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Carcassonne Big Box Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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To date, Carcassonne Big Box is the most ridiculously oversized game we have ever bought. At first glance, you may think this version of Carcassonne is trying to overcompensate for something, especially when you realize how empty the box is on the inside.

Jokes aside, Carcassonne Big Box comes with a lot of content and might be the perfect place to start if you’re new to the game!

Carcassonne Big Box Review

8.5 out of 10
Carcassonne Big Box Two Player Review

Is it Good For Two Players? : Yes great for two players!

Other than the box size, Carcassonne Big Box is a great edition of the game to get in our opinion, especially if you can find it at a good price. The expansions are very worth it and allow you to play Carcassonne the way you like, and the two main expansions are some of the best ones released to date and are often considered essential for any fans of the game.

Theme: 5/10
Replayability: 9/10
Components: 7/10
Conflict: 6/10
Fun: 6/10

Husband’s Rating
9 out of 10
Wife’s Rating
8 out of 10

Pros

Lots of content that makes the game more variable and replayable

Includes two of the most popular expansions

Excellent insert and labeling

A pretty comprehensive set

Cons

The box is just too big.

Gameplay Experience:

I read that this version of the game was obscenely large, but I didn’t truly understand what that meant until it was delivered. Pulling it out of the shipping box, I had no idea board games came that big. I honestly think they should rename this edition to Carcassonne Gigantic Box so people know what to expect.

Okay, I promise that was the last joke about the ridiculous size of this version of the game. In all honesty, if we had seen this version at a local store, I am unsure if we would have purchased it. But since we do most of our board game shopping online, this is the version we had decided to get after lots of research, and there are no regrets.

We had never played Carcassonne before, but after reading lots of opinions, we came to the conclusion that it’s a great game by itself. But if you play it for any amount of time, you are probably going to want the two larger expansions that come with this Big Box edition: Inns and Cathedrals and Traders and Builders.

Since we play board games a lot, and Carcassonne sounded right up our alley, we decided to go all in, which is a rare thing for us to do. The simple gameplay and so many recommendations for these two expansions just made the Big Box version seem like the most logical place to start.

We have played Carcassonne a lot, and you can find our full review of the base game here. The base game alone is a lot of fun, but people were right; if you play pretty consistently, you’ll quickly start longing for new variations and ways to play.

It was great to be able to just look in the Big Box and grab an expansion and start playing a round of Carcassonne that feels fresh, new, and a little more varied. The two larger expansions are almost essential, and we use them in practically every game unless we are teaching new players. And all the other smaller expansions are great if you want something just a little different every once in a while.

Carcassonne Big Box Rules Summary:

You can find the full rules summary for the base game here. We will go over the rules for the two big expansions in this version of the game. Most Carcassonne expansions keep the core gameplay the same and instead add other new rules and tiles.

Inns and Cathedrals

This expansion comes with quite a few new tiles, including, you guessed it, Inn tiles and Cathedral tiles. These tiles are laid as usual and can provide higher rewards but come with more risk.

  • The Inn Tiles: These tiles are special road tiles that also have an Inn on them. They are played like any regular road tile but change how that particular road is scored. If a player completes a road with an Inn on it, they will score two points per road tile instead of one. If they don’t complete a road with an Inn on it, though, they will score zero points at the end of the game instead of one.
  • The Cathedral Tiles: These tiles play quite similarly to the Inn tiles. They are played like any regular city tile but change how the city is scored at the end of the game. If a player successfully completes a city with a Cathedral in it, they will score 3 points per city tile instead of two. If at the end of the game, they have not completed a city with a Cathedral in it, they will score zero points for that city.
  • Large Meeples: This expansion also includes an added large meeple for each player to use. This meeple counts as two meeples and can be used to protect the feature you claim or to try and steal something your opponent is working on.
Carcassonne Big Box Inns and Cathedrals Expansion Tiles
This are all the tiles for the Inns and Cathedrals expansion

Traders and Builders

This expansion adds some unique mechanics that change the game a bit more dramatically than the Inns and Cathedrals expansion. Some of the new tiles in this expansion also have goods symbols on them.

  • Builders: One of the cool new mechanics in this expansion is the new builder meeple. This meeple can be placed on an unfinished city or road you own. Each turn you lay a new tile on the unfinished section with your builder on it, you get to draw a second tile and go again immediately, taking two turns in a row. Once you finish the road or city, you take the meeple and the builder back.
  • The Pig: Players now also have a pig meeple at their disposal, which can be used to increase the score of a field at the end of the game. If a player scores a field at the end of the game and also has a pig in that field, they will score 4 points instead of 3 for each bordering completed city.
  • The Goods Tiles and Tokens: Some city tiles depict goods symbols on them, including wine, grain, and cloth. When a player completes a city, they will score goods tokens equal to the number of good symbols in that city. This does not have to be the player who owns that city. At the end of the game, the player with the most of each good will score 10 bonus points for said goods.
Carcassonne Big Box Traders and Builders Tiles
All the tiles that come with the traders and builders expansion

Conclusion:

Carcassonne Big Box is quite a good value for people who are new to the game. It comes with the Inns and Cathedrals and Traders and Builders expansions, which we would argue are pretty essential for anybody who will be playing the game a bit.

The Inns and Cathedrals expansions increase the risk of unfinished features and could lead to some surprising end-game scoring if you succeed at completing the higher-scoring roads and cities. The large meeple also makes stealing another player’s work from out under them a lot more practical.

