Kids of Carcassonne - By Rio Grande Games
Kids of Carcassonne, is a 2-4 player strategy game for younger children that simplifies the rules and scoring of the classic game Carcassonne. It keeps the tile laying aspects of the latter of the two, yet simplifies the game by basically eliminating the scoring.
What's In The Box
The game box itself is as simplified as the game. There are 2 compartments made out of thick cardboard. One houses all 36 of the game tiles, the other is for the bag holding all 32 meeples. Nothing fancy here but nothing we haven't seen out of $80 games from Fantasy Flight Games either. It's functional and honestly this is a kids game with basically 2 components, it doesn't require anything more complex.
The pieces themselves are fantastic. Obviously someone knew this game would be handled by tiny hands. If you glance at the photo above you can see that I have two of the meeples laying on top of US currency quarters. The pieces are large and easy for children to grasp and place on the board. Obviously common sense must prevail here, any game piece is a potential choking hazard, but I can appreciate the extra step that was taken, in considering the games target audience.
The quality and care continues on with the tiles themselves. The tiles are exceptionally durable and will hold up to a lot of abuse. Children are not exactly gentle with things for the most part and again someone took this into consideration when the tiles were manufactured. They are very pleasing to look at, with full color artwork on both sides of every tile.
Just to show how thick the tiles are I have two US quarters stacked on top of eachother and held up next to one of the tiles.
Components And Presentation Verdict: 10/10 Normally I would slightly ding a game for a less than functional storage box, but the simplicity here helps the young ones clean up better.
How Does It Play?
The Rule Book is 4 pages long. In reality though it's a couple paragraphs of rules laid out in very, very simple numbered steps. There are plenty of examples of what is and is not a valid move, so there shouldn't be any questions about the rules. Set up is a quick affair, you go from a closed box to first round of play literally in under 2 minutes. Simply stack all 36 tiles within easy reach of all players. Then each player picks one of the 4 available colors of meeples and takes those 8 meeples. The top tile of the stack is then flipped over and then play can begin.
Each tile has some scenery, a road, and 1 or more boys and/or girls dressed in a color that matches a meeple. Each player on their turn is allowed to lay one tile on the table. Players are trying to lay tiles in a way that completes a road. Once a road is completed, every player (even those who are not taking their turn currently) places a meeple on the road if that road has a boy or girl matching their meeples color.
The first player (even if it is not currently their turn) to place their eighth and final meeple wins. There can occasionally be ties, it's not a race, if more then one player can place their final meeple on a turn, then there will be multiple winners.
Simplicity Of The Rules: Verdict 10/10 The rules are simple enough for even a 3 year old to understand.
Daddy Why's This Guy Got A Sword In His Belly?
As a father of 2 future boardgamers, a large concern of mine is how secure am I in letting my eldest son play and or rummage through a game box. Granted BGG and boardgames themselves very clearly tell you a minimum age, they don't tell you exactly why that minimum age was chosen. My hope is to arbitrarily tell you why I think this age range was chosen for this game and then hopefully give a few ideas I might have for a game to make it easier on the young ones. Finally I will close with what seems to be the "sweet spot" for number of players and if the game has solo rules I'll comment on those too.
I almost feel silly adding this section but I am a completionist! Kids of Carcassonne lists 2-4 players ages 4++. This game is so simple that anyone who can lay tiles end to end and match colors can play it. I think my 2 year old (pictured in the top photo) is almost ready to play this game. All the artwork is done in a colorful, whimsical, childlike manner. Both of my sons love this game and it is requested often. A parent can teach this game to a child in a matter of minutes, yet there is enough subtle strategy to the game that children will want to play it repeatedly. Further it's enjoyable enough for adults that you wont roll your eyes in your head and dread playing the game with the young ones. The best aspect is that you can have multiple winners, so an astute parent trying to help younger children learn games can steer the victory conditions more favorably for all involved. Yes, sadly I admit there were some early games where a tile I played happened to let both of my sons win at the same time.
Family Friendliness Verdict: Throw Out Candyland, There is FINALLY a replacement!
The box lists 2-4 players and about 20 minutes of playtime. Turns are quick, all players are kept involved on each turn, and a 4 player game rarely takes longer than a 2 player game. Add all this up and you get a wonderful game for any age and any player count.
*Great childrens game
*Easy to teach, easy to learn
*It's not as mind numbing as most childrens games
*It teaches minor strategy
*Not all games will have one single winner
*It's still at it's heart a simple childrens game
*Not all games will have one single winner (yes it can be a con too)
But Is It Fun?
For a children's game, I think Kids of Carcassonne is a fantastic game. Quality components, simple rules, and honestly after dozens of plays I have yet to consider it "that boring kids game" (I am looking at you Candyland!). This game belongs in every families, Family Game Night closet!
Overall Final Game Verdict: 9.75/10 Rated as a childrens game, not an adults game.
Charles A. Smith
Bravo to an excellent review. I agree on every point. Great simple game, almost too simple for my 5 year old granddaughter. Of course there is some subtlety to placing the tiles that she doesn't anticipate. But if she sticks with it she will find the greater challenge.