The setting’s inspired by the astonishing medieval fortress in southern France, surrounded by grapes and dreams of wine to come. Carcassonne is a tile-laying game in which players invade the countryside with roads, fortified cities, and monasteries. There’s no board – the tiles create one.

Each turn, players take randomly from piles of tiles that depict combinations of cities, roads, monasteries, and fields. Each new tile creates an expanding board onto which players may add a meeple: a mini piece that represents one of their followers. Points are scored by having followers on features like roads and cities as they’re completed. The player who manages to achieve the most strategic placement of tiles and followers will score the most points and win the game.

Players face decisions … “is it worth putting my last meeple down now … but on the road, or the city?” Or shall I hang on to see if the next one’s better?

Oh dear, such weight falls upon one’s shoulders.

It’s a game full of options and possibilities, with luck certainly playing a part when it comes to tile choosing, but with strategy and risk playing a very large part in the way that tiles are placed. It’s considered a great choice for those new to modern board gaming.

Expansions add to the game’s potential.

  • can be learned quickly … but learning when to do what takes a bit longer
  • very little setting up
  • replayable
  • strategic thinking, or cunningness, develops with play
  • some luck involved, but player tactics matter enormously
  • several expansions add challenge and variety
  • combative .. area control or influence

Give me a castle!