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Guide to the Carcassonne Expansions

A Guide to the Carcassonne Expansions and Variants

We've put together a guide to the many expansions that have been published for the popular board game Carcassonne. Not all of the title listed here are available to purchase.

Small Expansions

The River 1
This is sometimes included the basic Carcassonne Game. It provides a set of starting tiles that players takes turns to place. It gets the game going more quickly and leads to more options once you start drawing the normal tiles

The River 2
More river tiles with a fork and an extra lake to go at the other end of the fork. It also includes tiles with features that go with some of the larger expansions, but they can be ignored. This expansion was sold separately but is now included in Carcassonne: Count, King & Robber

The Count of Carcassonne
This expansion consists of twelve new starting tiles (forming the City of Carcassonne) and a wooden Count figure (in purple!). Of all the small expansions, this one has the most impact on the game. At each scoring opportunity the Count performs a specific action, depending on the town tile the Count is on at the time. This action might entail extra points for the scoring player, or might be imprisonment for the player's follower, until the Count finishes his trip through the town. In this way players not only have to keep an eye out for the other players, but also take the positioning of the Count into consideration.

This expansion was sold separately but is now included in Carcassonne: Count, King & Robber

King & Scout
The smallest expansion; it contains just five new playing tiles and the King and Robber cards. The two cards are used to indicate which player has completed the longest road or largest city. The five playing tiles contain new features and are double-sided; the second side is an expansion for the Carcassonne: Hunters and Gatherers variant.

This expansion was sold separately but is now included in Carcassonne: Count, King & Robber

Large Expansions

(Numbered in the order in which they were released)

1. Inns & Cathedrals
This expansion fixes elements that some people dislike in the original game, particularly the low value score for roads - having an 'Inn on the Lake' tile as part of a road means each of the road tiles scores 2 points. . There is also a 'large' follower for each player that plays like a normal follower except it in the event of two players claiming the same feature, the large follower is worth two normal-sized ones. The new playing tiles also include two Cathedral tiles, which one point per tile to the city if completed during the game, but they don't score if these features aren't completed.

This expansion also introduces a set of grey colour followers allowing a sixth player to join the original game.

2. Traders & Builders
Traders & Builders alters the game much more than Inns & Cathedrals. Players are encouraged to complete their opponents' cities (and their own) by the presence of goods tokens on teh city tiles. The player that completes a city gains a godds token. The player who collects the most tokens of each type gets awarded extra points. In addition, each player gets a Builder and a Pig. The Builder gives you an extra turn when you expand the feature he is occupying and the Pig gives Farmers an extra point per city at the end of the game.

3. The Princess & the Dragon
There are three aspects to the Princess and the Dragon expansion.

Firstly, some of the new city tiles are marked with a Princess symbol. If one of these tiles is added to a city with a knight already occupying it, the knight can be evicted. There are also tiles with a Magic Portal symbol. These allow you to place followers on tiles that have already been placed - usually used to replace an evicted knight. 

Secondly, Carcassonne is periodically attacked by a Dragon who goes on the rampage when a Dragon tile is played. The Dragon moves six tiles orthogonally (not diagonally), with players taking it in turns to decide where he goes. Any follower that gets in the way is eaten (and returned to its owner).

Lastly, there is the Fairy playing piece that can be moved to a tile occupied by a follower whom the Fairy then protects from the Dragon and provides bonus points when features are completed.

This expansion makes the game much more aggressive than the normal game as the ownership of cities can be more hotly contested. Farmers that have been lying down in teh fields for a long time at at risk from the Dragon, but it is not as fearsome a problem as it appears; all players get to move the Dragon, and they will usually attempt to keep it away from their own followers. The Dragon is most dangerous when cornered.

4. The Tower
This provides a nice cardboard tower for holding all the tiles during play. There are new tiles with a 'tower base' feature, and a set of wooden tower pieces. Instead of placing a follower, players can place a tower piece on a base or on an existing tower. Towers can then capture any opposing followers within 'range'. Captured followers are held prisoner until they can be exchanged (for the opponent's captured pieces).

If the Princess and Dragon didn't do it for you, then this really is a more aggressive expansion and changes the nature of the game. Long-term building is generally discouraged as the followers are obvious victims for a well-placed tower.  

5. The Abbey & the Mayor
This expansion is a return to the kindlier, gentler days of Carcassonne before the Dragon, Count and Tower instilled aggression into the game. Each player starts with one of each of four new components:

The Abbey - can be used it to complete a 'trapped' features i.e. where an impossible tile is required for matching sides, as the Abbey automatically completes any feature that it touches.

The Mayor - acts a bit like the large follower found in the Inns & Cathedrals expansion, except can only be placed in a city and is worth as many followers as there are pennant flags in the city.

The Barn - placed at a junction of four tiles with a field segment (green) in each corner, even if there are other farmers in the field. It immediately scores like a farmer.

The Wagon - acts like a moveable follower. After scoring with the wagon, it can be returned to the supply or moved on to an adjacent, incomplete feature.

6. The Catapult
For the first time, some physical dexterity is added to the game. In the box are 12 new tile with a 'fayre' symbol. When one of these tiles is drawn, plays attempt to launch special tokens with a wooden catapult (included in the expansion). There are of four different kinds of tokens that determine what kind of catapult action is to be taken: Knock out tokens try to remove followers; Seduction tokens try to swap followers; Target tokens try to hit the fayre tile; Catch tokens must be caught for points. This expansion divides fans of Carcassonne: some like it and others feel it spoils the game.

7. Bridges, Castles and Bazaars
Adds three new options to the game.  Bridges may be used to continue a road over a field tile, thereby allowing an incomplete road to technically run into a field segment. They are otherwise treated and scored just like roads. Castle tokens are placed on top of those little, two-tile cities and allow players a chance to score points on the next completed adjacent feature. Bazaars are a new type of tile that allows players to auction off tiles in exchange for points.

8. Wheel of Fortune
This game is both a full replacement for the base game of Carcassonne and an expansion that can be played with original game. It includes the 63 tiles from the original base game, 6 tiles from Inns & Cathedrals, 1 tile from Traders & Builders and 2 tiles from King & ScoutThe is also a new start tile that is the size of 16 tiles and depicts the Wheel of Fortune. Some tiles in the game have numbers printed on them and allow players to spin the Wheel of Fortune with 6 different outcome varying from  forcing all players to remove a follower from the board to rewarding a player three bonus points.

This game does not require ownership of the Carcassonne base game. All expansions are compatible with the Wheel of Fortune.

9. Count, King and Robber
This expansion is a compilation of three previous expansions and a new one: 
7 tiles out of King & Scout; The Count of Carcassonne; The River II and The Cult