Carcassonne – The Classic Tile-Laying Board Game Gets a New Look
The tile-placement game Carcassonne is a classic designer game, ranking right up there with Catan and Ticket to Ride. It’s accessible, easy to learn and teach, and plays in 30 minutes to an hour. Now, nearly 15 years after its original release, it’s got a new look, though the game play remains the same. Let’s take a closer look at this updated classic.
Carcassonne is the game that started the whole meeple phenomenon. A meeple, the plural is meeples, is a small wooden person-shaped figure used as a player’s token in a board game. The term “meeple,” was first coined in November 2000 by Alison Hansel during a game of Carcassonne when she fused “my” and “people” to describe the wooden figures players use in the game.
Play is simple: draw a landscape tile and place it, then optionally place a meeple. When you place a meeple on a road, he becomes a robber and scores you 1 point per tile of the road when the road is finished. Place a meeple in a city and he’s a knight scoring you 2 points per tile when the city is completed. Place a meeple on a cloister and he becomes a monk, scoring 9 points for you when the cloister is complete: surrounded by 8 tiles, 4 sides and 4 diagonals. After scoring a completed feature, you get your meeple back and can use it again in a later turn.
You can also lay a meeple flat in a field as a farmer. Farmers score only at the end of the game, yielding 3 points per completed city served (touched) by the farm. Roads, rivers, and city walls mark the boundaries of the various farms in the completed landscape. You need to deploy farmers sparingly because unlike other meeple placements, farmers do not return to your supply: they’re tied up until the end of the game.
There are two more simple rules about meeple placement in Carcassonne:
- You can only place a meeple, Carcassonne calls them “followers”, on the tile you just placed.
- You can’t place a meeple on an already occupied feature.
So, if you can trace a line along the road you wanted to place your meeple on to another meeple, yours or another player’s, then you cannot place a meeple on that road. The same is true for cities and farms. You can, however, maneuver your way into an already growing city, farm or road, by placing a tile and a meeple on a feature that isn’t yet connected, but could be later. Of course, it’s possible that your new feature may get separated rather than connected to the large one you’re trying to horn in on.
When a feature containing two or more meeples is completed, the player with the majority of meeples on the feature earns all of the points. If there’s a tie for majority, then all tied players receive the full points. Players’ scores are tracked on the handy score board provided using one of each player’s meeples.
The new edition of Carcassonne, nicknamed Carcassonne 2.0, features beautiful new cover art by Chris Quilliams and newly designed tiles and scoreboard by Anne Pätzke. No worries if you already have the original game and/or lots of expansions as the back of the tiles remains the same. The new Carcassonne edition is fully compatible with previously released expansions. Carcassonne New Edition also includes two mini expansions: The River and the new Abbot expansion.
The Carcassonne base game supports 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up. You can add a sixth player with the Inns & Cathedrals expansion. Play time is about 60 minutes. Figure a little longer for each expansion you add.
Carcassonne’s numerous expansions, standard and mini, add endless variety and new challenges to the game. Each provides new landscape tiles and enhancements. They can be mixed and matched as desired. We typically combine Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders with the base set as our standard base game, then add another expansion or a few mini expansions to spice it up.
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