Next up in my Game Night series is a game called Carcassonne. Carcassonne is a map-building game; players build the map collaboratively but your score is based on placing your “meeples” on features of the map that score points when they are completed. On your turn you draw and place a tile. Then you have the option of placing your meeple in a place where he can score. You only have a limited number of meeple tokens, and your guy is stuck there until the feature is complete, so there is a little strategy to knowing when to place and when to hold out.
For example, the blue player placed a meeple on this road when she placed the tile. When both ends of the road are connected to something, then the road is complete and the blue player gets the score and takes their token back. This completed road is worth 1 point for every tile with a road segment on it, so it would score 4 points.
Things start to get competitive when different parts of the map get joined up. Someone can place a tile so that two previously unconnected parts of a city are suddenly joined together. If there are different colored meeples now all in the same city, everyone gets the points. There are symbols that give you bonus points and rules for having a majority of meeples in one area and how that scores, but the rules are pretty simple and easy to learn.
The basic game is pretty straightforward. But if you like a little random twist in your game, there are a LOT of expansions that shake up the basic rules. My favorite of the expansions is The Princess and the Dragon. It works just like the basic game, but it introduces a dragon and a fairy character. Whenever you turn up a tile with a dragon icon on it, the dragon stomps around the board and eats meeples. Players take turns moving the dragon on his rampage around the board, so you can make him sidestep your own meeples, but only 1 step at a time.
The game works for 2-6 players and is recommended for ages 8 and up. This is another game that is really great with diverse groups of people; it’s fun to play as a family.
I’ve added links to my Amazon List so you can find it easily, along with a couple of my favorite expansions (There’s even a “big box” version that has the base game and 11 different expansions!) Also check it out at your local games store!
And here’s a link to an awesome YouTube video series that can teach you how to play: Watch It Played – Carcassonne