Carcassonne (board game)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Carcassonne - US Edition
Players place tiles and followers in a strategic fashion in order to obtain the most points.
Designer Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
Publisher Hans im Glück
Rio Grande Games
999 Games
Players 2–5 (6 with expansion)
Age range 8 +
Setup time 1–5 minutes
Playing time 30–90 minutes
Random chance Medium
Skills required Strategic thought
A part of the board after some turns.
A follower (or "meeple") on a tile.

Carcassonne is a tile-based German-style board game for two to five players, designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede and published in 2000 by Hans im Glück in German and Rio Grande Games in English.[1] It received the Spiel des Jahres award in 2001. It is named after the medieval fortified town of Carcassonne in southern France, famed for its city walls. The game has spawned many expansions and spinoffs, and several PC and console versions. The game's wooden follower pieces, colloquially called "meeples"[2] have become a symbol of European board gaming.[3]


[edit] Gameplay

The game board is a medieval landscape built by the players as the game progresses. The game starts with a single terrain tile face up and 71 others shuffled face down for the players to draw from. On each turn a player draws a new terrain tile and places it adjacent to tiles that are already face up. The new tile must be placed in a way that extends features on the tiles it abuts: roads must connect to roads, fields to fields, and cities to cities.

After placing the new tile, the placing player may opt to station a follower piece on that tile. The follower can only be placed on the just-placed tile, and must be placed in a specific feature. A follower claims ownership of one terrain feature—road, field, city, or cloister—and may not be placed on a feature already claimed by another player's follower. However, it is possible for terrain features to become shared after the further placement of tiles. For example, two field tiles which each have a follower can become connected into a single field by another terrain tile.

The game ends when the last tile has been placed. At that time all features (including fields) score points for the players with the most followers in them. The player with the most points wins the game.

[edit] Scoring

During the turn, cities, cloisters, and roads (but not fields) are scored when they are completed—cities and roads when there is no unfinished edge from which to expand, cloisters when surrounded by eight tiles. At the end of the game, 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 (see table) points are awarded for the number of tiles covered by a feature; cloisters score for neighboring tiles as well; fields score based on the number of abutting completed cities.

Once a feature is scored, all of the follower(s) in that feature are returned to their owners.

Feature Completed Game end
City Edition Two-tiles More tiles 1 point per tile + 1 point per pennant
1st & 2nd 1 point per tile + 1 point per pennant 2 points per tile + 2 points per pennant
3rd 2 points per tile + 2 points per pennant
Road 1 point per tile
Cloister 1 point + 1 point for each of the eight tiles surrounding it
Fields 1st & 2nd Not scored. (See below.)
3rd 3 points for each completed city bordering the field.

[edit] Older editions

There are two older editions of Carcassonne, differing in scoring of cities and fields. Though, until recently, the first edition scoring rules were included with English releases of Carcassonne, third edition rules are now included with all editions (including the Xbox 360 and travel versions), and are assumed by all expansions in all languages.

In the first and second editions of the game, completed cities covering just two tiles scored two points (one per tile) and one extra point for every pennant that resides in the city. This exception is removed from the third edition, where there is no difference between two-tile cities and cities of larger size.

Scoring for fields form the greatest divergence in scoring rules between the editions of Carcassonne. In the first edition, the players with the greatest number of followers adjacent to a city were awarded points for that city. Thus, followers from different fields contributed to the scoring for a city, and followers on a field may contribute to the scoring for multiple cities. The second edition considered different fields separately — for each field, the players with the greatest number of followers in a field scored three points for each city adjacent to the field, although points were only be scored once for any given city. The third edition removes these exceptions and brings field scoring in line with the scoring of other features.

[edit] Game interest

Carcassonne is an excellent "gateway game",[4] (that is, a game that can be used to introduce new players to specialty boardgames) since the rules are simple, no one is eliminated, and the play is fast. A typical game takes only 45 minutes to play. There is a substantial luck component to the game. However, good tactics greatly improve one's chances of winning. Examples of tactical considerations include:

  • Conserving followers. Since each player has only seven followers, it can be easy to run out. This is especially important with fewer players, because then each player will play more tiles during the game.
  • Joining in on other players' features. Often it is possible to add a separate road or castle segment near a big road or castle and join them up. This allows a player to gain points from their opponents' work.
  • Avoiding sharing. An advantage can be gained by preventing other players from getting points. This is more important with fewer players, or if the sharing player is doing well.
  • Judicious farmer placement. Farmers in the right location can be worth a lot of points. However, once placed, they are there for the whole game.
  • Trapping opponents' followers. Not all possible tile configurations exist in the game. So if a player knows which tiles exist or are more common, they can create situations where it is hard or impossible for an opponent to complete some feature. The result is the opponent's follower is stuck in something half-completed.

