Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I've been playing Carcassonne for years. So when I heard about a card game based on the original I was intrigued, but a little cautious. Many card game versions of other popular games have come no where close to the quality of the original. Granted, they probably are trying to target a different audience, but the fun factor just isn't there. So I got a copy of Cardcassonne and we gave it a shot.

The game comes with 4 scoring tracks, 5 treasure chests, 5 scoring tiles, 140 cards, and of course 10 meeples (you can't have Carcassonne without meeples).

To start the game you set up the scoring track and the dealer deals 10 cards. Each of the scoring tracks match one of the four colors in the game. The yellow row is the cloister row, the red row is the road row, the green row is the field row, and the blue row is the city row. The cards are placing in the the rows that correspond to their color. Once the cards are in place the dealer deals a number of cards to each player depending on the number of players. Not you're ready to play.

During a players turn you have one of two options to choose from. You can lay a card down on the corresponding row, making sure to match the colors, or you can claim a row by placing your meeple at the head of the row. If you are placing a card on a row you must make sure that the first card that you lay down is played face down. The color of the face down card does not have to match the color of the row. All other cards for the round are placed face up. If you claim a row that means that at the end of the round you get all of the cards from your meeple to the end of the row or to another players meeple. Play then goes to the player to your left. The round is over when everyone has placed all of there cards and meeples. You then score for the round. After you have scored the dealer deals more cards and another round begins.

There are four types of cards that are scored. There are person cards, animal cards, building cards, and jokers. All person cards have a number from 1 to 3 on the top of the card. During scoring for the round you add up all the numbers on your cards and times that number by the number of the cards. You then move your small meeple on the scoring track the points scored for your person cards. The animal cards are scored by using a chart on a scoring card. The more animal cards you have of one type the more points you get. For example, if you have one animal you get 3 points, two animals of the same type you get 6 points an so on, until you max out at 20 points. Animals are kept in front of you the entire game and can be scored multiple times in later rounds. Although, they can only only be scored if you are adding an animal to a specific color for the round. Buildings are only scored at the end of the game. If you get a building you immediately put it under your treasure chest and you can't look at it for the rest of the game. If you have one type of building at the end of the game it is worth zero points. If you have two different types of building you get 5 points. 3 types get you 15 points. And if you have all four different types of buildings you get 30 points. The trick is trying to remember throughout the game what buildings you have under your treasure chest. Finally, joker cards can be played with either building or animal cards and scored with them for the round.

The game ends when the deck runs out and the final scoring round has taken place. The person with the most points is the winner!

I really like Cardcassonne. I think I even like it better than the original. My wife definitely likes it better than the original. It's a "nicer" game in her words. Carcassonne can get a little cutthroat when you steal peoples farms and cities, and with some of the expansions it gets even worse (princess and the dragon for example). In Cardcassonne I really like the tension that builds up during the game. You have some really hard decisions to make on whether or not to claim a row or to place a card and wait to see if there are better cards on the row later. But, you never know if someone is going to steal "your" row before it gets around to your turn again. The cards that are placed face down are another really fun aspect to the game. Unless you placed the card you never quite know what you are going to get. Cardcassonne is a game where you are constantly tying to guess what your opponent is thinking and be a step ahead of everyone else. There's some really fun strategy to the game. Are you going to focus on animals, building, or person cards. Or maybe a combination of all of them. I've seen games where there are huge point swings at the end from the building cards under the treasure chests. This really adds to the fun because you really don't know who is going to win until the end.

So if you're looking for a fun strategy card game that plays in 30-45 minutes this might be the game for you. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!