General info and comments
Originally released by Hans im Glück in 2014, this second edition of the game is known as C2 for short. A 20th Anniversary Edition was released in 2021 including some celebratory elements that do not affect the rules. A third edition, known as C3 for short, was released in 2021 including more detailed graphics and some minor wording changes.
The game was released in its first edition, known as C1 for short, in 2000. This edition includes some variations in wording, if compared with later editions, and a different graphic style. However, all the editions are compatible.
Info on farmers rules
Farmers are considered a part of the base game for most Carcassonne players. They are also used in every official tournament as they are commonly not considered an expansion. In C2 and later editions, farmers were separated as a supplement to ease access to the game for new players and smooth learning curve. WikiCarpedia follows this streamlined approach. For the sake of other expansions and the rest of the WikiCarpedia, farmers are considered a part of the base game. You can find farmers rules here.
Components and setup
Following part will explain initial setup and introduce components of the game.
The 72 LANDSCAPE TILES show roads, cities, and monasteries, in a field.
The backs of all the tiles are the same, but the START TILE has a darker colored back, so you can recognize it easily. Other graphical elements such as houses, people, or animals have no impact on the game. 
Place the start tile (the one with a dark back) in the middle of the table. Shuffle the remaining tiles and set them as different facedown stacks that are easily accessible to all players. Tiles can also be placed into a sack or game box and drawn randomly.
Then comes the scoreboard, which you set to the side of your playing surface (table, floor, etc.).
Finally, we have the MEEPLES. You will find in the box 40 regular meeples, including 8 meeples in each of these colors: yellow, red, green, blue, and black.  In addition, there are also 5 abbots. Usage of abbots is described in The Abbot mini expansion page, including 1 in each of the same colors. Abbots are not important from base game point of view.
Start by distributing 7 meeples of the color of their choice to each player. These meeples constitute each player’s personal supply. Each player takes seven meeples of their chosen color to form their supply. Place each player's eighth meeple on the 0 space on the scoreboard. These will be used to track each player's score throughout the game. If you are not playing with The Abbot, put those unique meeples back into the box.
Overview and goal of the game
In Carcassonne, players take turns placing tiles and expanding the landscape of roads, cities, monasteries and fields, one tile at a time. Players may place their meeples on the individual features of tiles as well (roads, cities, monasteries, and fields), where they will become highwaymen, knights, monks and farmers. Points are earned throughout the game, and the player with the highest score at the end is the winner!
A game of Carcassonne is played in clockwise order. Starting with the youngest player,   the current player does the following actions in the order listed below, after which it is the next player's turn, and so on and so forth. First, we'll give you a brief description of the actions you have to do during one of your turns. These actions will be detailed as we present the roads, the cities, and finally the monasteries. So what are these actions?
We’ve already seen the most important parts of the game. Now, we will further expand on those actions by showing you how they apply to the other features, namely the cities and the monasteries:
We have already seen most of the rules for Carcassonne. There are only a few points left to see, but first, here is a summary of what we’ve seen so far:
Game end and final scoring
The game ends as soon as a player can no longer draw and place a landscape tile.  Then, players proceed to a final scoring, after which the winner will be known.
Once the game is over, all meeples still in play are scored:
- Each incomplete road is worth 1 point per tile, just like during the game.
- Each incomplete city is worth 1 point per tile and 1 point per coat of arms, which is only half the points.
- Each incomplete monastery is worth 1 point plus 1 point per adjacent tile, just like during the game.
Once the final score is known, the winner is the player with the most points.
Many meeples on the same road
Many meeples in the same city
Use a meeple, score a feature, and get the meeple back
You can place a meeple in a feature you just completed, immediately score it, and then return the meeple to your supply.
To do so, follow these steps: 
__ 1. Place a tile, completing a feature (such as a road, city, or monastery).
__ 2. Place a meeple as a highwayman, knight, or monk on the feature you just completed.
__ 3. Score the completed road, city, or monastery and return the meeple to your supply.
- The players decide who starts the game by any method they choose—such as by rolling three meeples. The first player to ‘roll’ a standing meeple decides who plays first. (Thanks to Joff.)
- To determine the first player; each player draws a tile from the bag, the player that drew the tile with the most roads (0 to 4) plays first, if there is a tie for most roads, a draw-off takes place. This is repeated until someone wins. (Thanks to michael.)
