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9 out of 15 gamers thought this was helpful

This is a game that is easy to pick up, but also involves strategy that takes time to learn. As such it’s very accessible for new games, but also has plenty of depth for more experienced gamers and for replay.

It’s easy to go along, lay tiles and place meeples (playing pieces) on roads, cities, farms and cloisters to claim them. Points are accumulated for the size of the cities, the length of the roads, the number of tiles around the cloisters and the number of cities being supplied by farms. Even younger players can easily manage this.

But the depth comes out of strategies that can be applied to the play, particularly involving farmers and the fields that they claim. Because farmers gather points for each completed city that touches their field, a good farmer will get busy building lots of small cities. While larger cities score better points as cities, lots of small cities can be great for the farmer. Of course the farmer’s opponent should try to cut off the growing field using roads, etc. So while it appears simple, and can be played casually, situational awareness and a bit of thought can add to the success and ultimate enjoyment.

The game is also beautifully made. Its components are sturdy – nice sold cardboard tiles and painted wooden meeples (except for one of my meeples that only has one leg). It’s very bright and cheerful, which again helps it appeal to casual gamers who don’t yet know how much fun it is.

Carcassonne usually takes less than an hour to play when there’s no need to explain the rules. So it’s great for a quick game. Or if you’ve just introduced somebody to it, it’s very doable to have another game or two to apply those new-found insights into the game. Set-up is very quick. Just separate out the river tiles (which are the first tiles laid down, and form the core of the landscape that the rest of the tiles then adjoin) when you pack up, and starting out next time is almost instant.

And if the original game gets a bit stale, there are heaps of expansions that allow you to add further rules and complexities, as well as additional tiles for an even bigger playing world.

Highly recommended for a wide range of gamers and even their non-gamer friends.

Replaying the game allows for greater depth in strategy, particularly in utilizing farmers. Farmers can yield rich rewards and require cunning use of cities. Or if another player is using farmers, the laying of roads to curtail the size of their farms.

Highly recommended!

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4 out of 8 gamers thought this was helpful

There’s something incredibly satisfying about designing your own massive combat Mech, then squaring up to your friend(s) and having these hulking machines beat the crap out of each other. Build something long range and fast, to keep sniping from a distance while moving to not get hit, or something with heavy armour and short range weapons (AC20 anybody?) that will move in and blow them away at close quarters.

The level of customization and optional rules give this game incredible replay value. But it also makes it complex to learn and teach It’s hard to pick up and introduce a group of friends to this game for an afternoon of casual gaming. And when using the pre-made Mechs, it is difficult to get the balance right. When I played it was usually a matter of “pick 150 tons of Mechs and see who can be last standing”. Brutal but fun.

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4 out of 6 gamers thought this was helpful

I have tried a couple of times to play this game in a co-location environment, where all players are present at the same time. However with each turn taking a fair bit of time, we never managed to get more than a few turns into the game.

What worked really well, and was a lot of fun, was playing the game via email with 24 hour turns. I did that a couple of times and it work very well. 24 hours gives everybody enough time to communicate in between leading a normal life, and then submit orders that can then be resolved by one player tasked with managing the game. I have to say, this was in the mid-90s, the early days of the internet, before online play became a thing.

When there’s a lot of time available, it’s certainly a game with a lot of depth, requiring skill and guile without relying on any luck. With 7 countries to choose from and different combinations of players taking the roles of different countries, this game has plenty of scope for replay – if you can find the time. Prepare to be heartbroken as your best friend or spouse stabs you in the back!

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