I am not going to GenCon this year, but that does nothing to change the fond memories I have of GenCon past, and one of my favorites is a Carcassone mashup event called “Carcassone Kingdoms” where twelve people divide up into six teams of two and try to finish a 1000-tile super-mega Caracassone board.
Perhaps I should digress enough to explain Carcassonne: a wonderfully innovative game by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, players take turns pulling map tiles out of a bag and placing them, creating the map board as they go. It is another “gateway” game, in that it is relatively easy to explain to newcomers to hobby gaming, but different and complex enough to entice and make the point that board games are more than just Monopoly.
Carcassone has been around since 2000 and is one of those games popular enough to spawn a never-ending series of expansions and variants.
Carcassonne is normally a game for 2-5 players that uses less than one hundred map tiles. Some brilliant person(people?) had the idea of getting several copies of the game and a selection of expansions, 1000 tiles in all, and come up with house rules to let a dozen players play them all in four hours.
I am not sure which of the people at this website came up with the brilliance, I’d like to give him or her a shout out, but it seems someone here did. Probably this guy? And they are running the event again at GenCon 2014 (sign-in needed to see link): you can check it out for yourself.
It is truly a masterwork of board game surgery. The game plays smoothly, the house rules cover every issue that arose during play, while the size of the board and number of players made us all feel like we were doing something epic; something beyond the pale of mortal board gaming.
Flash forward to August 2014, where I will be hosting a family get-together featuring nine-eleven family members for a weekend, most but not all of whom are avid gamers. Time for something special! Time for … a mega Carcassonne mashup!
We’re not going to try for 1000 tiles, but maybe … 400? Something that we can finish in four or five hours at a leisurely pace? Something that my 76-year old dad can enjoy as much as my hardcore gaming spawn* will?
* And yes, they are all hard core gamers, every one of them. Apparently I did something right!
My Gamer Girl and I have been accumulating Carcassone and expansions for our own play. We’ll need more, but not overwhelmingly more, we already have a lot.
Now all that remains is to tailor the house rules and select expansions that will add up to the board size we want and support the gaming flavor/experience we wish to achieve.
Mega Mashup Caracassone
A four-hour Carcassonne variant designed for four or five teams of two players each.
- 2x Carcassonne base game
- 2x Inns and Cathedrals
- 2x Traders and Builders
- 1x The Princess and the Dragon
- 1x The Tower
- 1x Abbey and Mayor
- 1x Bridges, Castles and Bazaars
Set aside Bazaar and Magic Portal tiles, and Mayor and Wagon playing pieces. They are not used.
Separate pieces of each color into two piles each containing seven Meeples, one Super Meeple, one Builder, and one Pig. Apply nail polish (we painted their feet) or other visual cue to indicate that one pile of pieces differs from the other.
Separate the players on each team so that they are opposite of each other. Each player then plays as if this was a normal Carcassonne game, laying a tile and (optionally) playing a piece on the tile.
Generally speaking, pieces and tiles are played exactly as they would be in a normal game.
- Pieces of the same color work together: a builder from one Blue player can be placed on a city controlled by the other Blue player and both players will be eligible to earn bonus turns
- Pieces return to the player when scored or eliminated – thus the nail polish so one can tell where to return the piece
- Most of the game pieces are managed by the individual player but the Barn is not; when to play the Barn and by whom will be a team decision
- Play continues until all tiles are laid or the time period expires.
The Cheat Sheet contains simple recaps of the main game rules to help those who are new to the game. There are also a couple of intentional rule adjustments; use the Cheat Sheet version of the rules whenever there is a difference.
The Cheat Sheet prints out on two pages in Word.doc form but I don’t have the time today to compress it in WordPress.com compliant format. Download the properly-formatted version here.
These are all Monasteries. If a Monastery is in a city, specify whether the meeple is in the Monastery or City.
Banners add two points each to completed cities, but do not count at all if the city is not completed at the end of the game.
Earn a resource (Cloth, Wheat and/or Beer) by completing a city that contains the resource icon. You do not have to “win” the city, just complete it.
The player(s) with the most of each resource at game end earn 25 points. If a tie, tied players all get 25 points.
When you play this tile, in addition to your regular move you may move the Wizard or the Witch onto any incomplete city or road.
The Wizard adds one point per tile to that feature when completed. The Witch subtracts one point per tile.
When a Volcano tile is played, place the Dragon on that tile.
When a Dragon tile is played, the Dragon moves six times. The player to the left of the current player moves the Dragon once, then the next player, and so on until all six moves are complete.
The Dragon may not move onto the tile that contains the Fairy. Nor may it move onto a tile that it already occupied during this current movement.
On any of your turns, instead of placing a meeple, you may move the Fairy onto ANY tile.
This is an “Inn on the lake”. Roads that connect to this tile are worth two points per tile.
When you lay this tower tile you may place a meeple as usual, OR you can place a tower level on ANY tower tile on the board.
Towers capture all followers on orthogonal tiles at a range of (number of levels in the tower), and can grow indefinitely. If you capture a piece from someone who has one of yours, you exchange them. Or you may ransom a captured piece during any turn for five points (you lose 5, the capturer gains 5). You can immediately use that piece.
On your turn, instead of placing your meeple you may cap ANY tower by putting your meeple on it. This keeps the tower from growing but your meeple is stuck there all game.
Barn (no picture)
Instead of a meeple, when placing a tile that causes a four-corner field you may place your Barn.
The barn remains for the remainder of the game, and does not count towards control.
Placing a Barn gives you the current score for that farm. You do not have to control the farm to place Barn, and any number of Barns can occupy the same farm.
The super-meeple is in all ways just a regular meeple, except that he counts double for determining feature ownership.
You may place your Pig in a farm instead of a meeple if you already control the farm and are extending it.
Your Pig remains in place until the end of the game.
If you end up controlling the farm that the Pig occupies, you earn an extra victory point per completed city in the farm.
Instead of placing a meeple, you may place your Builder in a city or road you already control when extending it. The Builder does not count towards control, and will remain until the city or road is completed.
Once per turn, if you extend a city or road that contains your Builder, you get a bonus turn. This includes the turn when you placed the Builder.
You may only earn one bonus turn per regular turn. You do not get a bonus turn when completing a feature, only when extending it.
Lord & Castle
When you place a tile that completes a two-tile city that is under your control, you may score the city as usual, or deploy a castle.
A castle includes a “lord” in the form of a meeple or super meeple. This piece is considered to be in the castle, not on a tile, and is immune to the Tower and the Dragon.
The Castle “controls” the two tiles that it occupies and the two tiles immediately adjacent (called the “fief”).
A castle in the (red) two-tile city will control six (orange) tiles.
The Castle is scored when any tile in the fief scores, receiving the same score; both Castle and Lord return to the player.
If a player owns both the Castle and the feature being scored, she gets points for each. If the Castle in the fief of another castle, the second Castle scores too, and so on.
A Barn must be played in the Castle fief to cause a Castle to score. Farms by themselves do not.
In the above, the Castle will “score” if any of the orange roads or the orange city are completed, or if the yellow monastery completes. The blue roads and cities will not “score” the Castle because they are already complete or are not in the Castle’s “fief” (the pink rectangle)
The monastery is not in the fief either, but two of the monastery tiles are in the fief and that is all that matters.
Hope you enjoy the board game surgery!
🙂 😀 🙂