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65 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2011
The GAME: Carcasonne is an amazingly fun, addictive, simple yet deep, and interactive game that's fun to play with 1 other person or 6 other people. The basic game is incredibly simple, and using all expansions at the same time is very complex; but that's part of what makes this game so great is that anyone can figure out how to play the basic game in about 5 seconds, yet even the basic game involves a good amount of subtle strategy and therefore isn't as easy to "master" as it is to learn how to play. And then add to that the fact that there are a multitude of expansions available, and it gives Carcassonne an incredible amount of depth and replay value that goes far beyond almost any other game I've ever played in my life.

The EXPANSIONS: Say you're playing with a bunch of 5 year-olds that have never played the game before. Just use the basic game and everyone will be able to play and have fun. Now, say those kids are 10 and have played a few times before. Maybe you want to use the basic game plus one or two of the expansions. That adds more cards to the game, a few more complex rules, and the game will be longer and more fun for everyone (since by now playing just the basic game may be a little boring). Now, say you're playing with a group of adults that have played the game countless times. Use the basic game plus all 5 expansions and the game is now going to be very complex, deep, interactive, challenging, fun, and even combative (in a friendly sort of way). The point is that you can pick and choose which expansions you want to play depending on who is playing with you, how much time you have, how complex you want the game to be, what strategies you want to use, etc. And even though I said that the basic game by itself could get "boring", I guarantee that this game in its entirety could never get boring because each game is entirely different and the strategies you use to win will change every single time you play.

This BOX: this is by FAR the most well thought out board game packaging I've ever seen, which is good since it includes the basic game plus 5 optional expansions which you can pick and choose from. Each card has a little water mark on it which indicates which expansion it's part of. The box has a slot for each set of cards, separated by expansion set. So at the end of each game, it's easy to put the game pieces into the appropriate piles of cards, and then put those cards into the appropriate slot in the box. Brilliant!
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64 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2011
Likes:

1. The tile format and artwork is appealing.
2. The simplicity and ease-of-teaching make it a great gateway board game that most people can pick up.
3. This box set has all of the best expansions in one place for less than purchasing them all separately.
4. Most games with 5 or less people are under an hour.

Suggestions:

During play, use a Crown Royal bag or some other non-transparent bag and throw the pile of draw tiles in the bag. This will save table space and makes the random tile drawing easier, allowing you to quickly pass the bag around as you play.

Dislikes:

None really. This is a big box, so it's not suited for travel. However, if you plan on traveling with this game, you can make use of the aforementioned cloth bag and take only the expansions you want on the road.

Bottom Line:

A game you can share and enjoy with family and friends for years to come.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2011
Took a chance and purchased the Big Box rather than the stand-alone game as previous research on the game (both written and video reviews) convinced me it would be a game our family would enjoy, so why not save some money on the expansions? This has turned out to be a prescient decision as, after playing it about a dozen times, we've already added the Inns and Cathedrals expansion to mix things up a bit.

Our family enjoys the game for a number of reasons:

1. The basic game was easy to learn even for our seven year old and the Inns and Cathedrals expansion did not add any great complexity.
2. Quick to play (average time between 30 and 45 minutes) so it fits into our weekly boardgame rotation.
3. A good mix of planning and randomness that gives our seven year old a solid chance to win. By comparison, we also regularly play Ticket to Ride. Ticket has a bit more emphasis on planning than randomness and, as a result, our seven-year old is not nearly as successful (while still enjoying it).

Overall, an enjoyable addition to our family's board game collection.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
After Monopoly, Sorry, Scrabble, Parchisi, Trivial Pursuit, and Chutes & Ladders, who knew there'd be another fun board game? Our neighbors introduced us to Carcassonne (which, because it starts like "carcas"...couldn't they come up with a more fun French word?) and I looked all over Barnes & Noble. Couldn't find it so I looked on Amazon and carefully read all these reviews to see which package offered the best bang for the buck. This one. Basic game plus 5 expansion packs is really a great buy. It's lovely how everything fits in the box (yes! there's a map!) with room to spare. You can easily pick and choose just the basic game or whatever combination of additional sets you like. Be patient, it takes a while to get to know the rules...but then it's strategy time! Perhaps learn one expansion pack at at time before you start layering because scoring at the end can be dicey.

Tips:
1) Keep all the little resealable bags so you don't mix up your little guys with your big guys with your mayors.