[edit] Expansions and compilations

Several official expansions for Carcassonne have been published, which add numerous additional rules, tiles and new kinds of figures. Together, they can more than double the length of the game. These expansions are compatible with each other, and may be played together.

Carcassonne: The River (2001)
Originally a free expansion distributed by Rio Grande Games through hobby shops in the United States and Canada. Instead of starting with a single fixed tile, a river is formed before the regular tiles can be used. Newer releases of Carcassonne include this expansion, and those that do state as such on the box. The 2007 Xbox Live Arcade version includes a toggle option for the expansion.
Carcassonne: Inns and Cathedrals (2002)
Originally known simply as Carcassonne: the Expansion, Inns and Cathedrals adds some new tiles, and a large figure that counts as two followers. The Inns and Cathedrals for which it is named can be placed as part of roads and cities to enhance their value—provided they are completed by the end of the game. Inns double each road segment's value, while Cathedrals add one point per tile or pennant in a city. Inns and Cathedrals also adds pieces/followers that allows a sixth player to play.
Carcassonne: Traders and Builders (2003)
An expansion to the base game with additional tile types and strategic possibilities. The most significant additions are trade goods, which appear in cities and are collected by the player who completes the city, even if they are not the one who scores it (thus encouraging the completion of other people's cities). This expansion also adds two new kinds of followers, which are treated slightly differently from those of the base game: a pig follower (which increases the value of a field it's placed in) and a builder follower (which grants an extra turn to the owning player whenever the feature is extended). These can be placed on any feature already occupied by an ordinary follower of the placing player (regardless of the presence of other followers); neither influence ownership of features they occupy. Traders and Builders also includes an opaque cloth bag which players can use while drawing tiles.
Carcassonne: King and Scout (2003)
King and Scout is an expansion to both Carcassonne and Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers, titled King and Scout respectively. In King, the player who builds the biggest city becomes King of Carcassonne, and at the end of the game receives extra points for every completed city; likewise, the player who builds the biggest road becomes Robber Baron and receives points for every completed road.
Carcassonne: The Cathars (2004)
Originally published in the German board game magazine Spielbox, and republished in their Carcassonne Almanac with an English translation, The Cathars add four siege tiles where Cathars are shown breaking city walls. Monasteries adjacent to besieged city walls allow knights from that city to escape and come back to their players. These halve the value of the city but double its contribution to field scores. Tile images and full English rules are available from Board Game Geek.
Carcassonne: The Count of Carcassonne (2004)
The Count includes twelve tiles depicting the city of Carcassonne itself, along with a large figure representing the namesake count. Like The River, these new tiles replace the single starting tile. The city of Carcassonne is divided into quarters, each one associated with one of the types of features available - cities, roads, cloisters and farms. Whenever a player completes a feature that earns points exclusively for players other than himself, he may place a follower in one of the quarters, and also move the Count to one of them. When any feature is scored, followers placed on the quarters of Carcassonne can "jump" onto that feature at the last moment (unofficially known as "paratrooping"), possibly claiming the points for a player other than the one who had previously owned it. However, the presence of the Count in any quarter prevents the followers there from being moved in this way.
Carcassonne: The Princess and the Dragon (2005)
The Princess and the Dragon is perhaps the expansion that changes the game's rules the most—the new tiles include magic gates which allow players to place followers on any previously played tile (as long as the feature in question is incomplete), while the namesake Princess tiles and Dragon figure allow new mechanics for followers to be removed. A Fairy tile also allows protection to a follower and its tile from time to time.
Carcassonne: The River II (November 2005)
The River II is another river expansion, which may be played along with the first expansion. These new tiles include a fork in the river (in order to play with two rivers), a pig-herd to increase fields' value, as well as elements from previous expansions.
Carcassonne: The Tower (March 2006)
The Tower adds a vertical element to Carcassonne: the expansion comes with eighteen tiles with tower foundations, which allow a player to add a tower section in lieu of follower placement. When they do so, they may remove and take prisoner an opposing player's follower on any orthogonally positioned tile within the range of the tower, where the range of a tower is equal to its height in tiles (including unoccupied areas). These followers are held prisoner and can be either exchanged, or ransomed for three victory points. The Tower also includes a tile tower for easy tile storage, also acting as a mechanism from which tiles are drawn.
Carcassonne Big Box (2006)
Not so much an expansion as a compilation of previously released expansions, The Big Box combines the base set, Inns and Cathedrals, Traders and Builders, The Princess and the Dragon and The Tower. The version by Rio Grande Games also includes The River. Each of the tiles not from the base set contains a symbol that helps players easily tell which expansion the tile comes from.
Carcassonne: The Mini-Expansion (Winter 2006)
Published in Games Quarterly Magazine in Issue #11, this mini-expansion included 12 additional tiles for Carcassonne. The most significant tile is a new spring with a road, which divides the starting farm into two separate farms. Normally, farms wrap around the spring to both sides of the river, often causing mega-farms which feed a large number of cities and result in a large accumulation of farming points at the end of the game.
Carcassonne: Abbey and Mayor (October 2007)
Another full-sized expansion, featuring abbey tiles that can complete features, mayors who score cities, a barn that forces farm scoring and wagons that can score features. Included are additional tiles that, in response to fan feedback, fit specific situations that have been previously impossible to complete.
Carcassonne: Count, King and Consort (2008)
Another compilation, this release consists of previously released mini-expansions (The Count of Carcassonne, King and Scout and The River II), plus a new unpublished mini-expansion named Cult Places and the Heretics. The latter includes new territory tiles, played and ruled over just like cloisters (with followers stationing over it called 'heretics'), except that when a cloister and a cult place stand adjacent to each other, completing one hinders the other to score points upon its completion.
Carcassonne: Cult, Siege, and Creativity (2008)
Rio Grande Games, choosing not to create a compilation, incorporated the cult tiles from Count, King, and Consort (including an additional cult tile) with an adaption of the Cathars expansion, hitherto unavailable since 2004. It also includes in each box 2 blank white tiles for use in making custom expansions.
Carcassonne: The Catapult (2008)
This is the seventh full expansion for the game and creates 12 fair ground tiles that initiate a round using a physical catapult. Players launch one of four different types of tokens, three of which at the board, in order to earn points and displace followers. The fourth type of token is used for a side-game of catch where players also earn points.
Carcassonne Big Box 2 (2009)
This Big Box is the same size as the previous, but with a slightly different component mix. This Big Box combines the basic game, Inns and Cathedrals, Traders and Builders, The Princess and the Dragon, Abbey and Mayor, River II, Count, King, and Cult.

