Thumb up
3 Posts

Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Carcassonne: Wheel of Fortune - A Detailed Review rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
CanCon, BunnyCon...BorderCon!!!
flag msg tools
May 2018 be all you dreamed it would be and be all that you dreamed...
This review continues my series of detailed reviews. I have tried to cover every aspect of the game and as such you may prefer to skip to the sections of most interest.


Game Type – Euro Game
Play Time: 30-45 min
Number of Players: 2-5
Mechanics – Tile Placement, Area Control & Influence
Difficulty – Pick-up & Play (Can be learned in under 20 minutes and takes only 1-2 plays to fully grasp)
Components – Excellent

Image Courtesy of fsumarc


This is a new base game for the Carcassonne Universe and as such it can be played as a standalone title (this is the 6th stand alone Carcassonne release after the original). It can however be added to the base game or have other expansions added to it and as such it is the first that is designed to do that (all other base game releases played in isolation to the original series).

I am less inclined to recommend it be played with the base game only because many of its tiles seem to replicate the original batch (there are a few differences and a couple funky tiles included here) and sometimes more is not a good thing. But because of that tile mix I think any of the expansions would work quite well with it.


As the game uses all the basic mechanics of the base game, I will not be going over that old ground here. If you would like to know how standard Carcassonne plays, please see this review –

Carcassonne - A Detailed Review

This review will instead look to what Wheel of Fortune does differently and my thoughts on this alternate style of play.


d10-1 Tiles – Wheel of Fortune offers up 72 quality tiles of the same size and physical design as the original game. All of the classic features are present here and even the tile backs are the same as the original, allowing this game to be mixed and matched with other additions to the series.

Each tile also features a small Wheel of Fortune watermark to help differentiate them from other tiles in the series. This is most helpful if you ever want to separate tiles from various expansions. I have been a stranger to Carcassonne for some years but it now appears that the use of expansion/base set specific icons has become a standard feature. This is a nice addition as I used to pull my hair out trying to figure out which tiles belonged to what when I had everything up to The Tower.

Image Courtesy of mjharper

d10-2 Meeple – Same colours, same wooden goodness that has seen Meeple dominate the strategic gaming scene for the last 10 years or so.

d10-3 The Pig - A nice pink wooden pig is also provided and the purpose of the little trotter is to run around the Wheel of Fortune (a hamster would have been more amusing perhaps). To make sure there is no confusion with the Pigs on offer in Traders & Builders, this one is far larger. Of course it is also pink and the other Pigs come in the player colours. But other than size and colour, they feature the same design.

Image Courtesy of Meat

d10-4 Wheel of Fortune/Starting Board – Wheel of Fortune offers a large board that features the Wheel itself. It’s a nice solid affair and the wheel is nicely illustrated. The Wheel of Fortune board also serves as a replacement for the original game’s starting tile. It is worth noting that being a larger board template, it may be subject to some warping (ours had a little) and this can result in some tiles not lining up quite right. But hey this is Carcassonne, not Arkham Horror, so I don’t demand component perfection as this game isn’t thematic in any way for me.

Image Courtesy of miggor

d10-5 Scoring Board – This is identical to the original scoring board but a Crown symbol is located at the 0/50 scoring point to help differentiate it from the original.

d10-6 Rules – The rules are much longer than the original rulebook and your initial reaction may be a big “What-the? Isn’t this Carcassonne?”. In quick time though you will realise that they have covered all the original rules here and then added the Wheel of Fortune stuff in too.

On the positive side, they have done a great job of highlighting the new rules in pink for experienced players, and even though I only play Carcassonne every few years, I was up to speed on the play using the rulebook in a matter of minutes.

These rules also do a great job of explaining the Farm scoring. They are much, much better than the original farm scoring rules that I have in my original Carcassonne box at home. I guess repetition and years of practice helps to improve things.

What wasn’t improved however was the quality of the rules editing. There are several typos in the rules, and although it doesn’t really matter, surely it can’t be that hard to get a simple game like this right. Yes I know, I’m anal…I’ll move on. whistle

All in all the components are up to the usual high standard of any Carcassonne title.

The Set-Up

This is the first major change introduced by Wheel of Fortune as the old starting tile is done away with and a big template, that features the Wheel of Fortune, is placed in the centre of the table.

