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Carcassonne: Expansion 3 – The Princess & The Dragon» Forums » Reviews

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Duncan
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While Carcassonne: The Princess & the Dragon has been out for several years it was actually the very last Carcassonne purchase I have made to date. This meant that I had both experience of preceding and later expansions befoore I played this one. The major thing you notice is that it doesn't really match the others in terms of theme: Princess & Dragon adds all a fantastical element to the game-dragon, fairy and magic portal which are incongrous with a system of games that keep quite well to a sort of mediaeval theme (barring some of the very latest stuff). And while dragons are fairly mediaeval in some senses, I think it is clear what I mean. So this is when my dilemma in reviewing these expansions starts to be an issue: how much should I take them in isolation of other expansions? I hope that I strike a balance throughout this review.

So without any furtur ado, let me proceed. Princess & Dragon adds a number of interlinking and distinctly seperate elements to carcassonne, much like the previous larger expansions:
d10-1The dragon. This segment includes a nice, large wooden dragon meeple, 6 volcano tiles and 12 tiles with little dragon icons on them. Basically, when a volcano tile is played the dragon is immediately moved onto that tile and when a dragon icon is played, the players take turns moving the dragon which eats anything and everything that might be in its way. Any followers that do get removed are returned to their owner.
d10-2The Princess (no suprise there!): 6 tiles with a city segemnt containing a princess icon. By attaching these to a city the player removes and knight from the city; the pricess sends him on a 'quest'. Knights are returned to the owner.
d10-3Magic portals: 6 tiles with a magic portal illustration. these allow the player who draws them to place a follower on any uncompleted feature provided all other placement rules are followed.
d10-4The Fairy: a little white fairy meeple which can be moved to a tile with a follower on to a)Protect the follower by not allowing the dragon to move onto that tile b)the plyer will recieve 1 point at the start of each turn when the fairy is on their follower's tile and c)the fairy adds 3 points to any feature that is completed while it is on it.

So the box contains 30 tiles and 2 wooden figures in total. The tiles are mostly repeats (bar dragons, magic portals etc..) of existing tiles, although there is a radical new tile featuring a cloister inside a city (which is more of an annoyance ensuring which feature a follower is on than anything else).

As I said earlier there is a need for reviewing purposes to isolate expansions. In fact the conclusion I came to after a few plays was to isolate The Princess & the Dragon entirely. The dragon moves only 12 times a game plus moving around volcanos. If it moves 6 tiles max each time then the most tiles it can possibly cover is 72. Experience shows it is not going to do so but rather cover a lot of the same ground multiple times. When you play with the 200+ tiles that owning most (not even all) of the expansions gives you the dragon becomes a little side attraction and the fairy just becomes a points giving annoyance (especially if scoring is one persons responsibility. When you play with many expansions there are so mnay options that moving the fairy is only one of, it often stays still with one crafty player getting the points. Alternatly even experienced players can actually forget it exists.

So all I saying is that I prefer this expansion by itself with the base game rather than mixed in. However, I prefer to use lots of expansions with the base game more and The Princess & the Dragon gets forgotten. Its actually quite a good expansion but there are better options and even the promise of variation doesn't help get The Princess & the Dragon off the shelf. I almost feel sorry for an inanimate box of cardboard.

I don't fully know. A combination of unwillingness to use it in big games as it feels redundant and the incongruity of the theme shouldn't stop me playing this especially as I am saying it is actually quite good. Logic would suggest it isn't that good:
Writing this have given me a bit to think about for next time I contemplate a game of carcassonne, who knows? maybe next time I get out The Princess & the Dragon it might be better.
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william mcneil
Canada
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i have played carcassonne with this expansion its good i really like it however the other players hate it, why ppl just dont like the dragon eating your meeples because it can ruin all your plans, like say if u are trying hard to take over other ppl's farms and if your meeple is eating it can undo a lot of your plans as for the princess players will not play with her, she gets hated even more than the dragon does i didnt know what the magic potal did tho so maybe i can get ppl to try this one again :)
 
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Jonathan Warren
United Kingdom
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While I don't mind playing Carcassonne: Expansion 3 – The Princess & The Dragon expansion, I prefer the Carcassonne: Expansion 4 – The Tower for aggressive games.
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Patrick Leacock
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The Princess and Dragon is our groups favorite expansion, though half the time dragon is not moved aggressively.

We use the Fairy only for protecting meeples. We don't use it for scoring any additional points.
 
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Jason B
Canada
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I personally rather enjoy this expansion, provided that it's isolated, as you note.

I also find it helps a lot if you approach the game differently. With P&D the game becomes more chaotic but can still be quite enjoyable. My group traditionally places a scoring marker for the dragon on the track, and we keep track of the total point value of meeples eaten. We tend to root for the dragon, and it tends to win :-)
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