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430 of 437 found the following review helpful:
If you loved Settler�s of Catan this a �must�! Dec 04, 2003
By K. Sampanthar
"Inventor of ThinkCube"
Most people come to this game after they have already been introduced to the European Designer Games by Settlers of Catan. This is a different kind of game than Settlers but in some senses it shares a lot of commonalities.
The game is easy to learn for a wide audience, it is reasonably quick to play (30 - 40 minutes) and is a very "immersive" game i.e. there aren't long periods of boredom. There are elements of strategy and luck, which makes for a "fun" game experience.
This game is fun for children and adults. For children the "farmers" are a little too complex, but the game works very well without that element.
The game consists of laying tiles to build cities, roads and monasteries in the South of France. Points are gained by creating long roads, building large cities or farming multiple farms. It draws elements of building jigsaw puzzles together with a strategy game of competing for territory.
I have played this game with family members who aren't really into board games and they enjoyed it just as much as gamers.
There are many expansions to this game which add a few more dimensions as you get more advanced. There is a very high replay-ability.
I would high recommend this game to people who are bored with standard Monopoly or Cranium type board games that are popular in the US.
If you loved Settler's of Catan this a "must"!
o 2 - 5 Players
o 30 - 40 minutes Playing time
o Children & Adults
o Serious and Casual Gamers
o Tile Laying
o Combines Strategy & Luck
o High Replay-ability
o Quality Components
239 of 243 found the following review helpful:
Where has this game been? Jan 12, 2005
Okay, so the game has been around for awhile, I was just looking in the wrong places. I don't remember how I was led to this game, I was looking at a game site on the Web and they said how this game is consistently rated #1. So I clicked on it, and in a carefree mood I purchased it. I LOVE IT. Even my husband who usually rolls his eyes when a game is pulled out , has said he enjoys this game. We often play it with a 9 and 11 year old, and they are easily able to grasp the concepts, although their strategies could use some work.
What is so nice about this game is that there are no dice, no money to count and no constantly moving a piece around a board. Instead each player on his turn picks a cardboard tile(nice thick quality) and places it on the table, which acts as your board. You basically create your own puzzle each game, so it is never the same. Rivers match up to rivers, or city to city, road to road. You have to decide the best place to put the piece you just picked.
Sometimes the games are lopsided, with one person building a huge city and getting tons of points, but that is often due to the other players error and not a game fault. We have only been playing it 2 weeks, but so far I have learned/figured out something new after each game to help with future strategies. It's a quick game, and high quality. I have been so impressed with this one, that I have already purchased some expansions and Rio Grandes new game of Ark of the Covenant and Hunters and Gatherers, both using the same concept of Carcassonne but with variations.
This game definitely beats out the common store favorites of Clue, Monopoly, Life, Stratego and blah blah blah. There is a reason why it has been a #1 game, try it out!
100 of 103 found the following review helpful:
Claim the Country Jun 13, 2006
By Joshua Koppel
This is a tile-placement game. Square tiles have roads, monasteries, cities and farmland printed on them. Each player in turn reveals a tile and places it such that all edges match edges already placed. For instance, a road has to connect to a road, it can not just stop. Once a player places a tile, they can claim part of the tile (road, farmland, city, or monastery). As these features grow the player gets more points. Monasteries do not grow, points are gained by filling in the nine surrounding spaces.
The skill comes from knowing just what to claim. Each player has a limited number of claim tokens. Once a feature is completed (road, city or monastery), the points are collected and the claim token becomes available for use again. Players must balance their use of the tokens and work to complete features so they can claim even more. One trick is to complete a short road or small city (just two tiles, sometimes three) and then claim it, thus getting the points and getting the claim token back immediately.
This is a quick game. Playing time is relatively short (thirty minutes or so) and play is easy. No two games are ever the same thus keeping the game fresh. A fun game for two to six players. The game is reasonably small and easy to transport. Pieces are cardboard tiles and wooden claim tokens. If you are looking for a fun game that doesn't take hours, then this one might be for you.
