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Game Review: Carcassonne

Jack Burton
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Carcassonne is a two player game. And I don’t mean it allows for a minimum of two players, I mean if you want to play with two other people, somebody is going to end up complaining that watching a board game is almost as bad as when you make them play one. I mean, they drove twenty minutes to spend some time with you and all you ever want to do is sit on your scratched hardwood floor and play with toys. Damn man. Grow up.

But seriously, if you do find yourself spending some quality one-on-one time with a companion, Carcassonne is an enjoyable way to circumvent those awkward moments when you run out of pleasantries. Its a straightforward game that allows for a fair amount of strategy, a short learning curve, and under an hour play times.

In Carcassonne, players will take turns placing square tiles adjacent each other expanding small sections of road, city, and farmland. Each tile is incomplete and needs to be connected to at least one other to make an enclosed city, or road segment. As players place said tiles, they will also claim cities and sections of road with a pool of limited worker pieces. As these claimed cities and road segments are completed, players receive points (players can also play and claim cloisters, although these are one tile structures). After every tile in the game is placed, points are tallied, with claimed farmland also giving points in certain situations, and the player with the highest points wins.

Now this game is unapologetically euro. The theme (building the city of Carcossonne) lends itself to the game, but is light and more or less irrelevant to gameplay. The game truly concentrates on the strategic placement of tiles, both to help yourself, and to simultaneously thwart whatever plans your opponent has concocted to gain points.

And so here this review comes to an end, as such a straightforward game deserves a straight and narrow opinion: This game reminds me much of Settlers of Catan in the sense that it is unbelievably accessible, but accessibility comes at a price, which I will not rant about now as I have detailed this point in my Settlers review. What I will say is this; If you are someone who enjoys fairly light but strategic games, this game is for you. In this group I would include lovers of eurogames that want something with less of a commitment involved, or that simply want a fun game that is suited for two players. I would also venture to say that those new to games will also like this production. As said before, its easy to learn, but there is a big payoff in engagement considering the learning curve. Carcassonne is a game that I personally will not be playing incessantly, but is one many people I have come across rave about, and should certainly not be overlooked.

Thanks for reading Dice Temple! More reviews at dicetemple.tumblr.com. Questions, concerns, comments, and review copy inquiries (much appreciated!)can be sent to maloney_andrew_t(at)yahoo.com.
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