best carcassonne expansions

The 13 Best Carcassonne Expansions in 2020 [UPDATED]

Tired of playing the base Carcassonne game?

Well, you will be surprised to know how many expansions Carcassonne has! 

If you own the base Carcassonne game, then you how amazing it is. The base game is considered to be one of the finest games out there. It is easy to see why.

At its core, Carcassonne is a ‘sleeper strategy’ game where players compete to build the biggest cities and roads by placing tiles. It is a classic game that is easy to learn and play, which makes it very popular.

There are several expansions released for the game. The expansions add more features to the base game, which makes it even more fun to play!

In this article, we will learn about the best Carcassonne expansions which you can purchase.

Let’s begin.

Best Carcassonne Expansions Reviews in 2020

1. Carcassonne Expansion 1: Inns and Cathedrals – Editor’s Choice

Carcassonne Inns and Cathedrals is an expansion that everybody should own. It is one of the top Carcassonne fan expansions in the series.

The expansion comes with additional elements that make the game even more fun to play. First of all, the expansion comes with new meeples that are white in color. 

This will increase the player count to 6 players instead of 5. You also get 6 colored meeples, which are slightly larger in size than the average-sized meeples. 

In this expansion, you get 18 new land tiles, which come in a variety of layouts. Along with that, you get 50 and 100 point tokens, which players will use to keep the scores on the scoreboard.

The expansion comes with additional rules that make the game more interesting.  The tiles that have an Inn are marked with a little house next to a lake. An Inn is basically a reference to the thief or the robber.

When a player places a meeple on the road that has an Inn on it, then the player is guaranteed double points for the road being finished.

The cathedral is another new tile in this expansion. The cathedral goes into a city and is basically similar to the Inn. If you have a knight building a city that has a cathedral on it and is completed, then the player gets 3 points per tile.

The only difference is that at the end of the game if your city is not finished, the player scores no points. They instead score 1 point per city tile. 

The big meeples have a value of 2. So 2 of the regular, small meeples are equivalent to 1 large meeple. The large meeple has more dominance compared to the smaller ones.

If a small meeple from one player and a large meeple from another is placed in the same city, the player with the large meeple gets all the points.

Highlighted Features:

  • Increases player count from 5 to 6.
  • It comes with 50 and 100 point tiles.
  • Additions of Inns and Cathedral tiles makes it more exciting.
  • Big meeples can be placed for more points.
  • It comes with 18 new land tiles.

2. Carcassonne Expansion 2: Traders & Builders – Pro Pick

Carcassonne Builders and Traders is an all-time favorite expansion that adds more depth to the base game.

In this expansion, you get 24 different land tiles that will expand the base game. They all have a small symbol on them, which refers to tokens.

There are three tokens that come in the expansion. Wine, grain, and cloth. There are also 12 new followers. You get two for each color, one being a builder and the other is a pig.

You also get a sack. You can use this to put all your tiles and other pieces. The expansion comes with some new rules. The city tiles have a symbol on them.

When you build a city, you can gain the points from the city being finished. If you have a title with the token symbol in the city, you will receive a token.

The token can be received by another player if they place the tile that completes the city. Tokens are important in this expansion, and there are a lot of points that can be gained. 

If by the end of the game, a player has the most barrels, grains, or cloth in their collection, then that player will get 10 points.

The builder is another new element. They bring a very interesting mechanic to the game. It can only be placed on a city or a road that the player already owns.

If the player has placed a new tile in the city or road where the builder is present, then the player can instantly draw another tile and place it.  

The pig is associated with the farmer. The farmer will get 4 points per city finished, which is connected to the player’s farmland.

It is one of the best Carcassonne expansions available for the game, especially you are looking for a Carcassonne expansion for two players.

Highlighted Features:

  • Three new variants are fun additions.
  • 24 new tiles expand the base game.
  • The sack can be used to put all the tiles.
  • The new point system is great.
  • It comes with tokens that can be earned for points.

3. Carcassonne Expansion 3: The Princess & the Dragon – Budget Pick

The Princess & the Dragon is one of the top expansions in the game.

The expansion comes with multiple new and interesting content. It comes with a dragon, fairy, and 30 new land tiles. There are several types of tiles that make the game even more fun to play.

The volcano tile is an essential tile in the game. When a player places the volcano tile, then the dragon has to go to that space immediately. The dragon only comes into play when the volcano tile is placed.

The portal tile is a piece that can be placed anywhere on the board where it matches another city or road tile. The other tile piece is the tile with a dragon symbol on it. When this is drawn, the dragon will start moving.

