I have no idea how this game eluded me for so long. It’s easy to learn, no players are eliminated, scores can fluctuate madly at the end of the game if you strategize correctly…it is fun and a half.
Simply put, players alternate placing medieval-type tiles on the table. Most tiles have some combination of a grassy field, part of a city, a road or a cloister. When you place that tile you may also place a little dude (emasculatingly called a meeple) on the tile to make a knight (in the city), thief (on the road), farmer (in the field) or monk (in the cloister). The limited number of dudes forces tough decisions mid-game.
The scoring system is tricky at first, but it’s not bad once you figure out how farms are scored. The games go quicker than you think. When you start, you have a ton of unplaced tiles and you begin to think it’s going to take all night, but they move and they move fast. I strongly recommend using the included River Expansion after your first game.
Carcassonne by Rio Grande Games.
Back to the gift guide.