I’d heard good things about the game Carcassonne, so I was pleased when we were sent it and asked to review it for our Asmodee board game bloggers role. Carcassonne is a game where 2-5 players place their tiles through Southern France to create landscapes and cities and help the players gain points.
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For ages over 8, I wondered whether the game would be a bit too old for N, but with an expected game play time of 35-45 minutes, it’s good for sitting down and playing in one session and can be as simple or as complex as the players make it.
Each player takes a tile from the pile and can choose where to play it on the table. You have to match the tile next to a similar type of landscape or building, e.g connecting roads with roads. Players are also given meeples, and these get places on the tiles put down, and depending on the type of meeple, is how the different points are scored. For example a meeple is a monk if you put it on a monastery, and a thief if put on a road.
Putting down tiles, you’re aiming to complete roads and cities, and then get more points with the meeple you have on them. Farmers are better for long term game strategy, while meeples on roads might be faster to gain points from. The ability to see the long vs short term is where younger children playing might find it harder.
Our experience of Carcassonne board game
We played with just the 2 of us but this worked out fine. When you’re starting out, it’s easy to understand how to play, and doesn’t take much to get started. The instructions start at a more basic level, and it recommends playing a few games before you introduce farmers and abbots. We’ve so far played without them, and it worked well.
N grasped it quickly, although when we looked back, our starting placement of tiles was a bit rubbish and several weren’t connected properly. It can be a bit frustrating waiting to pick up the tiles you need, but that adds to the anticipation of the game. He certainly didn’t want to place his tiles anywhere that would help me out.
I was all for the long game, and used all my meeples quickly going for the big points, whereas N was a bit more reticent (or trying to cheat by hogging all 3 roads on a tile).
It didn’t take long to reach the bottom tile which signalled the end of the game. Totting up the scores through the game was easy and adding on at the end was as well. N was pleased he nearly caught me up on the separate score board but didn’t quite make it.
We did nearly run out of space on the table so you do need to make sure you’ve a large table or are playing on the floor.
I can see us playing this quite a lot, although it’s probably not a game that N would be able to play with friends without an adult, as the scoring and checking the rules as you’re going takes a bit of checking. Until you’ve played more and it becomes more automatic.
What we liked about Carcassonne
• You can play a short or long strategy – it’s great for making you think ahead
• You can still get points at the end even if you’ve not completed routes or cities
• Can play with 2 and up to 5 players
• You don’t need complicated set up – just a table or floor, the tiles and meeples
• There’s the option to ease your way into the game, adding in the game extensions once you’ve got the hang of it.
If you want to try the Carcassonne game you can buy it from Amazon or other game stockists.
Disclosure: We were sent the game for the purpose of review as part of our Asmodee UK board game club role.