Board Game Review: Carcassonne
game #6 of Katie's 100 board game challenge
I was going to start this review with a recent board game purchase story ... but it was longer than I expected, so you can read that separately if you'd like. (It's interesting, to say the least!)
Essentially, my fiancé and I recently got the Carcassonne Big Box - base game + 2 expansions + 9 mini expansions. We already owned the base game (which came with 2 mini expansions), but now we can gift that to fiancé's brother.
Going into my 100 games challenge, I wanted to try my best to review base games - no expansions, just the base. Carcassonne is one of those games I knew deep down would be impossible; we own half of the expansions now, and fiancé likes to combine the base game with at least two expansions (sometimes more!). So today, we played with the first expansion (Inns and Cathedrals) and two mini expansions (The Abbott & The Flying Machines). I think I can still review the base game of Carcassonne without mentioning the expansions - we've played this one enough times that I'm familiar with the base itself, and can speak to the essentials of the game.
Fiancé and I play so many high strategy games (mostly just the two of us, but sometimes when his brother visits we can talk him into them) - sometimes, it feels really nice to play something where, yes, there's still strategy, but the concept is simple. In this case, you just have to pick up a tile, put it down, and maybe place a meeple (if you so desire). That's it, that's the whole gameplay!
The highest strategy part, for me, is "the farmer" - placing a meeple a certain way means you'll get points at the end for the number of completed cities in your "field". My fiancé usually places his farmer before I have a chance to place mine ... but sometimes, I get mine out first, and I'm all proud of myself! ... until he finds a way to also put a farmer down (it's a challenge because you can't put a farmer down in someone else's field), and then connect our fields so we have to share the points. *sigh*
This is more of a fun fact, but I just really love Carcassonne for coining the term meeple - it's a widely known tabletop figure that is used today, and I don't know, it just brings me joy. So thank you Carcassonne!
I felt guilty the other day for giving a game 7 out of 10 ... but today, I think I have to give Carcassonne a 6 out of 10.
I was watching a YouTube video recently of a couple that was giving their Top 11 recommendations for 2-player games (that weren't necessarily 2-player only, but rather games that were best with 2 players). Maybe it created a bias, but I'm now looking at Carcassonne as a game I don't love with just fiancé and I - I would rather play with more people (particularly, fiancé's brother, who I know enjoys this game as much as fiancé does). Therefore, this is not one I would pick of my own volition, but if fiancé wants to play it I won't begrudgingly say yes. In fact, the reason I've given it higher than 5 is because I do love how frequently we can switch up the game play by picking up a few different expansions, and mixing-and-matching in a variety of ways.
(I wasn't going to bring expansions into this rating ... so now I have to ask myself, do I still give it a 6 out of 10? Yes - I stand by my statement that I like Carcassonne as a game, I just wouldn't choose it necessarily as often as fiancé would, with or without extra players. As you'll notice above, I struggled to talk about it as much as I talk about other games and their components. It really is just a simple tile-laying and meeple-placing game, which is a pro AND a con in this case!)
... I am very excited I finally got pink meeples though! Thank you Big Box, for having the first expansion included!
About the Creator
* 29, she/her, Canadian
* Reader, writer, lover of language
* Board game enthusiast, and wannabe board game designer
* Fiancée currently, Wife in May 2023
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