Jarek Szczepanik
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I. Introduction

Board game fans that haven't heard about Carcassonne are either extremely rare (and should be examined right away) or are one of these abstract concepts that don't exist at all. I disliked board games since my childhood (if the only board game around was something like The Mushrooming yuk (you can check it out here on BGG) you'd hate them too). Then, some years ago, I played a few good games, including Carcassonne. So I find it difficult to disagree with a common belief that Carcassonne is one of the best gateway games. I played it for the first time about six years ago. I liked the game very much and played it from time to time with friends. It's weird that I got my own copy only recently, along with a few expansions.

Today Carsassonne is a 12-years old product (yes, I know, that sounds senile; for many people year 2000 is only a few decades after the French Revolution, the Crusades, and the Cretaceous period ), and I'm not surprised, that HiG decided to make a more luxurious version of their flagship game.




II. Tearing the guts (I mean, wrappings) out

With Carcassonne Winter Edition you obtain almost the same components you got with the basic version 12 years ago. The box is the same size. Compared to the original, you can find short biographies of game's author and the new illustrator on the box. You get 40 meeples in 5 colours and 72 winter themed tiles, that are exactly the same as in its predecessor (plus 12 new ones). Aside from the colour and arts there are only a few details that both games differ in. The scoring track is also winter-themed, and its underside features the same picture as the original one, however winter-themed again (how did I guess?), in colour, and moved slightly NW. The contents of the rule book is the same, however the pictures are upgraded to the winter edition.









III. George Morland in Carcassonne, or a few words about the tiles

You get 84 tiles in the box: 72 from the basic set plus 12 special tiles with the animals on them. The artwork looks very nice. It seems like HiG has stole some winter landscape painting on canvas straight from a gallery and cut it into 45x45 mm squares Anne Patzke, who is a children books illustrator, did a good job IMO. There is a lot of details on the tiles, and the animals are nice (the crows flying around the cloister are just awesome). If you look closer, you can see a frosty glimmer on both sides of the tiles. BtW, the artwork on the tiles from the boxed edition is different from the winter PnP version.





As for the 12 new animal tiles, they are beautiful (but what the heck is this deer-fox-bird weirdo hybrid?) but not innovative. [EDIT: thanks to another thread here on BGG, I found that the hybrid thing is a Wolpertinger - an animal supposed to live in the alpine forests of Bavaria. It's a German version of the jackalope, and in reality the rabbit infected with a papilloma virus.] Two are just iterations from the basic set, six are winter versions of the tiles from the Inns & Cathedrals (but without the inns), one is similar to the tile from the Traders & Builders, and three more are upgraded tiles from the Abbeys & Mayor expansion.



IV. Ora et labora - the rules

Nihil novi sub sole here. The rules are the same as in the original edition. Your meeples can still become knights, monks and farmers (can someone tell me how do they make points from their farms during the winter? I guess they have nothing to do there, apart from hunting the animals and cryptids on the board or selling sauerkrautlaugh), and can earn you points if you placed them wisely.

V. Ginger seasoned Carcassonne - the expansions

Currently there is only one mini expansion to the Winter Edition - Der Lebkuchenmann (The Gingerbread Man) - with only six tiles and a Gingerbread Man meeple. The expansion doesn't change the game dramatically. However it must be said, that it's a brand new expansion, and not a clone of some elder product. It's a good expansion when you team up with somebody (it comes in handy if you want to help a kid gain more points). If you are lucky, you can also score a city, that you can't finish with the Gingerbread Man. The six tiles are upgrades from three another expansions. Due to a print error there are two tiles with four city segments.



VI. Conclusion

To sum it up, I think, that the winter edition of Carcassonne is a collector-addressed product. Although there are many better games, Carcassonne is a special game for many people (to be honest, I'm always surprised by the fact how easy it is for a person, who doesn't know anything about board games, to join Carcassonne, play it several times in a row, and enjoy it). And for such games, it's just appropriate to have a showy edition, that will be a gem in your collection.

