Recommend
 
 Thumb up
 Hide
19 Posts

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Gaming Related » Recommendations

Subject: For experienced fans of Carcassonne... rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Theodore Moffett
United States
Utah
flag msg tools
So I am looking to try carcassonne becuase it seems to be very popular and we (esp. my wife and I) enjoy games that are short, simple, and sweet. We don't mind games that are longer if they are really great (i.e. Concordia, Keyflower, etc).

My question is, what is the best way to get into carcassonne? Purchase the base game and get some expansions (only those that are really good), or just get the best of the standalone? Obviously, I would prefer the cheaper route but if one option is significantly more fun than the other, I would be willing to pay more.

From my reading, it seems that two of the best standalone versions of this game are south seas and amazonas (I like that these both play 2-5 players). Am I missing any others?

Please let me know what you guys think, especially if you have experience with Carcassonne and possibly some of its expansions/standalone games. Also, it is really nice if the games plays at least pretty well with 2 people.

Thanks guys!!

As a reference, here are some short and simple games we enjoy:
Splendor
7 wonders duel
Karuba
13 days (haven't played yet but I'm guessing we'll like it)
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hobie
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
So...why do they have these overtext things anyway?
badge
This is what I really look like. Really. Actually, it was clip art borrowed from the internet
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As with many games these days, the expansions just keep on coming!

For Carcassonne, the two essential expansions are Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals and Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders. Honestly, all the others range from "OK" to good, but do not rise to the level of these two expansions.

If you can get a "big box" with these two expansions (and probably a few others thrown in) it is usually cheaper than buying all individually (at least last I looked).

Enjoy!
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
maf man
United States
Waunakee (madison area)
WI
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm a fan of classic plus expansions, though I guess I haven't giving too much of a chance to more than new world.
I use the expansions add more variability rather than adding depth. Keeps it a light game that stays fresh.
If you know your going to like it I'd recommend buying a big box or some big deal as the expansions can start to add up.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Alec Chapman
United Kingdom
Lincolnshire
flag msg tools
Anyway, how's your sex life?
badge
"She said the same thing about waffles."
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
TLDR Carc + Inns and Cathedrals is enough, in my opinion. Spend your remaining money elsewhere.


I played this tonnes when I first started gaming, and the only expansion I truly think balances the core simplicity with new options in a brilliant way is the Inns and Cathedrals expansion.

I'd always recommend a gamer to get that at the same time. When you're bored with the game this proivides I simply don't think that traders and barbarians, the tower (YUCK), princess, nor abbey and mayor are worth it in the face of just buying a different game entirely.

1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick
Portugal
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A few rambling thoughts:

- First, you need to decide if you want the old artwork (beloved by many) or the new artwork (2014+), which many people don't like but which is the way of the future. All the large expansions are now released or soon to be released in the new artwork, with the upcoming 10th expansion only in the new artwork. Our understanding is that there will be no more releases in the old artwork. (Personally, I love the old artwork and I don't own anything in the new artwork, but each to his/her own.)

- As mentioned upthread, if you really think you're likely to enjoy the game, a Big Box could be the way to go. There will be a Big Box in the new art released this year. There are five Big Boxes in the old art, the most recent and most widely available being Big Box 5 (2014). This is going for €30 in Germany these days which is a fantastic deal.

- Regarding expansions, as mentioned upthread, the first two (Inns and Cathedrals and Traders and Builders) are almost universally regarded as the best two, and I agree. My other favourite large expansions are the Tower (which is aggressive, but adds a 3D element and a lot of strategic and tactical depth) and Abbey and Mayor.

- Regarding spin-off games, if you play primarily 2P with your wife, Carcassonne: the Castle is excellent and 2P only; it's my favourite spin-off. Another one I like gameplay-wise (though unfortunately the tile art is not great) is Carcassonne: the City. Some of the spin-offs are very similar to the base game (e.g. Winter Edition, Hunters and Gatherers, Ark of the Covenant), while others are more distinct, e.g. South Seas has a completely different scoring mechanic which sets it apart. Personally, it's not my favourite but I know others who like it a lot.

