Expanding The City
Although the idea of three new mechanics may seem daunting to learn, they are incredibly simple to pick up. In no time at all, our group found ourselves scheming various ways to boost our scores with these new features that felt as if they had always been part of the game.
Ever since I first played Carcassonne, I’ve been itching to get as many expansions as possible. If anything, just to see how big of a map we could create by the end of the game using all the expansions. Although this is only my second expansion pack, it’s amazing to see how the game is growing in size and height, whilst keeping the complexity to a minimum.
Pop open the quaint little box for this expansion and you’ll be greeted by the following components:
- Pig meeples
- Builder meeples
- Trade tokens
All of the components that are provided with this expansion are high quality, brightly coloured to match the rest of the game's pieces, and play a role in the gameplay. Everything that is, aside from the bag, which is a lovely addition to the set and gives you a place to safely store your components after you’ve finished playing.
It’s great to see more height being added to the game through taller meeples. I hope that other expansions will continue to add more height to the game, to give more of a 3D element to the countryside we are building.
So, we have three new elements in this traders and builders expansion; the pig, the builder, and the trade tokens. But the question is, what do they do?
Trading introduces three new types of token to the game; cloth, wine and grain. Certain city tiles will contain the symbols found on these tokens, and once a city is complete the player who completed it gains tokens equal to the symbols inside their city. This gives players the tactical opportunity to complete a city under their opponents control to get the tokens inside.
Builder meeples are given to each layer at the start of the game, and can be placed inside an incomplete city. If a player expands a city that has their builder inside, they are able to take another turn and place an additional tile. However, only one additional turn can be gained each round. This feature is perfect for opportunists who like to complete multiple areas in one fell swoop.
Pigs are simple but effective. They can be placed on one of your farms during the game to boost the score for each city included by one. Although it may not seem like much, those points can quickly accumulate and give you an edge when the scores are close.
As you can see, these three components add a lot of variety to the game using very few pieces. They are quick to learn, quick to score and quick to pack away. Which is a running theme you’ll find through all of the Carcassonne expansions.
If I had to choose my favourite, it would be the builder. It adds the excitement of gaining another turn if you’re clever with your tile placement, and makes room for some shenanigans. However, it also leaves you open for sabotage from your opponent, who could close off your castle and deny you any of the perks from expanding.
As is the way with each expansion, the traders and builders set adds new depth to a game of carcassonne without making it too complex. One of the most charming things I love about Carcassonne is the way it seamlessly expands the game whilst maintaining the simplicity that makes it so fun to play.
I do wish that the pig feature had more interaction during the game. As it just serves as a one time play meeple that only serves a purpose at the end of the game. Aside from that, the other expansions add a lot of interaction and intuition that can swing the direction of a game any which way.
If you’re looking to expand your carcassonne collection, and pull off some two turn shenanigans with the builder meeple, this expansion is for you!