Carcassonne is a great game to play with children. Each turn, they only have to make one decision, and you can easily guide them to make decent choices. They enjoy matching up the roads, cities and fields and making a world.
Here is the strategy:
- Field Early, and Field Late
- Share the cities
- Plan your exit strategy
- Plan for cloisters
- Finish strong
Field Early, Field Late
Very early on in the game, the first time you draw a non-city tile, you want to put a farmer into the field. Field control gets you so many points at the end of the game, you want to get a guy in early, so that the cities get built around him.
After you have one guy in the field, you want to wait before playing any other farmers. You don’t want to run out of guys, so wait until the game is getting towards the end before playing more.
When the game is nearing the end. (3-5 turns left). Start playing in fields strategically. You know at that point where the cities are, and can often sneak one more farmer into the field.
You may have to start a little earlier if opponents start first.
(Carcassone teaches kids that good farmers lie around in the fields all day, (grin))
Share the Cities
The best way to handle cities is to allow someone else to sneak into your city, or to sneak into someone else’s. When you share the city, the other player has the incentive to help you build it.
Try to build one city with one opponent, and one city with another opponent. Then you have people working for you, and even if you share the points, you are getting double the cities.
Right before the city is almost completed, you should consider sneaking a guy in and stealing all the points, but this will put a target on your back.
Plan your Exit Strategy
(Do you have an exit strategy?)
Each time you play one of your men. Think about how you plan to get the guy back. Will it be a small city for quick points? Will it be one of your large cities? Are you planning to leave the guy in the field for the game?
It is ok to leave guys out the whole game, but you have to manager your guys, so that you don’t run out. I always like to keep one guy in reserve just in case you pull a cloister tile.
Always play on cloisters. They are the most guaranteed points in the game. Playing with kids. I will slip all of the cloister tiles into the stack that they draw from before the game starts. This gives them just a little advantage.
(Side note: when we play with the kids, we modify the game so that you don’t have farmers. It makes their decisions easier.)
At the end, you have to be very aware of everyone’s farmers. This is the point that can make or break your victory. Often you can steal one or two cities away in the last couple of turns.
That’s it! Do you have a recommendation for game modifications for kids? What is your Carcassone strategy?