This month for Blogger Board Game Club, we were sent the game – Carcassonne. I had actually seen this game on the YouTube programme “Tabletop” and had been interested to try it for a while.
At first, when you unpack the box, Carcassonne looks like it could be quite a difficult game, but it’s actually really easy to wrap your head around – once you get going. The first thing to do, is decide who is being which colour and divide out the Meeples. There are 5 different colours – red, green, black, blue and yellow. Each player has 7 in their hand and another to be used on the board game.
Taking it in turns, players draw a tile card and place it connecting to the “starter tile”. The tile must fit with the landscape, continuing any roads or cities etc.
After laying your piece, you can then also place one of your Meeples, if you want to. You can claim a city, a piece of road or a monastery. Each choice, holds a different points value, but only once the location is completed. For example, if you place a Meeple in the city, you place him as a knight. You will score points once this city is completely sealed on all edges. If you place a Meeple on the road, he becomes a highwayman. Once the road has ended, either by the introduction of a city piece, a town or a crossroads, you then score for the road you’ve made. And with the monastery, you place a Meeple as a monk – to complete that, you must have all 8 adjoining tiles in place.
As you only have 7 Meeples, you have to think carefully when you will place them as you don’t get them back until the city, road or monastery is complete. Each placement is a risk, hoping you can make the area as big as possible for maximum points, but also finished to ensure you can claim the points. You then record each rounds worth of points on the scoreboard.
The game continues on and on, with each person laying a tile and then choosing whether or not to claim a piece of land with a Meeple, then scoring where relevant. When the last tile has been laid, the game starts to come to an end. At this point, all the remaining points are tallied. Points are awarded now for all incomplete places on the board but for the most part these are a lesser value than completed places previously. You add all the points for the remaining places and then the winner is known – the person with the most points.
This is a great game, suitable for all the family as it’s really easy to understand. It’s fun too because you never quite know who is winning, because it can change so much on each turn and then again drastically at the very end. Each game doesn’t take very long to play either so again it’s good for kids who don’t often have a very long attention span. It also means you can play a few games each time without feeling like it’s taking too long.
In addition to the way I have explained it, there is also a slightly harder version which can be played, whereby you place Meeples in fields and make them farmers. This adds a whole new layer to the game and can make scoring really big. Also, this particular version of the game, came with a small expansion of Rivers and Abbots. We haven’t played this version yet but the expanson rules are included and it looks like a very interesting twist on the original game.