The Tower (1st edition)

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Box Tower C1 RGG.png

Rio Grande Games
Box Tower C1 ZMG.png

Z-Man Games

General info and comments

Expansion symbol

The Tower was originally released by Hans im Glück in 2006. The tiles of the first German editions had no expansion symbol.

This is the fourth major expansion for Carcassonne and introduces a new aspect to the game. With this expansion you can build high towers from which you can capture opposing players' followers, and hold them for ransom or wait for a one-for-one exchange.

New features/things are:

  • Towers

A Carcassonne expansion is not really a Carcassonne expansion when there are no new tiles, so in the box you also find 18 tiles that represent city segments, road segments and cloisters in new configurations plus the addition of tower foundations which will help create much more than a beautiful landscape.


  • 18 new land tiles
  • 30 tower pieces (in one neutral color)
Figure Tower.png
  • 1 tower as tile dispenser [1]
Tower C2 Feature Tile Tower.png



The 18 tiles should be mixed with the rest of the tiles.

Each player receives a number of tower pieces, according to the total number of players:

  • two players: ten pieces each
  • three players: nine pieces each
  • four players: seven pieces each
  • five players: six pieces each
  • six players: five pieces each

Placing a tile

The new land tiles are placed in the usual way. Apart from the tower foundations, there are no new elements on the tiles.

Tile with tower foundation
You can see the new feature on the right middle of the tile - the foundation of an old tower.
Tile with a tower foundation and bridge
Notice that in the tile shown, the road over the bridge divides both farms.

Deploying a follower

Instead of moving the fairy or deploying a follower, builder, or pig, a player may now decide to place one of his or her tower pieces on any tile with a tower foundation which is already in play, or on a tower which is already under construction; [2] or to finish the construction of a tower by deploying a follower to the top of it. [3]

Place a tower piece and take a prisoner

Whenever a player places a tower piece, he or she may take one follower prisoner. [4] [5] [6] [7] Builders and pigs cannot be taken prisoner. [8] Which followers can be captured depends on the height of the tower on which the tower piece was just placed. If the tower has one storey, the player has a choice of five tiles from which a follower can be taken prisoner: the tower tile itself, as well as the tiles which connect to it horizontally and vertically.

If the tower is built to the second storey, then the player has nine opportunities for taking a prisoner.

With every piece placed on the tower, its range increases by four tiles. [9] It is possible to take prisoners over ‘holes’ in the tile placement, as well as over other towers of any height. [10] There is no limit to how high a tower may be built.

The RED player places the tower piece and takes the BLUE follower on tile 4 prisoner
The RED player places the second tower piece and now has the possibility to capture the GREEN follower on tile 1, the BLUE follower on tile 6, or the YELLOW follower on tile 9.

When the player takes a follower of another player prisoner, then the capturing player should place the prisoner clearly in front of themselves. If the player takes one of his or her own followers prisoner, it should be returned to the supply. Should the last thief, knight, or farmer of a player be removed from a road, city, or farm which includes the player's builder or pig, then the builder or pig is also removed and returned to the player. [11]

Deploy a follower to a tower

Follower deployed on top of a tower

If a follower is deployed to the top of a tower, [12] [13] [14] [15] the construction of the tower is finished and it may not be built any further. [16] The follower remains on top of the tower until the end of the game and is not removed or returned to the player unless eaten by the dragon [17] [18] or captured by another tower. [19] [20] [21] This action may be useful when a player wishes to protect a more valuable follower from capture.


Followers are traded

Whenever two players have captured one of each other's followers, they are immediately exchanged and are so returned to their owners. No negotiation is necessary or allowed. The exchange is automatic! [22] If one of the players has several prisoners belonging to the other player, the owner may decide which prisoner should be returned. [23]

Furthermore, during their turn a player may decide to pay the ransom [24] and buy back one prisoner from one opponent. [25] In this case, the player should move their scoring marker on the scoreboard back three spaces, and the marker of the opponent forward three spaces. If the player does not have 3 points, the player may not pay the ransom to reclaim their follower. [26] Once returned, a follower may be used immediately.

House Rules

Towers cannot capture over empty tiles. (Thanks to viberunner)

A captured meeple cannot be returned by payment of a ransom (the “Eye for an Eye” rule). (Thanks to keyofnight)

A single-storey tower can only capture a follower on its own tile. Each additional storey adds an additional tile of range in each direction – the rate of increasing range is the same as the normal rules, but the starting point is less powerful (the “No Surprises” rule). (Thanks to keyofnight)

A tower can also capture followers on tiles diagonal to the tower tile. The distance to the capture tile is considered to be the smallest number of horizontal and vertical moves needed to get there, so a diagonal adjacent to the tower tile is considered to be 2 tiles away. (Thanks to Yi Niu)

Tile distribution

Total Tiles: 18

Tower C1-01.pngx1
Tower C1-02.pngx1
Tower C1-03.pngx1
Tower C1-04.pngx1
Tower C1-05.pngx1
Tower C1-06.pngx1
Tower C1-07.pngx1
Tower C1-08.pngx1
Tower C1-09.pngx1
Tower C1-10.pngx1
Tower C1-11.pngx1
Tower C1-12.pngx1
Tower C1-13.pngx1
Tower C1-14.pngx1
Tower C1-15.pngx2
Tower C1-16.pngx1
Tower C1-17.pngx1


For Icons licensing and explanation please visit Icons page.