For more information, you can visit our forums at Carcassonne Central. Good luck and welcome to the wonderful world of Carcassonne
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Nolan
Ireland
Dublin
flag msg tools
mb
I agree with everyone saying that I&C and T&B are the two best expansions. However I don't think they are essential. The base game stands on its own. Sometimes games are released which don't work well without an expansion but that is not the case with Carassonne. It is better with I&C in particular, but it is still good without it.

If I was you I would buy the base game now. If at some point in the future you find you enjoy it and want to add more depth and/or variety then you can buy an expansion or two. While the big box might seem like a good deal if you end up paying for a bunch of expansions you will rarely use, or which you will use all the time despite them making the game more cluttered and less enjoyable, then it is not actually a good deal at all.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeremy Gray
United States
West Chester
Ohio
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I know this is not what you were asking, but I would also give Isle of Skye a try. It plays faster than Carcassonne and has replaced it (for me). There's variable scoring conditions and bidding for tiles. Gives it a little more texture, at least in my mind.

For Carcassonne itself, try it with just the base game. I'm not entirely sure that the expansions do much for it, to be honest.

I still really like Carcassonne, but if I want to play a tile-laying, village-building type of game, Isle of Skye has been hitting the table a lot more frequently as of late.

J.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Steve Greasby
United States
Olathe
Kansas
flag msg tools
badge
Walsh Code
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
We have the newest reprint of Carcassonne with both I&C and T&B. The base game is good enough on its own. We do play with all the tiles from both expansions but usually just use the rules for the base game. We went with the original version because it has a good theme and is more likely to get expansions (you can always get old versions of the expansions if you dont mind the difference in artwork).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Who Am I?
Canada
New Brunswick
flag msg tools
I disagree with some of the above opinions.

While the original Carcassonne is good, it's very common for people to recommend playing with at least one (usually two or more) expansions. There are a couple of reasons for this: expansions fill out the tile mix because the base game is missing many possible configurations, and they also usually modify the rules a little bit to make scoring more balanced and/or interesting. The downside to adding expansions is that it significantly increases playing time as you add more tiles and also increases the initial buy-in requirement.

Getting one of the self-contained re-implementations offers an inexpensive alternative that provides all the benefits of the original game plus expansions at a much lower cost (time and money). If you fall in love with the Carcassonne game system then nothing is lost and you can buy other versions; otherwise you might find that one box is sufficient.

I've played five different versions of Carcassonne, along with many of the expansions from the original game. My favorite is Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers because of scoring changes (hunting instead of farming, fishing huts encourages large river systems), the use of bonus tiles as rewards for closing certain types of areas, and because it's offers a nice mix of tile configurations. No game is perfect, and I'd suggest that the bonus tiles here aren't balanced that well, but Hunters & Gatherers is my favorite Carcassonne game so far.

Carcassonne: Amazonas looks great but is likely enjoying a "new game" ratings bump because people who already enjoy Carcassonne make up a big part of the early adopters (while people who don't like the series probably avoid it). Most of the standalone re-implementations are very good, so just pick the one that appeals most to you.
3 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Per Sorlie
Norway
Levanger
Trøndelag
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Carcassonne - the Castle is simply a super standalone 2-player game (one of the best...). I recommend getting it.

Buy the normal Carcassonne of course. If you love it, give the game to family and buy one of the Big boxes (contains some nice expansions) :-)

As I understand the Carcassonne world championship features the normal game, 2-player, and a total time of 15 min each (chess watch).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Japan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For two, Carcassonne: The City is the one to go for. If you are already into Keyflower and Concordia then City sounds about right. It's Carcassonne but with a little more strategy, great with two and completely standalone!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Mcpherson
Canada
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
oneiric wrote:
I disagree with some of the above opinions.

While the original Carcassonne is good, it's very common for people to recommend playing with at least one (usually two or more) expansions. There are a couple of reasons for this: expansions fill out the tile mix because the base game is missing many possible configurations, and they also usually modify the rules a little bit to make scoring more balanced and/or interesting. The downside to adding expansions is that it significantly increases playing time as you add more tiles and also increases the initial buy-in requirement.

Getting one of the self-contained re-implementations offers an inexpensive alternative that provides all the benefits of the original game plus expansions at a much lower cost (time and money). If you fall in love with the Carcassonne game system then nothing is lost and you can buy other versions; otherwise you might find that one box is sufficient.

