Publisher: Z-man Games (Hans Im Gluck)
Designer: Marco Teubner
Duration: 20 mins
*For the review, my copy is the French language version of the game, Mon Premier Carcassonne (Parlez-vous français?). Aside from different language on the box and in the manual, the game is identical to the english version as it is not language dependent. The tiles themselves have no words.*
A simple village life. Such beautiful grass, endless roads and animals roaming free. That is, until all those animals get out and you gotta run out with your friends and catch them!
My first Carcassonne is the younger kid’s version of Carcassonne. Carcassonne was actually my first game when I got into this hobby, so it’s pretty special to me. So when I saw they had a kid’s version, I simply had to get it to play with my kids! It is simplified down from it’s big brother, but is it just as fun to play?
What’s in the box?
Inside the box there are 36 oversized tiles and 32 oversized meeples (8 in each colour). The components are really great. The tiles are extra thick and will take the kids abuse, and the big meeples help with little hands. The artwork is bright and colourful, and all the tiles are unique and have fun little touches, my daughter loves them and likes to point out the ones with cows on them (cause apparently they are stinky cows). Perfect for a kid’s game.
So how do you play?
Each player will choose a colour and take all the meeples for their colour. If playing with less than 4 players, the remaining colours are not used. Then, take all the tiles and shuffle them and place them in a stack so all the players can reach the pile. Now, you can start!
The youngest player begins, and draws a tile from the stack and places it in the middle of the play area. Then, clockwise, the next player will draw a tile and place it connecting to an existing tile, and then the next player will do the same. What’s nice in this game is that every tile can connect to each other, so you don’t sit there trying to find a tile that will work. But… there is more to it than just making a pretty picture!
As you can see on the tiles, there are little kids dressed in the player colours on the roads in the tiles. And some tiles have ongoing roads and some have ends of roads. When a road becomes completed, the players who have kids wearing their colours on the roads will place their meeples over them (so if a road is finished with 2 yellow kids and one blue on it, the yellow player will place 2 yellow meeples on it and blue 1 meeple. If you are playing with less than 4 players and the colour on the road isn’t one of the players colours, you ignore it). As more roads are completed, the city will become full of little meeples!
As soon as a player places their 8th meeple, the game is over and they win! If more than one player places their 8th meeple on the same road, all those players win. In the rare case that no one was able to place their last meeple, the player with the least amount left wins the game!
Is it any good?
I really don’t have super high expectations for kid’s games… I mean, if it says 4+ on the box it can’t have much strategy. But while this game isn’t as strategic as it’s big brother, it is very faithful to the original. It makes it easy for kids to play because all of the tiles will match up to each other. And there really are only 4 basic designs for tiles, the only variation being the art and the colour of the kids on the roads.
Now the game does have a lot of luck. I’ve played games where tiles with the same colour kids on it were drawn 5 turns in a row, but there is quite a bit of strategy involved, in which position you place the tiles and where you place them. I actually bought this game when my daughter just turned 3, and we started playing it and I would help her place the tiles (treating it more like a puzzle than a game), and she’s almost 4 now and she’s beginning to develop strategies and actually making good moves and beating me without any help. The luck really helps balance the gameplay between kids and adults, but it can be hard if your kids don’t draw their colours and get frustrated (heck, even us adults can get frustrated too).
This was one of the first “real” kid’s game I bought for my daughter, and it’s a great purchase. I love it because it has a similar feel to Carcassonne but I can play it with her. She loves it because she can actually beat me on her own, and the animals are really pretty on the tiles (especially the “stinky cows”). Play time is just right (can actually take only 10 mins with 2 players if everyone plays fairly quickly). If you love Carcassonne and have young kids, or your kids love board games but all you have is Candyland and you can’t take it anymore, try this game. It’s a good blend between luck and strategy, and it’s been a hit in my house. And I’m sure it will be in yours as well.
- It’s Carcassonne! For little kids!
- Adorable art and high quality
- Surprising amount of strategy
- High luck factor which might be frustrating with some kids