Carcassonne: A Blast From the Medieval Past

You may have heard about Carcassonne, the medieval fortified town in southern France famous for its impressive outer walls.  Every year countless people flock to this historical city to learn about its rich history and explore its many towers.  But you don’t have to fly all the way to France for a blast to the medieval past!  The city of Carcassonne inspired a tile-based board game of the same name that lets you experience the world of knighthood through building landscapes and fortifying your city.

Build Your City with Carcassonne

Carcassonne uses a game board with a medieval landscape that the players will build piece by piece throughout the games.  Turn by turn, each player will draw a new terrain tile as the outer city begins to materialize.  Skill and cunning are required if you’re going to complete your cities, cloisters, and roads that earn you those valuable points.

Tiles can only connect to other like tiles—grass to grass, city to city, road to road.  Certain tiles are a combination of multiple types of areas, which means that no two completed games are going to look identical.  This variety makes Carcassonne feel fresh and new every time you break out the box for a new game.

Score Points From Your Followers

Just because you built a new road or city doesn’t mean it’s yours to keep!  You’ll have to claim your land by placing your little followers on a tile once it’s been placed.  These little followers are also called “meeples”, and add a cute visual element to the game with little bright red or yellow wooden figures.  

Your meeple will differ based on where you place it: knights defend cities, robbers defend the roads, and farmers defend the grass.  Once you’ve placed your meeple on a completed area, they’ll score you points and get you one step closer to winning the game.

Scoring points isn’t always so straightforward, however.  Just as you have to be quick to place followers before someone else steals your land out from under you, you also have an opportunity to steal from your fellow players.  A major part of the fun of Carcassonne is claiming your opponent’s land before they have a chance to.

Carcassonne Expansions and Spinoffs

While Carcassonne was inspired by the medieval French city, the game itself has also inspired a series of expansions and spinoffs.  The first expansion adds inns and cathedrals to the mix, making the game more complex for people who are looking for something a little more challenging.  With The Princess & The Dragon expansion, Carcassonne transforms into a mythical and mystical game that pits benevolent fairies against fire-breathing dragons in a fight to rescue the princess.

If medieval times don’t go back far enough for you, Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers is a spinoff that will take you back to the time when cavemen painted on walls and wooly mammoths roamed the earth.  Or, if you’re looking for something a little out of this world, the Carcassonne: Star Wars spinoff takes you to a land far far away where the evil Empire fights the virtuous Rebel Alliance.  If you’ve grown up playing the basic game of Carcassonne, you’ll love the combined sense of nostalgia and fun that comes from one of these countless spinoffs.

Go Back In Time with Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a board game that’s simple enough for ages 7 and up, so it’s definitely something that the entire family can enjoy.  Gameplay also usually lasts between 30 to 45 minutes, so it isn’t something that’s going to take up the entire night, either.  While the basic game isn’t incredibly complex, the spinoffs offer additional elements that will make the game advanced enough for adults to enjoy playing without the kids.

If you’ve ever felt drawn to the era of knights and chivalry, then Carcassonne is the game for you.  The randomness of the tile drawing provides endless possibilities that can take the game in any number of directions.  You’ll love the fast paced turns and heartless double crosses of this high stakes tile-based board game.  Step into the past and build your medieval French city with Carcassonne!

 

Lost Cities: An Adventure In Archaeology

If there’s one thing the movies don’t tell you, it’s that it isn’t cheap to be an archaeologist. Setting off on a grand expedition may sound like a fun-filled adventure, but you better come back with something of value! Lost Cities casts you as the adventurer who’s got to play their cards right if they want to make the most profit from their expedition. You’ll have a blast laying down the cards in this creative archaeology-themed card game that’ll have you pushing your luck.

Mounting Your Expedition

The goal of Lost Cities is to earn as many points as possible by mounting profitable archaeological expeditions. This card game takes the fun of adventuring and exploration and turns it into a strictly money-making business. After all, someone has to front the cost of your expedition and fund all of that gallivanting around!

In Lost Cities you’ll draw a card and play a card each turn, choosing from your hand to decide which expedition you want to play your card on. The cards come in different colors that rank from 2-10, with each expedition consisting only of cards from one color. You also have to lay the cards down in ascending order, which means that once you’ve played that blue 5, you can only play blue cards of rank 6 or higher for the rest of that expedition.

You’ll start out drawing from the deck, pulling cards at random to add to your hand and possibly use as part of your expedition. However, you don’t always have to play a card in one of your expeditions, as you have the option to discard one of your cards instead. You’ll have separate discard piles for each color, which gives you the option to draw a card from the top of one of those piles instead of from the deck if you so choose.

Adding Up Your Score

Lost Cities ends once all of the cards in the deck have been drawn. Once the last card is drawn, you discard the rest of the cards in your hand and begin to tally up the points of each expedition. Each expedition starts off with a value of negative 20, which means that you can end an expedition with negative points if you don’t have enough cards to offset it.

The thing that can either jettison you forward into the lead or cut you down is the powerful Handshake card, which represents an investment into your expedition. There are three Handshake cards in the deck, which can be played at the beginning of your expedition. These act as multipliers, with one Handshake doubling the value of your expedition, two Handshakes tripling it, and three Handshakes quadrupling it. 

But before you go getting all crazy with the Handshake cards, know that these will multiply the value of your expedition regardless if it’s negative or positive. That means if you stack up one of your expeditions with three Handshake cards but then end up with a value of -10, then you’re hammering yourself with a whopping -40 points. Be sure to plan smartly in order to make sure your expeditions don’t come back to bite you!

Lost Cities Sequels

Lost Cities has been a popular card game since 1999, but it has since been transformed into a board game as well. Lost Cities: The Board Game uses similar rules to the original Lost Cities, but also uses a board that sets you off down winding jungle paths to find the places with the highest point bonuses. Lost Cities: To Go puts this card game into a portable format that uses tiles instead of cards, allowing you to easily play a couple of rounds on a road trip or on the go.

Explore the Lost Cities

Lost Cities is a 2-person card game, so it’s definitely best for one-on-one competition. It’s suitable for ages 10 and up, which means adults and kids can face off against each other. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, but you’ll be hankering to play another round due to the addictive nature of the game. Buy Lost Cities today and enjoy the thrill of being an explorer from the comfort of your own home!

 

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