The popular board game Carcassonne by Rio Grande Games is an excellent way to introduce yourself to Eurogames. The object of the game is to build roads, cities, fields and cloisters by drawing tiles, to control what you build with your game pieces or "meeples", and then to build as large as you can to gain the most points. Your success in the game is partly based on strategy and partly based on what random tiles you happen to draw. During one recent game, I was able to build a huge city worth a lot of points, but could not draw the one tile I needed to complete it – argh!
Part of the appeal of Eurogames are their well-designed and appealing game pieces. The well-illustrated tiles included with Carcassonne are based what you would see if you visited the medieval southern French city of Carcassonne. This ancient walled city lies on the banks of the River Aude and its 52 towers and 2 rings of town walls makes it a popular destination for travelers. Carcassonne has no game board – as players draw and place tiles during play they create their own unique game board with medieval cities and surrounding countryside.
The game takes about one hour to play, and is suitable for players ages 8 and up. The standard edition of the game is good for 2 to 5 players, but if you like more strategy and less randomness, then you will likely prefer this game with 2 players. With the addition of the Inns and Cathedrals expansion the game can accommodate up to 6 players.
The most difficult part of the game is learning how to keep score. Score is counted for cities, roads and cloisters that are completed during the play of the game. Once these are completed, a player’s game piece or "meeple" is returned to its owner. All fields are scored at the game’s end.
If you like Carcassonne, there are several expansions available that add new rules, tiles and figures to the game. Many of these are compatible with each other and can be played together.
This is an excellent game for friends and family that is simple to learn and moves along fairly quickly during play. You don’t have to think too hard to play it, so even your friends that are not game-geeks will like it. Carcassonne won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres (game of the year) award in 2001 and is on its way to becoming a classic.by