I don't recommend it as your first Carcassonne game. At least not now, when there is only one small expansion to the game (however some may argue that's an advantage). But knowing HiG, it may change very soon (there are three things, that are certain in our lives: taxes, greedy and/or stupid politicians, and a new Carcassonne expansion at least once a year ). However, IMO, you can use the Phantom, the Messages and the King/Robber Baron tiles, the Pig, the Barn & the Builder freely with the winter edition. In its current form, you can get tired of the game after some time. The same is with the original edition - the basic game seems dull after a few tens of plays. But adding some expansions powers it up for a very long time (Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, The Cult, The Siege, the Phantom, The Ferries and The Gold Mines are my top expansions). Besides, currently there is only a German edition available. If you are a Carcassonne fan and collector, you won't get disappointed with the winter edition of this cult game. IMO, it's to early to classify this game as either the spin-off/sister game of Carcassonne, or as an powered-up collector's edition. It all depends on whether or not HiG's plans on expanding the game.
Edit: Just before Xmas 2012 Devir released a Spanish edition of the game. It was followed by the Hungarian one.

Pros:

- great for collectors
- beautiful artwork
- 12 more tiles than in the original version
- the Gingerbread Man is a completely new expansion

Cons:

- currently there is only one mini expansion (this can be also seen as a pro - you get the flavour of Carcassonne, but you won't spend a fortune on dozens of expansions)
- if you start your adventure with Carcassonne, the original version is better (more expansions, other languages available)
- it's difficult to combine both versions: out of plethora of expansions for Carcassonne only the Phantom, the King and Robber Baron tiles, the Messages, and some additional figures can be combined with this edition



P.S. I hope you enjoyed this review. This was my first one, and I chose something simple on purpose. And please, have mercy on my English. It's not everyday I produce this sort of texts.

Edit: Thanks to Chris Ober, we have a full English translation of the Winter Edition's booklet and the rules for The Gingerbread Man mini expansion. You can find the file in his thread:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/895896/carcassonne-completel...
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Karl Bernhardt
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Can this be played together with the standard game? Would be nice to have some snow on the table.
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Jonathan Harrison
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Does winter work with original Carcassonne? I mean, are there tiles that blend from snow to green? Or can it only be played with itself?

[edit] Ninja'd!
 
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Jarek Szczepanik
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You can check the images in the review to see how the tiles from both editions look together. The rules don't say anything about mixing both versions. I guess everything is possible. Personally I would feel uneasy having a patchy landscape with green and white tiles. In addition, the artwork for both editions differs considerably - I like both but they look too different for me.
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Jarek Szczepanik
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Edit. IMO you can freely add the Phantom, the King and Robber Baron tiles, and the Messages expansions from the original Carcassonne. In theory you can also use additional meeples along with some components from other expansions (the Big Meeple, the Pig, the Builder, the Mayor, the Wagon, The Barn or bridges). However I'm not sure if they work smoothly with a set of only 90 tiles.
 
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Dave K
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Thanks for the info! I had no idea this existed. The lack of compatibility with the other expansions rules this out as a worthwhile purchase for me but it sure looks pretty.
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Jim McMahon
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Svartisen wrote:
V. Ginger seasoned Carcassonne - the expansions

Due to a print error there are two tiles with four city segments.

What print error?
 
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Jarek Szczepanik
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Check the picture in the expansion section of the review. More details here:

http://boardgamegeek.com/image/1464268/carcassonne-winter-ed...
 
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Are you aware of the dangers foxes pose to you and
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Help, I'm being held prisoner in an overtext typing facility! I don't have much time, they could find out at any m
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Do these games have microbadges? Why yes they do!

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Jarek Szczepanik
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Thanks for the badges. They look great. We only miss the blue reverse tile (I have no idea how to make a badge though). One comment. The cloister on your badge is from the PnP version and not from the official release of the game.
 
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Peter D
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Great review. Does it come with inns and cathedrals?
 
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Jarek Szczepanik
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Nope. There about 5 tiles from I&C expansion. But none of them has a cathedral or an inn on it. I hope HiG will upgrade I&C and T&B to the Winter Edition some day.
 
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James
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As is my habit when getting Carcassonne tiles, I've scanned all the tile boards. With those images, I'm debating on 'winterizing' several of the original expansions - or at the least "Inns & Cathedrals".
 
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Fotrich Trucks
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In the German Carcassonne-forum http://www.carcassonne-forum.de there's already

Inns & Cathedrals http://maik63.bplaced.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=397

The Tower http://maik63.bplaced.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=235

I think you have to be a user and logged in.
 
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Svartisen wrote:
One comment. The cloister on your badge is from the PnP version and not from the official release of the game.


It was the only one that was there at the time. cry Do you think the distinction is important enough that there should be another badge with art from the published version? I think someone mentioned the colouring of the C on the back of the tiles.
 
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Jarek Szczepanik
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I see. It's not that important. However, the new art is completely different. Of course, at that time, you couldn't have known that HiG plans to make a completely different version of the game.
 
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