So another mechanic that I like a good amount is area control. Area control is the mechanic in which you get a bonus for having the most figures in the area or the only figures in the area, so, you have control of the area. […]
Tag: Euro Games
Recently, Peder and I have started a new tradition that we’re having a great time with so far — every other Wednesday, we’ve taken to visiting Insight, one of our favorite breweries, and settling in for an evening of gaming. We choose a game we haven’t played in a while, or one we want to play together in order to get more familiar with the rules, and just generally have a great time nerding out and drinking tasty craft brews.
For our most recent game night out, we took it back to a classic and went with Carcassonne as our game of choice. Peder’s played this one quite a bit, but I had only played it once, over two years ago, and was due for a refresher course.
In addition to being a real live (and extremely old — we’re talking pre-Middle Ages) city in France, Carcassonne was one of the first European-style games to be released. Many, many others have followed in Carcassonne’s footsteps since its release in 2000, and the style is in large part responsible for the board game renaissance we’re happily experiencing these days. In spite of its many descendants, though, Carcassonne is still one of the best-loved and well-known Euro-style games out there.
The beauty of Carcassonne is in its simplicity. The gameplay style reminds me a lot of Tsuro, just with several more elements involved. Using tiles that represent areas of land, the players (numbering from two to five) build a map around a central river, piece by piece. There are several different types of tiles — the principal river pieces, monasteries, sections of towns, and road pieces being the main ones. And just like in a lot of other Euro-style games, Carcassonne players use meeples (small, wooden, vaguely people-shaped markers) to claim tiles, and thus rack up victory points.
Points can be won in a few ways. You can put a meeple on a monastery tile to act as a monk, and you get points when the monastery is completely surrounded by other tiles. You can put a knight meeple in a partially completed city, and when the city is walled in from all sides, you take the knight out and score some points. You can place a thief meeple on a road, and remove them for points when their section of road is intersected at both ends. Or you can set a farmer meeple in an area of empty land between roads and cities and such, and then score points based on how many completed cities are connected to your meeple’s land area.
In true Euro fashion, you can kind of tell who’s winning based on who’s ahead points-wise, but it ain’t really over ’til it’s over because some types of points aren’t scored until the end of the game. This is my favorite Euro-style game mechanic — it means you have to employ at least some strategy, but regardless of what strategy you choose or how well it works out for you, it’s basically anybody’s game until the very end.
Carcassonne is a great game for those new to Euro-style games and who want to try them out. It’s also an excellent choice for evenings when you want a game that’s fun and fast-paced but that isn’t too involved or strategy heavy. It was certainly a great game for a relaxing evening at a favorite brewery!
Have you played Carcassonne? What do you like about it? What other Euro-style games are you a fan of? Let us know in comments!
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