Much as I love boardgames and love sharing them with my family, I’ll happily confess that in many cases they are too complex for family consumption, so I’m always interested to see an old classic remade in a more kid-friendly flavour.
Rio Grande Games is releasing a version of Carcassonne for kids, cunningly called Kids of Carcassonne (possibly following the same trend as Settlers of Catan versus Kids of Catan). For those of you not familiar with the concept of Carcassonne, it is a game where you gradually build up a medieval style map by laying tiles with various terrain features on them. You score points by completing these terrain features. The terrain includes towns, farms, roads and monasteries. The trick is that you can’t score points for completing a feature without having claimed the developing feature by placing a little wooden marker, known as a Meeple on the tile. Your supply of Meeples is limited, though you get them back when a feature is completed.
The kids’ version simplifies the process by using only road tiles so that they will always match. Each tile has pictures of children on it portrayed in different colors corresponding to the colours of the Meeples chosen by the players at the start of the game. When a road is completed, you place your Meeples on the tiles which have your color in them. The winner is the first player to get rid of all their Meeples.
It will be interesting to see what the kids version adds to the experience as we have been able to get by with the “grown-up” version with a couple of modifications. Originally when my kids were a little younger (five and eight) we played a stripped down version without the Meeples. You simply score points for being the first to complete one of the terrain features. Now that the kids are a couple of years older, we have graduated to nearly the full game. We play with all the rules except farms and as anybody who has played Carcassonne can attest to, the farm scoring is evil and best left well alone! Of course making maps of imaginary places is always fun and we have also been known to forget the game altogether and just make up maps using the tile pieces.
I’ll try and pick up a copy of Kids of Carcassonne over the next few weeks and post a full review after we have played a few games.