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Carcassonne: The Discovery» Forums » Sessions

Subject: First Play and First Impressions rss

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Thies Kolln
United States
Cedar Rapids
Iowa
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Carcassonne: The Discovery has been sitting on our shelf unplayed for a couple of months, so my wife and I decided to give it an inaugural run last night. My wife loves our other Carcassonne game, Hunters & Gatherers, so I had decided to expand our Carcassonne options. I’ve also played and enjoyed plain Carc, but didn’t want to go down the 20 expansions route, so I chose this other stand-alone game for our next foray into the world of Carcassonne.

Our game started with both of us feeling our way slowly through the different landscape features and scoring rules. It wasn’t immediately clear whether we should focus on mountains, seas or meadows, but I decided to focus on the mountains, a choice that would pay off big time. In the mid-game, my mountains scored me some big points, as I had three sets of small mountains (3-4 tiles) that attached to some city-rich fields. After this play, at least, that seems to be an ideal way to get big points. My wife was hampered by a series of really bad tile draws, getting very few tiles with cities on them for most of the mid-game. This, and not my mountain strategy, seemed to be the killer, as she was unable to add value to her mountains or seas. As a result, I lapped her on the scoreboard after a very even first third of the game. The end game saw the scoring level out again, but my win was long ago sealed by that point.

It will take us a few more plays to get the hang of the scoring and the meeple placement strategies. The low supply of meeples (only 4 in hand plus one on the scoring track) makes for some interesting and agonizing decisions. It could just be because this was our first play, but the tile placement decisions seemed not as straightforward as the other Carc games – many tile placements will inadvertently help your opponent by, for example, adding cities to his mountains while you expand your meadows. The game description here says this game is “distinctly simpler” but offers “greater strategic depth.” I’m not sure about the former (not that this is incredibly complicated) as there are less ways to score but the scoring is more complicated, but I do agree that there is more strategic depth. While this is certainly no brain burner, it is a bit more “thinky” than plain vanilla Carc or Hunters & Gatherers.

I don’t have any concrete rating thoughts at this point. I don’t think Discovery will replace Hunters & Gatherers as our first choice Carc variant, but it should continue to get plays first to better understand the mechanics and then as an entertaining change of pace from the other Carcs. I’ll probably do a full review after a couple more plays, but that's all for now.
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