Tiling Away The Hours: Carcassonne On PC

By Adam Smith on October 20th, 2011 at 12:28 pm.

Is there a knight on the tiles?

Either this was unheralded or I’ve been listening to the wrong heralds, but Carcassonne is now available from Gamersgate in a rather spiffy looking PC conversion. There has already been a version for your personal computing device, but it was only distributed in Germany and has since been discontinued so it can carry a relatively hefty price tag. This downloadable version is £7.95, or £23.97 for a four-pack. It certainly looks the part and several expansions are included: rivers, inns and cathedrals, dealers and builders, and king and scout. Multiplayer works over internet and networks, as well as in hotseat mode, which is proper and good.

I demand more decent boardgame conversions. I’d get on a chair and shout about it but I’m all on my own, so I’ll settle for writing it down instead. I want tactile things but I also want willing participants available at any hour of day or night. Arkham Horror and Mansions of Madness are my primary demands. Get to it, programmers, get to it.

As for Carcassonne, it’s fair to say Mr Florence isn’t entirely convinced by the gentle joy of laying down a road tile, but I quite like its simple pleasures.

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28 Comments »

  1. Baboonanza says:

    The board game can be reasonably enjoyable and it’s the sort of game the whole family can play at Christmas (I tried explaining the Cosmic Encounters rules to my Mum and her eyes glazed over. I think was choosing a new sofa in her head or something). But the pleasure is in the socialising and physicality.

    So I can’t understand the appeal of the PC version. If I’ve got several people in-front of PCs then there are hundreds of more stimulating games we could be playing.

    • atticus says:

      I agree that a lot of the pleasure of playing board games comes from socialising and interacting with other people present in the same room. That doesn’t, however, change the fact that time is scarce, friends are busy, and boardgames are plentiful.

      I would really love to play lots and lots of the excellent boardgames available, but the circumstances just won’t allow it due to work and lack of players. The few times a year when I’m able to gather enough friends to actually try to play some, we end up trying to learn the rules (again) for most of the evening.

      I say, bring on the digital editions of board games. It might even be a good way to learn one of them before actually playing it physically. And while we’re at it, bring me a digital edition of the D&D Miniatures game too. And bring me Card Hunter!

    • Deano2099 says:

      Computer does the scoring for you. Big plus.

    • JB says:

      “And bring me Card Hunter!”

      Yes, please! I’m so looking forward to Card Hunter.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Scoring isn’t that hard if you do it in an orderly fashion.

      I have no idea what the point of a PC version of this is. The board version is pretty great and the tactility of having tiles to move around in hypothetical places is part of the fun.

  2. d32 says:

    Yes, bring me the Arkham Horror! I’m a programmer, but I won’t program it myself.
    Also, there’s a rogue, free version of carcassone, by the name: JCloisterZone.
    Hope I didn’t just kill or “cease and desist”ed the project.

    • Fede says:

      The mechanics aren’t really copyrightable (as far as I know there is only one exception), so if they are using their own art they should be fine :)

  3. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    It doesn’t have meeples? This is a travesty!

  4. TheCze says:

    It’s already possible to play Arkham Horror online, using VASSAL, which is a boardgame engine featuring several hundred boardgames. VASSAL does not enforce the rules but the excellent page Wargameroom does (though they only have a handful of great GMT Games).
    Granted, those versions aren’t as visually pleasing as the Carcassonne game or the new (and awesome) Memoir ’44 conversion on Steam, they still enable you to play many great games via the magic that is called the internets.

    edit: Also one should note that GMT are currently developing several videogame versions of their games (including Twilight Struggle, Dominant Species and Space Empires) for iOS and Android.

  5. mjig says:

    If there were more boardgame conversions I would actually play boardgames. They always look great, but I can’t spend $80+ on something I can only play when I get a bunch of people in the house. At least with video games I can start it up whenever I want, even if I’m alone.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      Find & Join a local boardgame group. I did, and now I get boardgames at least once a week, and I get to play a wide variety of games without having to buy them.

  6. endintears says:

    Does this have single player? And more importantly, moddable AI?

  7. NegativeZero says:

    But does it also have their broken new scoring rules that give you four points for two-tile cities instead of two, causing the optimal strategy to push toward making shitloads of tiny cities and lying your dudes in the fields to slack off all game? I’ll never understand that rule change.

  8. Vinraith says:

    Carcassonne is a reasonably enjoyable time waster with friends, but it’s mostly just an excuse to socialize. What the point of playing it solo/online would be I have no idea.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Once you get a hang of the rules, the game can be played in a very competitive manner, where you hijack the other player’s towns and stuff. Unfortunately this can quickly spiral into a frustrating back and forth battle. It’s one of those games that is actually more fun when learning the rules and playing casually. So yeah, I don’t think online play will be that great.

  9. oceanclub says:

    How comes they didn’t simply port the XBox 360 version, I wonder? That’s one quite fun, and perhaps my most-played XBox game (which only goes to show how little I actually use it.)

    P.

  10. ulix says:

    You can play this for free at brettspielwelt.de, don’t worry, there’s a ton of non-German players. It also comes with a couple of expansions, but doesn’t have nearly as pretty graphics.

    The advantage of Brettspieltwelt is, though, that you can play three dozen other boardgames there, many of them very good ones (I recommend Imperial, Caylus, Dominion, Ingenious, Yinsh, Puerto Rico, Pandemic…).

    Edit: What, they don’t have Yinsh anymore??? Argh! One of the best abstract modern two-player games (think Abalone, but much better).

    • JohnnyK says:

      Came here to say this. The page is available in English, and you can play the games from your browser or via an optional (cross-platform) client which is heavily customizable.

      We usually play Dog or Tichu with some friends (who live too far away to meet up regularly) and talk via Skype.

  11. bill says:

    I’m not sure this would be as much fun on the PC…

  12. darkbhudda says:

    Now we just need a PC version of The War on Terror. Digital download edition could have printable goatees instead of the balaclava of evil.

  13. BobsLawnService says:

    I’m pretty sure there is an opensource version of this kicking around on Sourceforge. I seem to recall having downloading it a few yeaers ago.

  14. nimzy says:

    More board games need to be brought to the digital era. They’re severely under-represented, and VASSAL bravely stands alone as your only option in most cases.

  15. Urthman says:

    Shameful that RPS is paying Adam so little that he needs to take product placement money from the Looks The Part corporation.

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