2) The starter tile has a side which will fit every other tile--field, road, and city--and the back is darker. Put stickers on the front of the starter tile so you don't have to turn all the tiles over to find it. (After a while, it gets interesting to see how much it stays in the middle or strays to the edge of the play.)

3) Keep the starter tile in the little box at the edge so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle. (For some reason that little box is not marked on the "map" on the inside cover.)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2012
This is a great box for any Carcassonne lover. First-time players should stick to just the main game, but the expansions are a wonderful addition. The box is neatly organized and makes it easy to identify pieces for expansions and the main game.

There is a lot of chance involved and knowing the remaining pieces is a big help to figuring out what you'll need at what point in the game. But you'll be scrambling for points and deciding where your pieces will be invested in. Farmers are the wildcards as they can swing the points wildly to one player who has masterful farmer-placement. This game is just fun fun fun. It balances the social aspect of German-style board games well with the independent decision-making aspect. You will be looking to block others efforts to score big points on castles and churches, but also trying to complete structures of your own so that you can get the points and get your meeples back in your supply for use in your next moves.

The tiles are durable and full of quality construction. The meeples are cute and solid wood. The princess and dragon are cute additions to the stable of nice wooden pieces. Quality manufacturing all around.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2011
The picture pretty much shows the size of the box. This truly is a big box, containing not only the original game, but the components for 5 of the expansions as well. But the makers went a bit further and set up the box so that it can not only hold all the pieces, but hte tiles for each expansion have their own slot in the box, and cna be kept seperated. This is great for introducing people as you can pull out just the main set, or add in specific sets.

And that doesn't consider how much fun the game can be. I enjoy all types of games, but my family tends to be very wary of many of the games I come up with because they can be complex and difficult to learn. I talked my parents into trying it and at the end of the first game, my father said. "Shall we play again." After that game it was my mother who was saying, "I could play this again." It turned what could have been a slow evening into several fun filled games with my family.

Easy to learn, but has many opportunities for strategy and tactics without bringing dice or another random occurance generation system in. The drawing of tiles is random, but after that, its all about making good choices and thinking ahead.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2012
Great game. A good price for all the expansions! The great thing about this game is that it is fun to play, even when you only have two players (as opposed to many games which are not fun unless you have more), but if you do have more players, it is equally fun. Some of the expansions don't work well for only two players however (i.e. bazaars), but some do (princess and dragon). I highly recommend this game.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2012
Having played this game several times on various online game sites, I got hooked by the simple fact that literally every game you play results in a different board. After doing some research on different editions and reading reviews, Big Box 3 seemed like the way to go. I haven't been disappointed. My wife was at first skeptical about my spending so much on one game (this one is really one game with several expansions) but after playing a few rounds she was hooked. It plays well with just two players (which is great for us!), but also with up to 6 (if you use a few of the included expansions) although the addition of players changes the strategy of the game significantly. All in all the game is a great bargain (saves about 50% on the total cost of base game and 5 expansions when purchased separately), and a lot of fun (tons of replay potential). My only complaint about the set is the "big box" is big (although smaller than I expected). It needs to be large to fit all of the contents but I think Rio Grande Games could have been more efficient in the overall dimensions of the box (17" x 12.5" x 4.5").

Thanks for this great set RGG!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2011
Despite getting new games, I always go back to this one because it is the best. This is a great value and it's an easy game for new players to learn. I love how you can make it a quick game or stack up the expansions and make it last forever. If you love the app version, you'll love this. We use the Princess and Dragon plus the Abbey and Mayor and Bridges expansions. The Dragon expansion is a must, because it makes the game so much more dynamic and exciting (it gives you the opportunities to take away other players' guys and the anticipation of the dragon piece makes the game interesting). The Inns and Cathedrals expansion is not very exciting and we don't use it. We haven't had time to learn Castles and Bazaars and Traders and Builders yet, because we're having such a good time already with the other expansions. They look like a lot fun though!

The quality is excellent and the organization and compartments inside the box really helps. The box is a bit big, but the box lid comes in handy. We just throw all the titles face down in the lid and stick it underneath the table to draw from.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2011
This game is wonderful. The Big Box Set is an undeniably great value if you compare the items. I highly recommend this game. It has already brought hours of entertainment to my family and we haven't even begun to explore the expansions!
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