Carcassonne – A Brief Overview

Like Pandemic, one of my favorite board games is Carcassonne. Also like Pandemic, there’s an iToy app. (Sadly it, too, costs money).  Along with Pandemic, I play this game almost daily against the computer. Instead of saving the world from terrible diseases together, you are creating cities and roads and farmlands for points. You basically build the map one square tile at a time.

IMG_0803Carcassonne is named after a town in southern France. (Why? No clue). If you buy the board game, there are a lot of expansions to increase both game play and (most importantly) tiles. Some of the expansions have really really awesome shapes to help fit those awkward holes in the map.

I play against two computer players, because that means the game takes about five minutes. (I always play yellow in real life and in the app). For some reason, all my screenshots are taken with the game in vertical – I do tend to play this game in the vertical but it plays fine horizontally and for a post, it probably would have been better, oops.

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You draw a random title and have to place it on the map where it fits. Tile edges are either roads, cities, or farmland. You have seven people (technically meeples) that you use to claim the road or farmland or cities as long as no one else hasn’t yet claimed that item.

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The land slowly grows around you making interesting shapes. I do play differently against humans than computers. The computer cares not for me, so I’m much more likely to purposely make it impossible for them to recover their meeples. You only get your city and road meeples when they are completed. (Farmland meeples only come back at the end of the game). Against real people, I play more collaboratively. I also am a little more careful about how many points playing a piece will give me.IMG_0737

Playing the road piece here (the one with the road on each edge, actually gets me four points, not just the two that I’ll get by completing the road segment. You also get a point for every piece touching the monastery pieces and this piece touches two monasteries that I have claimed.

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There are about 70 pieces in a normal game, although I did buy the expansion which allows me to use twice as many pieces. I found, however, the computers aren’t as good at strategies when they have double the pieces. And it takes longer, so I don’t usually play with those rules.
IMG_0741I do win more games in Carcassonne than I do in Pandemic, but I get more frustrated at the computers. For some reason, the impartial board I don’t feel personally attacked, but with the Countess and Count…grrrr they can really frustrate me when they steal my cities or my lands in the end. Your score is based on the points for the roads, cities, monasteries that have been completed, as well as the points for uncompleted ones and the farmland. The point breakdown here shows how I got 126 points (mainly in roads and cities).

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And now you know the two games I play during lunch most every day. Pandemic takes about 15 minutes, but is less aggravating, while Carcassonne is quick play.

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