Friday, 30 June 2017

Carcassonne (plus Giveaway) - One of the Best Board Games!

(Read further for the giveaway details)

We have played quite a lot of different board games over the past many years, and we have a few that are our all time favourites. There has always been one that we absolutely love playing when we meet up with my brothers and their family though. This used to be Risk amongst the adults, but ever since the kids started joining us, we play Catan.

After last weekend however, there is a new game on our must play list - Carcassonne (sent to us by Esdevium Games for review purpose)! It's so easy to set up and play that we've played a few games together already, and we are hoping to expand it further so more of us can play at the same time!

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game
Right: land and river tiles pops out easily from the frames, which can be discarded

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

Z-Man Games Carcassonne (RRP £32.99, with offers easily found; suitable for 7 years and above; requires 2 to 5 players to play, which is expandable with expansions) comes with 72 land tiles, 1 scoreboard and 40 meeples, 12 river tiles, 5 abbots and instructions.

Meeples and abbots are split into 5 different colours for up to 5 players. Each player will get 8 meeples, 1 of it will be used for keeping score.

All the tiles (great quality with lovely details in the pictures!) will fit neatly in a horizontal stack in the box, which I really like.

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game
Starter tiles has a black background with white motifs in the back, and normal land tiles will have a white background with black motifs on the back.

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game
Mini expansion using the river tiles

The basic game can start with just the 1 starter tile (not the river), land tiles, scoreboard and meeples.

The game can be expanded by using the river tiles (in place of the starter land tile) and/ or abbots as well (see further below).

The setup is really easy, simply lay the starter tile (these are marked as a different colour on the back) anywhere in front of you, the scoreboard on the side, and the land tiles placed upside down nearby.

Note: You can stack the land tiles up like we did, but it is best to place them in a bag and let players pull a tile each time.

This was quite an interesting experience for us. We are used to having a board in the middle to play on, and use a dice to play when it looks like the scoreboard, but the scoreboard in Carcassonne is actually like your pen and paper in a card game, so it's actually a side feature in the game. So when we started the game it felt like something was missing! But we soon got really into it and love the simplicity of it (the complication comes with individual's strategy).

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

To play, each player will take turn to draw a land tile and fit it with other tiles to create a map, with features that will connect. So, you can't start a road from a city, for example, unless the city gate has a road leading out.

After the tile has been placed, the player who placed it can consider claiming a feature on it (not another tile) by placing one of their free meeple on the feature. Claimable features are road, city or monastery. However, if the road or city connects to a road or city that has already been claimed previously in a connected tile (for example, the city that black has claimed in the above picture), then the player won't be able to claim it. They can however claim other features on the tile (for example, yellow in the above picture claimed another city on his/ her tile that is not connected to other players' claimed feature).

Once a feature is completed (a road with both ends, a city surrounded with a complete wall and a monastery with 8 tiles surrounding it), the player who has claimed the feature (not the one who completed the feature) will get a score for it, which will be marked on the scoreboard by moving their meeple up by the number of score they get for each feature.

Their meeple that was sitting on the completed feature on the map will be returned to the player, so he/ she can use it to claim other features.

You can see in the above picture, that a road, a monastery and 2 cities were claimed, completed and scored as there are no meeple on them.

At the end of the game, unfinished features will all be scored accordingly. The winner with most scores wins the game.

The game instruction that came with it is very easy to understand, with pictures as examples, and all scenarios explained.

Once the basics were explained to my family and we started playing, it went really smoothly. It's a very simple game, basically by just placing a tile, claiming a feature and most importantly, remembering to claim your score! There was a lot of teasing happening when someone forgot to remove their meeple from a completed feature and claimed that the score wasn't claimed. Righttt!

The difficulty comes from the players that you play with.

I played with Abby and we were both in about the same frequency. We were polite and only occasionally block each other for fun (by completing her road prematurely so she scored less points, for example).

But when I played with another 4 adults, they started creating alliances so that they can claim the score together for a larger city (we didn't read the bit in the instruction about how to take over the complete city by kicking the other player out then haha), and in another game, it was every man for himself and blocking each other's way!

