Date of review: 2/6/15

Personal ranking: #17 in my 2013 Top 20. Not currently in my Top 20, but it’s still a great game.

Time to play (in my experience) 45 minutes

Age Level: I’ve played this with children as young as 6. 

Difficulty level: 1 (less than 5 minutes to teach, less than an hour to play)

Type of Game: Tile placement. This means pretty much what it says, you place tiles. In this case you place tiles into a central playing area, making sure that all the sides match. Roads need to connect with roads, cities need to connect to cities, grass needs to connect with grass. It’s kinda like putting together a puzzle.

Notice how the tiles fit together. It really is quite a sight once it is all done.

Game setting: The region of Carcassonne in France in the Middle Ages.

Brief overview of how to play: On your turn you place a tile into the central area, and then you may place a “meeple” (short for mini-people), on that tile that you placed. If you placed him in a city, he’s a knight, if you placed him on a road, he’s a robber, if you placed him in a monastery, he’s a monk, and if you placed him in the grass, he’s a farmer. Then you draw a tile for your next turn.

How do you win?: Have the most points at the end of the game from the workers that you placed during the game. You score points both during the game and at the end.

How many players does it play?: 2-5 (up to 6 with an expansion)

Ideal number: Probably 3 or 4, but this is a good option for 5 players too. I find that it's often hard to find good 5 player games.

Why do I love/recommend this game?

Easy to teach/easy to play: This is possibly the easiest “full game” that I own. Longer than “No Thanks”, but shorter and a little less complicated than “Airlines Europe”, it fills a nice place in my collection.

Fun to watch the map “grow”: Each game plays a little differently as the layout develops differently over the course of the game.

“One decision at a time” game: Some people, like my own dad, have a little trouble tracking games that require more complex decision-making. Although you can do more long-term planning, you can also just kinda focus on the one tile at hand. You just need to figure out where to place that one tile.

Bunches of expansions and spin-offs: Once you learn the basic game, there are many expansions that you can get that give you different and unusual tiles along with some different kinds of meeples to place. You can really build on the basic system to make it as deep and as complicated as you might want.

Is there anything offensive in the game? Anything at all? Not that I can see. Well, other than robbing is bad. I suppose you could call those meeples “merchants”. The name doesn’t really matter in the game. 

Final Word: In the modern board game world, this is a classic that everyone should be familiar with. It’s a great game for families and perhaps the greatest of the “tile placement” genre. I heartily recommend this game, especially to anyone new to the great world of modern board games. price at the time of this posting: $33.38. Expansions run around $18.


Carol T December 27, 2015 @04:55 pm

Fr Kent, I just got this game and we are having a lot of fun playing it. Thank you for the recommendation!

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