- Great for beginners
- light strategic elements (no analysis paralysis!)
- Unique board every time you play
- Can be a bit of a challenge for new players facing of against experienced Carcassonne players.
A lightweight strategic game, which is excellent for introducing new people into the wonderful world of board games. But what makes this tile-laying game so great? Here is a short review.
In Carcassonne you are a building out your medieval land with new cities, roads and fields. You are doing this by turning up a face down title and matching any of its four sides to an already placed title. That’s all fine and dandy but the issue is that there are other players doing the exact same thing on the same board. This means that you are all competing for the same area and it can sometimes cause problems with placing the next tile exactly where you wanted to. This is where the creative side comes in with the game, you have to constantly adapt to how the rest of the players places their tiles.
To add a strategic factor to the game you have 7 meeples (little wooden figures) to help you out. When you play a new title (depending what is on the title) you can play a meeple on the road (thief), in a city (knight) or on a field (farmer). You can only play a meeple if it is not interfering with an already placed. So if you are placing a tile with parts of a road on it and further away some other players meeple is already occupying the road well tough luck, that road is now part of that players road system.
Beginner advice – think before placing
The tip I give new Carcassonne players when placing a meeple is to think about if they are going to be able to finish that road or city before the game ends. You can easily be built in and not find that “perfect” title that will complete your city. The problem is that your meeple is stuck in that city or road until you complete them.
The fields are a bit different and are not scored during the game itself. You wait until the end (when all tiles have been placed) and you are then rewarded 3 points per completed city your field provides food to. So if you have 3 cities in your field you will score 3 X 3 points at the end of the game. The downside is that when you place a meeple on the field it is locked away until the end of the game, so will you risk it and see the field will grow and provide food to many cities or is it better to keep that meeple and build more roads or cities?
The game consists of tiles and meeples and that’s it. There are no event cards or anything like that you have to worry about here. The artwork on the titles is excellent and has a high quality of details and individuality. In later expansions you have more unique tiles as well as components (new types of meeples, new actions on titles etc.).
Final thoughts – Carcassonne
What I really like with Carcassonne is that you get both the strategic aspect, but also the creative side through the seemingly endless ways a tile can be placed. It works so well with new board gamers (so easy to learn) as well as experienced (because of the diversity in how the game can be played) and it grabs you from the first tile!