on April 18, 2013
I got into board gaming again a few years ago. Started with everyone's favorite -- Settlers of Catan -- and moved on from there.
While there are some amazing games out there, the market is also flooded with tons of crap. Unfortunately, your local adult gaming store can't play them all and just because they like it, doesn't mean you'll like it.
Carcassonne was one of the earliest "German Style" games and put off playing it because many of those games haven't aged well or have been outclassed by later derivatives. The more I looked at this one, the more it seemed like the latter. But, it was cheap, so I grabbed it.
I'm so glad I did.
The scoring is a little odd if you don't have someone to show you how it's done -- I recommend reading closely, especially as it pertains to farmers -- but once you get it, it's simple. Because it's simple, this is a game you can quickly explain to new players and have them "get" what's going on right at the start. They won't be master strategists, but they'll be able to play and not feel like they're making bad decisions now that will doom them in the mid/late game. It plays fast, and there's enough depth to keep you playing for a long time -- mainly because the board is completely different every time it's played. My only complaint is that you need a large table, as it can be difficult to predict which direction the game board is going to grow.
on January 21, 2013
Carcassonne is a classic tile laying game that has been around for about 12 years now. Recently, the US publisher/distributor has been switched from Rio Grande Games to Z-Man games (who also publishes the awesome Pandemic and Agricola games among others). The BIG DIFFERENCE between this version and the Rio Grande version is that this one includes the River tile expansion in the base game. Bottom line, regardless of who makes this game in the US, EVERYONE should have it in their board game collection.
on March 6, 2013
I was in the market for some good games that can be played with 2 players. We enjoy playing games with friends, but if we're going to be honest, the majority of our game time at home is between my wife and I. I did my research on boardgamegeek.com and asked around the Tabletop Community on Google+, and this game was recommended every time.
I just got it last week, and we already love it. The game seems a little complex at first, (wait, how do I score this guy?), but as you pick it up, it's really simple to play. I'd heard some reviewers say that if you love Settlers of Catan, you'll love this game. That worried me because my wife is NOT a Settlers fan, but she loves Carcassonne now. We've played almost every day since I picked it up.
The addition of the River expansion in the box is great. After the first couple of games, we added it into our game and have played with it every time since. Plus, I'm not sure if it's something I would have paid for separately, so it feels like a nice bonus in the box.
The tiles feel of good quality, and wooden followers are great too. My biggest concern with them is that my 1 year old may run off with one at one point. My only complaint about the game is that in our box, the slot for the tiles is just slightly too short for all the tiles, which means you have to stuff it into the side where it sticks up slightly. It's not the end of the world (and not enough to deduct a star for), I'm just the type of person who hates when something doesn't fit the way it should.
We're excited to try this game out with more than just the two of us, and I'm sure the dynamic will change in that case, but for now, this will sit on the shelf of our most played games next to Dominion and Ticket to Ride Europe.
on October 7, 2013
Carcassonne: 2-5 Players, Ages 8+, Average Play Time = 60 Minutes
As I mentioned above, I was very surprised by how much this game grew on me. At first, I was skeptical by the fact that you didn't have a hand and were at the mercy of whatever tile you drew. In the beginning of the game, you won't have that many choices in terms of placement, but towards the end, you'll be trying to screw up your opponent's scoring chances while trying to resolve your own.
Keeping along those lines, I personally enjoyed how strategic the game turned out to be. I was constantly thinking of ways to extend my son's city (the one he had a follower on) so that he'd never be able to complete it. He'd still earn one point per city tile at game end, but that was significantly less than the two points per tile he could have earned.
Resisting the urge to place all of my followers in the beginning became a real challenge. I saw a lot of potential fields that future cities might connect to, but I had to make sure I had enough in reserve to score on the more immediate opportunities. Since you and your opponent are limited to how many followers you have, it becomes a battle of wits to see who claims what first and who is able to save enough for when it counts.
Out of all of the game mechanics, the scoring was the hardest for me to pick up on. At times, I was scratching my head on how farmers scored and what fields were considered theirs. Once you overcome this initial learning curve, play is relatively fluid. Luckily, the manual is fairly easy to understand when trying to put it all together.
I should also mention that this game has a TON of expansions, which shoots up this game's replay value tenfold. It seems like there is always something new to keep the game fresh and interesting. Not all of the expansions will appeal to everyone, but having the option alone is a plus in my book.
Carcassonne is a great game to introduce to players that are new to the wonderful world of board games, especially if you have an experienced player on hand to help with the scoring and flow of play. It's also a great game for players of all ages (within reason), so if you are in the market for something relatively easy that provides a fair amount of depth, then you may want to look into this game further.
on May 31, 2014
I would like to warn customers to check the game when you get it to make sure you are sent the correct number of tiles. The copy we received was faulty, and the process to return it was unsatisfactory.
