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Carcassonne iPad Review

Posted on 7th May 2011 at 10:18 by David Hing with 10 comments

David Hing
The iPad is an ideal platform for board games. It's large enough for more than one person to sit round it for a local game without feeling stupid, and its touchscreen is sizeable enough to make it practical to move pieces, even if you have chubby fingers. Thus, it was only a matter of time before classic board games such as Carcassonne jumped to the platform.

The game itself is easy to learn, and is mostly based around the idea of developing the areas around the titular French town. At higher levels, though, the strategies and tactics involved can become enormously complex, although this iPad version eases you in with spoken tutorials and a full digital manual. It takes very little time to get to grips with the mechanics, with only a few references back to the documentation, and the interface is kept gloriously pristine.

There are a few different basic game-types, including a Solitaire mode that follows slightly adapted rules to the core game, plus online, local and AI matches.

Carcassonne iPad Review iPad Review: Carcassonne
Carcassonne for iPad

The developers have done an excellent job in rendering the tiles and pieces, managing to retain the feel of a board game while still making the most of the digital format. None of the graphics feel out of place and everything emulates the physical version perfectly, with a decently tactile quality provided by the ability to drag pieces around the board.

As a game itself, Carcassonne is excellent to play with a couple of friends sat around the iPad. It wouldn't be completely out of the question to use this instead of setting out a full boxed copy of the game, as it’s so easy to pass the iPad around a circle. Of course, this version will never completely replicate the physical version, but it's solid enough to at least sit on par with it.

Carcassonne iPad Review iPad Review: Carcassonne
Carcassonne for iPad

Online matches are a slightly more troublesome affair, however. The app apparently match-makes according to skill, but it was hard to tell whether or not this was happening, as most of the games ended with an opponent mysteriously disappearing the second it looked like the game might not be going their way.

We found ourselves mostly playing against the AI opponents supplied with the game, which are broken down into Easy, Strong, Weird, Evil and Simple behaviour types. Although it isn't always clear how the Strong AI improves over the Easy AI, the Evil AI can teach you a couple of nasty tricks if you're paying attention. You’ll often find yourself cursing and softly swearing at.

Verdict
This is a beautifully realised portable version of a very well constructed board game. Even if you haven't played the original, this is a brilliant introduction that's much cheaper than buying the full boxed version. Recommended!

10 Comments

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Flibblebot 7th May 2011, 11:52 Quote
While the game itself was originally developed in Germany by a German, the town of Carcassonne itself is actually in the south of France. A long, long way from the German border.

I've never played the game before, but I have heard lots about it. Perhaps time to track down a version.
FelixTech 7th May 2011, 12:08 Quote
You can't be telling me you thought Carcasonne was in Germany! Haven't you read Labyrinth?!
Lenderz 7th May 2011, 12:14 Quote
"The game itself is easy to learn, and is mostly based around the idea of developing the areas around the titular German town"

Carcassonne, that famous German town, in the south of France.
Evildead666 7th May 2011, 12:22 Quote
LOL. Geography not a strong point then ;)
arcticstoat 7th May 2011, 13:37 Quote
OK, fixed the geography - probably just some confusion with it being a German game and all!
timmehtimmeh 7th May 2011, 14:57 Quote
its a great game. I like the app too. Do yourself a favour and buy the real thing and play it round a table.
Boscoe 7th May 2011, 23:02 Quote
I've been to Carcasonne...

..car broke down on the single width road/ramp for the in/out of the car park and so blocking everyone from parking or going. Walked all the war round it to find a phone as ours didn't have any signal only to find one near the entrance on the other side to which we walked all during midday at 40 deegrees!
Xir 9th May 2011, 10:45 Quote
Quote:
as it’s so easy to pass the iPad around a circle
When playing, you need to be seeing all of the pieces on the table all the time, otherwise the wait-and-search for where to put your next piece is endless.
Actually, if you play with two-or -three expansion packs, it's endless anyway :D
Jamie 9th May 2011, 12:48 Quote
Is it worth getting on the iPhone?
benji2412 13th May 2011, 10:55 Quote
"his is a brilliant introduction that's much cheaper than buying the full boxed version."

IF you have an iPad already. Which, lets be honest, is a complete waste of money.
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