Carcassonne: The Tower - Board Game Box Shot

Carcassonne: The Tower

| Published: 2006
Expansion for Carcassonne
292 4 1

Ever upwards in Carcassonne! In this Carcassonne expansion, players have the opportunity to build upwards! The lords of the region around Carcassonne erect towers to strengthen and promote their power and influence. They employ followers to stand guard on the towers, watching over the land so they can inform their lords of all who travel and move throughout the area.

Players may capture opponents’ followers, holding them in prison. Later, the players may arrange a prisoner exchange, to the advantage of the players involved. Also, a player may arrange to pay ransom for the return of an imprisoned follower. Fans of Carcassonne will enjoy the new tactical opportunities offered by this expansion .The expansion also includes a special tower for storing the landscape tiles, giving players a convenient way to draw tiles during the game.

The Tower is not a complete game, but must be played with Carcassonne.

User Reviews (5)

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7
Paladin
Herald
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Bronze Supporter
5
89 of 96 gamers found this helpful
“Carcassonne 3D”

The fourth big Carcassonne expansion “The Tower” brings 18 new tiles to the game. All of them share a new feature: a tower base. Towers are new mechanics introduced in this add-on. Instead of playing their followers the players may put wooden tower elements (there are 30 of them) on the tower bases.

The aim of the towers is capturing opposing meeples. The higher the tower is the bigger is also the range within which the meeple can be captured. Once taken, the follower is consider “a prisoner” and it cannot be used by its owner unless they either pay a ransom (3 points) or exchange it for another captured meeple.

The rules are fairly straightforward and the resulting towers growing above the game landscape look cool! But many players feel there’s something lacking there. It’s perhaps something like the potential of the towers is not fully utilized. Moreover: the followers once taken hostage cannot return to the structures they were taken from (they could in “The princess and the Dragon” expansion thanks to the magic path tiles). As the result many abandoned structures appear. And – similarly to “The Princess and the Dragon” – the meeple captured mechanics seems not to be liked by many players.

Oh, one more thingy! The expansion contain a nice-looking tower-like tile dispenser. Yet I still think that a cloth sack is much more handy…

My conclusion is then analogous to the one I had with “The Princess and the Dragon” – this expansion is worth getting. Mainly because it adds the third dimension to the game. But if you don’t like the follower capture mechanics (I don’t!), I advise you to either try one of the game variants available online or to try to make your own variant.

Let the towers grow!

 
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1
7
87 of 95 gamers found this helpful
“Makes the Game More Antagonistic”

Getting bored of the basic Carcassonne? This expansion adds another strategy to the game: that of kidnapping your opponents using towers. This makes the game much more ruthless, especially where farms are involved. Do you have a lovely large farm that you have monopolized? Well, too bad, your man is being kidnapped and that farm is forever lost to you. Granted, a skilled player may be able to avoid being captured if they are careful about placement.

When I introduced this expansion to our gaming group, the play time doubled. It made players much more wary, and made the game much less casual.

The best this about this expansion is the physical tower that you can hold your land tiles in. It saves a ton of space on your playing table.

Bottom line is: if you are finding the game is becoming dull, pick up this expansion (or, indeed, any Carcassonne expansion). If you enjoy how casual and friendly the original game is, then stick to the original game.

 
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7
USA
Norway
Finland
I play black
5
74 of 81 gamers found this helpful
“Buy It as an Accessory, Not an Expansion”

Sunday night is game night at the Gamer Bling household, with the Gamer Bling Official Companion, Gamer Bling Expansion #1, and Gamer Bling Expansion #2. Each one gets to choose the game of the week in rotation. One perennial favorite is Carcassonne, frequently chosen by the Gamer Bling Official Companion.

And when we play, we use most every expansion we have… except this one.

The Promise

Quoth the box: “In this Carcassonne expansion, players have the opportunity to build upwards! The lords of the region around Carcassonne erect towers to strengthen and promote their power and influence. They employ followers to stand guard on the towers, watching over the land so they can inform their lords of all who travel and move throughout the area.”

There is more, but it pains Gamer Bling to type it all in (this is called “foreshadowing”). But the marketing promise is greater control of and influence over your area. Seems like a winner…

The Delivery

Sadly, it’s not a winner, nor does it even execute on the promise.

