Carcassonne is a tile-based board game by Z-Man Games. Named after the French fortress town of Carcassonne, the game is suitable for ages 8 years to adult. To win, it requires a good bit of strategy and skill. Carcassonne was designed to be played by two to five players. It is easy to understand and can be set up in minutes. With an average game lasting 45-50 minutes it should be capable of retaining the attention of even the youngest players.
As the game progresses tiles are laid down to form a board representing a medieval landscape. The game begins with a single terrain tile face up and the 71 others shuffled face down for players to use. For each turn a player draws a new terrain tile and places it against tiles that are in play and face up. The new tile needs to be placed in a suitable way to extend the features on the tiles it abuts. In effect roads must connect to other roads, fields to fields, and city walls to city walls. After each tile is placed, the player in play may station a follower piece called a meeple on a feature of the new tile. The placing player cannot place a follower to claim any features of the tile that connect to features already claimed by another player.
Although it is possible for terrain features to be shared by the subsequent placement of connecting tiles. It may be possible for two field tiles which each have a follower to become connected into a single field by another terrain tile. The game is completed when the last tile has been placed. At that time, all features score points for the players with the most followers on them. The player with the most points wins the game.
During the game cities, cloisters, and roads (but not fields) are scored when they are completed. Cities and roads are completed when there are no unfinished edges and cloisters when they are surrounded by eight tiles. At the end, when there are no tiles remaining, all incomplete features are scored. Points are awarded to the players with the most followers in a feature. If there is a tie for the most followers in any given feature, all of the tied players are awarded the full number of points.
In general, points are awarded for the number of tiles covered by a feature; cloisters score for neighbouring tiles; and fields score based on the number of connected completed cities. Once a feature is scored, all of the followers in that feature are returned to their owners.
An Excellent Game
Carcassonne is a very good starter game and an excellent way to introduce children to tactical board games. It reminds me of a graphic version of dominoes where you have to follow certain features but you can use tactics to gain an advantage. The rules are simple and the play is rapid. There is a luck component to the game but good tactics can improve your chances of winning.
Tactics to be developed include conserving or trapping followers and good follower placement, joining in on other players features and blocking to avoid sharing.
We have played Carcassonne about five times with four players and the skills and tactics have grown with each game played. It is definitely a game to be taken away on vacation. It is easily set up and is a really good game to play. Like dominoes but more tactical and strategic.