Carcassonne Is a Modern Day Classic
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Carcassonne is a fun board game that initially has almost no board. You create the board as you play using square tiles.
Each Carcassonne tile has some combination of roads, cities, cloisters, and fields. To add a new tile to the single “start tile”, you must observe a simple rule. The edges of the tiles must match: tan city to tan city, white road to white road, and green field to green field. (Cloisters don’t touch the tile edges.)
When you place a tile, you can also set a meeple on it. What’s a meeple? A meeple is a kinda cute little wooden dude of which you own 8 in your chosen color. One is used on the scoring track (a separate board) and 7 can be placed on tiles.
If you decide to place a meeple on the tile you played, you can stand him up in a city or cloister or on a road, or he can lie down in a field (where he would remain until the end of the game).
Your meeple stays in the city or cloister or on the road until the city is completed, the cloister is surrounded, or until the road ends. When those events happen, you retrieve your meeple for reuse and score points based on the size of the city, number of tiles around and including the cloister (9), and the length of the road.
Meeples lying in fields at the end of the game (after the last tile has been played) score points based on the cities adjacent to the field.
There are several expansions to Carcassonne that make it even funner than the base game. We love to play with both the Traders and Builders as well as the Inns and Cathedrals expansion sets. While adding to the length, enjoyment, and strategy, these expansions don’t significantly increase the complexity of the game.
There are a few additional meeple-like bits you get to play with, and there are a few more rules that increase scoring opportunities. There are more tiles too and a little more thought required for placing them, so that increases the playing time. But for such an enjoyable game, the extra time is almost welcomed and is never a problem.
Much like Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne is accessible to everyone – college students, kids, old folks like me, and everyone in between. Carcassonne can handle 2 to 5 players (with the expansions) and plays equally well with any number.