The dragon has a special set of rules. The dragon can be moved by the player that placed a follower on the dragon tile. The player then moves the dragon 6 spaces.

All the players must move the dragon either vertically or horizontally. The dragon cannot move to the same tile twice. The followers on the dragon’s path will be removed.

The fairy needs to be placed alongside one of your followers that is already placed on the board. The dragon cannot be moved to a place where the fairy is. 

So other players need to move the dragon on a different tile. The fairy also gives you additional points, if the castle is completed.

Another piece in the expansion is the princess tile. If you place a princess tile in a city that contains a follower, then that follower will be returned to its player. 

Highlighted Features:

  • Princess and Dragons add variety to the base game.
  • 30 new tiles expand the base game.
  • The new game mechanic makes the game exciting.
  • Dragons removing the followers is a great concept.
  • Additional ways of earning points make the game interesting.

4. Carcassonne Expansion 4: The Tower Board Game

The tower is the 4th expansion of Carcassonne. It features tower segments, a collection of tiles, and a tile holder.

It comes with 18 new tiles, which has towers on them and some regular features. The tiles are shuffled and randomly drawn by the players.

The cardboard tower that comes with the game stores the unused tiles.  The players will have separate access to the tower floors.

When a player places a tile that consists of a tower base, then they will have 4 options. The first option is to place a meeple.

The other option is that the player chooses to place one of the tower floors onto the tower’s foundation.

The player can also place one tower floor on any of the towers that are on the board. The other option is that the player can place a meeple on an open tower.

When the player places a floor on the tile, it will take all the meeples that are one tile from the four tiles around it. The player that kept the meeples will return them to their owners once they give 3 VPs for every meeple that is captured.

The meeple can also be exchanged with the player that has captured your meeple. The tower makes the game interesting and is overall a great new concept.

It can be played by 2 to 6 players. The games usually take about 40 to 45 minutes to complete.

It has great replayability and is a good expansion to implement with the base game.

Highlighted Features:

  • The expansion can be played by 2 to 6 players.
  • Games take about 40 to 45 minutes.
  • Features tower segments, tiles, and tile holder.
  • Expands the base game and makes it more fun to play.
  • The Cardboard tower can be used to store unused tiles.

5. Carcassonne Expansion 5: Abbey & Mayor

The Abbey and Mayor expansion come with a wide range of components. Unlike other expansions, Abbey and Mayor come with only 12 landscape tiles. The artwork on the tiles look amazing, and the other components are very well made.

The other pieces are barns of all different colors. The expansion also includes wagons and mayors which play a crucial role.

One of the most important elements is the Abbey, which basically is a wildcard. It is a walled-off cloister that can be placed in a vacant space surrounded by regular tiles.

You can put a follower in the Abbey and instantly earn a score. If placed right, the piece can easily give you 9 points.

The barn is placed in 4 grass corners that are linked together. When the barn is placed in a region where a farmer is present, the farmer is instantly scored and then removed.

The barn then takes priority over everything else in that farm area. The wagon is placed on an incomplete road.

When the road is completed, the wagon can travel along that road to the next incomplete city. A mayor is another new figure. It can only be placed on castles. The mayor is worth 1 follower for each pennant in the city.

By popular opinion, this is the best expansion pack for Carcassonne. Abbey & Mayor can be played between 2 to 6 players. Each game takes around 30 minutes to complete. This expansion has a great replayability.

Overall, it is a great expansion that will keep the players engaged for a long time.

Highlighted Features:

  • Multiple new pieces add depth to the game.
  • It can be played by 2 to 6 players.
  • Good replayability keeps the players from getting bored.
  • The game takes around 30 minutes to complete.
  • The artwork on the tiles is amazing.

6. Carcassonne Expansion 6: Count, King & Robber

Count, king, and robber is the sixth expansion in the series. The expansion will see you command a huge city. Players can rule with the king or a robber. It can be played by 2 to 6 players.

There is a large city tile placed on the center of the map. This is a new mechanic that adds variety to the base game.

The city is divided into 4 different parts. They are the castle, market, blacksmith, and cathedral.

When you complete a district, the other player will get the point instead of you. After that, you will place a meeple in one of the four city districts. You will then move the count.

When the first city is completed, the king will be placed in that city. The first play to complete the city will keep the king. When the next big city is completed, the king will get transferred there.

Points are scored if the player keeps the king by the end of the play. The player will earn 1 point per city that is completed.

The robber works in the exact same way as the king. The only exception is that the robber will be placed on roads instead.

