A lot of people automatically shy away from all that stuff put out by Rio Grande, or Mayfair, or just anything that looks suspiciously German. German games have a reputation for being so complex that American audiences, who like to make sure they don’t lose, take hours and hours to play them. Well, I’m here to tell you to get Carcassonne. I’ve been playing it constantly lately. It just won the Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) award in its homeland, as well as the more gamer-geek-oriented, popular-vote-based (as opposed to juried) Deutscher SpielePries. It plays in 30 to 45 minutes. It is perfectly balanced between luck and skill (and I don’t say that kind of thing lightly). It is cheap as all hell, for what you get. And, perhaps best of all for American audiences, it plays as well with two players as with three to five. It was tough to get a few weeks ago but I’m seeing it everywhere now. Check it, check it, check it. Carcassonne. That is all.
(Well, okay, that’s not all. I want to ask a question. Suppose I could link you to a page at a major online board-gaming retail site, that had much more detail than the Rio Grande link, but the link gave OgreCave a cut of the sale, if your going to their page resulted in a sale of a copy of that game. We ogres have been going back and forth on whether gamers would consider that ethical, or see it as a compromise of objectivity, or just as another blow to beleaguered real-world retailers. We’d like to know what you think, and we don’t want to couch it in a funny poll. Send us an email.)