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Subject: My kind of game. rss

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Mark Wong
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Alright. I should not be writing this review now as I have a test to study for but what the heck. I love this game enough to actually forgo studying (or maybe I just needed an excuse and took any that came along).

I first played Carcassonne a few years back with a friend. The rules were easy enough and we had a few games. I still remember him telling me that the little wooden chaps were called "Meeples" and I was quite tickled by it. Hmmm … a game with character. Sounds good no? Anyway the game lasted about 30 mins and it left me wanting more and so we had another and then another and another. Well, you get the point. I did not buy my own copy till almost a year later as the game had always been rather accessible but the want and need to own a personal copy soon became a burning desire and I manage to hunt one almost brand new copy on Yahoo! auction and that started me on my path to a fulfilling Carcassonne collection.

What I love about the game is the "game board". The ever changing landscape always brings something new to the look of the game. The Meeple taking various roles always project an image to me of this little wooden fella wearing armour while in a city or using a ploughshare while at the farms. It is kinda cute in a way thinking of them that way.

Each player's turn is quite simple. First a tile is picked from the stack and and it has to place onto the existing board with the condition that the sides must match those tiles that it is placed next to. Once that is done, the active player has a choice if they would like to place a Meeple down. Depending on the area, the Meeple will assume a certain role either as a farmer, monk, knight or robber. These roles basically do not mean much but they are the main form of scoring in this game. Whenever an area is complete (roads, cities or an enclosed monastery), the Meeple’s job is complete and scores are calculated. Once that is done, they return to your available pool of hard workers. The only ones that do not return are the farmers. As their work takes a lifetime, they are thus returned only at the end of the game. So watch how you deploy your chaps. The game ends when the last tile is placed and the winner is the person with the highest score.

Sounds too simple? Well, it is. The rules are simple enough but the strategy to this game runs a little deeper. My favourite is the rule where Meeples cannot share another area with each other but if the two areas were separate and were joined later, the two (or more) Meeples can co-exist and share the points! And if one managed to out manoeuvre by placing an additional Meeple, the points will be denied to your opponent. The farmer scoring is probably one of the most confusing aspects of the game as they are only scored at the end and it can be quite difficult to see their farm area.

Carcassonne is a good game. It is a good game for just two players. It is a good game for up to five. It is a good game for veteran gamers looking for something light. It is a good game for new gamers. It is a good family game. To date, this game has churned out many expansions and while they are not really necessary to enhance game play, they do however, add more strategic elements to the game.

I have played this game countless times over the year and from my initial rating of a 7, I have increased it to a 10. This game remains to date, one of my most played in my collection. Go give it a try and if you like it, consider making this a part of your collection along with the many expansions ;p
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