When a meeple is placed on the shrine tile, it becomes a heretic. In terms of scoring, shrines are similar to Monasteries.

This expansion has a great replayability. The new features are fun to play with. Also, the new way to earn points makes the game very interesting!

Highlighted Features:

  • The city tile in the middle makes the game interesting.
  • New mechanic adds variety to the game.
  • It can be played by 2 to 6 players.
  • The expansion has great replayability.
  • New way of scoring points.

7. Carcassonne Expansion 7: Catapult

Well, who doesn’t want to add a catapult to Carcassonne?

Now you can with Carcassonne’s 7th expansion, Catapult.

The catapult expansion is very unique to the series. The expansion comes with multiple new tiles.  All those tiles will force a catapult round. In this round, players will be able to choose between four different actions.

Players can use the catapult to hit other meeples and swap with them. They can knock the meeples on the board, hit a certain point, or get the catapult to earn points.

Every catapult round has a certain aim. This is because the other players will not be trying to catch the projectile as you are trying to knock their meeples.

The catapult itself is nothing complicated. It is made up of wooden parts that are assembled to form a single piece.

It doesn’t really deviate from the objective of the game. The catapult needs to be skillfully used. If done right, it can give a good boost to the players that are behind in the score. 

The catapult adds a new dynamic to the base game. This expansion might not be liked by all the audience. The catapult itself is a bit tricky to use.

Also, it is very different from the other expansions in the list. It is still very interesting and fun to play.

Highlighted Features:

  • An interesting and unique new concept.
  • Catapult requires skill to use.
  • Players behind on score can get a good boost.
  • Knocking meeples with a catapult is fun.
  • Adds more flavor to the base game.

8. Carcassonne Expansion 8: Bridges, Castles, and Bazaars

Bridges, castles, and Bazaars are a great expansion that adds multiple new options that the players can choose from.

The first option is the bridges. When a player places a road tile, they will then place another road tile to connect it. With the bridge, the players will be able to place the bridge on top of a grass tile.

This shows that the road extends over the grass tile, and then connects to a road tile. The bridge allows you to place large roads, and get a lot of points.

The castle is the second option. Players sometimes build a city that stretches two miles long. This doesn’t earn the player a good amount of points. Players can create a castle and put a meeple to a small city.

Doing this will make a fief. The fief will be the two tiles that will be on the two sides of the castle. The fief earns players a good amount of points. 

The third option is the bazaars. The bazaar is a feature that brings auction rounds to the game. When the bazaar tile is placed, the game will pause and the auction round will start.

Players get to bid on which tile they want from a stack of tiles. Players will then bid or pass on until the highest bidder gets the tile.

Players that didn’t get a tile will continue to bid until all the players get one. The player will bid with the victory points.

The expansion is quite interesting. The rules are simple and easy to learn. It can be played by 2 to 6 players. If you are looking for a good expansion, this is a great one!

Highlighted Features:

  • Adds more to the base game.
  • The concept is nice and interesting.
  • Auctioning is a great feature.
  • It has a great scoring system.
  • It can be played by 2 to 6 players.

9. Carcassonne Expansion 9: Hills and Sheep

Hills and Sheep is the 9th expansion for Carcassonne. It can be played by 2 to 6 players, with each game taking around 40 minutes to complete.

It comes with 18 new tiles and 1 shepherd per player. It also comes with a bag that is filled with sheep tokens.

There are two new features that you can find on the tiles themselves. Whenever you draw a hill tile, you will draw another tile face down. You then place the tile under it and make a 2 tile stack.

The way the hills work is that if you are on a feature, be it a city or a road, and you are tied with another player’s feature on you will get the points.

The other feature is the vineyard. The vineyard scores a bonus 3 points to a cloister around it. Besides that, you also have the option to place a shepherd on a tile.

After you place the shepherd, you will take a token from the bag that consists of sheep and wolf tokens. The token is then placed on top of the tile where the shepherd is.

Every time the field is grown with another tile placement, you can either cash in that field, or you can grow your flock. If a wolf is picked up from the bag, then all the sheep and shepherds from the field are returned.

The expansion is a nice addition to the base game. You can easily combine Hill and Sheep with the other expansions and make it more fun to play.

Highlighted Features:

  • The game takes about 40 minutes to complete.
  • It can be played by 2 to 6 players.
  • 18 new tiles expand the base game.
  • The sheep and wolf concept is great.
  • It comes with a bag for the tokens.

10. Carcassonne Expansion 10: Under the Big Top

Under the Big Top expansion adds three new modules that are ideally used in conjunction with each other.

