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Carcassonne Two Player 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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Without Carcassonne the word Meeple might not even exist, who would want to live in that world?  Draw a tile, lay it, maybe place a meeple.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that and that’s why Carcassonne is such a widely accepted game and one of the best gateway games there is.

Carcassonne Meeples

Carcassonne Review

8.5 out of 10
Carcassonne Two Player Board Game Review Block

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

The game might not be the most modern or look the coolest and the theme might not be the most appealing or exciting, but those things aren’t necessary for a good game. Carcassonne is a good game and one that is fun for all levels of experience and is dead easy to get to the table and play.  Draw a tile, place it, and lay a meeple if you wish, that’s all you need to know to play Carcassonne, but in actuality, there is so much more hiding just under the surface.

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

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

Pros

Super easy to learn, teach and play

Close to perfect game length

Great gateway game

Pretty high replay value

Cons

May be too luck dependent for some

Scoring is a little confusing for new players

Gameplay Experience:

Carcassonne is not the newest game, but it has definitely stood the test of time.  It is one of the simpler board games out there and that’s probably why it has become one of the most popular.  There are not many other games that are as easy to pull out and play as this one.

Its ease of playing makes it often recommended to people new to the hobby, and as a result, this was a game we got very early on.  Even being brand spanking new to the hobby, it still only took us a matter of minutes to learn how to play this game.  

After struggling to play some other heavy games, Carcassonne was a blessing and my wife and I were so happy to just have a break from those more complex games.  Nothing wrong with them but it’s nice to have a game that’s so simple, easy, and dare I say relaxing to play.

Pick up a tile, place it, and play a meeple if you want.  That’s really all you need to know to start playing and that’s what makes this game so great.  New players can just sit down and start playing almost instantly and for those who know how to play, you don’t have to worry about remembering minor rules or thinking about complex strategies.

Carcassonne Tiles
Look at all those tiles!

The scoring might be a little complicated and the farmers a little hard to understand at first, but new players don’t really need to think about that stuff initially.  So as long as you have one person who knows how to play there really are very few other board games that are as easy to get to the table and play.

Carcassonne Rules Summary:

In Carcassonne, players take turns drawing and placing tiles.  The tiles have to connect to each other in various ways but as long as they are valid connections, they can attach to any previously played tile.  If you draw a road tile it has to connect to an already played road, similarly, you can’t place a field right up to a road.

Players also have the option to place one of their meeples on any tile they lay, which will score them points either when the feature is complete or at the end of the game.  For example, if you lay a road tile and the road does not currently have any other meeples on it you are able to place one of yours on that tile after it is laid.  You will then score points for each tile of that road once it is finished or at the end of the game if it is never finished.

Carcassonne Game Example

The different ways you can score with your meeples are listed below:

  • Placing a Highwayman (Meeple on road): This will score you 1 point per road tile when the road is completed or at the end of the game
  • Placing a Knight (Meeple on a city): This will score you 2 points per city tile once it’s complete, but only 1 point per city tile at the end of the game if it is unfinished
  • Placing a Monk (Meeple on a monastery): This will score you 1 point per tile for the monastery and each directly surrounding tile.  This tile is considered complete once it is fully surrounded.
  • Placing a Farmer (Meeple laying down in field tile): These will score you 1 point per field tile connected to your farmer at the end of the game.  
Carcassonne Tile Types
The different types of tiles and ways to lay your meeples

Those are the few ways you can score, and it’s easy to see how the game is quite simple and easy to play, but after a few games, you’ll quickly see its nuances.  Some very important things that come into play are that your meeples have to be laid on the tile you just played and that your meeples are collected instantly after completing a feature such as a road, city, or monastery, giving you the ability to place it again.

Keeping these things in mind you can see how players can interact with each other even if they can only place a meeple on the tile they just laid.  Even if you can’t lay your meeple on an already claimed feature you can build a road and place your meeple and try to eventually connect it to one of your opponent’s roads, same with a city or field.  

The player with the most meeples on a feature will gain the points but a tie will result in both players getting the points.  This means you can try to steal a large feature from another player, or at least block them.  This is very important when it comes to farmers since they are scored at the end of the game and can sometimes result in huge points, so it’s important to watch the fields and make sure your opponents aren’t getting the upper hand.  

