board games

Carcassonne Review

I love playing board games. I wouldn’t really call myself an avid or regular player, but I will say almost never say no thanks to playing a game. I haven’t tried all the games the cool kids are playing, but I’m always happy to try a new game and their a lot of games that I still want to try.

This is a unsolicited/ unpaid  user review of a game I own. (I mean I own a copy of the game, not the rights to the game).


Age: 13 and up.
Players: 2-5 players.
Average playing time: ± 40 minutes

Carcassonne is a tile building game. The box contains  72 normal playing tiles ( including the a start tile),  12  river tiles (expansion), 5 sets of followers (player tokens), a score board and the game rules.

Each player has 8 “followers”. One follower is used to keep track on the score board and the rest is used to claim the player’s builds.

The start tile is place on the table and other tiles are shuffled and placed on in stacks on the table. Players can arbitrarily decide who will start the game or they can just let youngest player will start. Order of play proceeds clockwise.  The first player draws a tile from any pile of cards and places it on any side of the start tile, provided that the picture will build correctly.  The tile a player places has to line side by side to an existing game tile (you cannot  simply touch the corner of an existing tile with nothing touching the sides of the new tile).

In a basic game, players will build roads, cities and monasteries.  The player who has placed a tile can then place a follower on the newly placed tile, on the piece of road (the follower is called a “thief”) , city (“knight”) or monastery (“monk”), depending on what she is trying to build.  Once a build is completed, the player removes her follower from the board and returns the follower to her pile of game tokens. She scores her points and moves her scorer the appropriate number of points on the score board.  A road is complete when there is a crossroad, intersection on building at either end of a stretch. A monastery is complete when the tile is surrounded by 8 other tiles. A city is complete when the wall are closed around.

Each tile of road counts 1 point,  completed monasteries count 9 points  (1 point for each tile). City tiles count 2 points each plus an extra 2 points for each banner (at the end of the game,  uncompleted cities only score 1 point per tile or banner). Once a player laps on the score board, she turn her follower on its side to indicate that it has already gone around the board.

You cannot play a follower on a city or road already allocated to another player (for example if you have a city tile and can only add it to someone else’s city). If players build separate cities or roads and these roads or cities become one as they expand, the players who have followers will share the points if they have an equal number of followers on the build. If one plays has more tokens than the other co-builders, she will get all the points. (i.e  Blue has started 2 separate cities and Red has also started a city. During the course of the game these 3 cities become one large city. Blue will score all the points when the cities is completed. Red will score nothing.)

Play continues until all the tiles have been placed. Each player then count their points for uncompleted builds. Uncompleted builds score 1 point per tile. The player with the most points on the score board wins the game.


As an extension, players can build farms as well,  though this should be decided before play starts.  Farms are claimed by placing a follower (“farmer”) on the green/ field part of a tile.  The farms extension can be a bit complicated as it isn’t always clear where borders are. I have only played this once. The game is much less complicated without this extension.

Another extension is playing with the river cards, which expands the play area and extends the game by a few minutes. When the river is played, the normal starting tile is taken out of play and the river origin tile is placed first. All the river tiles are then place by the players, until then lake tile is placed. The next player then draws the next tile from the normal playing tiles and play continues in the normal order.

What I like about this game is that the basic game is very easy to learn. Play doesn’t take very long (unlike Risk or Monopoly for example, though I do like both those games). It takes some strategy, but it is not too complicated. It is very inclusive and suitable for family play. There are no general knowledge questions (though I love trivia questions, but some people don’t) and no roll of dice influencing one player’s monopoly of the game.  Players are allowed to advise each other on where to place tiles, but they don’t have to.  Even  people who are not generally very big on board games seem to enjoy this game.  This is a fun game for family or friends and one you will probably play often.

©lowercase v  2017