is a 2-5 player game where you expand the city of Carcassonne by placing tiles and claiming various city "features" (cities, roads, cloisters, and farms) on these tiles using little wooden figures which represent your "followers". By claiming these features, building them further, and finally completing these features, you score points, and the player with the most points wins.

The game is really much more confusing on text. The rulebook was a little intimidating at first, but once I tried playing a test game with myself, I discovered how simple and exciting the game really was, and I was eager to share the experience with my friends. When I teach the game using the tiles as examples, my friends pick it up right away. The game experience as a whole mixes the excitement of competing against your friends with the fun of solving a puzzle, and playing with the little wooden figures adds that special touch that makes a game memorable.

To sum up the strategy involved: A nice person will leave the other players alone so he can build features on his own while they build theirs; but the clever player (aka, the one who usually wins), will not only build his own features, but build into the features of his opponents, gaining even more points while denying his opponents the advantage. The game is very versatile in that you can just have a free-for-all with one another; you can form teams, or you can even form makeshift alliances to gang up against the player who is winning. It's up to you and your opponents to decide which strategy is best.

-Versatile game that is easy and quick to explain after browsing the rulebook
-Easy to set up (you literally set it up by playing the game, other than handing out figures, shuffling the tiles, and placing the starting tile)
-Plays relatively quick - my games usually last about 30-45 minutes
-Good introductory game for people who aren't sure if they will enjoy strategy games
-Plays with two to five players, and is equally fun with the minimum or maximum
-Durable wooden figures and tiles (Don't let your baby suck on them, and they'll last for many years)
-Portable (doesn't take up too much space, and it's easy to fit expansions (sold separately) inside the original box

- If you're looking for a deep, engrossing game to play with friends who are already experienced with strategy games, I would look elsewhere. This is more of a fun, light strategy game for everyone to play.
- Not for very small children, mostly because of the little wooden figures

You can't go wrong with this purchase if you're looking for a fun game to enjoy with everybody and anybody. It gave me an excuse to stop playing on the computer all the time, and instead sit down with friends and family and chat, while at the same time plotting my ultimate victory. Buy it!

P.S. If you find that you enjoy this game and want to change up the game from time to time, purchase an expansion, each of which costs about half the price of the base Carcassonne game. I would start with Inns and Cathedrals, and then move on to Traders and Builders (both are available on Amazon too). The two add great new strategies to the game and I love them both, and at the same time they're easy to learn and incorporate with the base game. I wasn't extremely impressed with the other expansions, but you can read the reviews on their respective web pages and decide for yourself if they're right for you and your group.
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on March 27, 2006
I get together at least twice a month on weekends with a number of friends to sit around a table and play board games. We usually played Settlers of Catan until I picked up Carcassone after I received a number of recommendations for it, and I'm very glad I did. It is a compelling and fun game for two players, and becomes even more fun with more participants involved. it is an incredibly simple game to play - we had a few observers watching a game once that had picked up the basics of it and were offering advide halfway through, just by observing how we played.

I enjoy that it is not dice-based, but does have an element of luck in how the tiles are drawn, but allows for a number of stragies to be employed when it comes to tile placement and advancement. It has since become a regular addition to our gaming pool.

I highly recommend picking up the Inns and Cathedrals expansion, as it does add a good level of gameplay mechanics without detracting from the original game or adding too many extraneous rules.

Overall, a very fun and simple game, appropriate for children and adults alike.
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on October 31, 2003
This is a great game of kingdom building that is easy to learn and very fun to play. The games are relatively short (30 to 45 minutes)so it doesn't take an entire evening, either.
Players take turns drawing land tiles and placing them on the board. Tiles have various structures (e.g. roads, cities, fields) on them that need to be matched up for proper placement. You can't have a road end in an open field, it must be attached to another road.
Each player has a number of followers to dispatch throughout the kingdom. They can be placed on roads (to become thieves), cities (to become knights), monistaries (to become monks), or fields (to become farmers). Once a structure is completed (roads have two ending points or intersections, cities are completely walled in, etc.) the player scores points for his follower and may remove to follower from the board to place him on a subsequent round.
This game is a good way to learn resource management. If you place all of your followers you won't have any in reserve for a prime opportunity, should it arise later. Is it better to get quick points with roads or small cities, or try to keep extending the roads and cities for greater scores? There are many strategies to consider and options to contemplate. Yet, this game is easy to learn in a few minutes. And since the players place the board pieces there are no two game boards alike.
My friends and I have had hours of entertainment from this game. I highly recommend it!
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