69 of 73 found the following review helpful:
Fun for thinkers Sep 26, 2008
I bought this for the family to play and I (Dad) love to play it on a lazy/quiet day. It is not much fun for parties. My wife thinks it is tedious but she does not care for strategy games in general (she prefers Uno). My nine year old daughter plays it with me and she enjoys it. My daughter (as other parents have mentioned about their children) does not do farmers for two reasons: farmers are just complicated enough that she avoids the concept plus she is very sensitive about not running out of followers and very much understands that farmers once placed are not recoverable until the game ends. For this reason I tend to outscore her handily (fortunately for me she understands that the farmer issue is why I always win but she loves to play strategy games with Daddy and she is closing the scoring gap over time).
This game is not a "hoot" nor is it quickly paced. It is more of a moderate intensity strategy game. It is not however an overly complicated game that is hard or boringly slow to play. It is both easy enough that truly anyone could play (and enjoy) it yet engaging enough that serious thinkers can have fun with it.
This game does take up an entire dinette table to play and is not suitable for playing in the car for example. We put it in our RV and play it whenever we are camping. It is perfect for that.
28 of 29 found the following review helpful:
Deceptively Addictive Feb 01, 2007
By Ronnie O.
"Critic at large"
When I first read the description of Carcassonne, I dismissed it as something that I wouldn't really enjoy (I've never really liked how luck is the dominant element of tile-laying games). But there were so many fantastic reviews that mentioned how `strategic' it was, we decided to dig into our game fund and buy it! It was an instant hit with family and friends including my wife and daughter, who are not avid game players.
I won't waste time explaining the rules or details of gameplay, but I will say that learning the game is very easy. The game plays in about a half hour (a bit more with expansions), which is great because people can come and go as they please - no long term commitments here. Even adding `The River' (included in the basic game edition that we bought) and the `Inns and Cathedrals' expansion rules isn't a burden. The only area that can be a bit confusing is scoring for farmlands. We did it incorrectly the first night, but as I was re-reading the rules to clarify it, it became clear on how they should be scored.
The mechanics of gameplay can be tinkered with to produce variations that you may like. For instance, we don't use the standard rules for placing the river tiles at the beginning of the game. We shuffle all 12 tiles, picking and laying tiles to build the river only until the two ends (the spring and the lake) have been placed. This way, the length of the river (2 to 12 tiles) varies from one game to the next.
The tile laying aspect of this game is, of course, mostly luck. There's no strategy that can give you the tile you need - you'll either be lucky or not. On one game, my son and I were both waiting to finish cities near the end of the game, needing identical pieces. He drew the tile and scored, I ended up with a zero for that city and lost the game. Had I drawn the tile, I'd have won. Of course, the more players you have, the less chance you have of getting that tile that you really need.
Placing tiles carefully is the key to strategizing. Should you build a bunch of small cities, or a lesser amount of large ones? Should you finish that road or try to build it as long as possible? Should you expand your own farms, roads, and cities, or `steal' points from another player? There is no one strategy that is fail-safe (at least none that I've found).
Strategy comes in not only in where the tiles are places, but also in the placement of your followers (`meeples') to score points for roads (as thieves), farms (farmers), cloisters (monks) and cities (knights). Since you have only a small amount of meeples, so managing them wisely is of the utmost importance. .
When it's all put together, these elements combine to make a fun and unpredictable game that is different every time you play it.
We purchased the "Inns and Cathedrals" expansion, in which Inns can double the value of roads and Cathedrals score you additional points in cities. But if those cities and roads remain unfinished at the end of the game, the whole city (or road) is worthless! This set also comes with a large follower (worth 2 regular followers) for each color, a complete set of followers for a sixth color (gray), and `50/100' tiles to make keeping score easier.
There are several other expansions for Carcassone, each adding a twist here or there, as well as increasing the number of tiles. We hope to add some of those to our collection over time, but we don't really find the game lacking anything the way it is, either. While these expansions aren't necessary to enjoy the game, the additional tiles, rules, and strategies really modify the game up nicely. There is also a `big box' available which includes the base game plus five expansions.
I recommend this game highly. While I can't say that it will replace game nights of taking out a large board game for a 2-3 hour showdown, this game stands on its' own merits, being a fine game for 2 to 5 players (six with the I & C expansion). But more importantly, it's the kind of game that can entice non-gamers into the fold, and every person that I have introduced the game to (both gamers and non-gamers alike) loves it. Carcassonne is proof that a game doesn't have to be massive or have highly technical rules to be challenging and fun.
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