No, we aren’t actually going to the town in France (boom just gave you the definition of the game, and a quick geography lesson), we’re just learning how to play the game. This is one of the simplest games I have ever played, so it baffles me that it comes with 7 pages of instructions – that’s excessive if you ask me. But, if you really want me to hold your hand, I can walk you through the game one step at a time.

Step 1: Get 2-5 players. You can’t play alone, sorry. Go make some friends.
Step 2: Pick your colors, hand out all of your little meeple, and put one of each on the “0” mark on the score board.

The board.
Tiles for days.

Step 3: Take all of the tiles out of the box and place them face down. You can slide them around the table to shuffle them up if you really want to, but it’s pretty unlikely that anyone would have memorized each and every tile and where it was in the pile. So spare yourself the silly steps.

Step 4: Pick your turn order and proceed as such (see bullets below) for every turn. Literally every. single. turn. They are all exactly the same until you run out of tiles. It’s not that exciting, I promise.

Green is on a road, & red is in a city and has a monastery.
  • Draw a tile. Any one of them, don’t take all day.
  • Place it somewhere on the board. You must place it legally – if you’re first, congrats, no thinking required. If not, be aware that the sides of tiles touching need to match, easy. Cities = cities, roads = roads, and grassy areas = ….yupp, grassy areas. Look at you, you’re a pro.
  • Decide if you’d like to place a person on the road/city/monastery (that’s the pointy building that will be on it’s own on a tile) tile you place.
  • *Important! If someone is already on that road/city you can not share that area with them.
  • Score if able/desired (hold your horses, I’ll explain that below)

Step 5:  Scoring. (See, I told you I’d get to it). I’m splitting up the different types of scoring, just to make sure no one gets confused along the way. Scoring happens at the end of every turn, so don’t forget to do it if you don’t want to fall behind.

  • Roads- If your meeple is on a completed road, meaning there is a city/village/monestary on each end, you can take him off of it and gain 1 point for each tile that has a piece of your road.
  • City – If a city is surrounded on all sides, congrats, you kept the peasants out! Score 2 points for each tile that is part of your city, and 2 more points for any coat of arms icons in a completed city. Remove your meeple.
  • Monastery – Monasteries are completed when they are completely surrounded, so box it in like a sardine! It is worth 1 point for itself as well as each surrounding tile (up to 9 total). Remove meeple once scored.*Note: When you remove your meeples from their locations, they can be reused as long as the game continues.
  • End of Game – If you still have meeples on the board once the title are gone, you can still score them, with some adjustments. Road and monastery scoring is the same, points = tiles, cities are worth half as many points. Nothing too confusing.
You don’t even have to use a calculator thanks to the board! Just count & move the pieces! Yay!

Step 6: The game ends when you run out of tiles.

And voila! There you have Carcassonne. (I told you it wasn’t that exciting). It’s a simple game to learn and play, and not bad overall. It’s light, but does allow for some strategy and plotting. I recommend it to groups interested in something different every time they play, since the board is built as part of the game. It’s a game worth taking a look at.