Louise Moore
United Kingdom
Cardiff
South Glamorgan
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One evening, one mammoth challenge - to play a game of Carcassonne with all the expansions (or at least all the expansions my brother could get his hands on). Carcassonne, Carcassonne: Expansion 1 – Inns & Cathedrals, Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders, Carcassonne: Expansion 3 – The Princess & The Dragon, Carcassonne: Expansion 4 – The Tower, Carcassonne: The Count of Carcassonne, Carcassonne: King & Scout, Carcassonne: Cult, Siege and Creativity, Carcassonne: The River II, Carcassonne: The River

Having requisitioned a mammoth table, with snacks on hand and plenty of time we set out with light hearts and giant stacks of tiles. There were four players gathered round the table, and although each of us was a seasoned veteran of normal Carcassonne none of us had played more than a handful of the expansions.

Four hours later I left the gaming session a broken person.

There were a number of problems with playing Carcassonne with all the expansions. The first problem we encountered was that we didn't know exactly how the rules of different expansions worked with one another, can the dragon from Carcassonne: Expansion 3 – The Princess & The Dragon eat the pig from Carcassonne: Expansion 2 – Traders & Builders? We just didn't know and thus lengthy arguments ensued about the application of different expansion's rules.

On top of this was the difficulty in remembering all the possible actions we could take. With tower pieces to use, barns to place, our pigs to deploy (and redeploy once they'd been eaten by the dragon) etc etc it was quite hard to figure out which move to make. None of the gamers round the table usually suffers from analysis paralysis but in all-expansions Carcassonne there was an unexpected outbreak of AP round our table.

The biggest problem however wasn't the one I was expecting - before we started the game I thought that everyone would run out of meeples since the board would be huge, but in fact the largest problem was almost the complete opposite. Playing with all the expansions combined meant that there were so many ways to remove an opponent's meeple from the board that meeples bounced to and from the board so fast you would have thought they were attached to the tiles with bungee cords. And therein lay the greatest problem, the game shifted from a strategic game to a tactical one. By the end of the game moves you made at the beginning of the game were totally irrelevant and there was no opportunity to strategically place farmers or really employ any long term strategy. The game became way too random for my liking.

Playing with all the expansions was a very dissatisfying experience for me. Normal Carcassonne is a delicious mix of cooperation, tactics, strategy with just a frisson of luck. Carcassone played with one expansion is also great, each expansion when played on it's own adds a new flavour to the game. However in my opinion playing Carcassonne with all the expansions is a terrible perversion of a great game which reduces the game to random chance. I could have saved myself a lot of time if I'd simply set up the board and then thrown the meeples onto the board and based the final scores on where they landed. It would have been just as fair too (and I say that even though I won).



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J C Lawrence
United States
Campbell
California
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I suspect you played with more than 2 players. That's a big mistake.
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Dan Dolan
United States
Highland Lakes
New Jersey
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We call it BALLS TO THE WALL CARCASSONNE when we play with all the expansions. It's a different game for sure. You have to be a lort more flexible to get into it. It doesn't have the simplicity of the basic version. But weird things happen that you have to be ready to adapt to.

I scored a 127 point city to win one game we played on the 3rd to last tile played. You only get so many gaming experiences like that in your life.
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Michael Mehl
United States
Colorado Springs
Colorado
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Man, I suspect if you had added the catapult expansion then things would have gotten really out of control you rebel devil
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Benjamin Birch
United States
Chicago
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theres a really good file here on the geek that has all the rules and FAQs in it and answers many of hte questions regarding expansion compatability.
annotated rules by mjharper is what you should look for. That being said i've tried with all the expansions(except catapult) in one big game before and it was a bit much. i like princess and dragon or tower for games of more than 2 people since they are a bit hectic anyway. I prefere T&B, I&C, and A&M for more competitive or cut throat 2 player games.
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John Goodhand
United States
GSP Exit #20 (Seaville)
New Jersey
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otakugirly wrote:

Normal Carcassonne is a delicious mix of cooperation, tactics, strategy with just a frisson of luck. Carcassone played with one expansion is also great, each expansion when played on it's own adds a new flavour to the game. However in my opinion playing Carcassonne with all the expansions is a terrible perversion of a great game which reduces the game to random chance.


L.O.L. -- Gee whiz, you were only missing the GQ#11 Carcassonne: The Mini Expansion, the Carcassonne: Expansion 5 – Abbey & Mayor Expansion (with "wild-card" Abbey tiles, and three extra Meeples for each player: the mayor, wagon and barn), and the (IMHO: rediculous) Carcassonne: Catapult Expansion (hmmm or maybe there was another one?) That's an additional 36 tiles (12 in each expansion).

You should come over to my house sometime, because this IS the usual way we play Carcassonne, with all of the expansions (except the Count, some people don't like the Count). We normally finish in less than three hours. It makes for a fun evening and for added excitement, the loosers have to take off an article of clothing before we start playing the second round...

Seriously though -- for any rules clarification issues I want to direct you to the Completely Annotated Rules or "C.A.R." for short that can be downloaded (or printed) from the Forums Section of the Carcassonne Central web site < http://www.CarcassonneCentral.Com >.

If you really want to see a "terrible perversion of a great game" then read some of the debates about whether the Hans im Gluck (HiG = European) official rules or the Rio Grande Games (RRG = Americanized) interpretations are better or worse. But remember that the purpose of "PLAYING" games is to have FUN, so my personal reccomendation is to agree among your local gaming friends upon a few House Rules and focus on enjoying the social interaction.
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Matt Davis
United States
New Concord
Ohio
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We once played with 4 basic sets plus some number of expansions. (We were about to graduate college and had all just bought our own copies of some games the group had shared.) That took a pool table and lasted well into the early morning.
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Stuart Dawkins
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Leicester
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One evening over Christmas/New Year played with eleven expansions, INCLUDING the catapult. It was a 4-player game with two Carcassone "experts" and two (inlcuding me) who've played a bit but with just one or two expansions.

It was an interesting exeperience, taking nearly four hours. My observations:
- there were too many occasions where we had to adopt "house interpretations" to decide between competing rule interpretations;
- after about 30 minutes I was really frustrated, albeit this was primarily because I had not previously played with some of the expansions (eg I really did not get any intuitive feel for the Tower ... never mind how it interacts with other expansions)
- but after about an hour, and the group being into probably our third bottle of wine (in total - not each!), it began to be a fun experience
- the two "experts" came first and second; I forget the precise scores but I think the winner won by about 10 points only, with third and fourth each over 100 points behind (familiarity with the different versions certainly had its advantages);
- would I do it again?? Well, as a serious gaming activity, probably not; as a fun evening in good company accompanied by decent wine during the holiday season - sure why not, it was a fun EXPERIENCE even if not a fun GAME.
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John Goodhand
United States
GSP Exit #20 (Seaville)
New Jersey
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AGREED "...in good company accompanied by decent wine [or a sufficient quantity of your favorite adult beverage]..." many NOT so fun games can still become "a fun EXPERIENCE..." And isn't that what board gaming is all bount - to keep from being gamed or bored when interacting socially?
 
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