- Take your next tile at the end of your turn, to give you time to think about placement and avoid analysis paralysis.
- Play with a three-tile hand. The abbey counts as part of your hand. Play your turn, including the builder, and then draw back up to three tiles. These tiles could be visible to all or hidden to the other players (Thanks to DavidP and youtch.)
- When playing with a bag for the tiles, the original starting tile may be put into the bag, and unplayable tiles can be put back into the bag rather than set to one side. (Thanks to dwhitworth.)
- Trees (bushes) on roads do not end the road—only houses do (when the road forks). This makes road building a lot more dynamic. (Thanks to Tobias.)
- When a tile is the only tile which can currently complete a structure, other players can offer to ‘buy’ it by offering points, trades counter, abbey, and so on. (Thanks to Deatheux.)
- If you place a tile that fills a hole in the playing field by touching something on all four adjacent sides, you get another turn. This helps motivate people to finish the board even if they do not get an advantage from the placement. (Does not apply to the abbey tile). (Thanks to viberunner.)
- Incomplete features at the end of the game do not score points at the end of the game. (Thanks to metoth.)
- The edge of the table limits the playing area. Thus, a player may not place a tile past the edge of the table or move the playing area to place a tile that would have been past the edge of the table. (Thanks to metoth for prompting this one, and to SkullOne for pointing out that this is an official rule from Hunters and Gatherers.)
- Table borders COMPLETE features as an abbey would. (Thanks to PreGy.)
- Use colored dice instead of meeples on the scoring track. Start out with the 6 showing on top. When the marker completes one lap, turn it to the number 1 to indicate it has completed one lap. This shows at a glance which player is on what lap and who's ahead. On the 100 space track it’s even easier to determine someone’s score at a glance. (Thanks to Carcking.)
Use of a table
A number of questions have been asked about rules related to the play area itself, including what happens when the edge of the area is reached, or if a table has to be used for play. The following clarifications are from Georg Wild from HiG (5/2013):
- The edge of the table is the limit for the game if, as stated in the rules, a table is used.
- The rules state that the starting tile is placed in the middle of the table. If all of the tiles are shifted to allow more room, the starting tile would no longer be in the middle. So in principle, total shifting of the tiles is not allowed. Additionally, with a manual shift of all of the tiles, the tiles and figures on the field can slip, which could lead to incorrect positioning of tiles or figures.
- Addition of a second table is possible if one of an appropriate height is added to the first table. If a table is extended (as with an additional panel), make sure that the tiles and figures on the playing field do not slip.
- Playing on the floor: The rules technically do not allow this, because the rules state that the first tile is placed in the middle of the table. Playing on the floor is not forbidden, however, if use of a table is not feasible. If the floor is used, tiles must be placed so all tiles are visible to all players. Tiles cannot be placed under the sofa, cabinet/shelf, etc.
- It is important generally, that all the players in the round agree how to play:
- Table - Standard
- Table - with "total shifting" of tiles
- Table - with extension
- Continue to play fairly and not intentionally unfair to other players.
This edition replaces one pigsty for one cowshed in the tiles marked with *.
20th Anniversary Edition
The 20th Anniversary Edition includes some celebratory details besides the glossy UV-printing:
- The highwaymen by the roads usually look a bit different, but they can also join the party (maybe they will be a bit more peaceful in the future...). In case you play with an expansion that use them, they will count as normal highwaymen, as usual.
- There are also additional details on the tiles, such as people partying everywhere, as well as hidden many so-called "Easter eggs". These make reference to other Carcassonne or HiG games. All these details have no effect on the rest of the game.
For Icons explanation and licensing please visit Icons page.
General info and comments
Farmers are considered a part of the base game for most Carcassonne players. They are also used in every official tournament as they are not considered an expansion. In the new edition of Carcassonne farmers were separated as a supplement to ease approach to the game for new players. WikiCarpedia follows this streamlined approach. For the sake of other expansions and the rest of the WikiCarpedia, farmers are considered a part of the base game.
What would life be without agriculture? We try to answer part of this question by introducing the hard-working farmers who spend long hours in the fields of Carcassonne. As we did for the roads, cities, and monasteries, the farmers will be presented using the actions of a game turn.
