Carcassonne is the Xbox Live Arcade version of the popular board game of the same name designed by Klaus-Jürgen Wrede for the Xbox 360, and developed by Sierra Studios. The game was released on June 27, 2007, and is the second designer board game to be released on Arcade, the first being Catan. It is priced at 800 Microsoft Points. For Microsoft's "Xbox Live is 5ive" celebration, Carcassonne was offered free of charge from 12:01 PST November 15 through 11:59PM PST November 16, 2007.
Unlike Catan, whose initial implementation included only the base game, Carcassonne includes "The River" expansion (originally published as a separate board game add-on). An extra expansion based on "The River" is available for purchase and download from Xbox Live Arcade, as is the "King & Baron" expansion. According to Sierra Online, additional expansions based on those from the board game including "Inns & Cathedrals" and "The Tower", will be released through Xbox Live at a later point in time. Expansion modules can be enabled or disabled individually based on player preference.
Both online and offline multiplayer modes are supported; while four people can compete against each other offline on the same console, up to five can play via Xbox Live. However, in ranked matches, play is restricted to two players.
The game also features customizable AI settings and several step-by-step tutorials. The tutorials explain how to play and how the game is normally scored, although the scoring rules can be tweaked when setting up a custom non-ranked game.
Lastly, the title supports the Xbox Live Vision camera, allowing players to view each other during play.
Gameplay mirrors that of the actual board game. Each player is granted seven followers (colloquially called meeples, a portmanteau of either "my" or "miniature" and "people"), and each takes turns placing random land tiles, after the initial "starter tile" is placed, from a group of 71. An optional (30- or 45-second) per-turn timer can be enabled in multiplayer games to prevent extended analysis paralysis; there is no timer in single player. Players can also customise scoring in casual games to follow the International rules (3rd Edition) or the US rules (1st Edition).
As with the board game, various expansions are available to change the gameplay and scoring. Any of the expansions can be used in any combination, together or separately.
If The River expansion is used, a river is first built with 12 extra tiles before main gameplay begins. This serves to add some element of randomness to the board configuration before normal tiles are played. The river acts as a divider between two halves of the land (separating farms), but otherwise does not affect scoring. This expansion was included with the main game download.
The River II
King & Baron
On October 3, 2007, the King & Baron expansion pack was released, based on the King & Scout board game expansion. In this expansion, the player who builds the biggest city becomes King of Carcassonne, and at the end of the game receives extra points for every completed city; likewise, the player who builds the biggest road becomes Robber Baron and receives points for every completed road. It also adds 7 new tiles, including a special tile that bridges two cities over one another. It retails for 300 Microsoft Points ($3.75 USD).
Other downloadable content
The first downloadable content for Carcassonne was a picture pack released on July 16, 2007, named simply "Carcassonne Picture Pack #1". This was followed by a dashboard theme, "Carcassonne Theme #1", on July 31, 2007. Both were priced at the standard rates for these items, with the former listed at 80 Microsoft Points and the latter at 150.
Reviews of Carcassonne concluded that the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game was indeed a faithful adaptation of a well-respected board game. IGN, awarding it a review score of 8.0 out of 10, summarized this as "The question was whether or not an Xbox Live Arcade version would retain what made the real-world game fun, and the answer is 'indeed.'" GameSpot echoed this sentiment, noting "All things considered, Carcassonne is a solid addition to Live Arcade's slowly increasing library of board games." While the GameSpot review did point out a few difficulties with the automatic camera zooming, the title earned a score of 7.5 out of 10.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Porcaro, John (2007-06-25). Build a Medieval Empire on Xbox LIVE Arcade with the Popular German Board Game Carcassonne.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Official Carcassonne site. Microsoft (2007-07-13).
- ↑ Sliwinski, Andrew (2007-05-16). Joystiq on IGN Preview. Joystiq.
- ↑ Carcassonne in June 07 on XBL. Xbox Users Groups (2007-04-14).
- ↑ Marketplace Roundup for August 8, 2007. MajorNelson.com (2007-08-08).
- ↑ Marketplace Content for July 16, 2007. MajorNelson.com (2007-07-16).
- ↑ Marketplace Content for July 31, 2007. MajorNelson.com (2007-07-31).
- ↑ Hatfield, Daemon (2007-06-28). IGN: Carcassonne Review. IGN.
- ↑ Navarro, Alex (2007-06-28). Carcassonne for Xbox 360 Review. GameSpot.