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Subject: Trying to decipher ther series of Carcassonne rss

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Eric S.
United States
Rapid City
South Dakota
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Game: Carcassonne
Publisher: Hans Im Gluck / Rio Grande Games
Number of Players: 2-5
Game Length: 60 min
Game Designer: Klaus-Jurgen Wrede

I have been playing Carcassonne for a number of years now and have tried most if not all of the expansions. And recently I have torn my extensive collection apart and have gone back to just the original game. Where I have enjoyed the journey from a basic village to the city of Carcassonne I have found visiting the French country side to be increasingly more difficult. At one point all I did when I purchased that next expansion was add it to the rest of the tiles. It took a wonderful little game into an very large and ungainly game that would take the better part of 150 minutes to complete.

The first expansion to make its way to the French country side was the Inn and Cathedrals (2002). This set for me should be part of the original game--IMHO. It didn’t really add much for rules but added a way to balance out some points from the cities to the roads. Now your thieves had a way to gain some good victory points on those more traveled roads versus the back roads with out an Inn. The Cathedral tiles added a bit of bigger gamble in trying to complete a sprawling city versus a village.

Then came the Traders and Builders (2003). This expansion added a way to gain some victory points through trading goods. You really didn’t trade your goods you tried to complete your cities with trade goods symbol on the tiles. For me it just added another component to keep track of which distract from the game. The Builder was a welcome addition to the game. It added a nice little twist to help move the game along a bit quicker. When you could add two tiles per turn sped the game up and a way to add to your game and to mess up your neighbors game--nice. It also added something for the farmer, a way to increase your victory points for farmland. This was a nice little add-on for the farmers but I found it difficult to get out and may tipped the victory point scale a bit too far in their favor.

Then an expansion I was secretly wishing for was released. Not necessarily the Princess and the Dragon (2005) but a way to “screw your neighbor”. I liked this expansion because it added that flair of fantasy and a neat new meeple, the dragon. This was a major expansion in the fact it added an offensive twist to Carcassonne. Now you need to play a bit on the defensive side. You were no longer just able to play a tile, add a meeple to it but now you needed to think of what damage the dragon could do to your meeples.

The Tower (2006) made its way onto the scene next. I like the set for the Tower piece itself just to add a different way to draw the tiles was a welcome change. Another chance to take out those pesky little farmers and the pigs that the dragon failed to feed on was welcome but again made you play your meeples evenly more defensively and slowed that game down even more.

Then along came the Abbey and Mayor (2007), Count, King and Consort (2008), and the Cult, Siege, and Creativity (2008). I personally have not played these expansions as of yet. Since we were playing with all of the expansions as one large game I didn’t feel the need to add anymore to the chaos I have come to know as Carcassonne.

After playing with all the expansions at the same time we have returned to the original game. We will add one or another expansion but will not play with anymore than one at a time. Now playing with each of the expansions and learning them on their own merits we are finding the elements that we like best and started to incorporate those into what we passionately call Our Carcassonne.

Our Carcassonne is a combination of all the expansions and components that my wife and I like to play and have found great success in teaching others. We use all the tiles that aren’t specifically used in the expansions. We use both the river expansions, the Inns and Cathedrals expansion, and the Builder. This is a mix we have found to make the best game of Carcassonne (IMHO).

We start our country side with the river. Using so many tiles just wouldn’t make much since. If you did use all the tiles you could end the game with never having to engage your opponents. So we start out with all them in a bag and go till we have two ends out. Sometimes we have five or six river tiles other times we may get out as many 12 tiles or more. And then we start our game.

What I did find that as the game expanded it got more complicated and more ungainly. What was a good gateway game become an overbearing game for the non-gamer or beginner gamer. Now that I have reorganized the game to Our Carcassonne I have gotten my family to play again and have introduced the game to some new couples that have not played anything but Monopoly or Clue.

Happy Gaming Eric

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Austin King
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I've been taking my Carcassonne game in a similar direction. I like elements of the expansions but the "all-in-one" approach has dwindled a lot of the simple charm of the game for me. Thanks for the report.
 
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Donald Cleary
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A quick and concise review. I do appreciate it, though. I've only played the original base game, but when I do order the expansions I had already planned to play one at a time and maybe throw a couple together down the road.

Your river rule looks interesting. Are you only using River I?
 
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Eric S.
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No we use river I and II and seem to have found an odd river peice here or there. The river II is nice. It comes with a "T" tile for the river and also has some other details to be used with the other expansions.

Happing Gaming
Eric
 
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Branko K.
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My recipe:

For experienced Carc vets: Carc+I&C+T&B
For newbies and non-gamers: Carc+I&C+P&D (and I strongly suggest ditching the farmers completely)

This works like a charm for me.

 
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David Tegenfeldt
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We play
Normal game no river + IC always in play
And then we mix in one expansion we try different ones or vote on one.

So far the tower expansion will never see play again it was that bad.
 
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'rett B
United States
Stuttgart
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"Our Carassonne" most often uses all the tiles from base game, I&C, T&B, P&D, Tower, River I, but no Princess, Dragon, Fairy or Tower pieces. Not needing to worry about meeples get thrown in the dungeon or toasted makes the game play out quicker, even though we're using a large number of tiles.
I really like your River variant. Will try that one after we get River II in my Christmas stocking. Thanks
 
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