- None. Only contents of base game are used.
A brief summary the most important details about farmers:
- Farmers are placed “laying down” on the board.
- Farmers are only scored during the final scoring, not during the game.
- Each completed city adjacent to a field you occupy gives you 3 points.
- Each completed city can be worth points for any number of different fields.
- Similar to roads and cities, if there is more than one farmer in the same field, only the player with the most farmers in that field scores its points. In the case of a tie, each tied player scores full points.
For Icons explanation and licensing please visit Icons page.
General info and comments
It introduces the abbot meeple and garden features. 
Along with The River, The Abbot is considered part of the basic game that can be used as desired.  It implements a mechanic that is unique to the new edition of Carcassonne, diverging in this aspect from the 1st edition.
With its introduction in 2014, tiles featuring gardens became available in the new design Base Game which included The River. Later, they appeared on tiles in the major expansions as they were re-released in the new artwork, and in Big Box 6 when it was released in 2017.  Bear in mind that The Abbot provides a new mechanic involving the abbot meeple, but the tiles it affects are not part of the expansion itself. Garden tiles that have been included in the base game and in expansions are listed for information in the tile distribution below.
Finally, it must be noted that the (new) abbot in this expansion is not the same as the (old) abbot used on German, Dutch and Belgian Monasteries, and Monasteries. The new abbot is a specialized meeple for monasteries and gardens whereas the old abbots were normal meeples placed on specialized monasteries. Just in case things weren’t confusing enough already.
- 5 abbots, one in each player color.
Each player adds the abbot of their color to their supply. With the exception of the new rules used with this mini-expansion, all basic Carcassonne rules remain unchanged.
The following tile distribution includes all the tiles featuring a garden that can be found in the Base Game and the expansions released until now (12/2022) for C2 and C3.
For Icons explanation and licensing please visit Icons page.
For first edition rules follow here: River.
General info and comments
The River II was released for the New Edition by Hans im Glück in 2017 as part of Count, King and Robber. The River II was originally released for the 1st. Edition in 2005, and later bundled in the major expansion Count, King and Robber in 2008.
The river expansions modify the beginning of the game by having players place a set of specific river tiles before the normal tiles.
- The River: 12 river tiles, each with a dark back and no symbol (original version) or a stream symbol (Big Box 6 version).
- The River II: 12 river tiles, each with a dark back and a crown symbol.
- The 20th Anniversary River: 17 river tiles, each with a dark back and no symbol. One of the tiles is double-sized.
- The River C3: 12 river tiles, each with a dark back and no symbol (both the base game version and the Big Box 7 version).
- CutCassonne: 3 cut-n-play river tiles with no symbol.
The river expansions replace the start tile. Select the river expansion you want and discard the others. However, you may combine The River and The River II as indicated below.
Preparation of The River (New Edition and C3)
Set aside the source and lake tiles. Shuffle the remaining river tiles and stack them facedown. Add the lake tile to the bottom of the stack, and place the source tile faceup as the starting tile.
The same rules apply to The River C3, even if its source and lake tiles are slightly different:
Preparation of The River II
The river expansion added to Count, King and Robber includes a river fork tile. It should be set aside along with the source and lake tiles. The fork tile is to be placed first (after the source tile) by the first player. 
Combining The River and The River II
You can combine The River from base game with The River II to make a very long river. Keep only one source and one lake.
Preparation of the 20th Anniversary River
Set aside the double-sized source and the two lake tiles. Shuffle the remaining river tiles and stack them facedown. Add the two lake tiles in random order to the bottom of the stack, and place the source tile faceup as the starting tile.
The River II special features
The inn and the volcano on the river follow the rules from their expansions (Exp. 1 - Inns and Cathedrals and Exp. 3 - The Princess and the Dragon, respectively). The pig-herd  has the same effect as a pig in a field (from Exp. 2 - Traders and Builders). If you are playing without any of these expansions, simply ignore their associated features.
Clarifications for new landscape tiles
When placing meeples and scoring fields bear in mind that river segments split fields. 
The following tiles do not split fields - there is one field on each tile 
Fields do not go under small bridges - there are 4 separate fields here
and three fields here, one north and two south.
This large bridge does not separate fields. There are two fields here - one eastward and one westward. 
