Carcassonne is an iconic European strategy game named after the historic city in France. Using tiles you take turns building out the board, only adhering to the rule that it must make sense. Castle, road, cathedral, grassland, these are your options. Build things as big or as small as you want and score points by strategically placing your “meeple” figures. No need to listen to me though, the game is an icon, plain and simple. This is the Carcassonne review.
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Fun (7 out of 10)
This may be the simplest game out there to play. You (1) draw one tile and place it anywhere it fits and (2) choose whether or not to place a little figure to try and get points from it. Even though that seems like nothing, it is everything. Every turn comes with various moves, all paired with short medium or long term strategies. You can make grand investments but at the same time cut and run whenever you want and still be fine. Big point swing opportunities make for great underdog stories. The game has the dominance it has for a reason.
Replayability (9 out of 10)
You rebuild the board over and over again, to say the game is different every time would be an understatement. No two games are alike and whatever tiles come your way force you to rethink your strategy every time. That being said, you are still going after the same thing in a limited amount of ways each time which cost this category a point here.
Player Interaction (8 out of 10)
Everyone is playing off all other players’ tiles so it matters. And similar to Catan this has that deep alliance/attack player manipulation angle. Where convincing an opponent to go after another opponent instead of you is going to be the ultimate key to victory. There are also elements of attack and surprise with people being able to sneak into your areas. The subtle nuances are everything.
Quality (8 out of 10)
Created by a master german game designer and released by a top of the line publisher, this one is just class and fantastic work from start to finish. Pros all the way. Everything is well thought out and like I always say, when you have a game that is simple to learn but impossible to master, that is a huge accomplishment that deserves recognition. The quality of pieces gets a nice shout as well.
Art & Style (7 out of 10)
The hugely popular board game term “meeple” came from someone talking about this game for big style points. Past that, the medieval theme is well executed throughout. You can see a consistent story that can (and does) continue in future expansions. Every tile has a slightly different layout of the various features and everything fits together seamlessly. That is big accomplishment and a credit to the artist.
When people talk about strategy (especially euro-strategy), Carcassonne is on that icon list. It was Settlers of Catan, it, Puerto Rico, Ticket to Ride, and Alhambra that paved the way for the genre in the late-nineties-early-2000s when board gaming was making a big resurgence. If you have not discovered it yet, now is the time. This makes the list of iconic games to start your collection with. Another simple to learn yet impossible to master strategy classic with a unique mechanic and just the right amount of player interaction. Huge recommend. We hope this Carcassonne review has been helpful.