CityGames: Carcassonne

 |  May 31, 2017

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Creator: Klaus Jürgen Wrede
Publisher: Z-Man Games

Set during medieval times in the eponymous fortified town of southern France famed for its imposing sandstone fortress, Carcassonne is a kingdom-building, tile-placement game which enables players to place followers – including knights, monks, bandits, and farmers – on an ever-expanding landscape in order to score the most points.

The spectacularly simplistic game mechanics of Carcassonne remain one of its enduring strengths: place a land tile, place a follower, score completed features.

After positioning the starting tile, players take turns drawing land tiles from the face-down stack in order to collectively, yet competitively, build the game board. Land tiles depict segments of terrain features like roads, fortified cities, farm fields, and monasteries (or ‘cloisters’). Land tiles must be placed in a way that ensures continuity of the terrain features depicted.

Having placed a land tile, players are then given the option of placing one of their follower tokens (referred to in the game as ‘meeple’) on the tile just placed. Such placement is more challenging than it might sound, as each player is limited to seven follower tokens which are only returned to play once features are completed and scored.

Features are completed and scored differently. For example, a road is completed when both ends lead to a city, town or monastery, or the road forms a loop, earning the player one point per tile comprising the road. A city, on the other hand, is completed when it is surrounded by walls and has no gaps inside, earning two points per tile. Each instance of a completed feature not only scores points, but returns the player’s follower token to the game for further use.

Land tiles are placed until the stack is depleted, at which point the game ends and partial scoring of incomplete features takes place. This provides players behind on points but with many incomplete features with the opportunity to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Carcassonne consists of 72 sturdy land tiles, 40 wooden follower tokens, a basic scoreboard, plus a quick-reference rule book, all handsomely packaged in a durable box. The standard game also includes two mini-expansions to diversify play: a 12-tile river feature used to begin the game in lieu of the basic starting tile, and abbot followers replete with special abilities.

With its brief set-up, easy-to-grasp rules, quick game play, quality game components, and a game board that becomes more impressive to behold with each tile placed, it’s easy to see why Carcassonne is considered a modern classic.

Players: 2-5 (best suited for 2)
Playing time: 30-45 minutes
Age: 8+ (although children aged 6+ could easily play, with a little guidance)

Carcassonne is available in Chiang Mai from Golden Goblin Games
Mobile: +6684 901 7762 (JS) and +6681 802 4122 (Bow)
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