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Review | Carcassonne

Updated: Mar 7, 2019



Once a month, the marvellous people at the Board Game Blogger’s Club send our family a new game to play and review. This month, it’s the turn of landscape building game Carcassonne.


So, first things first. How do you pronounce Carcassonne? We each had a guess, ranging from “Car-crash-ownie” from Lyall, “Car-sass-son” from Dad, a kind of tongue out “Carr-rraaa-raara” from Richard and a very admirable (even if I do say so myself) “Cceer-casss-on” in a splendid French accent from myself.


After a quick Google it’s safe to say that I won that particular challenge – it is indeed “Car-cass-on”, in a marvellous French accent of course.

What’s in the box?

Lyall was tasked with removing all the contents so that we could all have a curious look at what’s included. In the box there’s two colourful instructions leaflets, a heavy-duty cardboard scoreboard, 72 ‘land cards’, 12 ‘river cards’ and a bag of colourful wooden painted people that look a little a bit like wooden jelly babies.

The painted cards depict either a road, part of a city, a crossroads or a monastery with a nice red roof. They’re highly detailed and lovely to look at; on closer inspection they are sprinkled with little tiny highwaymen, trees, farms and animals. We loved the detail on the cards and we spent a good few minutes looking at each one and then sorting them into neat piles.


Carcassonne Gameplay

I (Daddy) slowly read out the instructions while demonstrating how I imagined the gameplay should work. At first glance the rules and intricacies are fairly complicated, however the general concept is basic and we were able to start playing a simplified version of the game very quickly.

Each player picks a colour of Meeple (that’s the little wooden people) and pops one of their coloured meeples onto the starting position of the scoreboard.


The scoreboard is moved to the edge of the table to make room for the cards (which will eventually form a remarkable landscape, at least that’s the aim).

The neat piles of cards with the little pictures on are placed upside down on the table.

The starting card is placed on the table – it has a road on it running from left to right.

The first player takes a card from any pile and places it next to the starting card in an appropriate position, to continue the landscape.

Then, the next player takes a card and continues the landscape. We got into a bit of a muddle as we weren’t sure whether the cards needed to all go the same way up. They can in fact go any way up, making the task much easier.

Here’s where it gets a little scientific. In addition to placing a card, each player can place one of their meeples onto one feature within a card, be it a road, town or whatever else is on there. Each feature (road, town etc) can only contain one meeple, no matter how many subsequent cards continue it along. Bear with me, it does make sense.

After a few turns you begin to develop a landscape a little like this…


When a feature (a road or town etc) is completed, the player who placed the card that completes the road or town receives points based on the amount of cards used for that feature.

So, in the photograph above, if you look closely, the road in the middle of the landscape is complete and is featured on six cards, and so is worth six points and the corresponding meeble on the scoreboard is moved along six places. In addition, the little blue meeble on the road feature gets a point too. Well done!

How do you win?

When the final card is played, the winner is the player with the most points along the scoreboard.

There are additional rules which apply to meeples that occupy roads and towns and stuff, but to prevent an enormous fallout in the dining room the first time we played Carcassonne we decided to keep the rules simple. We also decided not to use the river cards and monasteries during our maiden voyage but we will be adding the extra rules in now that we’ve mastered the basics!

Overview

So, marks out of 10…

Packaging/design:

Dad – 9/10 Daddy – 10/10 Lyall – 10/10 Richard – 10/10

It’s well designed and robust, we loved the little wooden meeples and the fine-looking cards.

Gameplay:

Dad – 7/10 Daddy – 7/10 Lyall – 10/10 Richard – 6/10

There’s quite a lot to think about, but it gets easier as you go along.

Value for money:

Dad – 7/10 Daddy – 8/10 Lyall – 10/10 Richard – 10/00

Overall: 8/10

Carcassonne was provided free of charge by the Esdevium Blogger Board Game Club in return for our impartial, candid review.

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