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Carcassonne

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Carcassonne (2007) is a strategy game where you lay tiles to create a medieval landscape of farms, rivers and cities. Each new tile must match the roads, rivers, farms and cities of those around it. As you place it you can claim one of these elements that score points at the end of the game. The map building is simple fun but belies layered tactics to score the most points.

Play involves you picking a random tile and then finding somewhere on the growing map that it can fit. Because you can only claim scoring aspects of the landscape by placing a character piece on the tile you lay, careful consideration of the location is required.

As you progress a battle ensues to claim the most valuable elements (larger cities, farms and longer roads). At the end of the game, the player with the most characters on each of these claims the related points.

This adds complexity to play because you can not place a character on any area already owned by another player's characters. You can, however, place characters on nearby farms, cities or roads, and in a later go add tiles that join these together.

There are many expansions that add new ways to score points for yourself and to foil other players:
  • Inns and Cathedrals adds a double-scoring character, and tiles with Inns and Cathedrals that can be placed as part of roads and cities to enhance their value.
  • Traders and Builders adds city tiles with collectable goods on them for more points, a pig character to increase the value of fields and a powerful builder character that lets you go again if you extend a city it is placed on.
  • The River adds tiles that extend the starting river tile in the game (often included in the base game now).
  • The Princess and the Dragon adds magic portal tiles allowing players to place followers on an incomplete feature of previously placed tiles. There's as a volcano and dragon tiles that move the dragon and princess tiles that allow followers to be removed.
  • The Tower adds tiles and tower pieces that enable you to capture nearby followers.
  • Abbey and Mayor that adds Abbey tiles that can fill in holes in the board and complete features and Mayors who can be placed as followers in cities.
  • Wheel of Fortune is a full replacement for the base game with new tiles and characters and a central Wheel of Fortune element that triggers different effects in the game including famine, plague, and fortune, among others.

The result is an inviting game to play because of the maps you create during each session. As you get a handle on the score, however, what emerges is a back-and-forth battle for control of different elements on the map. The winner isn't known until right at the end.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Carcassonne 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 7 weeks ago.
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Play StylePlay Style

This is a Puzzle and Strategy game with Creative and World Building elements. You can play with 2 to 5 players in the same room.

 
You can play this game in the following styles:

DurationDuration

Learn to Play: This takes 35 minutes to learn. Although understanding tile and character placement are quite quick, the complexity of the scoring means this takes a while to learn.

The first time you play do the following:
  • Play with two players.
  • Play the first round without farmers to keep scoring and play simpler.
  • All help players place their tiles and characters.
  • At the end, take time to work through the scoring in order and understand how choices led to the winner.

Play Time: This game will take between 35 minutes and 45 minutes to complete.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Level

9+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Although younger players can enjoy the game, to play competitively you need to understand the complex scoring and the methods of joining into other player's cities, farms and roads to steal points. There is a version called Kids Carcassonne that is greatly simplified and suitable for children 5-8.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds.

CostsCosts

There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 27/06/2007

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Players: 2-5

Genres: Puzzle, Strategy (Creative and World Building)

Accessibility: 29 features

Components: Bag, Figures, Placeables and Tokens

Developer: Z Man Games (@ZManGames_)


Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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