Our normal Magic the Gathering/Never Winter Nights Wednesday gaming session played out a little differently this week. Chief card flopper and Magic aficionado Harold was away on vacation so Jeff, Nick, Rosie and I instead tried out another new game from Origins, Carcassonne by Rio Grande Games. Carcassonne is a tile laying game where you place tiles building roads, cities, cloisters, and fields. You claim these features using one of your miniature people or Meeples as they are known. More points are scored for longer roads and larger cities. It is a very simple but elegant game that is always different due to the various ways that the tiles are placed. It is also a beautiful game as the tiles and meeples are very nicely produced.
We played the first game without the included river expansion. Nick won this game. The second game we added the rivers expansion which adds further constraints to how the tiles are laid. After a tight game where we experienced our first "Cloister F$@*" (nearly all of the cloisters clustered together) Nick and Jeff ended up tied at the end. Everyone really enjoyed the game. We all look forward to adding on the various expansions that are available.
On a related note, there is an iPhone app available for Carcassonne that is quite good. I have been playing with it for a while and it does an excellent job of translating the game to a handheld device.