Mega-Carcassonne

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General information

With so many expansions to the basic game, there are numerous ways to combine them with each other. Many people choose which expansions to play on a game-to-game basis—and the addition of small watermarks on the tiles has helped in this —while others prefer to mix all the expansions together and play what has become known as "mega-Carcassonne." You can even mix expansions from different editions -Carcassonne I (C1) and Carcassonne II (C2.)

Some of the considerations below deal with the fact that some C1 mini expansions were released alone and as part of a major expansion. If this is not your case, please ignore those considerations.

Throughout the rules, there are a few indications of what a game of mega-Carcassonne would look like. Some are listed below:

  • Question: When the two River sets are combined, should we make two rivers (using the two springs) or discard one spring and one lake and make just one river? Answer: One spring and one lake are discarded.
  • Question: If you combine Exp. 6 - Count, King and Robber with The River II (as it was released as a standalone mini expansion for C1), you will now have two forks. Obviously one of those gets placed immediately, but should the other one be mixed in with the rest of the river tiles, or put to one side? Answer: In fact, that means using The River II twice. It wasn't planned like that, and it may lead to problems with placement. Whoever wants to do it should go ahead, but there’s no rules for it.
  • If you decide to use The Count of Carcassonne and The River II 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.

As such, the following guidelines can be inferred:

  • A game of mega-Carcassonne should include one copy of the basic game and one of each expansion.
  • If, because of Exp. 6 - Count, King & Robber in C1, you have acquired two copies of an expansion (of The River II, The Count of Carcassonne, and King & Robber Baron) you should discard one copy.
  • If you combine river sets, you should only create one river, discarding the surplus spring and lake tiles.
  • It is also fair to say that the lake tiles from The River II should be used in preference to the one from The River, and the spring tile from GQ #11 (if using C1) should be used instead of those from The River II or The River.
  • The original starting tile should be discarded rather than mixed in with the other land tiles (although if you draw tiles from a bag, it's probably not really necessary to discard it.)
  • And finally, in the rare case that a tile cannot be placed anywhere, it is removed from the game, and the player draws another.

Of course, a game of mega-Carcassonne need not be ended until all the tiles have been played (a very long game!) but could easily be shortened by using only one half of the tower dispenser.

There is, in fact, no reason why you shouldn't combine multiple sets in some logical manner. So, for example, you may well decide to include the land tiles of King & Robber Baron with the "duplicate" land tiles in Exp. - 6 Count, King & Robber, while leaving out the duplicate King & Robber Baron (there is simply no way to include two of those.) And you might include two copies of The River II, either mixing the extra fork tile with the others, or omitting it altogether. Nowhere in the rules does it say that every tile used must have a unique configuration: the basic game includes eight FRFR tiles (a field divided by a road.)

Starting expansions

The general order in which "starting" expansions should be placed would seem to be:

  • The Wheel of Fortune (C1)
  • The Count of Carcassonne (C1, C2)
  • Markets of Leipzig (C2) - with the optional support of the base game start tile to avoid closed roads at startup
  • Any River expansions (C1, C2)
  • The Wind Roses (C1)
  • The School (C1) - with the optional support of the base game start tile to avoid closed roads at startup
  • Spiel Doch! 02/2018 (C2)

The School and The Markets of Leipzig can be placed with the help of the base game start tile to avoid closing any roads. Another option is to put The School (and possibly The Markets of Leipzig) last to allow continuation of a road from one of the river roads. Attaching The School or The Markets of Leipzig to The Count of Carcassonne or The Wheel of Fortune, for example, would immediately complete one of the 6 school roads or the 4 roads to Leipzig.

