How To Play Carcassonne

How To Play Carcassonne Board Game: Step By Step Guide

So you have just bought a copy of Carcassonne but can figure out how to play the game? Well, board games may seem overwhelming at first. But don’t worry! Carcassonne is a fairly simple board game that is easy and fun to play.

The game has interesting elements and mechanics that play like a dynamic and competitive puzzle. For new players, they will quickly realize that the game takes mere minutes to get used to. However, it also has some complexity to it, which makes it incredibly interesting!

To play the game properly, players must adhere to the rules of the game. In this article, we will learn how to play Carcassonne board game. You will find the game will delight and entertain players regardless of skill level. Let’s get into it!

Overview of The Game

Carcassonne is a medieval-themed board game that is named after the historic city of Carcassonne located in France. As a player, your aim is to develop the region by constructing new cities and roads.

In this awesome map-building tile placement game, players add tiles one by one and try to claim the features across the map. You earn points by claiming cities roads, or cloisters once they are completed.

In the 2 to 5 player game, each player has to draw a tile once their turn comes up. They then place the tile next to a tile that has already been placed.

The aim is to create a long continuous picture. Such as, connecting a segment of a road to another road. After that, the player can put one of their “meeples” or followers on the tile to make it their ‘property’.

The larger the property, the more points the player earns. For instance, if a player places road tiles next to a road it becomes longer. If the player then places a follower on that road, that player scores more points.

The same goes for cities. The larger the city, the more points the player earns assuming they have already placed a follower on one of the city tiles. The goal of the game is to earn the most points.

After the final tile is placed, the score will be calculated. In order to get the most points, you have to strategically place your followers so that you cover a large area and earn more points.

Setting Up The Game

The board game consists of 72 land tiles, 40 followers that are of five different colors, an instruction booklet, and a summary sheet along with a scoring card. Out of the 8 meeples, one of them will be used to keep track of the score. This is done by placing it on the scoring board. The other seven meeples need to be strategically placed on the tiles.

To set up the game, follow the instructions below:

First, you have to mix the tiles randomly facing downwards. Then collect them in stacks and place them around the table so that the players can reach them.

Then, place the starting tile at the center of the table. The starting tile has a different back design so that you can easily recognize it.

Finally, each player will select a color of meeples. The meeple that will be used for scorekeeping starts from the zero position on the scorecard. As the player scores points, the meeple moves down the track. The track is itself marked with points. This helps the player keep track of the scores.

Role of Meeples or Followers

board game meeples

In Carcassonne, the little wooden pieces are known as meeples. Followers or meeples can be assigned to be a thief, knight, monk, and farmer. These colorful figures generate points. Depending on where they are placed on the map, they can take multiple roles. These are:

1. Knights

When you place a city tile and decide to keep a follower on it, that follower becomes the knight. The player who has a knight in a completed city will gain 2 points per tile.

Some city tiles have a shield on them. A city with a shield will earn you 2 extra points per pennant. If the city is completed, then the player can get their knight back.

2. The Thief

Placing a follower on the road will assign it as a thief. A road is completed when it has a start and an endpoint. The thief cannot be removed from the road before the road has been completed.

3. Farmers

A follower placed on its side on the green section of the tile makes them a farmer. Farmers cannot be withdrawn. This means that the farmer will stay on the field for the entire game.  In return for the farmer, the player gets 4 points for every completed city that is in the farmer’s field borders.

4. Monks

Placing a follower on a cloister assigns them as a monk. The player that placed the monk on the cloister will get points if the cloister is surrounded by tiles. The player earns 9 points for the completed cloister. The monk cannot be removed until the cloister is finished.

Carcassonne Game Rules

The game starts with the special tile placed in the middle of the table. All the later tiles are then placed off that special tile. Each player can place a tile in any direction they wish to. Every player must go by the following rules:

  • When a player’s turn comes up, they must pick a single tile to place. The tile picked must be placed upside down or placed in a bag so that the player cannot see which one they have picked.
  • The tile must be placed in a certain order. The player must see all the possible ways they can fit the tile at hand. Tiles must match the connecting tile in some way. For example, roads must connect to other roads. The same goes for the cities.
  • After placing the tile, the player needs to determine whether they wish to place a follower on that specific tile. They can also choose not to place a follower. A follower can only be placed in a city or a road has been completed.
  • The followers cannot be placed on the same land feature as another player’s follower. There can be only one follower on a single road or city. If in case the player builds a city or a road from different directions that are not adjacent to one another, then the players can share the points.

Calculating The Points

There are multiple ways to earn points in Carcassonne. Unfinished items such as a road will earn you 1 point per tile. Unfinished cities and Cloisters are also 1 point per tile.

Road

A finished road will have a start and an endpoint. Players will earn a point depending on how long the road is. If the completed road is 3 tiles long, then the player will earn 3 points.

City

In the case of a completed city, the player with a follower on one of the tiles of a completed city will earn 2 points per tile. For example, if the size of a completed city is 2 tiles, then the player earns 4 points. If a city tile has a blue and white shield, the player will earn an extra 2 points. 

Cloisters

Cloisters are completed, when you have tiles surrounding the structure. If a follower is placed on the cloister tile, and there are tiles surrounding the cloister, then the player will score 1 point per tile. For an incomplete cloister with a follower, the player will only score 1 point.

Farms

A farm is a contiguous stretch of green. You can place a follower on a green tile on its side to assign it as a farmer. Farms end at a wall, road, or the edge of a tile or board. Followers on farms are scored differently.

Farmers will be scored on the completed cities next to their farms. They will earn 3 points for every city that is completed. Farmers are laid down for the duration of the entire game and cannot be withdrawn.

After the points are calculated, the player with the highest point is the winner.

Final Word

Like most board games, Carcassonne requires an element of luck and strategy to win. One aspect of the game that makes it stand out from other board games is that the game is easy to learn and play. The ease of play appeals to board and non-board gamers. The only challenge is mastering the strategy.

Due to the immense popularity of the game, there have been multiple expansions. It also has near endless replay value, so you won’t get bored with the game that easily.

We hope our article on how to play Carcassonne helped you learn the core aspects of the game. If you’re looking to spend some quality time with your friends and family, this is it! Take care and enjoy the game!

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