I have introduced this game to a small number of households of non-gamers who have been willing participants for exposure to different game titles (and so far all express interest in continued exploration). This was a three-player game with a friend and his wife where he had previously been introduced in a two-player game while it was the first time for her. I have now played this game about six times (all as first or second time for the opponents).
Within the first two or three turns both my friend and I placed bets on Mountain tiles. His had a city. Almost immediately, and in quick succession, he drew a series of three Grassland tiles that each had a city. He managed to place them all in the same continuous extension from his Mountain, also deploying a follower on this Grassland. Both Mountain and Grassland were still open-ended.
I placed some additional tiles for my Mountain and some for my contiguous Grassland, but none had cities.
Another Mountain form appeared at the other end of my friend’s much-Citied Grassland. I would need to match up terrain on two sides in order to place a tile there. I once drew a tile that would have fit but would have created a completed Mountain of merely two tiles. That would not permit full scoring advantage of the now four grassland Cities (and still with growing potential). I plodded through a dozen more turns with quiet frustration, hoping the discovery would remain mine alone.
I completed my Mountain of perhaps six tiles, but completely barren of Cities. This felt quite strange. Contiguous Grasslands still left hope, but were yet barren also. This felt quite unlucky. I don’t remember picking many City tiles even among ones that did not fit, although I may have done so in order to collect some low-point Ocean scores for shore cities (either incomplete or only two tiles).
The wife managed to place into that other Mountain opportunity I had long waited to grab. I completed my biggest contiguous Grassland, still barren. With the number of tiles running lower I gave up on that location completely and withdrew my follower for a magnificent score of zero, despite the pleasing Mountain size.
The husband finally completed his Mountain with a fourth tile. He still held out for more Grassland.
Near the end, the wife closed that valuable Grassland since it was to her benefit also. Best I can remember through my despair, the husband got 22 for his Mountain, another 10 for his completed Grassland.
75 for Husband
52 for Wife
53 for me
I thought that in other sessions the Cities were well distributed around the ending layout. This time my memory leaves a picture of them all concentrated in the one corner (whether or not they were part of that good scoring development). That can’t really be true, even if they never seemed to pass through my hands, so now I’m planning to sort through the box and count just how many Cities there genuinely are.
Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized.
I like this version of Carcassonne because if you fail to draw tiles to extend a mountain range or lake with cities, you just play them on the opponents features to end them and keep them from scoring more points. It is pointless, literally, to keep adding to a mountain range that has no cities within it.