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iOS Game Review – Carcassonne

2012 December 9

Game: Carcassonne

Designer: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede

DeveloperThe Coding Monkeys

Number of players: 5

Play Modes: Pass’n Play and Online and of course, solo

Requirements: iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 and later.

Regular Price: $9.99/universal

What’s the game about?

From the developer…

Carcassonne is a German-style board game played by placing tiles and game pieces on a table. While playing, a medieval world of towns, roads and fields unfolds on the table.

Carcassonne for iPhone and iPad keeps all the charm of the board game and adds features only a digital board game can provide, like networked multiplayer or taking care of cleaning up the table after a game.

Carcassonne is one of the oldest Euro board games in existence (aside from Settlers of Catan, which is 5 years older) and it’s been finally been ported to iOS. Carcassonne is a simple tile-laying game, where you achieve points by claiming ownership with your meeples (pawns) by optionally placing them on a just laid tile, by you, in the hopes of achieving the most points. The game is incredibly simple but the structure of rules around it make it a great family game for 1-5 players. And the developers did a stupendous job at this implementation!

What’s your turn like?

On your turn you are presented with a randomly selected tile that you must lay down in the playing area. The idea here is to lay it down where you can get some points instantly, or choose the farming route, to score more points later on in the game. The rules for tile placement are (paraphrasing)…

  • a tile must be placed that the illustrations on this new tile match up with all adjacent tiles. i.e. – a tile with a city against the edge of the new tile can’t be placed next to a tile that doesn’t have a city against the edge. Basically the playing area (all the tiles) must be contiguous. But this is where you can get crafty, and screw over your opponents.
  • I can’t think of other rules right now, I think I summed it up.

Now, you have a number of pawns or meeples in your color to use. You have the option of placing 1 meeple on the tile you just laid down – in multiple areas of orientations. There are rules to this (paraphrasing)…

  • Only 1 meeple may be placed.
  • A meeple can only be placed on the tile you just laid down.
  • A meeple cannot be placed on an area if it would be sharing the same physical space as another meeple (your own or another player). An example is, if you choose to farm, therefore, laying your meeple down on it’s side in a grassy area, if, after laying that tile down, you can see that you can trace a line from that new tile/meeple, to another meeple with no physical breaks (such as cities, roads, rivers, etc) – so in the same area, this would be an illegal placement, and cannot be done.

Play continues like this until all tiles have been placed. At that point, the game is over and  scores are calculated. The player with the highest score is the winner!

Breakdown

Graphics:

The graphics are simply gorgeous! Whoever did the graphic design for this game should win an award. I was blown away my the crisp details. This is on the iPhone and iPad. Now I don’t have a retina display iPad but it doesn’t matter, it looks stunning. On the iPhone

Sounds:

During gameplay, there’s a beautiful acoustic number thats being played. It provides a nice, relaxing mood when playing. The sounds to indicate actions are of great quality too. I also hear there’s voice overs, which I have not heard yet, but that goes to show you the effort put into this game.

Game Play/User Experience:

The UI is excellent. The movement through screens is very intuitive and not cumbersome.  I wasn’t guessing on how to do things. They did a great job. Also to note, on the iPhone version, they changed the UI a bit, to make better use of the smaller screen, rather than just shrinking everything,

My opinion on the game:

This has got to be a near perfect implementation of a board game on a digital platform ever. I give The Coding Monkeys props for their fine work here. I have to admit when I initially saw the $9.99 price point – I thought they were nuts. Well, it was worth every penny. This game is pure quality. I highly recommend it! Only a few gripes involved the multiplayer capabilities. One of them is, that I can’t select from a list of game center friends it seems, to play against. I have to send out an email first, and my friend has to accept the invitation in an email before I can play them. Also, the quick play option for me only has pit me against 1 opponent.

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