Carcassonne is a classic modern board game that has stood the test of time with various expansions and alternative versions available over the years making it a staple on many a board gamers shelf. It’s easy to teach and easy to learn meaning it is often one of the ‘gateway’ games used to introduce new people to the hobby. But what about the youngest gamers who aren’t ready for multiple scoring objectives. Well, wonder no more! My First Carcassonne is here to ensure that even a preschooler can get involved with a game that is not unrecognisable as its parent’s offspring.
My First Carcassonne from ZMan Games takes the idea of the original game and focusses in on scoring via roads. Aimed at players aged 4 and up, this is a game for 2-4 players that will take around 20 minutes to play. Just like in Carcassonne, each turn players turn over a tile to add to the expanding map ensuring that roads are continued. So far, so familiar. Here’s where that gameplay changes. On the roads are villagers, each of one of four colours (red, blue, green, yellow) corresponding to each player’s chosen colour.
If a player places a tile which completes and closes a road, then any player with matching meeples for the villagers pictured on that road can place them on the road. E.g. Red player completes a road that shows two red and one green villager. Not only does the red player get to place 2 of his meeples but the green player also places one of hers since it’s a closed road. This lends itself to building a bit of strategy into the game teaching children to be aware of possibly assisting the other players without meaning to. The game is won by the player who is first to place all of their meeples on the board.
As a game aimed at young children, the box is bright and colourful and the tiles are visually appealing with cartoon style villagers and signs of village life. The tiles themselves are thick and a good size for little hands to not be too fiddly (about the size of a toddler hand). The meeples are larger than those found in the standard game so easy to handle and nice and chunky.
My children started on this game at the age of 5 and 3. While the 3 year old wasn’t employing any tactics, he understood about placing the tiles and connecting roads while big sister could focus on checking she was closing the right roads for her meeples and starting to think about whether or not she wanted to help her opponents. Now at 8 and 5, respectively, the game still comes out as a quick fun game and it has served well as an introduction to the main game which the 8 year old now plays and the 5 year old is just starting to get into. In saying that, I have also played this game with teenagers with great success. Kids that don’t often play games have learned this really quickly and gone back to play multiple games to see if they can beat each other (right up to 16 year olds!). In that respect, My First Carcassonne is in itself a great gateway game that isn’t going to overwhelm but starts to introduce basic tile laying and strategy to those new to the hobby.
That concludes our thoughts on My First Carcassonne. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy My First Carcassonne today click here!