Carcassonne – a tale of Knights, Robbers and Farmers!

by . Originally posted

This article is about the 2-5 player board game Carcassonne and not a 19th century French city. If you have come expecting the latter I do apologise.

Plot: Named after the medieval fortified town of Carcassonne in southern France, players must strategically place randomly drawn tiles so that they can increase their cities, roads or farms; or hinder their opponents expansion of these areas.

Aim of the game: To have the most points after the supply of tiles has run out.

Lonely Meeple

A lonely meeple

Mechanic: A specific start tile is laid out in the centre of the table, with players taking it in turns to draw random tiles and placing them next to existing tiles so that their edges match up. Edges of the tiles can include cities, roads or farm. When placing a tile you may also add to that tile, one of your 6 ‘meeples’, as long as you’re not expanding a city/road/farm that already contains one.

When a city is finished off, whoever has a meeple within its walls gets points for each tile it contains; bigger cities mean more points! Same for when roads are terminated too, whoever ‘controls’ the road by having a robber meeple on it gets points. Once cities and roads are completed, you get your Knight or Robber back to place somewhere else.

Farmers are meeples that are added to open fields; scoring multiple points for every complete city (yours or an opponents) that borders the farm. Farms can stretch across the entire map, supplying several cities, getting lots of points and only being blocked by dissecting roads or cities. However you will never get a farmer meeple back. They are down on the board for the duration of the game.

My opinion: To me this game has become a classic, in fact I can’t see why complicate games such as monopoly and cluedo are in everyone’s cupboards yet this game isn’t. Games don’t last very long, perhaps 30 minutes with the core pack, and you can either play nicely or play dirty.

An example of some of the tiles laid out, producing a network of roads, cities and farm land. (No meeples shown)

The fact that you random draw the tiles means you might have to wait a long time before completing that city, tying up your meeple where he could be used better elsewhere. In fact good players, who know roughly what tiles will be left in the stack, can purposely block some of your territories so that its impossible to finish them.

There are also tonnes (okay, about 10) expansions which completely modify the game. Inns, cathedrals, city sieges, dragons, trading carts, mayors, pig farms, rivers and lots of other things can be added using expansions that are all completely compatible with each other. Yay! This adds lots of new layers to the game, as well as makes it last longer 🙂


Good: Easy to pick up, massively re-playable and great modula tile board concept. Lots of expansions are available but definitely not critical to enjoy the core game. Just as much fun for 2 people as it is for 5.

Bad: Graphics may seem a little cartoony for some. Its probably a Marmite game (you’ll either love it or hate it).

Verdict: A great game, easily transported to anywhere, easy to setup and explain. A must for families with or without children who enjoy board games.


New camera plus new game equals… random game art:

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  • Milly says:

    I agree that the game is very different for just 2 players than with more. Especially if you tend to play the same person alot – you get used to each others strategies, and then when with playing with more people it can take you by surprise!

    We were in a game shop in Waterloo yesterday which had all the Carcassonne expansion packs (as well as loads of other games); there was also a Carcassonne dice game, and a special set which had a tin (and score board) in the shape of a Meeple. I was beginning to feel like a geek!!

    We love Carcassonne and it has taken over as our favourite game from Tabula. :o)

  • Kerry says:

    Well until I heard about you playing this one Paul, I hadn’t heard of it before, that’s why it’s not in my cupboard alongside Monopoly and Cluedo. 😉

    I can see from your review here that it would be a great game to play as you never know what’s going to happen next. 🙂

  • Ross W says:

    I love Carcasonne, but not as much as I love Settlers. I think the farms concept is too powerful. You can win or lose a game on the basis of farms, especially in the two player game, and I think it takes the focus off building roads, cities, etc.

    And it should be added that it’s a very different game with two players than it is with 3 or more!

    Love your meeple pyramid though! 🙂

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