Author Topic: Carc Print & Play Demo - A fun gaming experience?  (Read 1014 times)

Offline OJH1997

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Carc Print & Play Demo - A fun gaming experience?
« on: March 01, 2022, 05:06:22 AM »
So I have seen the Carcassonne Print & Play Demo that was released in 2020 as part of the Stay at Home campaign discussed a couple of times on this forum but I was yet to see (and apologies if I missed it) anyone talking about the Merits of actually playing this game and this got me thinking - would it actually be a fun and interesting game for someone who already owns Carcassonne?

Well for the cost of some ink, prit-stick, and 15 minutes infront of a Hairy Biker's Cooking programme with some tea I got to work sticking the printed out tiles to cardboard and familiraising myself with the rules of this free to download demo (here if you are interested:

The first thing of note is this game has only 48 tiles and they are smaller than normal and in C2.1 style, in fact they are same size as (if you print the rules in standard A4) as Carcassonne Für 2 and further - feature the exact same distribution of tiles. This includes the two tiles variants that don't feature in base Carcassonne;a RFRF with a Monestry and a FCFR. But unlike Carcassonne Für 2 this game can be played with up to 5 players and importantly it doesn't include farmers. However the multiple games I played of this, like 90% of my Carcassonne games, was 1v1.

Comparison in size of a C1 start tile and the Print & Play Demo C2.1 Start Tile

The two different tiles

The Print & Play Demo also does not come with Meeples and even though I have 115 in my small collection I thought that would not be "in the spirit" of playing a Demo Carcassonne and without needing to worry about follower orientation in this game I elected to use small wooden cubes from another of my borad games to represent my followers in this. You'll need 5 in each colour and a 6th to use on the printed out scoreboard if you aren't tracking scores with pen and paper.

The opening tiles placed, the stage is set

With the stage set the battle commenced over several matches. The first thing I noticed was that without farmers there was no incentive to make small towns (2 tile Cities) if one could use an end tile for anything else as it would score you only 4 points rather than a potential 7 that it can if you had farmers next to it in base Carcassonne. For me and my playing partner this actually meant we were far more aggressive in this version than in a normal game. This could be chalked down to the fact both of us are new to standard Carcassonne (I have 20 year or so of H&G expereince but we've both only played about 10 games of Carcassonne and 50 of various other Carc's together) but I do think aggressive plays are brought out more in the version. Firstly with only 48 tiles it felt more paramount to block your opponant knowing the likelihood of getting tiles that can fit certain holes was diminished and further (as mentioned before) without farmers you can't double benefit from your own cities or benefit at all from ones your opponant can finish on their own.

One of our games in a well under way state, note that of the three small towns 2 were completed as a 'bonus' as the tiles that finished them were more useful in extending a road that eventually scored 10 points and a Monestary that scorred the full 9

Another thing that we noticed was with a different distribution and variance in Monestary tiles, as well as less tiles in the game overall, they felt slightly harder to finish and whilst you may be able to gurantee at least 6 end game points they felt like they were places you were more likely to get a follower stuck for the rest of the game than in normal Carcassonne. Which is especially a problem in a game where you only have 5 as opposed to 7 (this does slightly balance out as you never place followers as farmers but still feels more constricting and makes you think twice before playing a follower as a Monk).

The end state of one of our early Games

So what were our final thoughts on this Print & Play Demo? Well again, with the caviat that the majority of our expereince comes from Carcassonne versions that were not the original, this game was still great fun to play and forced us to think about tile placement quite differently than in our normal play sessions of any Carcassonne game. The bigest thing for me was certainly the lack of farmers which certainly turned my normal gameplan for a Carc into a non starter (In H&G I pretty much always have the biggest medow by building it myself or stealing and same for farmers in base out of the games I have played of that). Equally the quick paced nature and more aggressive feel of the game created by limiting the tiles you get to play to about 2/3rds of normal further made it an enjoyable experience. Is the Print & Play Demo sufficiantly different tactically to warrent it getting more table time than a standard and full version of any Carc box? No. But is it a game that you should consider giving some table time to every now and then for a different Carc expereince? I would say for sure yes, if not at least for the novelty and for the fact that after you have made it - well you have a basically free version of the game you can play on train tables...

What's the different between a Thief, a Fisherman and a Hiker?
Different editions of Carcassonne that's what...

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