Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep Expansion – The hills are alive with the sound of baaa-ing… and tie-breaking…

Carcassonne Hills & Sheep - The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Baaa-ing and Tie-breaking

The tile-placement game Carcassonne just got a new expansion in 2014: Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep. This full-sized expansion for Carcassonne adds shepherd meeples, sheep and wolves, hills and vineyards, and 18 new Land tiles (identified with a little sheep icon).

To add the Hills & Sheep expansion to your game, all you need do is shuffle the new tiles in with your other Carcassonne tiles, place the sheep and wolf tokens in the provided cloth bag and dispense a shepherd meeple to each player. The bag’s way bigger than you need for the little tokens. You could presumably use it to store everything in the expansion. It’s got a cute picture of a Carcassonne tile with sheep.

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep shepherd meeple and sheep tokens

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep – shepherd meeple minding his sheep tokens

Except for a few changes, described below, the basic rules are the same. The first of which is that everybody gets a new meeple! It’s a shepherd, complete with staff (right).

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep wolf token

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep wolf token

Whenever you place a tile featuring a green field, you may place your shepherd on that field, assuming he’s not already watching a flock elsewhere; also assuming another player’s shepherd isn’t already watching a flock in that field. It’s ok if the field is already occupied by a farmer, though. When you place your shepherd, you must draw a token from the cloth bag. If it’s a Sheep token, place it in the field next to your shepherd. Sheep tokens depict 1 to 4 sheep. If it’s a Wolf, however, you must take your shepherd back and return the Wolf to the bag. Bad wolf!

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep bag

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep bag

On future turns when you place a tile such that it expands the field tended by your shepherd, you must make a choice. Do you want to attempt to Grow your flock or Gather your flock?

  • If you chose to Grow your flock, draw a token from the bag. If it’s a Sheep token, place it with your other sheep next to your shepherd. If it’s a Wolf, however, the wolf chases all your sheep away! Return them all to the bag and take your shepherd back. There’s no sheep left for him to tend, so he has to go home.
  • If you chose to Gather your flock, score yourself 1 point per sheep in the field. (If, through clever tile placement, several shepherds managed to occupy the same field, they all score full points for the sheep.) After scoring, place all sheep in that field back in the bag and take back your shepherd(s).

It’s important that you gather your sheep before the game ends, as any shepherds on the board at game end score nothing for the sheep they’re still tending. Further, shepherds cannot be used as regular followers and do not influence any other scoring. There is one exception to the “shepherd is not a follower rule.” When playing with Carcassonne: The Princess & the Dragon Expansion, when the dragon enters a field tile occupied by a shepherd, the dragon, fittingly, eats the shepherd and all of her sheep. Yum, mutton. In which case, return the shepherd to the player’s supply and the sheep tokens to the bag.

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep hill tile

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep hill tile

Ok, so that covers the Sheep portion of Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep. Let’s sing about the Hills: The hills are alive with the sound of tie-breaking… Hill tiles feature a hill graphic with a red flag (left). Whenever you draw a Hill tile, you must immediately draw another tile, without looking at it, and place it underneath the Hill tile, creating a raised Hill. Seems fitting. You may then place a follower on the tile according to normal meeple placement rules.

The Hill itself is not a feature like cities, roads, cloisters, farms, etc. The Hill, however, does affect the scoring of all features on its tile (city, road, and field). Any meeple on a Hill tile breaks ties in favor of its owner. For example: when two or more players tie for most followers, the follower on a Hill tile, breaks the tie in favor of its owner, so just that player scores points for the feature. If there is no tie when the feature is scored, the Hill has no effect.

Followers still occupying Hill tiles at the end of the game can break ties occurring during end-game scoring for fields and incomplete features. The hills are alive with the sound of tie-breaking…

In addition to the afore-mentioned sheep and hills, the Hills & Sheep expansion also includes Vineyard tiles (right) that can increase the value of monasteries (cloisters).

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep vineyard tile

Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep vineyard tile

When a monastery is completed and scored, its value is increased by 3 points for each vineyard on one of the monastery’s eight surrounding tiles. It’s possible for a single Vineyard to increase the value of more than one monastery and for a monastery to have more than one Vineyard. However, Vineyards only benefit completed monasteries. If your monastery isn’t finished by game end, neighboring Vineyards do not provide any additional points. Just score the incomplete monastery as you normally would.

Hills & Sheep is a nice addition to the flock (see what I did there) of Carcassonne expansions. It’s number 9 of the full-size expansions. You can combine Hills & Sheep with any or all (I’d like to see that game!) other Carcassonne expansions for a more interesting or complex Carcassonne game – add several expansions if you want a real challenge.

The Carcassonne: Hills & Sheep Expansion supports 2 to 6 players (5 if you don’t have the Inns & Cathedrals Expansion). The box states that it’s appropriate for ages 13 and up, though the base Carcassonne game specifies ages 8 and up. Hills & Sheep isn’t really that much more complex. Perhaps its age is rated higher for the potential trauma you might experience if wolves or dragons eat your sheep. Play time is listed as 40 minutes.