Video Game Rentals Delivered

Carcassonne (XBLA)

David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce) David Yun (Xbox Live Gamertag - Vawce): (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2008-04-06 05:10:39

Carcassonne (XBLA) - Rank B

Developer: Sierra Online
Publisher: Sierra Online
Date: 6/27/07

Carcassonne is an obscure German strategy board game about conquering a French city (go figure). If you're a hardcore tabletop gamer, you may have played the actual physical game. The Xbox Live Arcade version is a completely faithful translation.

There are seventy terrain tiles, each marked with varying field, road, castle, and monastery depictions. You are randomly given one of these tiles (like Scrabble), and you score points for building and controlling these structures. Each player goes around doing this in turn, one tile at a time, and deciding whether or not to play a Follower to control that tile. It's a very simple game to pick up, and can quickly grow quite addicting.

My only real criticism of the game is that Carcassonne is not as strategically deep as similar board games (try its sister game, Catan). Once you grasp the fundamental concepts, there aren't many subtleties to be found here. Nevertheless, it's a satisfying way to relax with several buddies, online or chilling together in the living room. Also, the tutorial does not explain how scoring from farms work. If you place a Follower in a field, you will turn it into a farm and earn points for every castle it touches at the end of the game. You cannot recover that Follower, so place them wisely.

I would say that the Xbox 360 version is vastly superior to the physical board game. It's nice having the CPU handle things for you. It shows you all of your legal moves, avoiding the hassle and waste of time of checking every tile connection. It tallies points accurately for you, something that human error could easily miscalculate.

If you've read this far, you may very well enjoy Carcassonne. (I'm assuming that I lost most of the uncultured readers at the screenshot, or the words "German strategy board game".) It's certainly a nice break from the caustic asshole-fratboy-shooter-ambience of typical online play.

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