The Trader and Builders expansion gives players the opportunity for satisfying double turns and also makes the battle for game-winning farms even more important with the addition of pigs. The goods tiles and tokens are one of our favorite parts of this expansion, though, as it entices you to complete other players’ cities.

This reward for completing other players’ cities has so many interesting aspects to it. You get rewarded for completing it and making their city score less, but at the same time, you’re giving them back their meeple to use for other things. It’s a very interesting mechanism that players have to really think about to utilize, but it definitely increases player interaction.

These two main expansions alone change up the gameplay a lot and breathe a lot of new life into the base game while also including a lot of new and interesting tiles. The other smaller expansions are just icing on the cake and give players even more variety in terms of how they want to play Carcassonne. The Big Box gives you so many ways to mix and match that it will take quite a while for the average player to want more.

All extra tiles included in the Big Box Version
All additional tiles in the Big Box
All the extra meeples and pieces from Carcassonne Big Box
All the extra meeples and pieces from the Big Box

Truly, the only negative about this version of Carcassonne is the gigantic BIG box, and even that has some positives. The insert and box labeling makes it so easy to quickly and easily grab whatever expansions you’re feeling for game night. In that sense, the big box is great. On the other hand, though, the box makes it a game that almost always stays home.

Carcassonne Big Box Insert
The inside box labeling is a pretty nice feature of the Carcassonne Big Box edition

Its sheer size makes it too much work to bring to a friend’s or a game night elsewhere, so if you’re a traveling board gamer, this is definitely something to think about. If this is a deal breaker for you, though, you could always plan ahead and get a little tackle box or something similar to put the base game in when traveling. We are just too lazy and not good enough at planning for this, but that’s just us.

Carcassonne Big Box Review
That is the extra large meeple for size comparison, not even the standard meeple

So, other than the box size, Carcassonne Big Box is a great edition of the game to get, in our opinion, especially if you can find it at a good price. The expansions are very worth it and allow you to play Carcassonne the way you like, and the two main expansions are some of the best ones released and considered essential for any fans of the game. We are very happy that we got the Big Box version of the game, and in our opinion, if you are pretty confident, you’ll like Carcassonne, you can’t go wrong with getting this version of the game.

Is Carcassonne Big Box Good For 2 Players?

Carcassonne Big Box comes with a lot of extra content that, in our opinion, mostly improves the game overall. In our original review, we argued that Carcassonne is a great game for two players and might actually play the best at this count. Player interaction is very direct, and it definitely is a head-to-head battle at this player count.

Playing with two players did make some strategies harder, though, such as stealing your opponent’s feature. The large meeple included in this version is a great tool for two-player games and makes stealing from your opponent more viable but can also be used to mitigate stealing.

The goods symbols also add new dynamics to the player interaction by rewarding players for completing their opponents’ cities. Since you can only do this to one other player in two-player games, the tension of deciding whether to keep building your city or finish it before your opponent finishes it for you is a great new aspect of the game.

These are just two of the ways the included expansions affect two-player games of Carcassonne, but all of them affect the gameplay in quite a positive way. As we said before, Carcassonne is great with two players, and the Big Box and its expansions are no exception.

Pros:

  • Lots of content that makes the game more variable and replayable. Players can mix and match the included expansions as they wish.
  • Includes the most popular expansions that are considered essential by many.
  • Excellent insert and labeling that makes it very easy to set up and put away the game.
  • A pretty comprehensive set that is a great place for new players to start their Carcassonne collection.

Cons:

  • The box is just too big, making it too hard to take to game nights anywhere but home. You will have to have a separate box and plan accordingly if you need to bring your copy of Carcassonne to a friend.

Carcassonne Board Game Big Box (2022 Edition) - Complete Base Game and 11 Expansions for Ultimate Variety! Medieval Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 7+, 2-6 Players, Made by Z-Man Games
Carcassonne Board Game Big Box (2022 Edition) - Complete Base Game and 11 Expansions for Ultimate Variety! Medieval Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 7+, 2-6 Players, Made by Z-Man Games
Carcassonne Board Game Big Box (2022 Edition) - Complete Base Game and 11 Expansions for Ultimate Variety! Medieval Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 7+, 2-6 Players, Made by Z-Man Games

Carcassonne Big Box

If Carcassonne sounds like the perfect game for you then the Big Box edition might actually be the place to start.  This is the edition of the game we added to our collection.  Normally I’m not one to go all in and like to play it a little safer in terms of holding off on expansions until I know for sure if I like the base game, but in this case, I decided to risk it and I don’t regret it.

The base game already has enough to keep you entertained for quite a while but if you play the game consistently, you’ll probably eventually want to add a couple expansions so you can vary up your games a little.  The Inns and Cathedrals and Traders and Builders are the two main expansions that come with Big Box and are considered essential by many which we agree with and typically never play without them.

It comes with a lot of other little expansions too, they are not as dramatic or impactful but they are still nice ways to change things up every once in a while.


Carcassonne Big Box 2022

The version of the game we used for this review was the 2017 edition of the game which you will likely not be able to find anymore. Now there is the Carcassonne Big Box 2022 edition that is widely available and is pretty identical to the previous 2017 edition so this review still applies. It does have different box art and also includes updated rules and some minor modifications to a few various tiles.


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