Tag Archives: Tile placement

My First Carcassonne

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

Qin

Qin. Eggertspiele, 2012. $40. Designed by Reiner Knizia. An abstract tile placement game of area control with Chinese graphics. 1 double sided game board, 96 pagodas (4 colors, one set per player), 72 tiles, rule sheet. 2-4 players. About 20-45 minutes. Ages 8+.

This abstract strategy game uses tiles that are rectangular, divided into two squares. Each square is one of three colors, sometimes two different colors on a tile, sometimes both squares are the same. Players alternate turns placing one of their three tiles on the board in an effort to claim areas, especially near the “villages” spaces on the board. Building areas or having the most control next to a village allows you to place your pagodas. Small areas under your control can be taken from you if they are connected to a larger area of the same color by your opponent. First player to place all their pagodas wins. The game board has two sides with different layouts of villages and water (unplayable) spaces.

Though deceptively easy to learn (the rules are one double sided sheet), this is a game with a lot of strategic depth. There is some luck in that players draw tiles randomly, one per turn after placing a tile, but the rest of the game is pure strategy. Deciding which tile to place and where, when you have many options, makes this quite a thoughtful game. At times you need to protect your smaller areas from encroaching opponents. Sometimes you need to race to control a village or cut your opponent off.

There is not a lot of variety in terms of game components nor, though functional, are they anything special. The Chinese theme is simply graphic and unimportant to the game mechanics. If you’re easily bored with simple tile placement games, this game may not provide enough interest for repeated play.

If you’re interested in strategic tile placement games, trying to protect your areas and take others from your opponents, finding important areas of the board and slowly developing your position, then you may find this game to provide hours of thoughtful replay. It’s ease of rules and quick play makes this a good family game too. It is also available as an iPad app.

This review was written based on a privately purchased copy. No previous relationship with the game publisher nor compensation was involved.

c2014 by Richard A. Edwards