The Tower converts the passive-aggressive Eurogame nature of Carcassonne to a direct-conflict, assassinate-your-meeple sort of game. Gone are the days of trying to shark someone’s city by trying to attach two of your meeples to the city; in this game, you can destroy valuable farmers who have been there since the start of the game and rob the other player of a ton of hard-earned points.

You see, certain tiles have a tower foundation printed on them. On your turn, instead of placing a meeple in the tile you just played, you can place a block on the top of any tower on the board, and, when you do so, capture a meeple belonging to another player that is (a) along the same row or column, and (b) within a number of squares equal to the tower’s height. The captured meeple can eventually return to your pool… but not to the place it was stolen from.

So sure, you build towers up, but that is merely a nice-looking game-state marker. The towers don’t need to go up. You could just as easily have used dice, poker chips, or anything else, because what looks like a tower’s height is really the range of its artillery. The only reason the towers go up is so they can make you pay for lots of wooden blocks.

Let’s be clear: these towers do not defend, they only attack. If you put a meeple on top of a tower (another option), then no one, not even you, can use that tower further. But you’re down a meeple. And the only reporting they do on movement is to watch as other players make your farmers travel off to captivity.

As a tower grows, so too does its reach. Two or three large towers can cover most of the board. It feels like nothing is safe.

Gamer Bling played this expansion with the Gamer Bling Official Companion once and once only. Tempers flared and feelings were bitter. We agreed never to play it again, and never ever to show it to the Gamer Bling’s sister-in-law, who might actually kill your humble reviewer.

Finesse

The expansion does come with a very nice two-column tower that holds all your tiles. It’s solid, it takes up no table space, it’s convenient, and we use it every single time we play. The tower accessory holds all the tiles for the base game and multiple expansions, and fits neatly into the box it came in. Better yet, the box it came in fits neatly inside the Carcassonne Limited Edition Box, which makes storage of everything very tidy.

The tower pieces interlock both with each other and with a meeple on top. Not tightly, but enough that a table bump will not usually result in a disaster.

Yes, Gamer Bling is not commenting on the game design finesse. That’s how little he likes the tower rules.

Skills

As a homeschool parent, Gamer Bling believes in seizing every opportunity for learning. Here’s what the kids can learn or practice with this expansion.

Emotional Restraint: Because they’ll want to leap over the table to pummel their siblings. This will also help avoid federal charges when the inevitable IRS audit comes.

Situational Awareness: As the towers grow, they can reach further and further across the board, forcing everyone to reconsider areas that were previously closed off.

Family Game Night Value

Use of the tower (this combined with Gamer Bling’s tip of shuffling while picking up) makes setting up and tearing down a breeze, and greatly facilitates game night. No more passing around a bag or the box lid, we just assign one person to hand out tiles from the top of one stack or the other. Fast and easy.

TL;DR

Buy it. Use it. Don’t play it. Rating as an accessory: 10. Rating as an expansion: 1.

And thank you for taking the time to read a Gamer Bling Sunday Night Review.

 
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3
Filth - Summoner Wars
8
64 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“A 3D expansion to bring back the taste of Carcassonne”

To be honest I got a little bored by Carcassonne even though I have lots of expansions for it. There are other games which I would play in my free time.
However, this expansion really added something else. This whole 3D Carcassonne experience adds a lot to the game. The idea of building upwards, whenever you want, not depending on the tile you place is something import to take into consideration. Your farmers, the real money makers are in real danger now since they can easily lose ground at any point if a tower raises nearby.
Bottom line, it really makes you think more and yes, aggressive players will love it, but not only them.

The pieces quality is pretty good, the wooded tiles are nicely done and the tower to hold the tile is really nice, however it’s pretty small so playing with some big expansions will not fit into it. 🙁

Conclusion
All in all, I recommend the expansion to not only the Carcassonne fans, but to everyone who once liked the game but got bored with it over time.

 
Player Avatar
8
Count / Countess
Senior
Went to Gen Con 2012
I play black
6
84 of 97 gamers found this helpful
“Aggressive players will like it”

The Tower expansion introduces the ability to kidnap other players’ meeple. The situation is temporary – you can get your meeple back by kidnapping the other player’s meeple (the swap is automatic) or by ransoming the player by exchanging points.

The big impact is losing whatever the meeple was standing on. Towers also have a tendency to ruin the property value of any features “in their shadow.” Who wants to try to claim a cloister when the monk standing on it could be kidnapped when it’s almost complete?

 

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