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Carcassonne: Winter Edition» Forums » Reviews

Subject: My Favorite version of my favorite tile laying game rss

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Ben Wickens
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Carcassonne was one of the first games I bought when getting into the hobby. I played it quite a bit with my wife and also introduced it to a few friends and family members. It struggles to get to the table a little these days because our table is often full with other things and the game does take up quite a bit of space but whenever we play it I always enjoy it.

Carcassonne is a game with a tactile feel and aesthetic that exceeds the sum of its parts. On paper it seems a fairly light, fun and straight forward game but not something perhaps with a lot of staying power. However games of Carc go so quick and are so much fun that it has remained one of my very favorite games. One element I like about Carcassonne is how are playing competitively but at the end of the game you have created a wonderful map with your friends.

Mechanically what really raises Carc above other tile laying games is the farmers mechanic. It is the same thing that may make people frustrated with their first game or two. It really adds a lot of depth to the game and makes every tile feel useful if used right. There is a lot else to the game in terms of meeple management, big city vs small city strategy, city sharing and takeovers etc. I like how the mean-ness is player driven, you can just do your own thing or you can be trying to steal points for your opponents cities or place tiles so they cannot complete their cities and roads.

I do not want to say too much more about the base game because it is so widely known, suffice to say that the game is great and if you have not picked it up then it is an excellent choice for a quick playing game whatever your experience and whoever you might be playing it with.

At this point in time there might be close to twelve different versions of the game:-

Carc for 2 - base carc with some tiles removed but very cheap
Base carc (with about 12 expansions out) played lots with expansions too
This (carc winter)my favorite
Mayflower/ New World - not played but widely deridded
Discovery - not tried
Hunters and gatherers - pretty and one of the most strategic versions
City - hard to get
Castle - Carc meets Knizia in a two player only Carc-ish game
Star wars - not just a cash in but the combat etc added adds little
South Seas - great for kids and families - no farmers but enough going on
Gold Rush - not played but rethemed and rules tweaked version
Hill and Dale - rethemed/tweaked version
Amazonas - another retheme I have yet to try
Ark of the Covenant - hard to get and not tried

I do like all the expansions i have tried for Carc and if you play Carc with more than 2 I do think an expansion or two for base card gives everyone a feel that they are playing enough cards for it to be a fun experience, luck balances out a bit and the game is not over before it begins. I also like some of the elements added by the expansions, particularly the goods although I also like the builder meeple. However I would generally rather just play one of the re-themed versions that have some rule tweaks than play with any of the expansions. This is particularly the case with 2 where as well as making the table space you need rather large it also makes the game run a touch on the long side.

I like Winter the best because unlike many of the re-themed versions it has not ditched the farmer rule, one of the very elements that makes the game special for me. I also like how it adds a few more tiles to the mix so with 3-4 people it is not over too quick but it is still not too long (or takes up too much space). The mini gingerbread expansion that came with my version is also one of my favorite Carc expansions, yes it is very swingy and can add a lot of luck to the game it also adds lots of tense moments and interesting strategy and tactics. The other two elements that make Winter stand out are it has my favorite art of the series, like the original but cuter and better. It is full of lovely little details and charm. Secondly there are very few Winter themed games out there so this makes a great seasonal choice.

As for the other versions...Hunters works and is a great choice for a meatier version and a good change, South seas is great if you want to skip the farmer rule but want enough extra going on, Castle adds enough extra elements to feel perhaps the most strategic and mechanically interesting but just putting tiles that look fairly abstract to fill up a castle jigsaw style just does not have the same feel to me, still its a fun game. Ark and City are too hard to get....In short Winter is for me the best version to get. Not by so much to spend crazy money on it, any of the main versions will do but I do think that this makes a great choice and whilst you cannot expand it like base Carc. there is really no need, it is great as it is.
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Bill Cook
United States
Massachusetts
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I have the winter add-on for iOS Carc and normally love it. But here in New England we've had frigid temperatures for the past month, interrupted by a few days when it gets up to normal winter temperatures. Which just means it's warm enough to snow.

For now, I'll pass on winter and hope for a tropical island version.
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Dan Durkin
United States
Corte Madera
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The Winter edition is the first version of Carcassonne we got. It's beautiful!

My version of the Winter edition came with the Gingerbread Man expansion, which is a fun addition. I'm not sure if it still included. We enjoyed playing it over Christmas (of course!).

We also played Amazonas over Christmas. We like it for its different feel. It encourages building big and being efficient with meeple placement.

South Seas is great. The fisherman are essentially farmers, while being easier to explain and visualize.
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Michael B. Hansen
Denmark
Odense N
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Gingerbread man can result in some huge scores. Record on the ipad against my work opponent is 1009 - 998 . My opponent won
 
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Ben Wickens
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One consequence of the Gingerbread expansion is that it is possible both for huge scores but also huge swings. Without the expansion I feel that whilst some tiles are better than others it is somewhat situational and if you play well you can make good use of whatever you are drawn. The swinginess of the Gingerbread tile draws is certainly a feature of the expansion but as I think it comes with interesting decisions I do not really mind and I prefer it to any of the expansion elements in the first two expansion sets.
 
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