[edit] Spinoffs

Comparison of the starting tile and tile backs for the basic game (center) with two spinoffs: Ark of the Covenant (left) and Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers (right).

Following the success of Carcassonne, a number of games have been spun off from the main game, all sharing similar mechanics.

Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers (2002)
Hunters and Gatherers is a stand-alone game that involves the building of forests, rivers and wildlife rather than cities and roads. This game attempted to rectify some perceived faults in the original by eliminating cloisters, introducing a "special tile" system to encourage players to complete cities (now forests) owned by other players, and making the value of meadows vary both up and down with animals that appear on the tiles.
Ark of the Covenant (2003)
Ark is a biblical-themed version of Carcassonne by Inspiration Games based on the Old Testament, which includes the animal feature found in Hunters and Gatherers, as well as the Ark itself which may be moved in lieu of follower placement, scoring points for followers that they pass through.
Carcassonne: The Castle (2003)
The Castle is a two-player spinoff, designed by Reiner Knizia, where the game is played within the confines of a fixed castle. Players gain extra abilities by scoring an exact number of points, and tile placement rules are relaxed.
Carcassonne: The City (2004)
The City is a "deluxe-style" stand-alone game similar to The Castle, where tile placement is relaxed. The significant new rules involve the addition of city walls when the city grows beyond a certain size.
Carcassonne: The Discovery (2005)
An exploration-themed stand-alone game that involves mountains, seas and meadows. The significant change in this game is that followers are no longer automatically removed when a terrain feature is completed: they must be removed as a game action, in lieu of placing a new follower that turn. Players may choose to remove a follower from, and score for, a terrain feature before it is completed, albeit for fewer points; followers remaining on the map at the end of the game also suffer a score penalty even if the features they are standing on are completed.
New World: A Carcassonne Game (2008)
New World, previously named Mayflower, is a stand-alone game that allows players to play Carcassonne in the New World, aka America. Players begin the basic tile-laying from a coastal edge and move westward, creating towns, hunting, farming, and trail blazing as they go along. Although terminology has changed, this game follows the basic rules of Carcassonne very closely but is more restricted than the basic game.
Children's Carcassonne (2009)
Scheduled to be unveiled at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair 2009.[5]

[edit] Video games

Carcassonne Online
A PC-based online version of Carcassonne distributed by Koch Media, a German games company. Now discontinued.
Carcassonne for Xbox 360 (2007)
In 2006, Microsoft announced[6] in a press release that Carcassonne would be an Xbox Live Arcade title alongside Catan and Alhambra. The title was published by Sierra Online and released on June 27, 2007;[7] it includes all the tiles of the original game and those of "The River" expansion. This version of the game uses the 3rd Edition scoring rules by default; the game allows alternate and/or older rules for non-ranked and single player games. Sierra has promised to release the expansions as well. As of October 3, 2007, The River II expansion and King & Baron (King & Scout) expansions are available. On November 15 & 16, 2007, Microsoft made Carcassonne available free of charge to celebrate the fifth anniversary of their Xbox Live service.

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Preceded by
Spiel des Jahres
German "Game of the Year" Award

Succeeded by
Villa Paletti
Personal tools