Gameday First Play – Carcassonne

Posted on by Jesta

Unlike a lot of the games in the Gameday First Play section this is actually one I was aware of. I wasn’t too desperate to play it but we arrived at Con-Quest in Derby and the table was free.

Diablos, Onimi and Myself were invited to sit, so we did.

Check out the description…

Carcassonne is a tile-placement game in which the players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etcetera. Having placed a tile, the player can then decide to place one of his Meeples on one of the areas on it: on the city as a Knight, on the road as a Robber, on a cloister as a Monk, or on the grass as a Farmer. When that area is complete, that Meeple scores points for its owner.

During a game of Carcassonne, players are faced with decisions like: “Is it really worth putting my last meeple there?” or “Should I use this tile to expand my city, or should I place it near my opponent instead, giving him a hard time to complete his project and score points?” Since players place only one tile and have the option to place one Meeple on it, turns proceed quickly even if it is a game full of options and possibilities.

To be honest, the box looks dull, the idea of the game sounds dull, tile laying doesn’t excite me and building a piece of the Southern French landscape? ew?

Carcassonne Gameplay 2

The session was run by a very keen but very nice guy called Tim, we were also joined by two other players, one experienced, one a n00b like us.

Well, after 20 minutes of playing I was on my phone looking for prices because I loved this game.

We played the base version of the game with the River mini expansion. Usually a game starts with a single tile but as you can see in the image above, players build a River section first and then the game is played around it.

How do you play? Well it’s simple, you draw a tile from a bag of tiles, lay it adjacent to a tile ensuring the artwork matches. You can then play a Meeple on that tile on one of several ways…

  • In a City – As a Knight
  • On a Road – As a Robber
  • In a Cloister – As a Monk
  • On a Field – As a Farmer

Carcassonne Meeple Acrobatics

You have a limited number of small Meeples (Which you can see I love to play with) and one big Meeple. So why play these Meeples?

If you play a Knight in a city piece and that City becomes complete, meaning the city walls are connected all the way around, you get two points for each tile used to make that city, plus two points for each shield within the city walls (These are printed on the tiles).

When a city is completed you scores the points, take the Meeple back into your hand to use again in another role.

It’s similar for roads. If you have a Robber on a road and that road stops at both ends, either into a wall or at an intersection, you get one point for each tile used.

Again, when a road is complete, you score the road and return your Meeple to your hand.

Monks are different, when a tile is placed on each empty square around the Cloister, you get a point for each. (9 in total)

Again, once you score the points, you return the Meeple to your hand.

Carcassonne Gameplay

Farmers are different. You lay them flat in fields and they stay there until the end of the game. You score 3 points for each completed city with in that same field. Now fields count as the connecting green grass areas that aren’t separated by a City, Road or River.

Farmers stay in play until the end of the game so putting too many Farmers down early means you have less available Meeples.

Putting Meeples down doesn’t guarantee points, you can be out muscled. At the point a Road, City or Field is scored, who ever has the most Meeples will win the points. Small Meeples count as 1, the Large Meeple counts as 2.

The GOOD thing is that you can’t place a Meeple on the same Road, City or Field with one on already! In order to ‘take over’ the points you have to put your Meeples down then connect the relevant area up later on. This makes game-play VERY tactical. If someone snatches your points, you know they earned it.

So that’s pretty much it. It really was a thoughtful and fun game, not too complicated but complex enough that it was  a challenge. Diablos won, I came 4th (out of 5)

I’m hoping to get this game at some point, I need to play it again.

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