Friday, April 4, 2014

Carcassonne Review

   As many of you probably know, Saturday is Table Top day. I am super excited for our party we have planned. If everyone comes, we will be having 9 adults and 9 kids. That my friends, is a full house!

   Since It is almost Table Top day, I decided to do a game that you need a table for. Not just any table, but a decent size table.


   We've tried playing Carcassonne on a card table, but it didn't work very well. We had to keep trying to move the game around so it would fit. Carcassone doesn't have a board, it's a tile laying game that is a lot of fun! This is an easy game to teach and you can play it with anywhere from 2-5 players. We have played it both ways and everything in between and we have a great time no matter the size of the group.

 The contents are as follows:

   A score card


   40 Followers in 5 different colors.


   72 land tiles

   And a rule book. The rule book is very helpful and has a lot of pictures. There is also a paper that has a list of all of the tiles that are included in the game as well as how to score the fields.

   To start, every player chooses a color. Each player places one of their followers on the scoring track on 0.


   Next place the tiles in a bag. The bag wasn't included. I'm not sure if this has been added or not, but any bag will work or you can place them face down. As long as you draw randomly, it doesn't matter how you go about doing it. We just like using a bag, it's easy to pass around that way.


   Place the starting tile in the middle of the table and you are ready to start!

   How do you keep track of which tile is the starting tile you ask? The back is different. The starting tile has a darker background and a lighter C, the opposite of all of the others.


   Next, the first player draws a tile and places it next to the starting tile. This game is like a big puzzle. The roads, fields and cities have to line up on all four sides. That's the only rule for laying out a tile. After the tile is laid out, you can place a follower on the tile that you placed. You can not place your follower somewhere that already has a follower on it. If you close off a city, like yellow did here, you get two points for each tile that makes up your city. When it is scored, you take your follower back.

   Take turns placing tiles and then placing your followers. You can place them on roads, cities or fields. If you are putting a follower on a field, you lay him down and don't get him back. He's there until the end of the game so plan accordingly. Once you are out of followers to place, you have to score to get one back. You may not score a follower and place it on the tile that was just played unless you have some not in use. We will talk about scoring later.


   Since you can't place a follower on a place that already has one on it, sometimes you need to get creative to get in on an opponents area. If more than one person has a follower on an area when it's closed off, the points are shared unless one person has more followers on it. Then that person gets all of the points. 

   Unless a tile is placed to separate it into different cities.


   A road is completed when there is a road block on both ends. In this example, there is a city on one side and a bush on the other. Roads score one point per tile when scoring. This road (bottom right) scores five points.


   If your road loops and there is two different ends on the same tile, you still only receive one point for that tile. It's scored one point per tile with your road on it.


   Some of the tiles have a Cloister on them. They look like a little church. When this is played, place a follower on it. When the tile is completely surrounded, it scores for 9 points.


   Your opponents can score on your turn. In this example, the cloister and road were both finished by one tile being placed. The yellow receives nine points for the cloister being completed and the green receives four points for the completed road. 


   When scoring, the cities get two points per tile. Some of the city pieces have a little blue shield on it. The tiles with the blue shield get and extra two points so that tile is worth four points. The green player receives eight points for finishing this city.


   Big cities can be worth a lot of points, especially if you get a few tiles in there with the shields. This city is worth twenty eight points!


   We found it easier to lay down the follower after it has made its way around the whole scoring track. If it makes it back around, we stand it back up. This helps us keep track of the score.


   Once the game is over, it will look something like this. A big puzzle in some weird shape taking up your whole table.


   Now is the time to see who really won. Before you do the final scoring, the scoring track may look something like this. Green has 63 points and yellow has 69 points.


   When you do your final scoring, everything on the tiles is still worth points. The cloisters, you get one for the cloister and one point for each tile around it. In this case, green gets six points and yellow gets five. Unfinished road tiles are also worth one point each. City pieces are now worth one point each, two if it has a blue shield on it. It's easiest to remove the followers as you score.


   Here's our score after scoring the roads, cloisters and cities. Now it's time to score the fields. This is usually the biggest score of the game. 


   There's an example that comes with the game on how to score your fields. They are cut off by the roads, cities and the edge of the board. There can be many fields in the game depending on how the tiles were played. Farmers are scored the same, if there is one farmer, they receive all of the points. If there are two different farmers, you both receive the points. If there are three farmers, one for one player and two for another, the player with the two farmers receive all of the points.

   To score, you will look at the farmers left on the board. We find it's easiest to do the farms last so you can see better. The farmers score three points per completed city on their farm. The yellow (upper right corner) has two completed cities so they score six points. The green player (middle left) has eight completed cities so they score twenty four points.


   As you can see, once scoring was completed, green won by twenty two points!

   This game is a lot of fun. It's never the same game twice. It's easy to learn, fun to play, has both luck and strategy and a little bit of trying to steal points from your opponents. The box says it's for ages eight and up. If you wanted to help your child, you could probably do a little younger. One of the fun parts of this game is trying to get people to place tiles in places where they will help you as well. We have had people that say they don't enjoy playing games, that have liked this one. It's laid back and good for conversations. If you haven't tried this game yet, you should. You won't be sorry!

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