For first edition rules follow here: River.
General info and comments
The River was originally released for the New Edition by Hans im Glück in 2014. The 1st. Edition of River was released in 2001.
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 20th Anniversary River was released by Hans im Glück in 2021 as part of the 20th Anniversary Edition.
The River C3 was originally released by Hans im Glück in 2021. It is a variation of The River originally released for the New Edition.
CutCassonne, the cut-n-play 10-tile promo from 2014, included 3 river tiles that can added to any river expansion.
The river expansions modify the beginning of the game by having players place a set of specific river tiles before the normal tiles.
Copies of The River printed in the period 2014-2016 and CutCassonne have the darker city backgrounds. The 20th Anniversary River and The River C3 have cities with clipped buildings.
|Changes to the 20th Anniversary Edition and Carcassonne C3
The rules for the 20th Anniversary Edition and Carcassonne C3 stay the same but the roles of some meeples have been updated:
Publishers have followed the new roles provided in the rules by HiG, although some of these changes are not noticeable in other languages.
Note: We stick to the classic role convention for the sake of consistency with all the exisiting rules for the time being. HiG may decide to update the rules in the future to follow this new naming convention for new releases and reprints.
- 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.
Note: In the game, a double-sized tile, such as this river source, counts as 2 single tiles (for example, for an adjacent monastery). 
1. Placing a tile
You must draw tiles from the River stack before drawing normal tiles. Place your river tile at the open end of the river. As always, tiles must be placed so that their edges match the edges of tiles already in play. You cannot make a river turn twice in a row in the same direction (an immediate U-turn), as this risks that the following tile will be impossible to place. You cannot place a river curve in a direction where there are already river tiles. Players must draw and place all river tiles before they can draw normal tiles.
Question: With the U-turn rule when making rivers, does that mean no U-turn ever, or just no immediate U-turns because it will complicate the placement of subsequent river tiles?
Answer: Only immediate U-turns are explicitly forbidden. Naturally, there can also be problems if a straight river tile lies between. Turning river the same way three times should also be considered prohibited.
When playing with The River II or the 20th Anniversary River, you may have up to two river branches to choose from when creating the river. You must always place a river tile on an open end of the river. So you must always extend the river until you have placed the lakes at the open ends. You cannot connect both river branches together.
2. Placing a meeple
Like any other tile, you may place a meeple on other features of a river tile you just placed.  Meeples cannot be placed on the river itself.
When playing with The River II, if you place the last river tile (the lake with the volcano), you cannot place a meeple on that tile. Immediately after placing it,  take another turn by drawing a normal tile.
The river feature itself cannot be scored. All other features on river tiles are scored as usual. 
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 and the 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.  
Question: Does the pig-herd tile still score an extra point when there is a barn on the field (barn = 4 points, barn+pig-herd = 5 points per city)?
Answer: The pig-herd tile only counts in connection with farmers, not the barn.
- 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.
The question of how to combine the various "starting" expansions of Carcassonne is a longstanding one, and HiG has changed its mind several times.
The original rules for The Count of Carcassonne included the following clarification: "If the river is being used, then the source tile should be placed next, and in such a way that the river leads away from the city." Yet the rules still said that it was probably better not to use the expansions together, and this was the only piece of advice to make it into the introductory paragraph of its rules in Exp. 6 - Count, King & Robber for Carcassonne I: “It is not recommended to combine The Count of Carcassonne and The River II, as situations may arise in which it is impossible to place tiles properly."
The Carcassonne I rules by ZMG include the following paragraph: "The river source must begin at one of the corners of the City of Carcassonne. The players should place the river tiles so that the river flows away from the City of Carcassonne so as to avoid placement problems. Again, combining The Count of Carcassonne and The River I or The River II is not recommended."
As indicated above, this is no longer the recommended approach. Instead, one should always remember the rule from the basic game: "In the rare case that a tile cannot be placed anywhere, it is removed from the game, and the player draws another." If the river winds around the City of Carcassonne in such a way that you cannot place the next tile (river or otherwise), the tile should be placed to one side, and another drawn. An interesting corollary of this is that the river does not have to be finished: if it is impossible to do so, you do not have to place the final lake tile, and a permanent gap in the playing field might arise (which could, of course, subsequently be filled by an abbey from Exp. 5 - Abbey & Mayor).
This clearly has consequences beyond combining the two expansions mentioned. Though the rules still say that U-turns are not allowed, resolving such issues is now much more straightforward—no more need to defenestrate players who insist on making awkward tile placements. And it helps considerably in establishing what a game of Mega-Carcassonne should look like.
Of course, some people will object that this rule destroys the aesthetics of the playing field. They might be right, and they are free to adopt a house rule which is more comfortable to them. But for the rules lawyers among us, this rule is an important development.
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.
- ↑ The HiG rules indicate that the youngest player places the river fork.
- ↑ This clarification is included in the HiG rules but omitted by ZMG.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 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.