With the launch of Catan a few weeks back, Microsoft showed off a new side of Xbox Live Arcade; a side where mature, thoughtful board game fans are more than welcome. That being said, however, Catan definitely isn’t a jump-in-and-swim kind of experience. It’s an awesome game that takes more than a little getting used to before you really know how to play properly.
Carcassonne is the second game to follow the mature tabletop theme. This virtual adaptation of the popular, strategic German board game is the polar opposite of Catan. It’s deceptively simple at first; meaning just about anyone can pick up and play competently in a matter of minutes. But the strategy involved in becoming a Carcassonne master… well, that takes quite a bit more time.
Each game of Carcassonne is played by strategically placing 72 tiles on the game board. Use these randomly selected tiles to link roads, build cities and farms, and so on. Then use your limited number of followers to claim the various landmarks being built, thus earning points.
It actually sounds really complicated, but it isn’t. The excellent tutorial mode takes only a few minutes to familiarize you with the rules, and then you’ll be off and running. And the rule set is even easier to follow thanks to the very nature of videogames – you won’t be able to inadvertently (or purposefully) place a piece in an illegal position. And all the housekeeping and disputes that would normally arise from scoring at the end of each round is a non-issue.
Going into Carcassonne, those unfamiliar with the game might think there’s no way they’ll ever get the hang of it. But do yourself a favor and check out the demo. You might be surprised just how easy and addictive this board game can be.