It comes with a nice collection of tiles. Some of the tiles will have circuses on them, and some of the tiles will have spaces for acrobats.

It also consists of city and road tiles. There are also tiles that have animals with values on them.

There is a big top tent miniature and a ringmaster meeple. The circus tiles are the focus of this expansion.

Every time a circus town is drawn, one of the tokens that have values on them will be placed face down in secret underneath the tent without anyone looking at them.

The game then proceeds as normal until another circus tile is placed. When the tile is placed, the first circle tile is scored and each meeple in the vicinity of that tile or on top of that separate tile will score points that are indicated on that valued token.

At this point, the tent miniature along with another token is placed on a new circus tile that appeared during the game.

The acrobat tiles come with two spaces. When the tile is placed, you can place your meeple on one of the spots. Any player who places a tile around that first tile is allowed to place a meeple on the other space on the tile. 

A third player can place their meeple on top to form a meeple pyramid. Players will get 5 points for each meeple inside the pyramid.

If the ringmaster is placed near the acrobat tiles, it will score you points for every circus or acrobat tiles that surround it.

Highlighted Features:

  • Three new modules add variety to the base game.
  • The concept is unique and interesting.
  • Point scoring rules are great.
  • It can easily be implemented with the base game.
  • The game is easy to play.

11. Carcassonne Board Game Standard – Premium Design

Carcassonne is themed around the famous French city from the middle ages that were well known for its fortifications.  The game sees you taking turns in placing tiles to build those cities and fortifications and lay down the roads between them.

The game starts with a starting tile which is easy to recognize. The tile is placed in any orientation the player chooses to.

Players then take turns drawing the tiles facedown from the deck and place it on the board.  The features in the tiles must match in some way, such as roads can only be connected to roads, etc.

After the tile is placed, the player can place a meeple. Each player starts with 8 meeples. One meeple from each player will stay on the score tracker to track the score.

The meeples can be put on roads, and cities. Once that road or city is complete, you get the points. The other way to score points is by placing your meeple on a monastery tile.

If you decide to lay your meeple down, it becomes a farmer. Points are scored depending on the feature. Completed cities score 2 points per tile, whereas roads score 1 point per tile.

At the end of the game, you score your farmer points and add it to the score tracker. The player that has the most points, is the winner. 

It can be played by 2 to 5 players, with each game taking about 30 minutes to complete. The Carcassonne new edition expansions can be played with this board game.

This edition of the game has a completely new rulebook that makes it easy to learn and play. This edition comes with a river expansion that sees you build a river before you start playing the game.

You then create a city around the river. It also comes with a Carcassonne Abbot expansion which allows you to use abbots in gardens. 

Highlighted Features:

  • It comes with the Abbot and river expansion.
  • The newly redesigned rulebook is appealing.
  • Great setting makes the game exciting.
  • Great theme makes the game more exciting.
  • It can be played by 2 to 5 players.

12. Carcassonne Classic

The Carcassonne Classic is probably one of the most popular board games made. The simplicity of the game along with the setting makes Carcassonne a class apart from other board games.

The game can be played by 2 to 5 players. Each game takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The game has simple rules, which is great for new players. They can easily pick up the rules on the go.

The game starts from a single tile. When the turn comes, each player has to place a tile. The meeple needs to be placed to earn the points.

When a city or a road is complete, the points are scored. The player with the most points wins the game.

The game comes with a score tracker that tracks the score of the players. Every player has 8 meeples to play with, one of the eight meeples is kept on the scorecard for scoring.

With most board games, you need to think logically to win the game.

This edition of Carcassonne is slightly different from the Carcassonne Board game standard. The board game standard has a newly designed rulebook and two Carcassonne board game expansion packs.

The classic version only includes the river expansion. The gameplay is the same in both the editions.

Highlighted Features:

  • It can be played by 2 to 5 players.
  • Games usually take around 15 to 30 minutes to complete.
  • Simple rules are easy to pick up for new players.
  • It comes with the river expansion.
  • The exciting concept makes it enjoyable.

13. Schmidt Spiele Carcassonne(SPIEL) GRAF – Koen

If you are looking for combo Carcassonne board game expansion packs, this is a good deal to consider. In this combo pack, you get 4 expansions that you can play with Carcassonne.

The rules of the expansions are simple to understand. They can be played between 2 to 6 players.

In the king and the robber, players duel each other and try to create the longest city or road. The player that completes the road or the city wins the game.  Players earn a point for every city that is completed on the board.