  1. Icon World Black.png Taking the tower apart is not recommended. The tiles can be drawn from the top as well as from the bottom. We recommend that the tiles are drawn from the top, since the fewer tiles there are in the tower, the greater the danger that the other tiles will fall out when they are drawn from the bottom.
  2. Icon Open Book.png A bridge that would potentially span a tower foundation does not prevent the growth of that tower, and that a tower that was already present does not prevent bridge placement. If the two structures would interfere with each other, the tower pieces can be moved so that they are no longer on the tower foundation symbol. Both structures can then be placed without conflict. (11/2013)
  3. Icon Open Book.png A follower cannot be placed on a tower foundation to prevent a tower being built. Only tower blocks can be placed on tower foundations. The tower can only be blocked when it already exists.
  4. Icon Double Arrow Black.png The original rules did not mention big followers, but several FAQs stated that they are treated in exactly the same way as normal followers, as the new rules now describe.
  5. Icon Double Arrow Black.png There is a slight change in the rules here. The original rules stated that it was possible to take “one follower of an opponent prisoner,” while the new rules only say that it is possible to take “one follower prisoner.” It is now quite possible for a player to choose to “capture” his or her own followers, contradicting an earlier FAQ. The RGG edition of the Big Box also changes this rule.
  6. Icon Open Book.png Question: If you place a dragon tile and add a piece to a tower, what happens first: follower capture by the tower, or dragon movement? Answer: Prisoners are taken first; placing a tower piece is an alternative to deploying a follower, so occurs before dragon movement.
  7. Icon Open Book.png Followers in castles are safe from towers, the dragon, and the plague.
  8. Icon Double Arrow Black.png A previous FAQ stated that builders and pigs could indeed be taken prisoner, since they were followers at that time; however, under the current rules they are no longer considered to be followers, and thus they cannot be taken prisoner.
  9. Icon World Black.png In other words, the range of tiles in each direction away from the tower (not counting the tower tile itself) is equal to the number of tower pieces in the tower.
  10. Icon Open Book.png Question: Can a shorter tower capture the follower from a taller tower, or does the tower need to be equal or greater in height? Answer: The height of the tower only determines the range of the ‘attack’ and has no other function.
  11. Icon World Black.png This is because builders and pigs are no longer considered to be followers, and they cannot remain in play independently.
  12. Icon Double Arrow Black.png Strangely enough, this constitutes a marginal rule change, since under the old rules, builders and pigs were considered followers, and could as such be deployed to the top of towers—and this was confirmed in an FAQ!
  13. Icon Open Book.png Question: Can the mayor, the wagon, or the barn be placed on top of a tower? Answer: No, the deployment of these figures is limited to the features described in the rules.
  14. Icon Open Book.png The Abbot cannot be placed on a tower either, as clarified in the rules for the New Edition from 2016. On the other hand, the Ringmaster can be placed on a tower.
  15. Icon World Black.png Tower foundations and towers built on top are separate features from roads, cities and farms. Towers are not part of any of the features they stand on or "touch" (they are not part of a city or farm touching them), so there is no interaction between them:
    • A follower placed on a tower does not affect majority of the features touching the tower (roads, cities or farms), and therefore the follower does not participate in their scoring.
    • A follower placed on a tower is not affected by actions involving the features touching the tower, such as, a princess symbol.
    However, a follower placed on a tower may be affected by some interactions: the fairy, the dragon, the plague or the festival.
  16. Icon Open Book.png This is only true as long as the follower remains on the tower – it is the follower’s presence on the tower that halts tower growth, not the act of placement. If the follower is removed by the dragon or another tower, tower pieces can once again be added to the now-vacated tower. (11/2013)
  17. Icon Open Book.png The fairy can be moved to a tile when the only follower on the tile is on a tower.
    Icon World Black.png This means the fairy can be assigned to a follower on top of a tower. The fairy would stand by the tower.
  18. Icon Open Book.png The dragon eats all followers on a tile, even if one is in a tower.
  19. Icon Double Arrow Black.png As far as the German rules are concerned, this is merely a clarification previously stated in the FAQ. However, with respect to the original English rules by Rio Grande Games, this is a significant rule change. The original German rules made no mention of whether a follower on a tower could be captured or not—and an FAQ confirmed that they could. However, the initial RGG translation explicitly stated that they could not. With the release of the Big Box, however, RGG themselves corrected that, bringing the two sets of rules in line once more. To add additional confusion, though, the newest ZMG rules now state that followers on towers cannot be captured. Sheesh! (updated 3/2014)
  20. Icon Open Book.png A follower on a tower cannot be seduced by a princess, as the tower is not a part of the city; they are two separate areas.
  21. Icon World Black.png Removal of the follower on the tower by other mechanics, such as the use of a Festival tile, is also possible. (12/2014)
  22. Icon Double Arrow Black.png The two sentences regarding negotiation and the automatic nature of the trade represent a clarification found in the RGG edition of the Big Box.
  23. Icon Double Arrow Black.png This is also a new clarification not contained in the original rules.
  24. Icon Open Book.png The ransom for the big follower is not doubled. He may be big, but he's still only one person.
  25. Icon Open Book.png Question: How often does prisoner buy-back occur in a “double turn” (e.g. just once, like fairy scoring, or twice, as part of a repeated step)? Answer: It happens once per turn. The double-turn is [truly] only a single turn.
  26. Icon Double Arrow Black.png This limitation is not present in the initial German rules of the expansion or in the German Big Box, but it is available in the rules by RGG and other publishers later in 2006. Other publishers such as ZMG also included this sentence in later years.