The houses by this bridge do not end the road.
For the River II there are some clarifications when using it with other expansions:
- Exp. 1 - Inns and Cathedrals: One of the river tiles contains an inn that affects a road.
- Exp. 2 - Traders and Builders: The pig-herd increases the value of its field by 1 point per completed city and castle. This bonus is in addition to the points given by the pig. 
- Exp. 3 - The Princess and the Dragon: Immediately after placing the lake with volcano, place the dragon on it.
- Exp. 5 - Abbey & Mayor: The pig-herd only affects field scoring for farmers during the game (due to the barn) and after the game. Barns do not score additional points from the pig-herd after the game.  
- Exp. 6 - Count, King & Robber: We recommend not to use a river and The Count of Carcassonne. Combining the two can lead to situations where the river cannot be completed.
- Note: If you decide to use The Count of Carcassonne and a river as starting tiles for a game, it is possible that one will not be able to use all of the river tiles if they are placed too close to the City of Carcassonne. River tiles which cannot be placed should be removed from the game, in accordance with the basic rules. Even if the river cannot be placed in its entirety, the game should proceed in the usual way.
House rules for The River
- You are not permitted to lay down any meeples until the entire river is down. (Thanks to metoth)
- Once the river is complete, it may be moved to the center of the playing area. (Thanks to Joff)
- Instead of starting with the spring and setting aside the lake, put all of the river pieces into the bag. In this way the river can be any size and there is usually more then one option for placing a river tile. (Thanks to DavidP)
- Mix the original starting tile (without a river) in with the river tiles. If it is drawn then it acts like a 'bonus' tile that can be placed anywhere. (Thanks to RationalLemming)
- Lay the river in reverse order, from lake to spring. No real advantage, but might be more desirable, when playing the Count of Carcassonne expansion, to have the lake near the City of Carcassonne for purely aesthetic reasons. (Thanks to Scott)
House rules for The River II
- Play the fork of the river first, and lay the spring last. The lakes are mixed in with the other river tiles. (Thanks to Joff)
- Pig-herd tiles do not score a bonus. (Thanks to Joff)
- Play both rivers backwards starting with the city/lake. This is more realistic because you then get two springs producing rivers that join and flow ‘down’ to a lake. Discard two lakes—the plain one from River I and the volcano. To set up, place the lake tile, put one spring tile aside as a final ending tile, and then split the balance of the river tiles into two stacks. The junction tile is shuffled into stack 1 and the other spring into stack 2. Then the stack 1 is placed on stack 2—so that the junction will be drawn sometime before the spring. If playing with the Count of Carcassonne, place the city/lake so that it completes one of the small cities around Carcassonne. (Thanks to dwhitworth)
- Select only one lake tile and use two spring tiles. Lay the river in reverse order. The fork can be placed randomly, or at some predetermined point. The end result is two rivers flowing into one which then flows into a lake. (Thanks to Scott)
- Start from the fork, playing tiles on all three branches. Play the spring and lake tiles at the end, or mix two of the three with the rest of the river before play to have two of the three branches end randomly. (Thanks to Scott)
The River I C3
20th Anniversary River
The River I C2 (Base game version)
The River I C2 (Big Box 6 version)
The River II C2
For Icons explanation and licensing please visit Icons page.
- They have no impact considering the base rules. Some of them are used in some expansions, such as The Markets of Leipzig or The Tollkeepers.
- The Big Box 6 includes the sixth player, in pink color, as part of the base game and not at Exp. 1 - Inns and Cathedrals. This makes the rules clearer.
- The ZMG rules of the base game mention the "first player" without explaining how it is decided. However, the Big Box 6 rules are re-aligned with the HiG rules and indicate the first player is the youngest one.
- It is common practice to choose starting player at random. More on this in house rules section.
- A newly placed land tile must fit the adjacent terrain on all edges! During placement it is not enough to look for only one side that fits.
Alternatively, if legal, the player could place the abbey tile (Exp. 5 - Abbey & Mayor) instead of drawing another tile. (1/2013)
By extension, other tiles in the player's supply could be chosen: a German castle (Castles in Germany) or a Halfling tile (Halflings).
- If drawing tiles out of a bag, a tile that cannot be placed could be returned to the bag for later use.