Ignoring the wheel and its many locations for a moment, the board is notable as it offers up 12 tile shaped spaces that can be built off.

These include 3 city starts, 3 roads and the rest as open farmland. Next the Pig is placed on the Fortune space of the wheel.

The setup is completed with the usual Carcassonne approach:- take Meeple, place one on the score track and prepare the tiles ready for drawing during the course of the game.

The Play – What Does Wheel of Fortune do Differently?

d10-1 Familiarity – Before I get to the differences I need to state clearly that Wheel of Fortune wants to be welcoming to people who already know how to play Carcassonne. So the core of the game plays exactly the same as the original game. Players still draw and place tiles as usual, the ability to sneak in to other player’s features is still there and all scoring for the various features remains unchanged.

d10-2 Additional Meeple Placement Option – However a player now has an alternative when they consider placing a Meeple on a newly placed tile. If they don’t want/or need to place a Meeple on their newly placed tile they are entitled to place a Meeple from their supply onto the Wheel of Fortune instead.

Meeple must be placed on the Crown locations that are scattered around the Wheel. Some spots have 2 Crown locations, whilst others only have 1. A Meeple can only be placed in an unoccupied Crown location, so certain spots can be locked out by other players.

d10-3 Drawing a Wheel Tile – This then becomes the trigger that drives the entire play in Wheel of Fortune. Certain tiles (19 in all or 26% of the tile supply) feature a special Wheel of Fortune icon. The icon will also have a number, ranging from 1-3.

Some examples of Wheel Tiles - Image Courtesy of mjharper

The following sequence should be followed when a Wheel of Fortune tile is drawn –

Set tile aside – The tile must be set down in the player’s play area so they can resolve the Wheel of Fortune.

Move the Pig – The Pig is then moved a number of spaces clockwise around the Wheel. The Pig will move a number of spaces equal to the value of the Wheel Icon on the newly drawn tile.

Resolve Wheel Action – The location where the Pig lands will feature an action that should be followed (I’ll list these below). All locations except one affect all players in the game. The Fortune location only affects the active player and bestows a bonus to them.

Score Crown Locations – Now it is time to reward any players that have a Meeple located on a Crown space of the location where the Pig landed.

A total of 3 points are awarded to a player with a Meeple located on a Crown space. However, if a player has a Meeple present on one of the Wheel locations with 2 Crown spaces and the other Crown space is vacant, they will earn 6 points. Should a single player have 2 Meeple on a double Crown location (one on each) then they will also earn the full 6 points.

Any Meeple scored on Crown locations are returned to their player’s supply for use again, thereby opening up those locations for future Meeple allocation.

All of these steps are completed in very quick time, usually 5-10 seconds, so the play continues to move very smoothly and the game doesn’t bog down at all.

d10-4 Resume Normal Turn – With the Wheel taken care of, the active player can now return to the tile they drew to start the whole process and continue their turn as per usual.

d10-5 End of Game Trigger and Scoring – The end of the game is triggered as per the standard rules, when the last tile is drawn and placed. All end of game scoring is also the same and any Meeple on Crown locations on the Wheel do nothing.

There is no tie breaker rule involving the Wheel.

The Wheel Actions

Let’s take a closer look at the various locations on the Wheel and what they do should the Pig land there –

Fortune – This space awards the active player 3 points on the score track. It is the only location on the Wheel that does not affect all the players.

Tax – All players receive 1 point for each Knight they have in cities (including multiple knights within the one city). An additional point is earned by each Knight if a pennant is present in their city (multiple Knights can earn the bonus point for a single pennant if in the same city).

Famine – All players earn 1 point for each Farmer that is connected to a completed city.

Storm – All players earn a point for each follower they have in their supply.

Inquisition – All players with a Monk (Meeple on a Cloister) earn 2 points per Monk.

Plague – All players must remove 1 Meeple from the play area (tiles) and return it to their supply. The order for doing so starts with the active player. I can see this being an interesting inclusion if the Princess & Dragon Expansion is being used as that expansion allows players to add Meeple to already placed tiles. This action is one of the more interesting as the turn order for removal of Meeple can be critical in helping players decide what to remove (as players weigh up their control of Cities, Roads and Farms).