Example 1: Setup with C1 expansions only:
  • The Count of Carcassonne
  • The Wheel of Fortune
  • River I and River II springs
  • The School
  • The orange Wind Rose
  • The basic game start tile next to the Wind Rose just for the sake of symmetry
Example 2: Variation of the previous setup with C1 expansions only:
  • The Count of Carcassonne
  • The Wheel of Fortune
  • GQ #11 river spring (on the left-hand side)
  • River II spring
  • The School
  • The orange Wind Rose
  • The basic game start tile next to the Wind Rose just for the sake of symmetry
Example 3: Setup with C2 expansions only:
  • The Count of Carcassonne
  • The Markets of Leipzig
  • River I and River II springs
  • The Spiel Doch! 02/2018 tiles
  • The basic game start tile to help place The Markets of Leipzig without closed roads
Example 4: Setup with C1 and C2 expansions combined:
  • The Count of Carcassonne (C2)
  • The Wheel of Fortune (C1)
  • The Markets of Leipzig (C2)
  • River I and River II springs (C2)
  • The School (C1)
  • The orange Wind Rose (C1)
  • The Spiel Doch! 02/2018 tiles (C2)
  • The C2 basic game start tile next to the Wind Rose just for the sake of symmetry

It is important to note that, like any other feature, the river does not have to be completed (that is, ended with a lake) if the playing area does not allow it.

The Plague expansion states that 17 of the normal land tiles from the basic game must be separated out and placed before the rest of the tiles, into which the plague source tiles have been mixed, are used. The number 17 seems to have been chosen because there are 18 flea tokens (17 + 1 starting tile). There is, as yet, no indication of what to do if other expansions are being used: the most logical approach would seem to be either:

  • to include any tiles from ‘starting’ expansions in the 17 ‘separated’ tiles; or
  • to separate 17 additional tiles, to be played after any ‘starting’ expansions

As soon as a final ruling is made, this page will be updated. However, as Hans im Glück notes that The Plague was not intended for use with other expansions, a final ruling for this may be a long time coming.

The following table lists the total number of tiles available in a complete set of mega-Carcassonne, as well as the ‘spare’ tiles which will be left over (such as surplus springs) if you use all the expansions.

Tile overview by release

Carcassonne I (C1)
Exp No. Source Land Extra Special "Spare"
(0) The Base Game 71     1
  The River I 10     2
1 Inns & Cathedrals 18   6  
2 Trader & Builders 24      
  King & Robber Baron 5   2  
  The Count of Carcassonne   12    
  Cathars 4      
3 The Princess & the Dragon 30      
  The River II 11     1
4 The Tower 18      
  GQ #11 12      
5 Abbey & Mayor 12 6    
6 Count, King & Robber       1
     King & Robber Baron       7
     The Count of Carcassonne       12
     The River II       12
     Shrines & Heretics 5      
  Spielbox Almanac 5      
  Cult, Siege & Creativity 10   2  
7 The Catapult 12      
(0b) The Wheel of Fortune 72 16    
  The Tunnel 4      
8 Bridges, Castles & Bazaars 12      
  Crop Circles 6      
  The Plague 6      
  La Porxada 1      
  The Festival 10   2  
  The Phantom        
  The School   2    
Mini #1 Flying Machines (The Flier) 8      
Mini #2 The Messages (Dispatches)     8  
Mini #3 The Ferries 8      
Mini #4 The Goldmines 8      
Mini #5 Mage & Witch 8      
Mini #6 The Robbers 8      
Mini #7 Crop Circles II 6      
  Windroses 6      
  Windroses II 6      
  The Besiegers 6      
9 Hills & Sheep 18      
  Monasteries in Germany 6      
  Monasteries in the Netherlands & Belgium 6      
  Halflings I   (12)    
  Halflings II   (12)    
  Darmstadt 3      
  Castles in Germany   (6)    
  Russian Promos (I) 2      
  The Labyrinth 1      
  Cathedrals in Germany 6      
  Russian Promos (II) 2      
Total 558 + (24 halves) + (6 doubles) 466 36 + (30) 20 36
Carcassonne II (C2)
Exp No. Source Land Extra Special "Spare"
(0) The Base Game 71     1
  The River I 10     2
1 Inns & Cathedrals 18   6  
2 Trader & Builders 24      
3 The Princess & the Dragon 30      
4 The Tower 18      
5 Abbey & Mayor 12 6    
6 Count, King & Robber        
     King & Robber Baron 5   2  
     The Count of Carcassonne   12    
     The River II 12      
     Shrines & Heretics 5      
8 Bridges, Castles & Bazaars 12      
9 Hills & Sheep 18      
10 Under the Big Top 20      
  The Abbot        
  Spiel 2014 Promo 1      
  Spiel 2015 Promo 1      
  Buildings in Japan 6      
  The Labyrinth 1      
  The Watchtowers 12      
  The Festival 10   2  
  Spiel 2016 Promo 1      
Mini #1 Flying Machines (The Flier) 8      
Mini #2 The Messages (Dispatches)     8  
Mini #3 The Ferries 8      
Mini #4 The Goldmines 8   1  
Mini #5 Mage & Witch 8      
Mini #6 The Robbers 8      
Mini #7 Crop Circles 6      
  The Markets of Leipzig   (4)    
  Spiel 2017 Promo 1      
  The Fruit-bearing Trees 6      
  Spiel Doch! 02/2018 2      
  Monasteries in Germany 6      
  The Barber-Surgeons 6      
  Spiel 2018 Promo 1      
  Castles in Germany   (6)    
  Toolkeepers 10      
  Spiel 2019 Promo 1      
  Halflings   (24)    
  The Land Surveyors     (12)  
  Spiel 2020 Promo 1      
  Cathedrals in Germany 6      
  The Peasant Revolts 12      
Total 425 + (10 doubles) + (24 halves) + (12 scoring tiles) 385 18 + (34) 19 + (12) 3

