Before a few months ago, my favourite board games were Monopoly and Scrabble. The former usually takes about 2-3 days to finish and the latter tests your vocabulary and ability to annoy your opponents by taking the coveted triple-word scores away from them.
But that all changed when my partner introduced me to a game called Carcassonne. The German tile-based game sees you build up terrain with each tile, placing your pieces (called followers) on certain tiles, whether they be fields (known as farms), buildings, cities and lots more. You obtain points depending on where you place your followers and the winner is the person who has the most points at the end of the game. Think of it as a condensed form of Risk or Go but without the war or complicated theory, respectively.
The game is based on the fortified city of Carcassonne in southern France. Thanks to the popularity of the board game, tourism is a major draw and shows visitors the medieval architecture that adorns its tiles.
While Carcassonne is enjoyable in its own right, I decided to spice things up a little. The game can also be played online, via the rare PC version, or numerous consoles and mobile devices. The best way to play in my opinion is via a Java applet courtesy of JCloisterZone. Once downloaded, head to YouTube and find a “crackling fire” video (this 8-hour video works well) and then some medieval music. Play the two together in the background—it works best on wireless speakers—and travel back into the middle ages.
For the rules of the game, I suggest you read the official rules.