Android, PC •
The overall reaction when we heard that our overlords at Asmodee Digital were taking over Carcassonne was one of worry. After all, Carcassonne for iOS was the first “real” digital board game and is still one of the best you’ll find on the App Store. Why mess with a good thing? The worriers must all own Apple products, because once you leave the confusing confines of iTunes there’s not a real good version of Carcassonne for you to play anywhere. Sure, there was an Android version, but it couldn’t hold a candle to Coding Monkey’s magnum opus. Asmodee is hoping to fix that with a new version of Carcassonne releasing today for Android and PC.
If you’re not familiar with Carcassonne I just need to ask where you’ve been for the last 20 years? It’s a staple of board gaming, arriving and winning the SdJ back in 2000. It’s a tile laying game in which you’ll draw a tile, place it on an ever-growing map of rural France and then decide if you want to place one of your meeples on the tile to score points. Put your meeple on the road, he’s a robber earning points depending on the road’s length; put him in a city and he’s a knight, scoring points for how big the city gets. There are also monks and the always troublesome farmers and it’s all pretty simple and a perfect gateway into the sport of Victory Point hunting.
Carcassonne is also famous for starting the current trend of board game expansions. I don’t automatically hate expansions, but prefer them in narrative-style games where they add more story rather than just a bunch of new rules. Carcassonne expansions (and there are approximately 154,293 of them not to mention different versions of the same game) are the latter. The iOS version already has several expansions while this new version is launching with only The River and The Abbott expansions. Don’t worry, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, and The Princess & The Dragon are all coming soon after launch.
The new Carcassonne is fully 3D (or 2D if you prefer it that way) and offers a bunch of features that we’ve come to expect in our digital cardboard. Solo play vs. multiple AIs, pass-and-play multiplayer, and asynchronous online multiplayer. Yes, it’s an Asmodee title with asynchronous multiplayer which, if I’m not mistaken, is a sign that the end times are upon us. A new super-AI, the Champion, will be released via a free update in the next few weeks for those of you who find the initial three AIs too easy. Also, it has cross-platform play between the Android and Steam version, but there’s no playing with someone on iOS.
The Google Play link doesn’t seem to be active yet, but keep plugging away at it and it should show up soon for $2, a discounted launch price. The Steam version is up and ready to go and currently on sale for $10. No idea what the regular price is, but I’m going to take a leap and say it’s more than $10. Strangely, the press release we received indicates that the Steam version is for PC/Mac, but the Steam page is only showing PC. I’m looking into it to find out if Carcassonne is coming to Mac or if the release was incorrect. Will update when I find out.