‘Carcassonne’ game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
Some games have a lasting impact on the world of board games; their scoring systems, dice rolling mechanics, and play strategies begin to reappear in several other games. Today’s game gave us the name of the little wooden playing piece that’s common in so many worker placement games: the meeple.
Carcassonne is a worker placement game for two to five players designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede and published by Z-Man Games in 2000. The game is based on the ancient city of Carcassonne in southern France, famous for its ubiquitous fortified city and rolling farm lands.
The game board is slowly constructed by players laying out tiles, then the players can choose to place a meeple to work on that tile. Points are scored once the structure that the meeple is working on is completed, or the game ends. Once all tiles are placed, the game ends and any unfinished meeples are then scored.
I found Carcassonne to be beautifully simple to play. There aren’t any complex rules or long, drawn-out turn sequences. Strategy and psychology play very heavily in the game, as you will find yourself working both with and against other players during the game in order to complete cities and score big points.
Like a lot of European-style games, the scoring system in Carcassonne is such that you really don’t have any idea who is winning until the game is over, which keeps all players in for the duration of the game. Games generally run fairly quickly and the simplicity of the moves means there aren’t as many cases of “analysis-paralysis” that can plague more complex games.
There is a reason that Carcassonne can be considered one of the great contemporary games—simplicity with lots of room for strategy make this game a great addition to anyone’s collection. And if complexity is what you are after, there are dozens of expansions to flavour your game.