This tables list the total number of tiles available in the basic game and in each expansion.

General notes

  • The first column lists the number of the expansion. Only main —boxed— expansions have numbers. Mini expansions from 2012 were also numbered.
  • The second column lists the title of the set.
  • The third column lists the number of land tiles include in the set. Tiles such as the King, Robber Baron, abbeys, and point tiles are excluded (see "Extra Tiles"). Tiles which are not used if the set is combined with other expansions in a game of mega-Carcassonne are also excluded from this column (see "Spare Tiles").
  • The fourth column lists the extra land tiles which come with the set —such as abbeys, the City of Carcassonne, or the Wheel of Fortune.
  • The fifth column lists the special tiles which come with the set —such as the King, the Robber Baron and point tiles.
  • The sixth and final column lists the tiles which are surplus when the set is combined with other expansions in a game of mega-Carcassonne. So, for example, the basic game shows a ‘1’ in this column, as the starting tile is not used when it is combined with a river or The Count of Carcassonne, and the lake and spring tiles from The River are not used if combined with The River II.

Extra Tiles

  • The Count of Carcassonne: all 12 tiles of the City of Carcassonne are considered to be additional tiles, not part of the usual game. The farm and city segments are nevertheless scored as usual.
  • Abbey & Mayor: 6 abbey tiles.
  • The Wheel of Fortune: 16 tiles composing the Wheel itself. As stated in the rules, the various land segments surrounding the Wheel are scored in the usual way.
  • The School: 2 tiles making up the school.
  • The Markets of Leipzig: 4 double-tiles tiles composing the City of Leipzig. As stated in the rules, the various land segments surrounding Leipzig are scored in the usual way.

Special Tiles

  • Inns & Cathedrals: the 6 tiles listed are the points tiles (50/100 points.) [1]
  • King & Robber Baron: the 2 tiles are the King and the Robber Baron.
  • Cult, Siege and Creativity: 2 blank tiles (the "creativity" part).
  • The Messages (The Dispatches): 8 dispatch tiles.
  • The Goldmines: 1 scoring tile in C2.
  • The Festival: 2 tiles with instructions (not included in the 10th Anniversary Edition in C1).
  • The Land Surveyors: 12 scoring tiles in C2.

