Conquer Carcassonne using just an Xbox.

27Jun07

Today is a great day for all Xbox 360 owners, Xbox Live Wednesday. Carcassonne is the latest release to Xbox Live costing just 800 points ($10.00 for those following the economic ties between the US Dollar vs. the MS Point) and providing hours of enjoyment to the strategy gamer. I have filled up my time lately playing Settlers of Catan, a game similar to Carcassonne only due to the use of random tiles and both are based on beloved board games, and now I will spend my time losing to strangers in the French city of Carcassonne.

The game is easy to learn, even if the tutorial doesn’t give you all the information you need (where is the info about farmers, and post game scoring?) and isn’t available where it should be (not located under the Options & Help menu), and allows for increasing levels of strategy. Normal game-play in Carcassonne revolves around taking turns placing tiles drawn at random while utilizing “followers” to accomplish different goals; bandits to control roads, farmers to build farms, and knights to control cities, and monks to complete cloisters. Players score points when areas are completed and controlled by a follower. Once all the tiles have been placed players score points for farms and unfinished areas based on being controlled by their followers. The game requires a player to look for ways to score immediately by controlling roads, cities, and cloisters while preparing to score points once the game is over by controlling farms adjacent to completed cities.

The game involves the luck of the draw as you wait to draw the last tile to complete a section hoping your opponents won’t draw it first and play it elsewhere thus locking you out from completing your area and scoring. This is just one of the strategies involved in playing a game of Carcassonne, for new players some things to keep in mind while playing: your followers are in limited supply and you should only play the last one if it is absolutely necessary, ensure control of fields during the middle to late game since your followers aren’t returned until the game is over, and keep opponents from scoring alone by placing tiles adjacent to near completed areas.

I could have spoke about the rules, the game-play, or how nice it would have been to have more than just one of the expansions (The River expansion is included, which replaces the single starting tile with 12 tiles representing a river) playable from the start.

The game has great replay value since no two boards will ever be the same and unlike most games made these days (unfortunately) this game has same screen multi-player. Playing on Live is great, but unfortunately when you have friends over it’s fun to talk trash with friends than to sit and watch and patiently wait your turn. On Xbox Live 2-5 people can play while 1-4 people can play on a single Xbox. Normal games of Carcassonne usually last around 45 minutes but is considerably shortened through the miracle of modern technology, no cleanup, no setup, the least amount of physical movement required for any board game. In terms of graphics this game won’t inspire tears of joy but does more than enough to get the point across.

I’ve found Carcassonne to be right up my alley; simple mechanics, ability for future Downloaded Content to change game play while not breaking the bank, same screen multi-player, and some of the easiest achievements I’ve encountered in an Xbox Live arcade game (I ended up with 4 achievements during my first game, which I guess that can be a negative as well), and a chance for players of all ranks to have fun with a great mixture of strategy and luck.

Learn more about Carcassonne and other board games at Board Game Geek.

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One Response to “Conquer Carcassonne using just an Xbox.”

  1. 1 zune

    That looks good. XBOX needs some new games, cant wait for mass effect.


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