(Rio Grande Games)
COMPOSITE SCORE (out of 10): 9.25
A strongly-recommended title for any gaming group or couple. This game is suitable for adults and children, together or separate, and should be in any family's collection.
INDIVIDUAL SCORES (out of 10)
PRICE (10%): 10
This game comes in at a very reasonably $25 as of the time this review is written. Comparing it with the standard of Monopoly, at approximately $20 per set, its price is remarkably reasonable.
GAMEPLAY (25%): 10
Generally a fantastic game that does not bog itself down too heavily in rules and details. Something the entire family can, and likely will, enjoy.
REPLAYABILITY (25%): 9
With its very large tileset, and the board changing drastically with the choices of the players in every game, there are many possibilities for how it will play out. However, it can be noted that the goal of each of the players is the same in every game, so the base object does not change.
ORIGINALITY (10%): 10
I've never seen another game like this, existing before or after this title. The goal of having more points than the other players is standard, but I could not consider it a mark against the game in this category.
LEARNING CURVE (20%): 9
It can be initially difficult to understand the rules on when points are counted and Meeple are removed from the board, as it can very based on the placement of the piece. However, once a reasonable standard is agreed upon, either through official or house rules, the play is simple. The strategy does take some time to develop to become good, as luck does not play as strong a factor in this game as in others.
COMPONENT QUALITY (10%): 7
The tiles in the set reviewed are of reasonable weight. However, it should be noted that they are not sealed, and thus could be quite susceptible to spilled drinks or sticky fingers. The printing can have a somewhat shortened duration due to the multi-layered paperboard used to construct them. The wood figures are brightly painted, glossy, and sealed against liquid damage.
Carcassonne is a game that suffers greatly from its name. Do not let this deter you from buying an otherwise wonderful game.
With its brightly-colored pieces, and simple and elegant design, it has a wonderful visual appeal. Through its modular tile-set, and its easy-to-learn game mechanics, this is a game that can be fun for small to large groups, and can be played by individuals of almost any age.
Carcassonne is a great game that suffers from unfortunate naming. While the name itself sounds rather boring, the game itself is a remarkably simple and adaptable tile game.
I first played this game approximately a year ago, after making a blind purchase at my local games store. Admittedly, it was shelved for a fair amount of time because my partner was rather turned off by the title and did not expect that he would enjoy it.
When I opened the box, I was impressed at the number of tiles that are included. I should note that the basic set that I purchased did come with the river expansion, a small additional set of tiles. The pieces are very colorful, and include more detail than is necessary for simple representation. Laid side-by-side as the game progresses, they can develop into a rather beautiful, if random, mosaic depicting the french countryside. The brightly colored playing pieces, known as Meeple, were very simple shapes representing a person.
The mechanics of the game are quite simple and, with no dice, the only random factor is the drawing of tiles. Each player, on his/her respective turn, draws a single tile, decides how to place it on the board, then decides where, or whether, to place a Meeple on that tile. The simplicity of the design belies the strategic nature of the game, however. With a limited number of Meeple, the player must decide carefully which locations could provide the greatest number of points, thus enabling that player to win.
The gameplay continues until all the tiles have been drawn and placed. Initially, this can be a game that runs about 90 minutes between two players. However, after the players have developed a sense of the mechanics and strategies present in the game, that time can be easily cut in half.
Because of its limited rule-set, and simple design, this is a game that I believe could easily be played with children of age 8 and above. However, unlike many games that children can play, this game is primarily designed for adults, and can be enjoyed without the little ones if desired. This game is also easily adaptable, and could include as many people as you can find distinct tokens to play.
I cannot stress enough that I would highly recommend this game to anyone. Whether a major gaming fan, or a hobbyist, any age or group, this should be a popular choice.