Posted: 3 months ago, last updated 5 weeks ago.
Play involves you picking a random tile and then finding somewhere on the growing map that it can fit. Because you can only claim scoring aspects of the landscape by placing a character piece on the tile you lay, careful consideration of the location is required.
As you progress a battle ensues to claim the most valuable elements (larger cities, farms and longer roads). At the end of the game, the player with the most characters on each of these claims the related points.
This adds complexity to play because you can not place a character on any area already owned by another player's characters. You can, however, place characters on nearby farms, cities or roads, and in a later go add tiles that join these together.
There are many expansions that add new ways to score points for yourself and to foil other players:
- Inns and Cathedrals adds a double scoring character, and tiles with Inns and Cathedrals that can be placed as part of roads and cities to enhance their value.
- Traders and Builders adds cities tiles with collectible goods on them for more points, a pig character to increase the value of fields and a powerful builder character that lets you go again if you extend a city it is placed on.
- The River adds tiles that extend the starting river tile in the game (often included in the base game now).
- The Princess and the Dragon adds magic portal tiles allowing players to place followers on an incomplete features of previously placed tiles. There's as a volcano and dragon tiles that move the dragon and princess tiles that allow followers to be removed.
- The Tower adds tiles and tower pieces that enable you to capture nearby followers.
- Abbey and Mayor that adds Abbey tiles that can fill in holes in the board and complete features and Mayors who can be placed as followers in cities.
- Wheel of Fortune is a full replacement for the base game with new tiles and characters and a central Wheel of Fortune element that triggers different effects in the game including famine, plague, and fortune, among others.
The result is an inviting game to play because of the maps you create during each session. As you get a handle on the score, however, what emerges is a back and forth battle for control of different elements on the map. The winner isn't know until right at the end.
The first time you play do the following:
- Play with two players.
- Play the first round without farmers to keep scoring and play simpler.
- All help players place their tiles and characters.
- At the end, take time to work through the scoring in order and understand how choices led to the winner.
Play Time: This game will take between 35 minutes and 45 minutes to complete.
9+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Although younger players can enjoy the game, to play competitively you need to understand the complex scoring and the methods of joining in to other players cities, farms and roads to steal points. There is a version called Kids Carcassonne that is greatly simplified and suitable for children 5-8.
Content RatingWe rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds.
This report applies to the latest version of Carcassonne. Older versions may have different accessibility profiles and rules that vary in small ways.
Player Figures are replaceable, but they need to be replaced in semi-large numbers. Each player will have eight figures they need to replace with accessible alternatives, but realistically almost anything can be used provided it can be placed standing up or lying down. The tiles are not replaceable, as they form the board.
As you play you need to manage the position of your Figures on roads, farms and cities which is fiddly at times.
If you play without the farmer rule, this not only simplifies the rules but also reduces difficulties of interpreting the board.
Report informed by Meeple Like Us assessment which offers an extended review.
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