Game of the Week: Carcassonne

The medieval town of Carcassonne in France probably never expected to become the inspiration for a tile-based board game that’s won multiple awards and sold millions of copies.

But yet, here we are.

The game starts with a single terrain tile and the landscape is built as play progresses. Players take turns pulling from face-down tiles to add to the town, placing them according to a set of rules and objectives that can be as basic or as complex as you’d like. In essence, rivers and paths have to line up with rivers and paths and can’t dead end against another tile. Then, a meeple is placed to lay claim to that tile or landscape.

The game is simple to learn, easy enough to pick up in a brief intro of how-to-play, but can become quite in depth depending on the people at the table and their preferred strategies.

A favourite strategy around our Looking Glass Adventures table (and our highly recommended game play style) is the monastery or cloister tile. We personally consider this tile to be the linchpin of the game and past players at our table have even gone so far to consider it as a breaking point. The cloister tile lands you one point for the cloister tile and a point for each surrounding tile. Successfully enclosing this tile lands you 10 points. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, they add up quick and controlling more than one cloister could help you sneak your way to success.

A typical game, without any expansions, takes about 45 minutes to play which means it’s perfect for that after-dinner/before-bed timeframe for kids, or something easy to pull out on the weekend to fill a bit of time. There are a number of expansions, all of which require the base game to play and add to the complexity of the gameplay.

Start with the basic Carcassonne box and work your way up! You can purchase it here.

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