The Play (about halfway through) - Image Courtesy of HennesB

How Does the Play Feel – What’ Different?

d10-1 Controlled Decision Making Chaos – Wheel of Fortune makes for a more luck based experience without a doubt, but I guess the title doesn’t hide that fact. The initial question is whether you should get Meeple onto the Wheel first or get them into play to control features, ready for general scoring and Wheel scoring later on?

The answer of course will depend entirely on when those Wheel of Fortune Tiles come out. You certainly don’t want to miss out on Wheel scoring opportunities but at the same time a city that scores 12-20 points is worth far more than the Wheel any day.

In the end the play requires each player to adapt as best they can to the changing nature of the game and identify the value of placing a Meeple vs. forgoing that option to get onto the Wheel.

d10-2 Crown Spaces – These suckers are pretty key however, especially the double Crown spaces. It really isn’t good policy to allow a player to hold down one spot and leave the other one vacant as an easy 6 point score (almost as good as a completed Cloister) is not something you want to be giving away.

This may have bigger implications if playing with 2. Here players may simply feel compelled (my wife and I certainly did) to grab the other spot once their opponent has taken one and this could lead to some form of linear or 'forced' play.

d10-3 Good Family Fun – Carcassonne has always been a good family title due to its simple play and ability to build and create something. But there is an edge to the play that can see older siblings and parents have a significant advantage over younger gamers.

Wheel of Fortune adds a random element (in how that Pig moves) that could help address that strategic imbalance and make for more varied outcomes. This of course could also be viewed as a negative by those that like strong control in their Euros and Carcassonne play.

d10-4 Know thy Tiles – It is worth noting that 11 Wheel activation tiles feature a value of 1, another five have a value of 2 and three have a value of 3. This may impact on which Crown locations you wish to place your Meeple on. As the game enters the mid to endgame phase, it is also wise to calculate how many Wheel activation tiles remain to inform your decision making. This could of course add to the length of the play.

d10-5 Time Frame – Wheel of Fortune really doesn’t take any longer to play than the base game, despite the couple of extra decisions required and steps that must be moved through. In this way the design holds true to the original concept and it is a snap to learn and play.

d10-6 Implications of Playing with Expansions - Without going over all the expansion implications again (which I am covering in each of the expansion reviews), there is one general point that warrants mentioning. Expansions such as Inns and Cathedrals and Traders & Builders offer the potential to score some really big points when features are completed. When these are in play they will diminish the importance of the Crown location scoring and therefore make them largely redundant as an option to the players.

From this point of view Wheel of Fortune has one element of its play almost stripped away, making it less compelling.

The Final Word

In the end all I can simply say is that Wheel of Fortune offers another way to play Carcassonne. Only your point of view and particular gaming needs (age of players etc) will determine if it is better, worse or as good as the original.

I don’t think it will appeal as much too hard core, competitive Carcassonne fans as the lack of control or presence of Fortune may be too much to handle. But I do think it has appeal for gaming groups where skill levels differ as it will act as a leveler of sorts.

For those that haven’t purchased a Carcassonne title and want to, then I’d say that Wheel of Fortune is a decent option as you get the basic play with something extra added in there and the expansions would still work well with this too.

If you already have Carcassonne and have invested in some of the expansions, then you would probably need to be a die-hard fun to want to add this to your collection. I am not a big Carcassonne fan and only tend to play it when something new comes out to try but I found it harmless enough and I liked the little bit of randomness thrown up by the Wheel.

Meeple out. meeple

Links to Other Carcassonne Base Game Reviews

d10-1 Carcassonne - A Detailed Review
 Thumb up
  • [+] Dice rolls
Retro Believer
United States
flag msg tools
I am becoming a fan of your reviews. Well done, Mr. Thomson!
 Thumb up
  • [+] Dice rolls
CanCon, BunnyCon...BorderCon!!!
flag msg tools
May 2018 be all you dreamed it would be and be all that you dreamed...
RetroBeliever wrote:
I am becoming a fan of your reviews. Well done, Mr. Thomson!

Many thanks for reading - I'm glad you like them.
 Thumb up
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.