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Subject: Carcassonne - A Loser's Review rss

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Mark Anderson
United States
Sewell
New Jersey
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Carcassonne has done something amazing for me.

I've played 9 games now, all with my wife (a couple with more players) and she has won every single game (well, the first game we tied). I am not usually a sore loser, but 9 straight non-winning games can be frustrating.

However, I am not frustrated. I still will play this game whenever my wife asks if I'd like to play it.

Well, without further ado, here is my review:

Presentation
This game is very well made. The small square tiles are attractive and well constructed. I'm also happy with how well the pieces look when placed next to each other. The perspective is off, with some buildings leaning in different directions than others, but that surprisingly that hasn't bothered me in the slightest. My only gripe with the presentation is with the packaging. I bought the 10th anniversary edition, and the box is hard to store and the squares do not fit very well in their section.

Setup
The game sets up very quickly. It takes less than five minutes to set it up out of the box and under a minute to setup another game after you finish.

How to Play
You start with one tile in the middle of the board. Each player takes turns placing tiles adjacent to the tiles that have already been played. The new tile must match up with the already played tiles. Therefore, if there is a city on one side, there has to be a city on the side that you play as well. When you play a tile, you can also choose to play a follower (or "meeple"). The meeple can be played on a road (thief), city (knight), field (farmer) or monastery (monk). When each city, monastery, or road is completed, the player who has a meeple on that piece gets to score points. At the end, the farmers are scored by how many completed cities are connected to their farm and any incomplete cities, roads or monasteries are scored as well.

Gameplay
The game also plays very quickly. Each turn only takes 5-10 seconds, and the whole game is over in less than 45 minutes (less than 30 if it's only two players). This is a great game in that there is plenty of strategy involved, but it's not a game that requires absurd amounts of concentration. It's the perfect game to play when you get home from work to relax and discuss your day. I love to see how the city looks when it is finished. It is amazing how a group of tiles can create such a different experience each time you play. Sometimes you will have a large number of little cities, and other times the will be only a few larger cities. Sometimes there will be a large road that cuts the board in half, and other times, there will only be two or three large farms.

Overall
This game is amazing in many different ways. It is quick, addicting, with many different possible winning strategies. My wife and I can sit down while watching a movie and play 3-4 games without even realizing it.

This is a game that will definitely stay on our dining room table, and hopefully a game that I will someday win.
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Andy Andersen
United States
Ada
Michigan
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We always add Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Traders & Builders to our games. I can't beat my wife either. We play a lot.

Thanks.
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Kenneth Stuart
United States
Riverside
Ohio
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You sir, are a great mb.
My wife and I are the other way around. She is the one who always loses, but she loves playing too. The secret lies in the farmers!!
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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Orangemoose wrote:
We always add Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Traders & Builders to our games. I can't beat my wife either. We play a lot.

Thanks.

I think one of the beauties of this game is its simplicity-- something expansions detract from.

Nice review.
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Andy Andersen
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Ada
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whac3 wrote:
Orangemoose wrote:
We always add Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Traders & Builders to our games. I can't beat my wife either. We play a lot.

Thanks.

I think one of the beauties of this game is its simplicity-- something expansions detract from.

Nice review.


I respectfully disagree. Adding these really doesn't add much to the complexity but extends the game and makes if more competitive.
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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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Orangemoose wrote:
whac3 wrote:
Orangemoose wrote:
We always add Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Traders & Builders to our games. I can't beat my wife either. We play a lot.

Thanks.

I think one of the beauties of this game is its simplicity-- something expansions detract from.

Nice review.


I respectfully disagree. Adding these really doesn't add much to the complexity but extends the game and makes if more competitive.

Feel free to disagree. I can respect that. Of course, you're wrong.

More seriously, the base set contains three types of edges, combinations thereof and houses or whatever they're called in English. (Abbeys? I think.) Not all combinations occur but the number of combinations that occur are finite and manageably small. Therein lies the strategy of the game.
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Matt Sommer
United States
Racine
Wisconsin
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I also agree about the simplicity and elegance of the original game-- Playing Carc two-player can be just as tense and exciting as any other abstract, especially when you have two evenly matched players. I'll never for the life of me understand people who think it's boring. Heaven forbid!

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Paul S
United Kingdom
Leeds
West Yorks
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I think Mark has hit an interesting nail on the head.

There are some games that are just great to play, whether you're winning or losing. The mechanics/art/thought process/physical pieces/whatever just make it great to play.

This is true also of video games, I think - a great game makes winning secondary, since you have a blast just playing (FPSs I'm looking at you) - if it works, then it doesn't matter whether you win.

I think Carcassone is like that, too. I think 7 Wonders might also hit that sweet spot. Maybe Elder Sign. There's a Geeklist here somewhere laugh


Edit: it will of course be suggested, that all great games meet the "the goal is to win, but it's the goal that's important" adage - but I think there's something more here, something about the fun factor of playing even whilst you're losing. Maybe
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Mark Anderson
United States
Sewell
New Jersey
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whac3 wrote:
Orangemoose wrote:
We always add Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Traders & Builders to our games. I can't beat my wife either. We play a lot.

Thanks.

I think one of the beauties of this game is its simplicity-- something expansions detract from.

Nice review.


I'm always reluctant to buy expansions for any game, because I don't want the original concept to become mucked up and overly complicated. Sometimes I will buy expansions and just pick and choose parts of it I want to use.
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Peter
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Me and my wife like Carcassonne very much as well.

But this:
markjanderson86 wrote:
My wife and I can sit down while watching a movie and play 3-4 games without even realizing it.

is something we could never do. 2p carc is pretty tight and competitive and I think that this might have a lot to do with you losing all the time
You do know about women/men and multitasking, right?
 
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Mark Anderson
United States
Sewell
New Jersey
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FarokhTarquin wrote:
Me and my wife like Carcassonne very much as well.

But this:
markjanderson86 wrote:
My wife and I can sit down while watching a movie and play 3-4 games without even realizing it.

is something we could never do. 2p carc is pretty tight and competitive and I think that this might have a lot to do with you losing all the time
You do know about women/men and multitasking, right?


Ah, so you are saying this may be a ploy by her to distract me from the game?
 
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Mark Anderson
United States
Sewell
New Jersey
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By the way, I finally beat my wife in a game! It was our eleventh game.
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