★★★★½ Carcassonne; it’s really fun to say the word “meeple.”

Check out this game if: you’re looking for a medium complex game that is both clever and exciting.

This game stands out because: the ability to sneak into your opponent’s territory creates many opportunities to score points, make friends, or make enemies. Also, building the map of a city feels like you’re writing a story together with your friends, each section of the map is like a chapter and everyone can be a co-author (and co-authors can either help your story or sabotage it).

1. Multiple options every turn offers players the ability to think creatively.
2. Game teaches planning ahead and weighing options.
3. Building the map of a city is oddly rewarding -players often take pictures of the map before breaking it down (similar to a puzzle).
4. No direct conflicts (though that depends on how you define “direct”).
5. The randomness of tiles creates lots of replayability.
6. No player elimination.

1. Game can get long with 5 or 6 players.
2. A little bad luck can determine who wins (but more often it’s just bad planning).

Brief Overview:
On a player’s turn, they have one mandatory action and one optional action. The mandatory action is they must lay down a tile. This tile must match the existing maps features (a road must connect to a road, a city must connect to a city). The optional action is to place a meeple on that tile.

When you place a meeple on a tile, you have a four options. 1. Putting the meeple on the road makes him a robber and he will reward you with one point per connecting tiles with a roads on it. 2. Putting a meeple in a city makes him a knight and he we reward you with two points per connecting tile (once completed). 3. Putting the meeple on a cloister makes him a monk and he will reward you with one point per surrounding tile regardless of what those tiles are. 4. Placing your meeple in a field will make him a farmer, rewarding you three points for every city connecting to your farm.

Perhaps the most important rule in this game is that you cannot place your meeple in a feature that already has a meeple (claimed). You can, however, place a meeple on a feature that may later connect to a claimed feature (putting your meeple in a small field that may later connect to a large field can make you a lot of points, or take them away from someone else).

Number of Players 2-5
Age 8+
Time 45 mins
Friendly ★★☆☆☆
Teachable ★★★☆☆
Replayability ★★★★★
Creative Freedom ★★★★★
Inclusive (no elimination) ★★★★★
Interaction ★★★★☆

There are so many versions and so many expansions. The original game has plenty of replayability to it, don’t get sucked into buying a “big box” version before trying the game.

Notable expansions: Inns and Cathedrals adds a 6th player. Traders and Builders adds bonuses. The Tower makes enemies.

Teaching Advice:
This game can be intimidating if you don’t teach it in steps. Start with the easy tile placement rules. Next, let players choose a color and hand out the meeples. Explain placing meeples from the simplest to hardest (roads, cities, cloisters, and farms). Finally explain how you cannot place a meeple on a claimed feature, but you can combine features to share or take over points.   

Link to Video Tutorial.

Link to Carcassonne on Amazon.

5 thoughts on “★★★★½ Carcassonne; it’s really fun to say the word “meeple.”

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