Instead of a new game being sent to us we were given a full refund, had to return the game through UPS, and would have to order the game again if we wanted a new one. This is a lot of work on the customers end when the expectation should be that a working product is sent out in the first place.
on April 2, 2013
We've had this game for about a week and can't stop playing it. Thus far, only my husband and I have played, so I can't speak to games with more than 2 players. It's awesome for 2 players. Literally every game is different. It has enough strategy to keep it entertaining, but since you don't know what your next tile will be, you spend time talking with the other player instead of strategizing. I like games that move along quickly, give opportunity for offensive and defensive strategies while still laughing and talking with the person you're playing with.
on August 20, 2013
I am an avid board gamer and have owned Carcassonne and several of its expansions for years. Carcassonne is quite easy to learn (and to teach to your friends), is scalable through numerous expansions for a more immersive gaming experience, and is quick to play (approximately 45 minutes). The basic premise of the game is to build a medieval town and to place your markers to gain points. In the basic game, there are only four ways to get points, meaning that this game is quite easy. Because of that, I would place Carcassonne into the category of being a crossover game. To explain, Carcassonne, as a board game, is an excellent introduction into the foray of European games -- it helps people to crossover from the traditional board games, like Monopoly, Battleship, Clue, and the like, to these newer European style games, such as The Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride.
As I previously stated, I have been playing Carcassonne for years, which begs the question as to why I just purchased this copy of the game. I had temporarily retired Carcassonne from my gaming rotation because I feel that there is an inherent flaw with the strength of farming. The expansion, The River, rectifies this issue, but has been out of print for years. The River consists of 12 tiles all with a river on them. These must be placed at the beginning of the game prior to any other tiles being utilized. The river serves to break apart the massive farm that usually is created, thus preventing one person from gaining 100 points by simply winning the "farming war". Years ago, The River was available for under $10, but being that it is now out of print, this copy of Carcassonne is the only reasonably affordable means of acquiring the River.
In summation, I highly recommend Carcassonne for a family looking for a new board game, for people looking to introduce their friends to European board games, or for someone looking to add some spice to their gaming closet. Pick up this version because it includes The River, or go for the Carcassonne Big Box for some of the other expansions.
on April 14, 2016
>>> Note! If you are purchasing this game for the first time, buy the original game with the ‘river expansion’ AND the abbot expansion. This particular box set only has the river expansion. It would be much more economical to get the one with the river AND abbot, which I do not believe adds a whole lot of cost.
What a fun new game I have discovered. I thought I had completely lost touch with board games until I happened upon this game in a coffee shop and watched a few friends play. One of my big issues with board games is that they can be such a commitment. I used to love to play Settlers of Catan, but the game can go on forever. Just the thought of Monopoly bores me to tears. I remember playing so many games and wishing they were over.
The beauty of Carcassonne is that, not only is it fun, but each game lasts ~15-30 minutes and there is very little set-up or clean-up involved. You can teach someone to play on the fly. If you are learning for the first time with someone else, it is easy to pick up the rules.
You will likely enjoy the fun and simplicity of this game if you like Settlers of Catan and Civilization. It is similar in content and goals, but much less cutthroat and invites friendlier gameplay without the worry that your best friends will become your dire enemy. It’s pretty hard for this game to cause a fight unlike other world-domination type strategy games.
Another great aspect of the game is that you can pretty much customize the difficulty. You can play by drawing random tiles, building the map by chance. For strategy, you can play where each person has three tiles at a time that they can play. This allows for more strategy and adds some logical challenge.
I do like the meeples, but sometimes I wonder that they are too big for the board pieces. Sometimes it’s hard to see where exactly a meeple is place, e.g., on a road or in a city, because they are large and cover up the game tiles. If you bump the table, the meeples may shift and you can have a disaster on your hands. Sometimes we end up counting meeples at the end and find one that we can’t quite identify, so someone loses a few points.
Regarding quality, the tiles are well made out of solid industrial cardboard. They are thick with few imperfections and seem virtually indestructible. They have a satisfying texture and it feels great to “click” them down on the table as you watch your map grow.
Hope this helps. Enjoy the game!
on June 13, 2014
great fun for adults who like to strategize, in the end i found the flaw in the game, you could literally win almost everytime by laying down a farmer (you'll understand what this means) first, and then making as many two tile cities as possible, usually you're farmer will be in the majority of the land, if you're scared of fighting or loosing your farmers territory, drop down 2 ppl.
this strategy works well to stop big cities as well, if you close off your opponents city and your farming, that's effectively 3 points for you, and you stop their expansion.
you'll be hated, and be called cheap, but heck, i'm also the type to shoot the moon with the slimmest of chances.
on January 5, 2014
This is a very easy to understand game with well written instructions that includes very helpful illustrations. A game is completed in around 30 minutes and is easy to setup and put away. It involves placing random tiles in a manner that allows you to score points based on placing your meeples on different land masses or structures. The scoring is simple and easy. It plays wonderfully with only two people but also scales well as the player count increases.
There are numerous expansions that can be purchased for reasonable prices that expand the types and quantities of tiles to be placed to introduce new strategies and concepts into the game. It should be noted that this game includes the rivers expansion in the box.
This should be one of the first games that anyone interested in getting into board games should purchase. I hold this game in very high regard for new gamers along with games like Ticket To Ride or Settlers Of Catan. These are modern classic games that you will still pull off the shelf even as your game collection expands.