Are you looking for a cozy, family-friendly game where you build roads and towns in the French countryside? Oddly specific request, but hey, when you know what you want, you know what you want!
Carcassonne is a game that anybody can learn in a few turns. It takes up about the space a chessboard on the dining room table, so it’s a great game to play on family night or even pack up to take to a cabin. And it’s easy to have fun with—some people might puzzle their way into victory by filling all the unfinished areas and creating a pleasing picture. Other players will weigh the risks and rewards on each turn, carefully strategizing and relying on probability or the luck of the draw.
The coolest thing though? When you get that exact piece you need—whether it scores you 20 points or just fits in the right place—everybody around the table cheers. Or groans, if they needed that piece or space.
Even though it’s a competitive game, each player works together to build something that’s Instagram family game night worthy—a little world, and it’s really sweet when someone helps another player out by giving up a piece.
11yo: I liked the Cloisters.
The box says players should be eight or older, but we’ve found that if you’re helping them out, younger players can easily enjoy this alongside adults. Plus, adults can play it without the kids too—in fact, there’s a competitive scene for Carcassonne.
If your kids hit the age range of the box, they can probably teach themselves the game. Or you can play a few games together so they learn the ropes. After just a few turns, our 9yo and 11yo were pretty confident. They weren’t super strategic yet, but that comes with practice.
9yo: It was great—from a tiny block to an entire country. I love it.
Carcassonne is a fantastic board game that anyone from four to forever can enjoy. It’s got a ton of expansions for people who want to customize their game experience with additional tiles and more complex rules, but out of the box, it’s still a wonderful game to play in an hour.
One final note—be prepared for towers of meeple cheerleaders. But really, who doesn’t enjoy stacking little wooden people?
- Play with the River expansion. It’s optional, but it makes the first few rounds more comfortable.
- Want a friendlier game with more relaxed point scoring? Don’t use the “Farmers” rules.