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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.
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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!
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on December 14, 2015
I purchased Carcassonne due to the raving reviews. My wife and I were anxious to find a game that could be played with just 2 players. We found Carcassonne definitely lived up to the hype! We enjoy playing this regularly. While most of the time I play this with only 2 players, we do have friends over and play it from time to time as well. I've played this with as many as 6 players (must have an expansion with another set of meeples to do this) and find it enjoyable with any number of people.

The River mini expansion is already included in this version of the game, but I don't find The River to provide a whole lot to the overall experience. We purchased the Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals expansion and use it almost every time we play, even when it's just the 2 of us. I would definitely recommend this expansion. I am eager to try out some of the other expansions as well. We did find that the expansion tile backs had a slight darker coloring from the standard game tiles and it made it very easy to determine which tiles you wanted to go for (if you could really use a tile that the expansion has but the Classic game didn't); so to combat that my wife made a very simple cloth bag that we place all of the tiles in (see attached picture - the bag even fits inside the game box). This prevents cheating and also makes it very easy to hand the bag of tiles to the next player to select rather than forcing them to reach over to wherever you've placed them on the floor. It also decreases the required floor space for the game. If you aren't crafty I'm sure you could use a paper bag from your local grocer.

if you're looking for a fun 2-5 player game (before expansions), look no further, Carcassonne is one that you'll enjoy for years to come.
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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.
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on April 7, 2014
On the surface, Carcassonne would appear to be a rather simple game: you lay tiles and place a piece on the corresponding zone you'd like to occupy. However, the trick is in the details. This game becomes increasingly engrossing and complex the larger the board gets.

I would definitely recommend combing through the instructions if it is your first time. Afterwards, establish rules on interpretation. Why? you may ask. There are a couple of details in the game which are not clearly drawn in the instructions (including the occupation of a particular zone with multiple pieces, especially with concerns to fields). These somewhat vague outlines will make your end-game tally a bit difficult if you do not lay the preferred interpretations beforehand. Don't be one of those "let's just play and learn along the way" types; it'll be a bigger headache for all in the end.

The addition of the river is really nice and adds an interesting strategic element towards building. Would definitely recommend to anyone looking for alternatives to the popular board games in the market.
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on July 2, 2014
This is our second Euro-style game after Settlers of Catan (which we love). You'll see comparisons of the two online, and comparison reviews on YouTube - and while one German style game may by default invite sizing up against another German style game, this is nothing like Catan so don't be fooled.

This game has no dice, the element of chance comes into play with how randomly you stack the tiles. There's definite strategy, though, once you're familiar with the scoring (which might take a few games).

It's all about when to farm, balanced with how many castles to build in your field(s) - and if you want to get competitive you can start horning in on your opponents fields, which ratchets up the fun. Expansion packs give players more than enough variation if you ever get bored with the basic Carcassonne game - including The Tower expansion which lets you get even more vindictive.

I'd give this game 4.8 out of 5. It's relatively low stress, and comparatively low competition in company with other games like Power Grid, but it's still a lot of fun and offers enough skill and chance to prevent you from getting bored. Also, the rules are easy to learn and it spreads out nice as an after dinner game with company, who'll pick it up in no time.
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on December 25, 2014
This is my husband and I's favorite game! We play it alone and with friends.

It took me a long time to understand the scoring, playing with someone who knew the rules was very helpful!

We bring this to every game party, and it is always a hit. People have purchased the game immediately after the party for themselves.

My best friend called it "the castle game" for a long time and always asked to play it when she was in town. She even set aside an evening when bringing her boyfriend home to "meet the parents" to introduce him to this game! I purchased it for her this summer and she said they play it weekly and now they too bring the hit game to gaming parties!

We are all in our late twenties-early thirties, but we've played with 13 year olds to 70 year olds.

It is a lot of fun!

Do yourself, your friends and family a favor, and buy this game!!!!!
When you get used to it, it is actually pretty easy.... it takes luck and strategy to win!
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on May 22, 2014
I play a lot of board games, and trust me when I tell you- this is a great one! I was somewhat skeptical at first, because I was not overly impressed with the concept and art. However, I had heard great things about Carcassonne, so I decided to give it a shot and order it. I'm glad I did. This is a super fun tile placement game that is perfect when you want to get a fun game of strategy in, but don't have a ton of time. It plays GREAT with two people (I haven't had the chance to play it with more, but I'm sure it retains the fun factor), and it's become a wonderful addition to our collection of games. The components are also quality built, with excellent tiles (and the artwork grew on me) and some heavy duty meeples (the wooden figures representing people). You always feel like you're "still in it" when you're playing this game, because huge point swings could occur at any time, should you manage to complete that city or road you've been steadily building.

We're not entirely sure how to pronounce the title of this game, so we just call it Car-ca-sony Macaroni (which is almost certainly more fun than the actual pronunciation).
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on January 3, 2015
This is a simple but fun game that plays well with 2 players, as well as 3-4. Building cities and roads is pretty much all you're doing and it is not too difficult. Scoring can get a bit confusing with merging cities or with fields, which might rule out playing seriously with kids. But it's a good family game.

The basic game comes with the "river" expansion, which makes it more challenging and interesting. This is good, because the basic game had a fast burn-out rate for me. It got old really quickly. After 8-10 games, it was repetitive and dull. My wife and I played it and it quickly became a game where we didn't really care who won, we just wanted to finish it. I think the game will be much better with various expansions, which are plentiful and affordable.

I think young teenagers would do well with this game, but if you're thinking about buying it for adults, plan on eventually buying some of the expansions.
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on February 21, 2014
Just got this game yesterday from Amazon. Very interesting game but I thought the scoring was confusing. The four of us sat down last night to try our first game. My son had played this before so was able to help with the explanations and scoring. Needless to say I lost but still liked the game. It is interesting how decisions you make can help/hurt other players. We have not tried the River expansion yet because we wanted to get a feel of the game. You need alot of room to play this game since the tiles go all directions. The tiles don't fit into the slot in the box very well for storage but if you bend down the tabs underneath there is more than ample room for them to fit. I have recently bought Ticket to Ride, Puerto Rico and my son has bought many of the Dominion sets. All of these games are challenging and different. I'm 61 years old and find these games so much better than the games I grew up with, although I still like Risk. These games keep you mind tuned. The learning curve can be steep (not so much with Carcassonne or Ticket to Ride) but well worth the effort. I will probably buy attachments to this game if I don't buy Memoir 44 or Twilight Struggle first!
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