The Carcassonne board game takes place in medieval France where you get the chance to build out the landscape using tiles to form a map. Each landscape tile may include diverse features like grassy fields, castle foundations, roads, and churches. In addition to laying these tiles down, you will also be deploying your pieces who will populate the map and earn you points.

Every turn, you’ll perform the following four actions:

  • Pick a facedown tile from the pile of facedown tiles
  • Lay a tile onto the board, making sure the edges match up
  • Determine whether a tile feature (road, castle, church) has been completed and remove any player pieces from that feature
  • Decide whether you want to deploy one of your player pieces onto a feature on the tile you just placed

But beware – other players will try to stake out their own areas of the Carcassonne board. Some may even try to take your area of the board from under you, so best to watch your back lest your opponents take advantage of you not paying attention!

Core Mechanics: Tile Placement

Victory Condition: The player who wins at Carcassonne is the player who scores the most points that are earned by deploying their player pieces as knights, farmers, monks, or robbers onto the board.

Ease of learning: Carcassonne is one of the board games I consider to be a solid gateway game that you can introduce to new gamers. The gameplay actions themselves are pretty simple. On your turn, you will basically perform the four actions I mentioned above, but that’s it! There are some restrictions on whether or not you can deploy one of your pieces onto a feature, but aside from that, Carcassonne is pretty clear cut.

There are two areas of difficulty within the game. The first is that explaining how farmers work can be a bit obtuse, especially for folks who are new to board games. That’s because the map’s convoluted-ness requires some tracing to ensure that all farmers in a region are accounted for so you can determine which farmer group is in the majority and therefore, eligible to score. The second is that understanding how to aggressively horn in on an opponent’s claimed feature isn’t apparent from the get-go.

But these issues are resolvable after a few plays. And best of all, once players have mastered these beginner concepts, Carcassonne shows off the depths of its gameplay by opening players up to possibilities like teaming up, blocking, or making it nigh impossible for an opponent to finish their board feature!

Purchase from: Amazon

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