★★★★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).

Positive:
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.

Negative:
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 ★★★★☆

Versions:
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.

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

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