EDitorial ± 6-Mar-2012

Carcassonne And On

For a goodly while, Ticket To Ride, aka the Train Game, was the go-to board game in these parts. We all knew the rules inside out and we'd played not just the original US version but also the European board (tunnels!) and the German variation (passengers!). Certain family and friends migrated to the online version too. It's a great game, comma, and beats the likes of Monopoly into a ridiculous tin hat. Then, back in May 2011, along came Carcassonne (see Wiki page).

Those first few games in the spring went OK, no better than that, as we struggled a little with the rules (yes, it was the placement and scoring of farmers, if you're reading this and already know the game). Then we started to get more into it, beginning to appreciate some of its many subtleties. It plays differently every time as each player (a) picks a face-down tile, (b) connects it to another already laid tile and (c) decides whether to place a "follower" on the new tile as a knight, thief, monk or farmer.

Note: we're currently using both the Inns & Cathedrals expansion pack and The Festival mini expansion. It'd be hard to contemplate playing without these, they're now so wired in. And we're all looking forward to an as yet unreleased expansion called The Plague (has the fantastic German name of Die Pest) which will "allow players to remove followers", thus making us even more vindictive. Well, me, anyway.

Since Christmas, perhaps spurred on by the lousy weather, the games -- at least two, sometimes more -- have become a key part of each weekend. Picture two married couples asking each other if they'd like to "Monk It Up" (as a monastery is upturned) or shouting "Spoon Of Truth!" (as a tile is improperly placed) and all may become clear. Rivalry, always competitive, has become fierce, both between households and partners. Alliances are loosely formed and betrayals are commonplace. Much like our long-lived marriages.