One other important aspect of Carcassonne is that players have limited meeples.  If they complete the road, city, or monastery they are working on they are able to get their meeple back and use it again, but as long as it is incomplete their meeple will stay on the board.  This means players can try to make completing a feature impossible for their opponents thereby making them lose a meeple for the rest of the game.

The fact that meeples are limited is also very important when it comes to farmers since they will remain where they are placed until the end of the game.  So, placing a lot of farmers might put you at a disadvantage initially but it could pay off in the end if you lay them right.

All these minor details and interactions aren’t obvious until you have played the game a few times.  At first glance, Carcassonne seems too simple, but in reality, it has lots of potential for intense player interaction and strategy under the surface.

Conclusion:

Carcassonne is one of those games that is so simple and easy to teach that we think it should be on almost everyone’s board game shelf.  Even if it’s not your favorite game it is great for pulling out with new gamers and might be one of the best gateway games there is.  You can make it even easier to teach by ignoring the farmers for the first few rounds.

Gateway game aside, it is still a pretty great game for people already familiar with board games.  Even though the game is so simple that it’s almost relaxing to play, it surprisingly has a lot of strategy and depth to it that isn’t obvious upon your first few plays.

The ways players can interact with each other and thwart their opponent’s plans almost feel like loopholes in the rules.  When you first play the game and learn you can only place meeples on the tile you just played and it can’t connect to something that another player already has meeples on you probably start to wonder if Carcassonne is even a game or just a luck of the draw scoring activity.

Once you see how you can go alternate routes to connect up to your opponent’s claimed tiles though you can see the hidden battles that can occur in a game of Carcassonne with experienced players.  Maybe you try to make that players road impossible to complete, secretly try to steal the biggest field from your opponent, or even tie them for control of the largest city so they don’t get a huge lead for what they’ve been working on the entire game.

These are all strategies that aren’t easily seen by new players but once you’ve played Carcassonne enough, this is where the real game lies.  Carcassonne falls on both sides of the equation, super simple for new players, and at the same time has quite a lot of depth for experienced players.  This is why we think it’s a must-have game for most people.

Carcassonne doesn’t have a lot in terms of variable content in the box, but it is still very high in terms of replayability.  The luck of the draw and very game dependent tile laying makes each game feel very different.  New versions of the game also come with the river and abbot expansions which can make things a little more interesting.  If Carcassonne ever does get a little stale, the good news is that there are numerous expansions available for the game that all offer very unique twists and additions to the core gameplay.  

Carcassonne River Expansion
The river expansion always adds a little extra variety to the early game

The game might not be the most modern or look the coolest and the theme might not be the most appealing or exciting, but those things aren’t necessary for a good game. Carcassonne is a good game and one that is fun for all levels of experience and is dead easy to get to the table and play.  Draw a tile, place it, and place a meeple if you wish, that’s all you need to know to play Carcassonne, but in actuality, there is so much more hiding just under the surface.

Is Carcassonne Good For 2 Players?

Carcassonne is just as good for two players as it is with more.  In our opinion, most people would probably prefer this game with just two.  The biggest benefit of playing with more people is that games are a bit more chaotic and dynamic if that is your preference.

Playing with two, things are changing less on the table, and you have more control over what’s going on.  It might be a little harder to sneak your farmer into an opponent’s field or make a connection to your opponent’s road or city because with two players it is a head to head battle.  It’ll be a little more of a challenge, but the player interaction is more direct and confrontational and requires more strategy making it a bit more gamey.

For many this more direct player interaction can be a good thing, but those who like less conflict in a game might actually prefer playing with more players as other players’ actions don’t feel as aggressive.  It’s really up to the players on how aggressive they want to play though so if you and your gaming partner don’t like a lot of conflict in your games, then your games likely won’t have much of it, whether playing with only two or more. 

Playing Carcassonne with only two players also has other benefits like much less downtime between turns and getting to lay more tiles yourself.  Two player games of Carcassonne have the potential for one player to run away with the lead though if players are not equally experienced, especially when playing with farmers.  

So, Carcassonne is often better, more strategic, and gamey with just two players if both are equally skilled.  When Carcassonne is played with more players, differences in skill don’t matter as much and games are much more casual, fun, and laid back.  The gameplay doesn’t change dramatically between player counts but the overall feel definitely does.  

