My First Carcassonne. Z-Man Games, 2009. $35. Designed by Marco Teubner. Colorful tile placement game based on Carcassonne. 32 pawns, 36 tiles, 1 two page rules book. 2-4 players. Ages 4+. 20-30 minutes.
We have been waiting for the grandchildren to get old enough to play games. There are lots of colorful kids games out there, but the kids level of concentration seemed to be the biggest impediment. My First Carcassonne is our first successful game with our 5 year old!
The short and easy rules explain how on each players’ turn they draw one random tile and place it adjacent to another tile already on the table. Each colorful tile has 4 edges with roads, some of which end and some of which continue through the tile. Each road has one or more figures dressed in colorful clothes. If the tile placed creates a road that ends (that is tracing the line of the road across tiles reaches an ending at both ends) then players place their colored pawns on all tiles along that road where their colored figures appear. The first player to place all his 8 pawns wins.
The tiles are larger than the standard Carcassonne tiles and they and the pawns are brightly colored which the kids find fun. There’s no worry about placing a tile wrongly since all four sides have roads. The active player gets to place a tile and every player gets to place a pawn if it closes the road and their colored figure is on one of the tiles along the road. It plays quickly so there’s little time to for young minds to get bored.
While placing one tile and pawns on closed roads are easy, trying to comprehend the many possible roads that might be closed can be a challenge for young minds, especially later in the game when there are many roads and possibilities. Helping them pay attention to their colored figures already on the map can be both fun and helpful in developing strategic thinking.
There is enough “game” here to not bore adults while not being too difficult for young children, making it a winning combination. And it’s only a short step from My First Carcassonne to regular Carcassonne, so it’s a good introduction to the gaming hobby. Recommended.
This review was written based on a privately purchased copy. I have been a member of Z-Man’s demo team, “Z-Force”. No compensation for this review was involved.
c2015 by Richard A. Edwards