The southern French city of Carcassonne was founded on an important trade route between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Because of its strategic location, the city was often conquered and has known many rulers. As a result of this varied history, the city is famous for its unique mixture of Roman and Medieval fortifications.
The players develop the area around Carcassonne by placing land tiles. Each turn the area becomes larger as the players expand and add roads, fields, cities, and cloisters. The players may also deploy their followers as thieves, farmers, knights, and monks to control and score points for the roads, farms, cities, and cloisters. As the players have only a few followers, the wise player will plan his moves carefully and deploy followers when and where he can earn the most points.
If there is any game that will attract new players, Carcassonne is certainly it. Even if one ignores the multiple fascinating expansions, the basic game takes tile laying and makes it an art. Players feel as if they are actually building a large puzzle - with scattered cities and monasteries amongst a network of roads and fields. Placing "meeples," miniature people to claim these cities and farms, players must tactically attempt to control the biggest cities and longest roads. It plays well in multiplayer mode (up to five) but also makes a tremendous two-player game. It's simple, easy, and fun -- and most new players will ask to play it again immediately!