Spare Tiles

  • The Base Game: the starting tile is usually discarded when the basic game is combined with other expansions such as The River.
  • The River: If combined with The River II, the original lake tile should be discarded; and if combined with the GQ #11 expansion, the original spring tile should be discarded (normally for C1).
  • The River II: if combined with the GQ #11 expansion, the spring tile should be discarded (normally for C1).
  • Exp. 6 - Count, King & Robber: these tiles are listed as ‘spare’ for C1 because they duplicate the tiles of the original releases.
  • The Spielbox Almanac: There is some debate about whether it really constitutes an expansion. Those who think that it does not should consider the five tiles as part of the final column instead.

House rules

Some expansions have mechanics that make them too strong or too insignificant during a Mega-Carcassonne game. The following house rules address some of these issues.

Basic game: Scoring farmers

  • Issue: A Mega-Carcassonne game may lead to the creation of large fields. In some cases, there may be a field with 50+ completed cities, worth more than 200 points with a pig, castles, and eventually a pig-herd. In this case, the field becomes the central point of the game, and whoever does not receive points for it will be left far behind. Therefore, the game becomes less interesting, since any action not involving that large field turns out irrelevant to the game.
  • House rule:
    • Reducing field's basic score per feature by 1 point (2 points per completed cities, 3 points per castles)
    • Option 1: Ignoring pig-herds altogether,
    • Option 2: Not stacking pigs and pig-herds.
(thanks to corinthiens13)

Exp. 4 - The Tower: Buying back captured meeples

  • Issue: Buying back a captured meeple for 3 points may be insignificat in gmaes where players score 600+ points.
  • House rule: Buying back captured meeples for 6 points instead of 3. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Exp. 5 - Abbey & Mayor: Scoring the barn

  • Issue: A Mega-Carcassonne game may lead to the creation of large fields. In some cases, there may be a field with 50+ completed cities, worth more than 200 points with a barn and castles. In this case, the field becomes the central point of the game, and whoever does not receive points for it will be left far behind. Therefore, the game becomes less interesting, since any action not involving that large field turns out irrelevant to the game.
  • House rule:
    • Option 1: Reducing barn basic score per feature by 1 point (3 points per completed cities, 4 points per castles)
    • Option 2: Not using barns altogether.
(thanks to corinthiens13)

Exp. 6 - Count, King & Robber: Scoring the King and Robber Baron bonus

  • Issue: Counting the number of completed roads and cities in a Mega-Carcassonne game can become tedious and error prone. It may be almost impossible to count every feature without skipping some by mistake. In the end, it is an effort that doesn't compensate the resulting total number of points to be awarded.
  • House rule: The King and Rober Baron tiles are worth 20 points each, no matter the number of completed cities and roads in the playing area. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Exp. 10 - Under the Big Top: Scoring the ringmaster bonus

  • Issue: Circus and acrobat spaces are not drawn that often in a Mega-Carcassonne game, so the ringmaster bonus doesn't happen very often.
  • House rule: Fairs (from Exp. 7 - The Catapult) and fortune teller tents (from The Fortune Teller) can be considered too for the ringmaster bonus. In general, the ringmaster bonus would consider any areas with a yellow background except crop circles. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Exp. 10 - Under the Big Top: Scoring acrobat pyramids

  • Issue: Acrobats may be stuck in an incomplete pyramid for a long time for just 5 points per meeple.
  • House rule: Acrobats are worth 8 points each instead of 5.:(thanks to corinthiens13)

The Wheel of Fortune: Scoring meeples on the crown

  • Issue: A meeple placed on the crown of the Wheel of Fortune can be stuck there for almost the whole game. In this case, getting 3-6 points for a meeple is not worth the effort.
  • House rule: Double the crown's points, that is 6-12 points instead of the usual 3-6. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Mini #2 - Messages: Receiving a dispatch

  • Issue: Message action can take place several times during a turn, especially when there's a builder's double turn. This takes a lot of time during each and every turn to perform the message actions and to calculate how to draw as many messages as possible, and may even lead to draw the "new tile" message twice during a player's turn!
  • House rule:
    • Use only one scoring meeple instead of two (no messenger special figure)
    • Perform the message action only at the end of each player's turn instead of after each round of scoring.
(thanks to corinthiens13)