The second expansion in the combo pack is River II. This is an extension of the first River expansion. The third is the count of Carcassonne.

In this expansion, you earn points by completing a feature that is created by another player.

In Shrines and Heretics, there are new shrines that are very similar to cloisters. If a player places a shire next to a cloister, a challenge is commenced.

The player only scores points if the building is completed first. They will then score the points.

Similarly, cloisters can challenge shrines as well. This system of placing cloisters and shires changes the way players play their buildings. This makes the expansion very interesting.

All the Carcassonne board game packs expansions have rules written in German. If you want the English translation of the rules, you can simply search them online.

Highlighted Features:

  • It consists of 4 expansions.
  • Rules are easy to understand.
  • Supports 2 to 6 players.
  • Adds more excitement to the base game.
  • Concept of the expansion is unique and interesting.

What to Look For When Buying a Carcassonne Expansion

Carcassonne Expansions Review

Artwork

Expansions vary when it comes to design and artwork. Artwork may be a good reason to purchase the expansion, but if the gameplay isn’t as good, then it is advised not to get that expansion.

Artwork will add more flavor to the base game. If it is visually amazing, more players will be interested to play the expansion.

There are certain ones that are more colorful than others. It is a great factor to consider when purchasing any expansion of the game.

Replayability

Expansions should be easy to play and be exciting as well. The ideal expansion is the one that can be played over and over again.  Generally, most Carcassonne expansion rules are easy to grasp.

However, there are certain expansions that have complex rules and take some time to grasp.

Simple rules, fast gameplay, and a good concept make the game replayable. You don’t want to purchase an expansion that you will play a couple of times and put it back on your shelf.

Get an expansion that you find very interesting. This way, you will keep playing it for a long time without getting bored.

Quality

Quality is important. You want the expansion set to stay in good condition. Taking the board game off the shelf and placing it back on may cause the set to wear out.

Get the expansion that has great quality pieces. The best Carcassonne expansions have great production quality. They have detailed artwork, equally shaped tiles, and great looking pieces.

Quality will elevate the gameplay for the players so it is an important factor to consider.

Concept

Carcassonne game expansions vary in concept. An engaging concept makes the game more interesting. The theme should be unique and add variety to the base game.

There are several concepts you can choose from. Select the one that you think will make the game better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

carcassonne expansions faqs

1. Are The Rules In The Expansion Clear?

The rules vary between the expansions. The rules of the base game are very simple and easy to understand. Carcassonne expansions rules are usually on a sheet of paper that comes with the game.

If you are familiar with the expansion, then understanding them won’t be much of a problem.

You can also find the rules on the internet. There are also lots of tutorials available that give simple instructions. This makes the game easy to play.

2. What Is A Good Strategy In Carcassonne That Is Easy To Do?

You can build small cities. This way you can play the farmers early in the game. After that, monopolize the farms. This will get you a good amount of points in the game.

You have to make sure that you don’t use all your meeples as farmers.  If the farm has a good enough value, then it is a good strategy to have those farms.

3. How Do I Use My Meeples Efficiently?

The best way to use your 7 available meeples will be to use 3 of them till the game completion. You can use them in cloisters, farms, or even large cities. The other 4 meeples can be used for roads and cities.

The aim as a player is to not invest in too many meeples that won’t give you as many points. Use the meeples in multiple features so you can score a good amount of points.

4. What Roles Can A Meeple Take In The Base Game?

Meeples are standard figures which are placed on tiles. Placing them on a feature will score you points if the feature is complete. Meeple takes certain roles depending on where they are placed.

If the player places a meeple in the city, it becomes a knight. Placing them on a road makes them a highwayman. If kept on monastery and

5. Can The Game Be Played By Two Players?

Yes, the game can be played by two players. This is good if you are just learning the rules of the game.

There are certain expansions, like the Carcassonne Expansion 2 that facilitate playing for two persons.

6. What Is The Role Of The Ringmaster Meeples In Under The Big Top Expansion?

The ringmaster meeple is similar to any other meeple. They can be placed anywhere except for the acrobat square. Ringmasters will get an additional 2 points for every acrobat or circus tiles.

Final Words

Carcassonne is a classic strategy game that is still popular today. The best Carcassonne expansions we reviewed in this guide have new mechanics that change the dynamic of the game, making it more interesting.

The Carcassonne expansion rules aren’t that different from each other and hard to grasp.

If you are a regular Carcassonne player, you may find some familiarity playing them. The expansions enhance the gameplay and add a new dimension to the game.

We hope you enjoyed this article. Now have fun with your new Carcassonne pack!

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