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Carcassonne Board Game
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- For two to five players
- Contains the river tile
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In Carcassonne, players build the area surrounding this impressive city, one tile at a time. They then place a follower on fields, cities, roads or monasteries in order to score as many points as possible. These followers will become knights, monks, farmers and thieves, depending on where they are placed. No matter their function, the player who will most cleverly use their followers will win the game. Entirely redesigned and modernized, this edition includes two expansions: the river and the abbot.
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|Sold By||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Southwest Electronics Inc||Shopville USA||Good Muffins!||Jerrys Toy Store|
|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||7.5 x 2.63 x 10.75 in||11.75 x 11.75 x 3 in||8.6 x 12 x 1.7 in||7.5 x 10.75 x 2.75 in||12.6 x 3.7 x 16.9 in||2.75 x 10.75 x 7.5 in|
|Item Weight||1.54 lbs||2.8 lbs||2.3 lbs||1.63 lbs||4.33 lbs||1.75 lbs|
Top Customer Reviews
After a trip to Barnes and Noble derailed by sticker shock and a certain misunderstanding between me and my wife over what I meant by “let’s buy a board game,” there were two conditions. One, we needed a game that five players could play (so Settlers of Catan was out). Two, we needed a game five board game beginners could figure out on the fly (so the Game of Thrones board game was out—one reviewer suggested each player watch the instructional video and one player read the instruction manual cover to cover twice). Carcassonne met both conditions and was priced to sell so we went for it.
It turned out to be a great choice. For all the medieval trappings it is, as my father and law pointed out, ultimately a real estate game. It’s a straight forward set up. Each player places tiles with some combination of three features (road, city, abbey) and places “meeples” to control features. That’s it, tiles and meeples. No paper and pen are necessary and scores are kept by meeple on an accompanying scoreboard.
I’ve played three games so far, two with five players and one with two players. The first game we tried to play on the fly and, well, we screwed a bunch of the rules up but it was fun nonetheless. I read the short instruction manual between games and by the second game we had everything figured out. Five player games are hectic. You only get to put down so many tiles, and your plans will constantly be affected by moves by other players. This was the most fun part, as every other turn devolved into half-shouted attempts at cutting backroom deals (we had been drinking). This is in contrast to the two player game I played with my wife, where we mostly played our own way, occasionally trying to place a tile to thwart the other’s plans (which seems tough to do).
The replayability, I think, will be high. My wife is up for more Carcassonne game nights, and we already have a request to bring the game for Christmas. Three or four people is probably the ideal number to play, though. There is a lot of luck involved (i.e., the tiles you draw), but there are enough different ways to play tiles to keep it interesting for a while, especially with more players. The biggest flaw, I think, is that there is no penalty for failure to terminate roads and surround abbeys, only for failure to wall off cities. Board Game Geek lists the playing time as 30 – 45 minutes, but each of our games went well beyond that (we should really introduce a chess timer). The basic set comes with river tiles and an abbot meeple that we haven’t played with yet (two separate mini-expansions).
We played another 5-player game with the river expansion tiles. The additional rules are admirably straightforward (and the reason we started with that instead of the abbot). It did make a big difference. It really spread the game out. For a 5-player game, that meant a lot less of the wheeling-and-dealing and backstabbing I talked about above. It was difficult, though, to do our own thing with so few turns and tiles per player. I think I prefer it without the river tiles, but that may be a bug or a feature, depending on your perspective.
Place a tile. Place a meeple. Remove meeples from completed structures and score points. That is essentially the game. The game mechanics are simple enough for anyone to play, but always a lot of fun. The game "board" is always different since you build your own map as you go and play off it.
Really the only disadvantage I can think of is that the New Edition is the only set in the new art-style. Meaning if you purchase any existing expansions they won't look quite the same. They'll still match up mechanics-wise, they'll just look different. You can search online for pics of old and new tiles together and see if you are okay with that. Also, from what I understand there's no definite plan to re-release any of the old expansions in the new style. "In negotiations" is all you'll get from Z-Man. I've asked. So this could possibly be the only set in the new art style. And if that is really a factor for you, then go with the old sets. You won't get the Abbot as it's tied to the new artwork, but really, it's not that much of a loss. If you really, really have to have the Abbot then continue reading for my take on it...
The Abbot acts as another monk somewhat. You can play the Abbot on a Monastery. You can also play the Abbot on flower gardens (new in the New Edition artwork) which effectively become another Monastery. You can remove an Abbot from an uncomplete Monastery and score the existing points instead of placing a Meeple. This to me isn't a very good ability. Yeah, you can remove the Abbot early, but you can only play an Abbot on another Monastery or flower garden. So it really limits what you can do with that Abbot you just removed early. So what are you really gaining by removing early? The low chance of drawing one of the few remaining Monastery or flower tiles. Not a good mini-expansion in my mind.
A hint: The starting tile has a different background than the other tiles, but it is the same background as the tiles for the river expansion (which is an alternate starting method). Therefore, we keep the starting tile in the bag with the meeple so that we can find it fast and easy (especially since it's such a generic tile) and just make sure that the river tiles don't get mixed up (but they're pretty easy to separate as there are no other tiles with water).
As mentioned, there is both a river expansion and an abbot expansion included in the box. The river expansion is fun to change things up a bit in the beginning and get things spread out and I haven't used the abbot expansion yet so I cannot speak to how that adds to the game. The abbot concept, however, seems simple enough and I think will be easy to incorporate when we want to.