Carcassonne , like it’s biggest rival Settlers of Catan, is an award winning ‘Euro-game’ that has many adherents and a large number of expansions. The basic game is very simple to learn but takes an innovative approach to the creation of the board, thus altering the ensuing game-play.
In Carcassonne , players turn over a new randomly chosen tile at the beginning of each turn. The player must then decide where to place the newly revealed tile on the growing board, each tile having to fit to the existing features of adjoining tiles (roads to roads, fields to fields, cities to cities). This both limits how a tile can be placed as well as dictating a structure to Carcassonne . After placement, players may then choose to claim the tile with one of eight followers or to leave it empty to save their followers for more useful locations.
An interesting addition to the rules is that any connected feature already claimed by another player may not be claimed again. The only method to gain control of a new feature is to first, claim an unconnected feature of the same type (e.g. a new road) and then connect both features together through placement of a new tile.
Scoring is simple – each time a specific feature has been fully developed – roads that meet, cities and monasteries that are completely enclosed – the player with the most number of followers claiming that feature scores all the points. At that time, followers return to the players hands except in the case of farmers who are only scored at the end of the game.
This feature provides the additional strategic element to Carcassonne – place too many followers down on unfinished features or as farmers and you’ll not be able to compete against other players. Don’t play them at all as farmers or concentrate on too few farming locations and you’ll lose as players claim highly prized fields.
Carcassonne is a very simple, easy to learn game that has good replay value and quite a bit of fun included. It’s biggest disadvantage (for some) is the lack of player interaction – competition of features must be through multiple placements and as such, you rarely need to interact with players. Also, some players do complain about the ‘luck’ element of drawing tiles; though in our opinion, this can be managed through proper use of the followers.