Carcassonne for Five
July 17, 2006
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We had some folks over and I sprang Carcassonne on the lot of them. When you’re playing with 5 players, you get a lot fewer tiles to place in the course of the game– and a lot of things can happen before your turn gets back around. With five players, you will have to vie for control of each road and castle that begins construction and you’ll have to try to go for double or triple points in order keep control of the construction you begin.
In our game, two players did everything they could to twart each other. If they could place a tile to mess each other up, they did. One of the guys even played a castle tile on a castle me and another player were attempting to complete– and he did it in such a way as to make it impossible to finish! The other guy manage to draw just the tile he needed to complete a set of roads that looked impossible.
A third player mostly stayed out of all the commotion, but myself and the fourth player ended up working together. We had that one giant unfinished castle that wasn’t scored until the end of the game. We also ended up placing the monastaries next to each other and then helping each other to complete them. I think we each scored 16 points like that. Towards the end of the game, I managed to pick up 8 points by playing a farmer on near two completed cities that were isolated from the rest of the board. But not a lot of cities had gotten completed, so there wasn’t a lot of points scored for farms at the end.
When the dust had settled, the players that had cooperated were in first and second place. The two players that had spent there turns making things difficult for everyone else had scored much less! I had several men in my hand and so regretted not playing more of them. If I had gotten just four or five more points even on unfinished construction, I could have won the game!
We were surprised at the end that the no scores went above 50 points at the end. The score card was just the right size! It was a fairly fun game even though most players were new to it. Cooperation seems to be the key to victory when there are 5 players in the game. But what looks at first as cooperation can suddenly turn into domination if one player happens to get the right tiles to take over what was once a shared castle!