As far as map building goes, the one me and Abby built were most complete. With the adults? It was going nowhere!

Here are the examples:

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

Abby was very proud that she has created a large city that scored her 34 points (she won with 101 points!)! You can see the holes in the map where it's much harder to complete as very specific tiles were required.

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

The second round using the river expansion. We had a more complete map this time. I don't think there is a tile that will fit into that hole though. Abby won again with 107 points!

We also had a giggle about the 2 cities built so close to each other, right at their doorstep, and there was also a city in a heart shape too.

And this is how a Carcassonne map looks like when you play with cunning adults:

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

Hardly any feature was complete! My sister in law won by claiming smaller size features haha. The holes in the map was created by us trying to sabotage each other ("Why do you have to put it there?!").

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

Another game using the river expansion, but again with lots of holes and unfinished features because this time, everyone is working against each other (roads going somewhere else and new cities created instead of nearby). They won't even place a tile next to someone else's monastery! It definitely made things a lot more difficult.

With 5 players, there will be less scores for each. Scoring 107 points will never happen with this gang.

I can so imagine what will happen if I told the guys that they can actually steal each others' cities. We will definitely need more tiles for just the 5 of us!

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

This last game was a bit more difficult for me as there were 2 new young players in and we were trying to guide them while playing (I'm no teacher material). There was a lot of "No you can't put it there. No. Not there either. Nope" going on (not just from me haha), which was really funny.

After a very confusing play, my sister in law managed to do the following with no one noticing until the end when we were clearing all the scores:

Carcassonne, family board game, Best board game

To be fair to her, we did all say that she can place the tile there (the one that blocked the road). It was just so confusing hahaha.

Overall, we all love how simple the set up was and the difficulty is completely down to the players. It was a great game playing with Abby, and a hilarious one playing with the adults (I do love them all). We were all looking into expansions after the rounds, and ways to introduce more players to the game.

I think with the original Carcassonne on its own, the play time for 5 adults is a bit short, but fine if we have children in the mix. For just me and Abby playing, she was fine in the first game but was getting tired in the second one right after it. The good thing like all board games, is that you can leave it aside and take a break before going back to it. Just make sure the little ones and pets don't get too excited nearby.

We will definitely play again this weekend, and will be introducing the farmers (claiming the land) and abbots (claiming the gardens) into our game as well.

A new version of Carcassonne came out recently, which will be perfect for the Star Wars fans! According to the Carcassonne Star Wars description, there will be a dice involved, so there is definitely a twist in this game than just a different theme.

Carcassonne Star Wars edition, board game, card game

~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~

And here is your chance to win a really fun Carcassonne game! Good luck and have a lovely Friday! xx

Prize: Carcassonne Game (original) x 1

Giveaway ends: Sunday 23rd July 2017 Midnight (where 00:01am is Monday)

Terms & Conditions:
  • The giveaway is open to the UK only
  • The prize cannot be exchanged and no cash alternative will be offered.
  • To leave a comment, simply do so by either leaving it in this post's comment section (Disqus) or on Facebook under the giveaway's post. For Disqus, please make sure that you are not leaving comment as Anonymous, as I will not be able to check whether you've left one. If you have to comment as Anonymous, or if your Disqus ID is different from your Rafflecopter entry name, please add a means of ID on your comment that I can use to link it to your Rafflecopter entry. Unfortunately if I can't, your entry won't be counted.
  • Please make sure that your email account used to enter the Rafflecopter is active, and you do check the spam folder in case the email I sent you ended up there
  • All entries will be checked.
  • Winner will be drawn by the Rafflecopter randomly
  • Winner will be announced by Wednesday 26th July 2017 on here, Twitter and Facebook.
  • Winner will have to respond to my email by Tuesday 1st August 2017 noon. A new winner will be chosen after the deadline.
  • The prize will be posted by the PR. I cannot be held responsible for missing parcels, but if you have any enquiry do let me know and I'll try my best to help
  • You can visit Di Coke's Rafflecopter Guide for Rafflecopter instructions
  • Please read Rafflecopter's privacy policy as well
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is also listed on:

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