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Subject: Too simple or just simple enough? rss

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Jon
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I bought Kids of Carcassonne primarily to play with my four year old daughter. She usually gets left out during game time when my wife and I are playing with our two older boys. I was looking for appropriate games that I could play with her that wouldn't be boring for myself or the rest of my family and I was interested in Carcassonne in general; this was my first Carcassonne game.

Like the other Carcassonne games there are tiles to connect and meeples to place. It cannot be emphasized enough that everything is simplified in this game. There are only 36 tiles in this game, approximately only half of the tiles you'll get in the original game or in the stand alone variants. The tiles are larger and thicker than the original and are very kid friendly. There are 32 large meeples in four different colors, and the tiles have images of brightly colored children in the same four colors playing on roads throughout the city.

All of the tiles can connect to each other as each side has a road which is the only thing to connect. This means that there is never a tile that cannot be placed. When a player finishes a road on both sides, then everyone can place their colored meeples on the pictures of the children dressed in the same colors. The scoring is simple: whoever places all their meeples on the board first wins.

What I didn't fully understand when I bought this game is that the meeple placement inverts the normal placement in a Carcassonne game. In other versions, you place your meeple on uncompleted features, but in this version you complete the road and then place the meeple. While the scoring technically is similar -- you get closer to your goal by completing features -- it feels different because you're not gaining points as much as emptying your hand.

There's nothing wrong with any of this, as it works well for young kids. My daughter likes playing. She calls it the "people game" and she mostly understands the game. She knows where the meeples are allowed to go and she can tell you if roads are open or closed. However, she hasn't connected these concepts together yet. Tiles will be placed anywhere close to her side of the board. She's just as happy when I'm placing my people as when she's placing hers. She hasn't figured out that the goal is to close the roads in order to place the meeples; instead, she wants to place them pretty much any time I'll let her.

A game can be played in about ten minutes which is great. Her attention doesn't wander off during the game, and the quickness of the game and the happiness of my daughter keeps me from getting too bored by the simplicity of it all. However, I quickly realized I needed more for playing with the rest of my family and ended up also getting Carcassonne: the City. We still play Kids of Carcassonne but only when my daughter wants to play. Even my boys ages eight and ten think the kids version is too simple for them now that they're playing the City.

So for me, Kids of Carcassonne is too simple, but for my daughter it's just simple enough. I'm sure she'll understand the basics better after a few more plays, although it will probably be some time before she'll be able to find the best place to put a tile.

People who are interested in Kids of Carcassonne will fall into two groups; those who have played and probably own another game in the series, and those like me who are new to Carcassonne. Either group should be happy with the Kids of Carcassonne as long as you understand what it is and what it isn't. The components are great and this is a very appealing game for kids. It's not very expensive and I am definitely happy with it as I only have a few games I can play with my daughter.

However, if you happen to own another version, and you have hesitations about getting this, then you might want to consider mocking up your own simplified version to play with kids by adjusting the rules and number of tiles. I like having this dedicated version myself and once my daughter learns the game better I could see ways to make this more challenging, by having her try to place one color while I place two, for example. If you don't own another version, this is a fine game to get as long a you realize there are limitations and most likely this won't be enough to satisfy you if you are looking for your own entry into the world of Carcassonne.
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Lo Ma
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This really is for kids and their adults who are playing with them.

If you are adults or older kids wanting to play Carcassonne, it would be a mistake to get this version!
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William Collins
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I had success with this game with a two year old and a six year old. It was great, and I could play along, too. When you are playing with children of that age bracket, you are playing to play with them, not to play with the game. It is important to remember that, I think.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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Roger's Reviews: check out my reviews page, right here on BGG!
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I find this one just right. It's fun and easy and works well with little kids.

I know kids games get short shrift on this site. This one is definitely worth picking up.
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Kevin Schlabach
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We bought this to bridge my 3 yr old to Carcassonne. He picked it up pretty quickly and loves it.

We did create one house rule to make it more fun for the adults. Nobody can score two of the same color on the same road. This creates some strategy since you can hurt people by doubling up their colors. Interesting enough, my 3.5 yr old has already figured this strategy out too!

So... with the added rule, it is fun for all, but light enough for the young one.

I just started teaching him checkers. We bought Kids of Catan and found it to be completely useless... it had no decision making and was no better than Candyland (a game I'm trying to burn). We also play and love Chicken Cha Cha Cha (our child beats us regularly!).

For those of you reading this and wondering how I have a 3.5 yr old gaming strategically already... I started on him with "Snail's Pace Race" when he was 2. This game teaches basic game mechanics without winning or losing being an issue.
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"L'état, c'est moi."
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kschlabach wrote:
We bought Kids of Catan and found it to be completely useless... it had no decision making and was no better than Candyland (a game I'm trying to burn).


Ironically, Die Siedler von Catan: Junior is a brilliant game that I enjoy even if there are no kids around - too bad it's only available in German (not a problem in our household).
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Jack Francisco
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I have been contemplating picking this up as I would love to bridge my daughter from this to regular Carc. My 3 1/2 year old daughter enjoys playing Hey That's My Fish and with my wife joining us, our daughter won! It's pretty cool when you're playing a game and you realize that your child is going to win.
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Mikko Saari
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It's an excellent game, I like it a lot. My son (3.5) can play it and have fun, though I have to help him a bit with the strategies. Alone, he'd lose every time but with some help he usually wins. He can usually make a good move, once I give him some hint like "how you need to place the tile to close that road?". I suppose once he grows up a bit, the need for tips will be reduced.

I second the recommendation for Catan Junior - my son loves it, though it's way too hard for him. It's better for six-year olds or so.
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Declan J Fallon
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I do like this game. It's quick to set up (and put away!). It's got large, easy to handle Meeples and tiles. Plus, you can play a number of games over a short space of time.

I have playing a few games with this over the weekend with my youngest who just turned 3. My eldest, who is 4 1/2, prefers to play Hunters and Gatherers - but that's another story!

She's not the most patient of bunnies, so to have her play by the rules as defined is a no-go. However, she does have her colors and wastes no time placing her Meeples on the correctly colored people as the cards are drawn. This can actually result in quite a competitive game as I race to use all my Meeples using the proper rules before she draws and uses all of her Meeples.

She also cheats.

If, as she is drawing, she sees the tile does not have her color she will try to put it back and pick another.

If you are looking to teach colors this is a good game to get. I was able to get a few games out of my daughter before she got bored (Although her favorite game is probably still Haba's Orchard).
 
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Mikko Saari
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I've played about 50 games of this with my son this year alone, and will likely reach 100 this year. It's that good.
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Jack Francisco
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My 5 year old enjoys it.
 
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