Joshua Van Laningham
Pretty standard rulebook, starting with contents, overview, and preperation, followed by a very detailed gameplay section. Playing tiles is explained in detail as well as the many ways to deploy followers, along with picture examples for all of these. Scoring is also discussed in detail, as this can be more in-depth for some of the scoring methods (such as farming). Again, pictures examples are seen along with the text. The full rules are also only 4 pages, so it is a quick read, getting to the point of the game and not being bogged down with long introductions or variants, etc.
A worthy knight and his faithful steed approach the grand city of Carcassonne. The sides sport the game's title as with most games, and the back shows a tile layout with some descriptions. While the art is good, this is one of the few games I've seen that doesn't really show what the player is getting into on the front of the box. It is interesting and eye-catching for the right people to be sure, but unless you're going to be putting all your meeples in cities all the time the cover is not as accurate as it could be, not that this is a bad thing.
Straightforward and simple, though there is much strategy to be had, even with the base game. Players place tiles one at a time that they draw from the box randomly. Tiles can have many things on them, roads, cities, farmland, etc. When a tile is placed, you can put a meeple on any of these places to try and score points when certain parts are completed like cities or roads. The bigger the cities, roads, farms, etc. the more points you score. The strategy comes into play when you decide not only what to do with your meeples, but where to place tiles as well. You cannot usually count on opponents finishing things for you unless there is something in it for them so planning ahead is important. For such a straightforward game there is a lot of depth to it. This combined with the great replayability of the game makes it a keeper for sure. 4/5
While the theme is a standard medieval setting and as such can attract fans of this, the gameplay is easy to learn so people of all ages could play this. The many expansions this game has adds all kinds of new flavors and tiles, so if you aren't a fan of the base game, perhaps one of the expansions might interest you more.
As mentioned before this game has a lot of expansions and add-ons, but as the tile gaining is random an placement is up to the players, the base game has lots of replay value as well. No two games could be alike as people can try out different strategies to score more points.
If you enjoy strategy games, tile placement, and trying to be the most prosperous meeples in the land, this game may be for you.
I had a lot of fun with this game. Deciding what to do with tiles and meeples was fun and interesting, as was just seeing the strange land unfold before me, full of 2 tile buildings and strange roads with seemingly no function. While I thought the game was going to be everyone for themselves, many players tried to work together so they could finish projects and both gain points. It didn't work out for everyone though, as a player and I tried finishing an over ambitious road project too close to the end of the game and couldn't quite make it. The only real problem I saw (and it may have been contained to our game) was that farms seemed like a really powerful way to score points, possibly too much so. That aside, I had too much fun with this game to be put off by possibly over powered scoring or even losing for that matter. 4/5