Mini #5 - Mage & Witch: Additional tiles considered with magic symbols

  • Issue: In a Mega-Carcassonne game, the number of opportunities to move the mage and the witch get very limited.
  • House rule: Consider water towers in cities as the magic symbol logo to increase the occurrence of the mage and witch actions. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Mini #6 - The Robbers: Additional tiles considered with robber symbols

  • Issue: In a Mega-Carcassonne game, the number of opportunities to place robbers on the scoreboard get very limited.
  • House rule:Consider the highwaymen beside a road (little guys pictured on some tiles beside roads) as a robber logo to increase the occurrence of the robber action. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Monasteries in Germany / Monasteries in the Netherlands & Belgium / Japanese buildings: Drawing special monastery tiles

  • Issue: Placing a meeple as an abbot may on a special monastery be worth more than 100 points! It's worth the effort when your meeple is stuck on the special monastery for the rest of the the game. However, if someone draws a special monastery near the end of the game, the gain is huge and no downside.
  • House rule 1:
    • Option 1: Don't allow meeples to be placed as abbots on special monasteries
    • Option 2: Keep the original rules, but place the German monasteries in the first half of the tiles in the dispenser, that way they'll be drawn only during the first half of the game, and players wanting to place an abbot will have one meeple stuck on the special monastery for a long time.
(thanks to corinthiens13)
  • House rule 2: Use abbot meeples on special monasteries to indicate a meeple placed as an abbot. This way each player only has 1 abbot to place, and it helps to prevent overpowered abbots when 1 player gets lucky and draws multiple special monastery tiles. (thanks to Willem)
  • House rule 3: Use two abbot meeples, one specialized for special monasteries and another one for regular monasteries and gardens. (thanks to Willem)

The plague: Spreading the plague

  • Issue: Spreading the plague can become very boring, especially when there's only one outbreak left with all of the 18 flea tokens connected, in a region of the game that has no meeples (this may be the case during the 80% of a Mega-Carcassonne game). So every player has to move a flea token, but with nothing at stake...
  • House rule: When all the flea tokens are connected to the same plague, players may move one during their turn, or may ignore that action. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Wind roses: Scoring wind rose tiles

  • Issue: There's not much at stake when scoring 3 points for a wind rose tile during a Mega-Carcassonne game.
  • House rule: Placing a wind rose in the correct quarter gives 3 points, but placing it in another quarter is minus 6 points. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Little buildings: Scoring little buildings

  • Issue: Variant 2 of the rules is ok (each little building type is worth 1-2-3 points), but variant 1 (all little buildings is worth 1 point) doesn't bring significant points during a Mega-Carcassonne game. (Variant 1 provides at least 18 points, whereas variant 2 is at least 36 points).
  • House rule: With variant 1, little buildings are worth 2 points each. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Russian Promos - Baba Yaga: Scoring Baba Yaga's Hut

  • Issue: Unless it's drawn at the end of the game, Pplacing a meeple on Baba Yaga's is not worth it. The meeple would be stuck on the for a long time with almost no possibility to score more than 1 point (eventually 2 or 3 if it isn't completed at the end of the game).
  • House rule: Consider Baba Yaga's Hut completed as soon as it is placed. This way, it will be scored during the scoring phase of the same turn, making that tile a lot more interesting. In later turns, you will not be allowed to place a meeple with a flying machine or a magic portal, since it's considered complete. (thanks to corinthiens13)

Footnotes

For Icons licensing and explanation please visit Icons page.

  1. Icon World Black.png Some Big Boxes contain points tiles:
    • Big Box 1 (C1): None
    • Big Box 2 (C1): None
    • Big Box 3 (C1): None
    • Big Box 4 (C1): 6 tiles
    • Big Box 5 (C1): 8 tiles
    • Big Box 6 (C2): 8 tiles