I've played five different versions of Carcassonne, along with many of the expansions from the original game. My favorite is Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers because of scoring changes (hunting instead of farming, fishing huts encourages large river systems), the use of bonus tiles as rewards for closing certain types of areas, and because it's offers a nice mix of tile configurations. No game is perfect, and I'd suggest that the bonus tiles here aren't balanced that well, but Hunters & Gatherers is my favorite Carcassonne game so far.

Carcassonne: Amazonas looks great but is likely enjoying a "new game" ratings bump because people who already enjoy Carcassonne make up a big part of the early adopters (while people who don't like the series probably avoid it). Most of the standalone re-implementations are very good, so just pick the one that appeals most to you.


This.

Hunters and Gatherers is top notch. Also, if you can find an older copy with the original art you would be wise to grab that copy.

Carcassonne: The Castle is also great but definitely different. I would maybe pick this one up if you love one of the other versions and want more Carcassonne goodness.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Who Am I?
Canada
New Brunswick
flag msg tools
luckystreak wrote:
For two, Carcassonne: The City is the one to go for. If you are already into Keyflower and Concordia then City sounds about right. It's Carcassonne but with a little more strategy, great with two and completely standalone!


I'm curious why you say The City requires more strategy?

Of all Carcassonne games, City is the one that disappointed me most. Tile edges don't need to match, which sounds interesting - but in practice we found gameplay much less appealing. You can't trap opposing meeples which kills the risk management when placing them. Walls also sounded like a fun idea, but especially with two players it ends up being a Nim-like exercise. Worst of all is that it's such a beautiful game that I wanted to like it... but every time after playing my wife and I both felt disappointed.

Personally, I preferred The Castle. It uses many of the same ideas, but forces players to use tiles in an ever-shrinking area instead of an expanding surface. I feel that limitation is an important part of the game and helps to balance out the removal of matching requirements for tile edges. Maybe it's just my imagination, but Castle felt like a tighter and better designed experience, while City felt like a shadow trying to revisit the gameplay changes without managing to improve upon or recapture why things worked in Castle.

(For the record, I played City first and probably had higher expectations going in.)

Although the two versions have quite a few similarities, I would always recommend (or choose to play) Castle over City and neither would be my top choice from the series.

City lovers, help me out. What am I missing?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick
Portugal
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
oneiric wrote:
Of all Carcassonne games, City is the one that disappointed me most. Tile edges don't need to match, which sounds interesting - but in practice we found gameplay much less appealing.


oneiric wrote:
Personally, I preferred The Castle.


They both have the same requirements for tile edge matching, which is that roads need to match but other features don't. So I'm not sure why this should bother you in one game and not the other.

oneiric wrote:
City lovers, help me out. What am I missing?


It's all about the wall building. Firstly, the physical act of building the wall and the potential to place guards on top of it is cool. If you can complete a full circuit like we did the last time I played, it's even cooler.



But it's also the strategy behind the wall building. How many meeples do you want to commit to regular features early in the game and how many do you want to hold back for guards and for triggering wall building? When should you place your towers? And, earlier in the game, how should you approach heritage building placement knowing how important they'll become later once wall building starts?

One thing that the City and Castle have in common is that the ability to finish features for scoring at just the right time is important in both: in the Castle, it's so you can score just the points you need to get that next wall tile; in the City, it's being able to plan ahead so you can complete a feature to trigger wall building (the rule that forbids being able to place a meeple on a feature just completed by the tile you placed works brilliantly here).

Anyway, those are just a few ideas. Hopefully you'll try it again!
2 
 Thumb up
0.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Who Am I?
Canada
New Brunswick
flag msg tools
jungle_boy wrote:
...
They both have the same requirements for tile edge matching, which is that roads need to match but other features don't. So I'm not sure why this should bother you in one game and not the other.


It has to do with the space requirements.

In Castle you can (in fact, must) use the existing castle walls to direct and limit where tiles can be placed, and you are filling in negative space. In City you don't have that restriction until the walls are being built, and even then you often have significantly more flexibility about where you can place a tile as you continue building outward from a central starting point. That change in approach to how space is used sounds like a small difference, but it makes a meaningful difference in my opinion.

