If you’ve ever played Carcassonne you know it to be a strategy game filled with hours of fun, intrigue, and recreation of medieval Europe. The base game is great and even includes the Rivers expansion, which makes your endeavor to build large cities, create the longest road, and own the largest farm that much more difficult.
King & Scouts, on the other hand, adds a new level of gameplay and fun with 12 new tiles. There are 7 tiles for the core game and 5 to use with Hunters & Gatherers. We’ll leave those 5 tiles from Scouts for another time after we’ve actually played with Hunters & Gatherers.
The 7 tiles for King are very useful. 5 of them are played in the game and have part of a city on them. They may have a monastery or even roads too. The tile with 2 cities connected by an overpass bridge is by far the most interesting. It counts as just one tile in a city but can help you to build one of the largest cities you’ve ever seen.
Added to this mix of city tiles we have the King and the Robber Baron. These add that extra level of gameplay. The first player to create a city, placing the last tile to complete the 1st city, gets the King card. If a different player completes a larger city that player gets the King card. End of the game grants the player with the King card 1 point for EVERY completed city in the game. This can add up fast and although it won’t replace the monumental sums you can accrue for farming it can help the urban planner.
The Robber Baron works exactly like the King…almost. Whatever player has the longest road gets the Robber Baron card. If a different player completes a longer road he/she gets the Robber Baron card. End of the game provides 1 point for each completed road to the player with the Robber Baron card.
I tend to lose out on the battle of urban planning but road construction is my game. In a close game having the Robber Baron can be enough to put you in the lead for the win.
Neither card, or the 5 playable urban tiles, are the Ace up the sleeve. Players still need to balance their gameplay and rely on what has worked for them in the past. But, the addition of King makes Carcassonne more suspensful and exciting than ever before.
If you haven’t played Carcassonne before I highly recommend you give it a try. I’m sure your FLGS has an open copy you can use. Or, you can always make the trip to Battleground Games in Abington where I game on most Monday and Wednesday evenings.