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Subject: Carcassonne - where to start? rss

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Dmitry Volevodz
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I am seasoned boardgamer, with quite a collection of games. Personaly I prefer more hardcore games, be it Twilight Imperium, Civilization, Eclipse, etc. But I want something to play with my girlfriend.
She is new to all this, hardcore games give her headaches and she gets lost in them. She has played couple of Catan and Citadels games with us and got them quickly. But I grew tired of both Catan and Citadels, not really looking forward to playing them.

So I decided to grab a carcassonne. Question is - what edition, version, expansions and so on? I have played basic game once, it is not very deep, but entertaining nonetheless. And I think with expansions it will be ok. In my local shops I have these editions:

1. Basic game + Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, Abbey & Mayor, King & Scout - all in one box for nice price (40$)
2. Carcassonne: Middle Ages
3. Carcassonne: Hunters and gatherers
4. Carcassonne: New lands
5. Carcassonne: Castle

Sorry if the names do not suit english names, they are available in local language.

I think I will grab a first option. Are included expansions good? Will they offer some playtime to me and her?
What should I get next?
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Lars Wagner Hansen
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If you are looking to play 2-player games then Carcassonne: The Castle is the best.

For 3-4 players I prefer Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers.

For 5+ players I prefer to play something else.
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Simon Woodward
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Yes go with the original game, not one of the variants (e.g. Hunters and Gatherers) they are not quite as good.

I would start just with the base game. Not all the expansions make it a better game. Inns and Cathedrals is very good. I like Traders and Builders too, once you know what you're doing, partly because it adds more colour. I'd stop there. The big box you mention looks like a great idea.

Edit: I agree with the previous poster, Carcassonne is best with small numbers of players, especially 2, maybe 3, 4 at the most.
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Ron
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Get #1. It's a great box with IMHO the best expansions for a great price.

It not even works when you have non- or casual gamers invited, but is also a fine 2 player game.
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col_w
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I highly recommend Inns & Cathedrals, and I've heard that Traders and Builders is also very good.

For the first few games though, I would play just the base game, and then add in any expansions one at a time.
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Bjørnar Løseth
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As mentioned before in this thread. Carc: The Castle is _very_ good for 2 players.

I think H&G actually is much better and focused than the original. The tiles are not as clear, though. I have played H&G a lot 2-player and it works great.
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Laurence Parsons
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I haven't played the Castle.

If you know you want a single standalone game then H&G is prettier and the rules slightly easier than the main game.

If you think you might want expansions, then get the big box now. It's a good price and you'll save money in the long run. You can always take expansions out wow when playing with new players. I&C and B&T are the two best expansions anyway. K&S also adds a little bit of tactics without any extra complexity.
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Richard Gough
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Voley wrote:
I have played basic game once, it is not very deep, but entertaining nonetheless.


The two player basic game is much deeper than it first appears.
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Greg Cornell
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Are you confused yet?

It seems the consensus is to buy the first option because you are getting the most for your money. And it always is good to start Carcassonne with the original game.

Then add Inns & Cathedrals and learn how that changes the base game.

Then add Traders and Builders, and you now have a fully-formed game with many options. You may never want to play the game without these expansions included ever again.

The other expansions can be added or subtracted as you grow with the game.

Hunters and Gatherers is an excellent stand-alone game. I actually prefer this version to the original game, but my wife disagrees.

The Castle is a very good 2-player game, but I don't think it's as visually interesting as the other versions of the game. Still a solid game.

Enjoy. What looks like a simple game is actually very engaging and gets quite deep with all of the many expansion options.
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Frank Feldmann SoFrankly
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I have the Yellow Box Edition (Limited Edition?), which has the base game, River I, Inns & Cathedral, and Traders & Builders. King and Scout has been added. All we ever play is the base game and maybe I&C. On rare occasions we toss in the River when we want a longer game. I would say buy those in whatever form is the most economical.
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a valiant, pungent reindeer king
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At the very least, we always play with Inns & Cathedrals. Carc + I&C is just regular Carc for us. At the very least get that expansion, but I'd vote for the Big Box.
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Mark L
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You haven't mentioned how much it would cost you to get just the basic game. But I'd probably recommend option number 1 anyway.

Inns & Cathedrals, to me, completes the game, and I never play without it. You might want to leave it out on the first couple of games, just till you're clear on the rules. But I'm not even sure that's necessary; I've taught the game to people while including I&C, and they seemed to understand it fine.

Traders & Builders is also an excellent expansion, but best with more than 2 players because of the kind of tactics it encourages. Leave it until you're familiar with the game, though.

Abbey & Mayor has some great ideas, but is definitely less good than the other two.

You say the box includes King & Scout -- are you sure it includes Scout? That's an expansion for Carcassonne: Hunters & Gatherers (but was originally released only with the King expansion for "normal" Carcassonne). King itself is a small but nice expansion, well worth having, but again best with more than 2 players.

(Edited to add) The only other expansion I would strongly recommend is The Phantom, but a lot of people like The River and The River II.
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Ron Z
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#1 is the best in my opinion. My wife and I play with the basic+ Inns and Cathedrals + Traders and Builders. One of our favorite games. Plays great with 2.
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Seth Pinter
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I went with the Big Box 2 (which has all those expansions in option 1) when I purchased the game. This was after trying the game online at Brettspielwelt.

Personally, I think that base + River II (not really needed) + inns & Cathedrals + Traders and builders is a great set for 2-4p play. I like to add Abbey & Mayor if we go to 5-6 player due to the "wild card" mechanic. King & Scout don't get used very often. We don't use the pig, farm, or cart pieces, but otherwise I think we follow all the rules as written.

