Carcassonne is a pretty popular game, but to me it has always looked silly. However, if a game is this popular there must be a reason right? I decided to check it out and see what all of the fuss was about. Turns out this really is a solid and fun game.
Carcassonne is a tile placing game. Players take turns drawing and playing a tile. The tile must be be placed in a legal position, meaning that whatever is on the tile has to match up with what is on the tiles next to it. You can’t put a castle wall next to a road to dead-end it and a castle without wall can’t have grass next to it etc. Things have to match. After placing the tile, a player has the option of place a playing piece (Meeples) on the tile. Placing meeples is where most of the strategy happens. You can place them on roads, farms, cloisters, and in castles.
When you complete these things (a castle is walled off, or a road becomes a circle, etc) your meeples score you points and come off the tiles to be available for other things. You can also have your meeples “farm” an area, which will score you points at the end of the game for how many castles connect to your farm. You play like this until all of the tiles are used. The player with the most points wins.
What’s great about this game is the simplicity of placing tiles and scoring points. And while it is simple, it is strategically deep. You really have to think about what you are doing as you draw new tiles that may or may not help you in your current goals. Anyone can play this, learn fast and have fun. There are several expansions available to make the game even more complex if you tire of the base set.