- Village is a little set of red roofed buildings surrounding the crossroad.
- This list is valid in general terms and should be considered open ended. Some expansions incorporate additional features that may end a road, such as groups of trees and bushes, cottages, lakes, various types of ecclesiastical buildings, castles, etc.
- Note that a coat of arms only affects the city segment it is in, not the whole tile (if there is more than one segment on a single tile).
- Monasteries are always located in the center of a tile, so when you place a monastery you must continue the existing other landscape features. Monasteries tend to be surrounded by fields, so monastery tiles normally have field and road edges. In some expansions, we may also find monastery tiles with city edges, and even monasteries within cities.
- Monasteries can be placed directly next to each other, or corner to corner. It is not necessary for there to be eight other (non-monastery) tiles neighbouring a monastery. A monastery stands in the middle of a field segment and other segments can be placed next to it. In contrast to roads, cities, and fields, it is not possible to connect to a monastery.
- When two meeples of one color are occupying the same road, city, or field, you do not score double in these cases. The number of meeples (or in Exp. 1 - Inns and Cathedrals the size of the meeples) has no effect on the points that a player earns from a road, city, monastery, or field. Two knights do not double the points. The number of meeples is only important in establishing who has the majority.
- The ZMG rules state the following, which lead to certain interpretation issues when dealing with some expansions: "The game ends immediately after the turn of the player who placed the last tile."
- Rules do not include tiebreakers. That is rules explaining situation when few players share the same score.
- Note that features are considered to be complete as soon as the tile is placed, although meeple placement and scoring only occur afterwards. This is important when playing with magic portals (Exp. 3 - The Princess and the Dragon) or flying machines (Mini #1 - The Flier (Flying Machines)).
- In determining field size, fields can be limited by all kinds of barriers, for example, roads, cities, or rivers which cannot be circumvented, or the edge of the playing field. It can certainly happen that a field covers almost the entire playing field, and there will likely be fields that remain open for the entire game.
- In reality, some special mechanics in some expansions (the Festival, the Dragon, etc.) do allow return of farmers to their owners. (12/2014)
Gardens do not count as monasteries in relation to their interaction with other expansions, such as Message 3 (Smallest monastery) from The Messages (Dispatches). (10/2018)
Clarification by Christof Tisch (HiG) on BGG:
This clarification can be generalized to other expansions providing bonus affecting monasteries (monastic buildings) but not gardens:
- Hills & Sheep: Vineyards
- The Wheel of Fortune: The Inquisition sector
- Mini #2 - Messages (Dispatches): Message 3 (Smallest Monastery)
- Markets of Leipzig: Bookbinders quarter bonus
- The Watchtowers: bonus for monasteries (monastic buildings)
- As stated in the rules of Big Box 6.
- The expansions included in Big Box 6 that contained garden tiles are Inns and Cathedrals, Traders and Builders, The Flier (Flying Machines), Mage and Witch and The Robbers.
- As far as the Big Box 6 is concerned, the sixth set of (pink) meeples is a part of the basic game, not Inns and Cathedrals. The same happens in Big Box 6 with the sixth abbot meeple. Prior to Big Box 6, the Base Game included five abbots, with the sixth included with the sixth set of meeples in Inns and Cathedrals.
- An abbot could be placed onto an abbey or a shrine/cult place, as they are considered monasteries (albeit the latter heretic). The abbot can be involved in a challenge between a monastery/abbey and a shrine/cult place. The abbot's special ability would allow him to quit the challenge, even if his monastery/abbey or shrine/cult place was not complete, and would score the incomplete feature (monastery, abbey or shrine/cult place). See Abbey and Mayor and Count, King and Robber for more details.
- An abbot could be placed onto other features considered monasteries: German monasteries, Dutch & Belgian monasteries, Japanese buildings and Darmstadt churches. The same rules mentioned in the previous note would apply. See Monasteries in Germany / Japanese Buildings, Monasteries in the Netherlands & Belgium, and Darmstadt Promo for more details.