While some may say to play something else with 5+ there is nothing wrong with playing 5-6 player, it is just a different style than with less players.

So, option 1, because it offers great 2-player game and expands easily up to 6 if you want that capability.
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Little Neddie Knickers
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I haven't tried any of the stand alone versions.

Basic Carcassonne (followed by adding in expansions) is what got my wife into gaming. Although slowly and with some encouragement, she has progressed further and deeper into the gaming world since then.

As mentioned above a few times, I too consider it a great 2 player game, which both my wife and I have said recently that we would like to re-visit.
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L H
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Go with option #1. Play it with I&C as part of the base game. I also like T&B and occassionally A&M. King is good too. If you buy another expansion, Get the Phantom!

Hunters and Gatherers is also a good game. Haven't tried The Castle.
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Bill Buchanan
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Carcassonne is my favorite game, me and my buddies play it all the time.

While play with 3 or more players is still fun, the absolute best way to play it, in my opinion, is with 2 players, one on one. As a two player game you eliminate the excuse of multiple players ganging up on others to hinder them. It becomes more like a chess match.

We always play with this...

Carcassonne base game
River 2 (although this isn't necessary)
Inns and Cathedrals (a must)
Traders and Builders (a must)
Abbeys and Mayors (not a must I guess, but we always use it)


I also own Bazaars Bridges and Castles, The Tower, Princess and Dragon, but we never play with those. BB&G kind of ruins the game balance on some of the strategies, especially the bridges. If I was going to use on element from that expansion it would be the Castles. The Tower and P&D change the gameplay significantly (removing meeples), and we aren't interested in that.

We used to play without the River 2 with the above setup, and it was perfectly fine. However, since I managed to find it, we have always used it.

We have also recently added King/Scout expansion to the mix, but i'm not sold on it completely (although the new tiles are good). I'm thinking of making the "King" and "Robber" token worth simply 10 points each (instead of 1 point for each City or Road). I think this would make it more balanced, it would correspond nicely with the trade goods (from Traders and Builders), and is much easier of calculate at game end.

All of this makes for a 2 player game that is around 2 hours long, so it might not be for everyone. However, with this configuration the strategies are quite deep in a 2 player game.

We also draw tiles from the cloth bag, it's the way to go.

Hope that helps.

EDIT:

I should also mention we introduced a rule where a BARN can't be placed on a set of 4 tiles that include one or more The River tiles. This is a great house rule, as BARN placement is much too easy otherwise. I recommend it always when playing with either River expansions.
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Mark L
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WBuchanan wrote:
I'm thinking of making the "King" and "Robber" token worth simply 10 points each (instead of 1 point for each City or Road). I think this would make it more balanced, it would correspond nicely with the trade goods (from Traders and Builders), and is much easier of calculate at game end.


We make them worth 15 points each, so that the total (30 points) is the same as the Trade goods.

Typically, with Inns & Cathedrals in the mix, we have about 20-25 cities complete at the end of the game, and about the same number of roads, so 15 points each is short-changing them a bit (but not as much as 10 points each would be!), but I think it's more balanced, and it's certainly much easier.
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John Jersey
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I agree with all the others that suggest going with the big box option as there is no question you'll enjoy the time spent with your girlfriend and you'll both be looking to expand the rules within a few games of playing the base set and you'll already have plenty of options.
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Man on Fire
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Voley wrote:
I am seasoned boardgamer, with quite a collection of games. Personaly I prefer more hardcore games, be it Twilight Imperium, Civilization, Eclipse, etc. But I want something to play with my girlfriend.
She is new to all this, hardcore games give her headaches and she gets lost in them. She has played couple of Catan and Citadels games with us and got them quickly. But I grew tired of both Catan and Citadels, not really looking forward to playing them.

So I decided to grab a carcassonne. Question is - what edition, version, expansions and so on? I have played basic game once, it is not very deep, but entertaining nonetheless. And I think with expansions it will be ok. In my local shops I have these editions:

1. Basic game + Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, Abbey & Mayor, King & Scout - all in one box for nice price (40$)
2. Carcassonne: Middle Ages
3. Carcassonne: Hunters and gatherers
4. Carcassonne: New lands
5. Carcassonne: Castle

Sorry if the names do not suit english names, they are available in local language.

I think I will grab a first option. Are included expansions good? Will they offer some playtime to me and her?
What should I get next?


I like Hunters & Gatherers. But probably because it was my 1st. Played the Discovery and finally got the original with river expansion. They all were similar but different. You played the original already and the big box looks to have many yummy expansions. Go for the Big Box! you can pick what all expansions you choose to play with. (I believe). They will add to the time so if you can introduce them slowly so she can adsorb the rules without it being overwhelming. Get her to be a gamer! You go boy!!! thumbsupthumbsupthumbsup This is a great place for advice (advice seeking) Don't forget to let us all know how things go. meeple Good luck my Thriend (friend)
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Bill Buchanan
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xipuloxx wrote:
WBuchanan wrote:
I'm thinking of making the "King" and "Robber" token worth simply 10 points each (instead of 1 point for each City or Road). I think this would make it more balanced, it would correspond nicely with the trade goods (from Traders and Builders), and is much easier of calculate at game end.


We make them worth 15 points each, so that the total (30 points) is the same as the Trade goods.

Typically, with Inns & Cathedrals in the mix, we have about 20-25 cities complete at the end of the game, and about the same number of roads, so 15 points each is short-changing them a bit (but not as much as 10 points each would be!), but I think it's more balanced, and it's certainly much easier.



Makes sense actually, I think we may try this.
 
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