Carcassonne is a game that works well on both extremes of the equation. It plays great with two, but it also plays great with more. 

Pros:

  • Super easy to learn, teach and play. People can sit down and start playing with only a couple of minutes of explanation.
  • Close to perfect game length.  Games aren’t too short or too long, they’re just right.  
  • Great gateway game that still has quite a bit of strategic depth for more experienced players.
  • The game is already quite replayable just due to the random tile drawing, but what’s better is that there are lots of expansions available that are super easy to add to the game.

Cons:

  • May be too luck dependent for some.  Often, it’s just luck of the draw if you get that tile you need.
  • Scoring is a little confusing to new players at first, especially the farmers.   

Carcassonne Board Game (BASE GAME) | Board Game for Adults and Family | Strategy Board Game | Medieval Adventure Board Game | Ages 7 and up | 2-5 Players | Made by Z-Man Games
Carcassonne Board Game (BASE GAME) | Board Game for Adults and Family | Strategy Board Game | Medieval Adventure Board Game | Ages 7 and up | 2-5 Players | Made by Z-Man Games
Carcassonne Board Game (BASE GAME) | Board Game for Adults and Family | Strategy Board Game | Medieval Adventure Board Game | Ages 7 and up | 2-5 Players | Made by Z-Man Games

We hope this Carcassonnne two player review has helped you.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site's costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Other Carcassonne Versions

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 Hunters & Gatherers Board Game - Prehistoric Adventure with New Tiles & Meeples! Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 8+, 2-5 Players, 40 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games
Carcassonne Hunters & Gatherers Board Game - Prehistoric Adventure with New Tiles & Meeples! Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 8+, 2-5 Players, 40 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games
Carcassonne Hunters & Gatherers Board Game - Prehistoric Adventure with New Tiles & Meeples! Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 8+, 2-5 Players, 40 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games

Carcassonne Hunters and Gatherers

Carcassonne Hunters and Gatherers is a retheme of the original with a few new rules that add a bit more complexity and strategy to the game. Many things work the same but scoring is a little more interesting. You can’t expand this game but it does have a little bit more to it than just the base Carcassonne, so if you like the theme better and don’t plan on getting expansions right away, this might be a great version to consider.

Carcassonne 20th Anniversary Board Game - Special Edition with Upgraded Visuals and Enhanced Gameplay! Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 7+, 2-5 Players, 35 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games
Carcassonne 20th Anniversary Board Game - Special Edition with Upgraded Visuals and Enhanced Gameplay! Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 7+, 2-5 Players, 35 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games
Carcassonne 20th Anniversary Board Game - Special Edition with Upgraded Visuals and Enhanced Gameplay! Strategy Game for Kids and Adults, Ages 7+, 2-5 Players, 35 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games

Carcassonne 20th Anniversary

As we said, Carcassonne came out quite a while ago and as a result, this 20th-anniversary edition was released just recently. Now if you are new to the game this probably isn't the place to start but for the collectors or those who want the best components who are we to say its not the right copy of the game for you.

This version of the game includes higher-quality components, printing, and also some new extra tiles and features.

My First Carcassonne Board Game - Colorful Tile-Placing Fun for Kids of All Ages! Medieval Strategy Game for Family Game Night, Ages 4+, 2-4 Players, 30 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games
My First Carcassonne Board Game - Colorful Tile-Placing Fun for Kids of All Ages! Medieval Strategy Game for Family Game Night, Ages 4+, 2-4 Players, 30 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games
My First Carcassonne Board Game - Colorful Tile-Placing Fun for Kids of All Ages! Medieval Strategy Game for Family Game Night, Ages 4+, 2-4 Players, 30 Minute Playtime, Made by Z-Man Games

My First Carcassonne

Carcassonne is already a pretty simple game but maybe your board game partners are children, so this simpler less complex version might be exactly what you need.

This game is quite different from the original with a more fun and exciting theme and is much easier to play and learn, which is saying a lot with how simple the original is.

There are quite a few other versions of Carcassonne but they are much harder to find due to being out of print so you’d have to search for used and likely pay way too much. All the above versions should be pretty easy to get your hands on.


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