A New Favorite Game

Last weekend, my husband John and I got our nerd on and paid a visit to The Compleat Strategist, a gaming store in midtown.

We’re talking about games of the role-playing or board variety, not the video kind. However, throughout our visit we were privy to an ongoing HEATED discussion about the ins and outs of the World or Warcraft role-playing game, which is the offline version of the popular online game. Because online games are just a little too cool for this crowd.

Here’s a photo of the store from their website—it perfectly captures the dankness that is a prerequisite for a hardcore nerd hangout:


John and I decided to forgo the RPG bizarreness, and instead picked up a special 1993 edition of Trivial Pursuit (the only year they had, which somehow makes it awesomer) and a board game called Carcassonne, which is my new favorite game that I mentioned in the title of this post.


Carcassonne isn’t so new, apparently, but it’s new to me. It’s basically a strategy game in which you and the other player(s) build a French colony out of little squares of cardboard and try to sort of take over as much of it as you can as you go. It’s kind of like chess, I suppose, except less abstract and a little more cute. My kind of game!


It’s really nice to just sit down and play a non-flashing, non-beeping game made of cardboard and wood for a change. Our French colonies quickly grew too big for our coffee table, though, and we both have sore bottoms and backs from sitting hunched over on our hardwood floor for every night of the past few days. But I’m determined not to quit until I finally beat John. (I’ve come close!)

12 thoughts on “A New Favorite Game

  1. That game looks fun! My friends and I have been caught up in “Puerto Rico” for a while now. I highly recommend it. Oh wait – needs 3 players. Try the 2 player version “San Juan”.

  2. Very cool that you discovered Carcassonne! It’s so much fun — and my boyfriend always wins for some reason or another (which I don’t mind). When we start, we just keep on playing all night.

    If you enjoy Carcassonne, you might also enjoy Settlers of Catan (another classic). The board game is more suitable for 3-6 players or so, but (at least here in Europe!) there’s a card game version of it for 2 players, which is highly addictive too.

  3. We went to a rather nerdy wedding this past weekend and our gift to the happy couple was the Carcassonne Big Box – hee hee! My boyfriend introduced me to it a few months ago and I’ve yet to beat him either…what is it with boyfriends winning this game anyway?

  4. Yay it’s great to hear there are other women who enjoy this game. Thanks for the recommendations too—I’m totally going to check those out!

    And I LOVE it as a wedding gift! The couple who plays together, stays together, right?

  5. Hi! I’ve been lurking on your splendidly charming blog, but am emerging to say that I love Carcasonne, too! Have you played with more than two people, because the feel of the game is really different (not better, not worse, just totally different). I love the game with 2, 3, and we’ve palyed with as many as 4 people.

    I second the funness of Puerto Rico and Settlers of Catan.

  6. Hi Penelope – glad to have you out of hiding!

    We actually just this evening had a friend over and invited (forced) him to play with us. And he kicked our butts! But yeah, definitely a different dynamic with more than two players.

  7. Carcassone is a fantastic game. It’s even better with the expansion packs. I can beat my husband and even my Carcassonne obsessed brother. We always have discussions about whether it’s good strategy to go after the “Big Meadow”, or to try to claim smaller areas toward the end of play.

    I think Settlers of Catan is a bit complicated. Give Ticket to Ride a try. It’s all about claiming train routes

  8. You all would like my friend Hank, who introduced me to Carcassonne. He is a big board-game nerd who has also taught me about Ticket to Ride, Settlers of Catan, Puerto Rico, etc.

    After I played Carcassonne with Hank, I thought Anna might like it, so I picked it up and taught it to her. She caught on quick. Her favorite strategies are to grab a big farm and to make my cities difficult to complete. Whenever she picks up a piece, she always first checks to see if it can somehow make my life harder before seeing how it might benefit her. What a loving wife.

    So far her predilection for sabotage has not served her well, as she still hasn’t beaten me (despite tying me TWICE). However, a friend edged me tonight by three points in a three-way match. I can tell from her previous comment re: a “butt-kicking” that she took some vicarious pleasure from that!

    Re: expansions, we play with the Inns & Cathedral expansion, because it’s the most accessible for a new player and it makes the game more balanced. (We also use The River, which comes with the main game now.) I didn’t buy the Big Box, which includes all the major expansions, because it’s a little pricey. I wasn’t sure if Anna would like the game, so I didn’t want to make that investment. Now she keeps asking, “Why didn’t you get the BIG BOX?” Never underestimate Anna!

  9. My husband is a video game/board game/rpg/etc fanatic, and one of our local game stores looks pretty similar to yours. I’m willing to bet my new Addi Turbos they have that game. I’ll have to check it out! We love playing board games. We’re also eyeing “Mystery of the Abbey” which is a board game pretty much directly inspired by Umberto Eco’s “Name of the Rose” (if you dig that sort of thing).

  10. Hey there,

    I am also involved with a board game geek. We play Carcassone, Ticket to Ride, Acquire, Shadows over Camelot and pretty much every game that was mentioned above.

    I love me some meeples though. Go to http://www.meeplepeople.com/ and you can get some really cool meeple stuff. (Not my website, so not a plug! :-) )

    Also, I was wondering about your mother-in-law’s stash (I know, we need to let it go already, right?)

    My future mother-in-law is also a knitter and is looking for two skeins of discontinued Noro Kureyon in color #65. Any chance that she might have it and be willing to part with it? (Obviously, I’d pay for it.) I’d just love to be able to get this for her, as it’s a good way to stay her favorite!

    If you don’t mind asking, I will be eternally grateful.


  11. Hi Katey,

    The Meeple People are awesome! Thanks for the link.

    I asked Bonney to check on the Noro, but unfortunately she doesn’t have that particular color. Sorry! There’s got to be some somewhere out there, so best of luck.

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