That said, I tend to dislike the lack of matching in both games. Building a beautiful, puzzle-like landscape is a big part of what I identify with Carcassonne - along with trying to share/steal features, and surrounding my opponents to make it difficult for them to remove and score their meeples. When you remove matching, all of my favorite aspects of the series are weakened.

jungle_boy wrote:
... But it's also the strategy behind the wall building. ...

One thing that the City and Castle have in common is that the ability to finish features for scoring at just the right time is important in both: ...


When playing with two people (our most common player count) we really felt like wall building in City was a game of Nim.

When placing walls, there are only two choices where they go. Scoring opportunities along the wall are generally all open information, and finishing features is so easy due to loose placement rules that we rarely weren't able to put up new walls if we wanted to. Eventually one player was always left having to open up big scoring opportunities for the opponent, which just feels terrible.

Grabbing bonuses along the Castle wall is different: it's a race up the score track which doesn't rely on the other player, so gets rid of that negative feeling of setting up your opponent.


Unlikely that we'll try City again. It probably is the most attractive version of the game, and I love seeing an end when the walls are closed like what you've posted! But we've played enough times to know that we enjoy other versions more.

I appreciate the discussion and hearing why you enjoy the game, even if our opinions are different.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gláucio Reis
Brazil
Rio de Janeiro
RJ
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
moffettt wrote:
From my reading, it seems that two of the best standalone versions of this game are south seas and amazonas (I like that these both play 2-5 players). Am I missing any others?

Yes. I have played most incarnations of Carcassonne and own a few. The best two for me definitely are Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers and Carcassonne: The Castle. The latter is for two players and very different from all the others, thus I just don't recommend it as your only Carcassonne game.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nick
Portugal
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
oneiric wrote:

When playing with two people (our most common player count) we really felt like wall building in City was a game of Nim.


I don't know what Nim is.

oneiric wrote:

When placing walls, there are only two choices where they go. Scoring opportunities along the wall are generally all open information, and finishing features is so easy due to loose placement rules that we rarely weren't able to put up new walls if we wanted to. Eventually one player was always left having to open up big scoring opportunities for the opponent, which just feels terrible.


The decision is not so much where to place your walls (because there are only two choices as you said), but when and whether to trigger wall-building in the first place. If you see that a big tower score and/or an optimum guard placement is possible if you're the one to go first in the next wall-building phase, then the race to be the first player to complete a feature to trigger wall building (again, more strategic because of the inability to place a meeple on a just closed feature) becomes very important. And the ability to balance your meeples and try to keep easily closable features open so you can trigger wall-building on your terms is therefore also very important. I haven't found finishing features to be as easy as you describe, and it definitely becomes more difficult as the available space decreases.

But anyway, not everyone likes the same games. So be it.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Who Am I?
Canada
New Brunswick
flag msg tools
jungle_boy wrote:

I don't know what Nim is.


I linked to it earlier, but forgot in that post: Nim

Nim is a perfect information abstract that is very similar to the wall building - using a pile of objects, you take turns removing a certain number with the goal of being the person to remove the final object.

(Sometimes the stated goal is reversed and you want to remove the penultimate object instead and force your opponent to be the one to remove the final object... but that's a trivial change; it only means the pile size is n-1 instead of n.)

Wall building feels the same to me. The size of the pile can be identified based on how many wall segments are needed to reach the major scoring rows/columns. You gain some flexibility by being able to place tiles that change that number, but on the other hand it's only a single pile and scoring numbers are open information so much of the time it feels too deterministic for my liking.

However, adding this wall placement mini-game to City is an interesting idea and many people really enjoy it. And the finished product looks gorgeous.


Quote:
But anyway, not everyone likes the same games. So be it.


City has many fans and is well rated, so I think your view is the more popular one. Definitely better for people to try the game and make their own opinions than trust one dissenter.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Per Sorlie
Norway
Levanger
Trøndelag
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
https://sites.google.com/site/daggerheartscrib/home/carcasso...

My strategy guide for Carcassonne - The Castle explains a little what a fantastic game it is, and also why the best player usually win. Personally I enjoy to play party and family games where the winner is random (since the goal is mostly social fun). CTC is not in this category ;-) It's a great 2-player standalone.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.