This is a supplemental written review as a companion to a video review available at www.gamesoverboard.com. The video will be embedded at the end of the review:
What else is there to say about this classic? Not much. It's been reviewed, analyzed, written about, reported about in sessions and pretty much beaten like a dead horse.
That being said I haven't seen very much lately. The "cult of the new" being very prevalent in BGG, it's my pleasure to hopefully renew the desire of some old players to blow the dust off their boxes, and maybe get some new people that have never played to get into the fray.
Essentially what you have is a tile laying game that acts like a free-form jigsaw puzzle. You have a few rules governing your placement, but you're free to make the board look and play however you want. The novel thing when this game came out, as well as still now is that you are basically building the world that your players are going to reside in as you play the game.
I love this concept. I often have tried to design my own opuses with this as a mechanic (obviously, I've failed or people would be playing my game) A few others do this very well also. The two that come to mind are Descent, and Betrayal at house on the Hill.
So once you've become the city planner of Carcassonne, you get to decide whether you want to "invest" in that real Estate. I often look at it in this way. Let's say you have a road, or a town, or a cloister. Well, you've heard that the government is going to put a freeway real close to there, and you could make a ton of money if they do. The problem is that there are too many politicians that want their projects done first, and you'll only get paid if the job closest to you is completed. you need to invest your limited resources in the areas that will pay off the most.
I know it's a long extended metaphor, but is helps me to decide during the game whether I actually think that the road, city, or cloister is worth putting the money into. The city might be huge and yield a ton of points, but if I can score four or five other smaller roads and such in the same amount of time, would I be better off putting my meeples to work there?
That's just my viewpoint.
the only thing I'm not a big fan of is the farmers. And not all the time mind you. I think the farmers are a little unbalanced. Especially when you use the River expansion. There's just too many opportunities for a "super-farm" to grow and there's sometimes nothing you can do about it. Just my opinion, and it's probably based upon the fact that my wife will kick my keister every time because of the farms.
So anyways, I'm babbling. I just wanted to put forth a few of my opinions and musings about a time-tried great game. Enjoy the review. There are written reviews for a number of the available expansions on the website as well. Come by and join us for a few more videos. We'd love to hear from you, so leave a lot of conmments.