- The abbot is considered a meeple, but he has limitations as described in this sentence. Therefore the abbot can use a magic portal and can be used as a flier. However, the abbot can only end up on an unfinished monastery or garden, and the monastery or garden must be unclaimed if using the magic portal. (3/2015)
In contrast with the previous clarification from 3/2015, the Order of Play included in Big Box 6 omits the abbot from the list of figures that can be a flier. This omission is due to a mistake by HiG, as confirmed by one of the German proofreaders (Kettlefish) in this post from 5/2018 on Carcassonne Central:
The same omission is still present in rules translated into other languages. (01/2019)
- The abbot cannot be placed on a tower. See The Tower for more information.
- You do not place a meeple because you have decided not to, or you don't have any left in your supply.
- The wording of the ZMG rules speak about "the player deciding to not place a meeple." This can be misleading. It may be interpreted as if the player needs at least one meeple in their supply in order to decide not to place it. This is not the intent in the original rules by HiG.
- The actual C II rules refer to not placing a "meeple," but they are also referring to special figures not considered as meeples such as the builder, the pig or the barn, as can be implied according to the figure classification provided in Big Box 6 and making it extensive to all the expansions. Therefore this stipulation actually refers to not performing any other 2. Placing a meeple action at all but this is not explicitly stated. In other words, the publisher was keeping the rules as simple as possible at the moment when not all the new edition expansions had been released. (12/2014, updated 3/2015, updated 9/2018)
- This scoring occurs immediately during the 2. Placing a meeple phase when the abbot is removed. This effectively protects the abbot from the dragon and produces a scoring round for Messages. Afterwards, the normal scoring phase occurs. (3/2015)
- You can only score the abbot placed on a monastery or a garden before the feature is completely surrounded by tiles. In this case, you always score the abbot (on the feature), never the feature itself. (11/2020)
Abbots placed as abbots on special monasteries (German monasteries, Dutch & Belgian monasteries or Japanese buildings) could be also removed as per the interpretation of the rules. The Abbot rules don't contain any limitation to prevent players from doing so.
In this case, a player removing the abbot from a special monastery will score it as if placed on a normal monastery at the end of the game, as indicated in the rules (the position of the abbot meeple is irrelevant). Note that you are scoring the meeple, not the feature it is placed on.
An official clarification would be necessary.
- If playing with The Flier (Flying Machines), the 20th Anniversary Expansion or The Gifts, several meeples may occupy the same feature. As a consequence, multiple abbots may occupy a monastery or a garden. If so, each abbot could be removed and scored separately (no majority applied) before the feature is completed. This means, the monastery or garden could be partially scored several times before it is completed. When scored during or after the game, a monastery or garden with several meeples will take into account the majority on the feature.
- The HiG rules indicate that the youngest player places the river fork.
- This clarification is included in the HiG rules but omitted by ZMG.
- Note that river segments separate fields. (08/2014)
- This is not standard procedure for placing a volcano tile, according to the rules for The Princess and the Dragon. Under those rules placing a volcano tile does not allow the player to draw a second tile; instead, the player may only perform actions not connected with meeple deployment.
- The English rules called this feature "pigsty." We use pig-herd for consistency with Carcassonne I and also in order to avoid the confusion with the pigsty feature introduced in Carcassonne II, scored by some expansions such as The Markets of Leipzig or The Tollkeepers.
Officially, the field goes around the source, creating a connected field.
This was incorporated in the RGG edition of the Big Box 1, which includes The River (the HiG edition does not) and states that "The field space on the lake and source tiles wraps around those features."
- The city bridge does not separate field segments. Only the river separates the field segments on this tile. Thus, there are 2 field segments on this tile. [This is logical, as similar city bridges in other expansions such as Exp. 5 - Abbey & Mayor do not divide the city underneath. – Chris O.] (1/2013)
- You do receive the bonus from the pig-herd tile even if you don't have a pig on the field. The pig-herd is a neutral pig, so to speak.
- The pig-herd tile can still score an extra point per city when there is a barn on the field.
- There are no official rules for using two pig-herd tiles, as there are no rules for using two copies of The River II, and the similar GQ11 tile is not officially a pig-herd tile (Games Quarterly #11). However, if one field has multiple pig-herd tiles, it seems that they should not stack; in other words, the bonus should only be awarded once, in keeping with other landscape bonuses such as inns and cathedrals.
- This is a general version of a paragraph new in the HiG and RGG editions of Big Box 2, and is rather suggestive for a game of Mega-Carcassonne.