When comparing Carcassonne vs Junk Art, the Slant community recommends Carcassonne for most people. In the question“What are the best board games for beginners?” Carcassonne is ranked 2nd while Junk Art is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose Carcassonne is:
The rules are pretty basic for Carcassonne, with first time players being able to grasp its concepts quite quickly, making Carcassonne a great gateway game. Every turn the player draws one tile from the pile. They then must place the tile adjacent to a tile that has already been placed in a way that the edges match. There are four types of terrain on the tiles – roads, cities, monasteries, and grassland. After the tile is placed the player can choose to put a player figure, a.k.a. a meeple, on the tile to potentially score points. If a meeple is placed on a road, then the player will score one point for every road tile until the road ends in an intersection or a city. If the meeple is placed on a city, the player will receive two points for every city tile until the city is fully walled off. If the player chooses to place the meeple in a monastery, then they will receive one point per tile until the monastery is fully surrounded by tiles. Lastly, if the meeple is placed on grassland, then it’ll only score points at the very end of the game, giving three points for every city in the field. The player with the most points wins.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Easy to learn for beginners
The rules are pretty basic for Carcassonne, with first time players being able to grasp its concepts quite quickly, making Carcassonne a great gateway game.
Every turn the player draws one tile from the pile. They then must place the tile adjacent to a tile that has already been placed in a way that the edges match. There are four types of terrain on the tiles – roads, cities, monasteries, and grassland. After the tile is placed the player can choose to put a player figure, a.k.a. a meeple, on the tile to potentially score points.
If a meeple is placed on a road, then the player will score one point for every road tile until the road ends in an intersection or a city. If the meeple is placed on a city, the player will receive two points for every city tile until the city is fully walled off. If the player chooses to place the meeple in a monastery, then they will receive one point per tile until the monastery is fully surrounded by tiles. Lastly, if the meeple is placed on grassland, then it’ll only score points at the very end of the game, giving three points for every city in the field. The player with the most points wins.
Pro Detailed with polish
The board game pieces are highly detailed and colorful, be it lush grassland, a fortified medieval castle, or a monastery in the middle of nowhere. The game is themed after southern France in the medieval ages and the actual fortified city of Carcassonne and the landscape around it. There is definitely some forethought put into the polish of this game that makes much of it intuitive and a pleasure to look at.
On a more practical note, the back of the tile with which the game starts is in a separate color, so it is easier to find when starting the game.
Pro Simple, but allows for lots of thinking if you want
The game is very accessible to beginners, but it allows for quite a bit of strategic play when you get more familiar with the concept. You can either go for long-term strategies with farms, or for quick point-grabs; you can build your own cities in peace or try to mess with your opponent whenever possible. A lot of tactics come in the form of cutthroat play – trapping other players’ meeples, stealing cities, and getting to share points.
Moreover, the last turns of the game can also influence the outcome a lot – players receive some points for unfinished creations as well.
Pro Quick to play
In a regular expansion-less game of Carcassonne it can take 30 – 45 minutes to blast through the approximately 70 tiles.
The gameplay is dynamic, and everyone’s constantly engaged, managing their meeples and calculating which part of the board is worth fighting over. Even the kids stay engaged since the winner is usually not obvious untile the very end.
Because of the simple rules Carcassonne is very easy to get back into even after big breaks and it’s great to teach to other people. This means that the people you play with can change without any problems and you can play the game with anyone – children, your parents, your friends, or your partner.
Pro Near-endless replayability
Carcassonne will pretty much never feel dull, there are so many possibilities and variables in the game not only because of the randomness, but also because of the simplicity and the variation count.
Carcassonne is going to be a different game every time because of the tiles you and your opponents draw and where you choose to place them. There are over 70 tiles in the base set, which amounts to a lot of possible combinations.
Carcassonne has been around for a while, and this has led to the release of many expansions throughout the years. Each of these provides more tiles, rules, and other variables to the game.
Lastly, you can even introduce many variations that’ll change up the game without owning any expansions, for example, instead of drawing one tile and placing it every turn, have the players manage a hand of four tiles.
Pro Easy to start playing
The basic premise of Junk Art can be taught within a minute or two. The whole game revolves around stacking pieces and getting points from your structures. Each game has three rounds – three cities you must go to, which are either chosen or randomized at the start of the game. They are sort of like mini-games that each have their own rules – what must be built, what is the win/lose condition, etc. The goal of the game is to be the player with the most fans after three rounds.
For example, Indianapolis makes players simultaneously flip the top card of their 10-card deck, find the matching piece, place it, and say “Done!” The last player to say it doesn’t place the piece. This is done until all cards have been played, the player with the most pieces gains the most fans.
There’s almost never a dull moment while playing Junk Art because most of the time everyone’s playing at once. Every round will be different – some cities are time-based, others just require you to keep building, but all of them involve some sort of interaction between players – passing cards, swapping places, cooperating, etc.
There are plenty of laughs to be had while playing Junk Art, be it funny creations, memories of someone’s tower falling apart, or a specific city.
There’s a sense of achievement when you manage to create something that looks cool and doesn’t instantly fall apart. Creations tend to get quite unstable, so there are going to be some intense moments where they wobble around a bit, but both outcomes are good – it falls, and everyone laughs, or it doesn’t, and everyone still laughs.
Some of the cities you’ll encounter in the game can also create hilarious and memorable moments. for example, Montreal, where you must choose one out of three cards, pass one to the player on your left, place the piece you received, and then swap places with the next person in the direction of play. Basically, you pass bad cards to your opponents, but if your opponent manages to place them, then that becomes your problem in just a few seconds.
Pro Good components
The game excels with truly high-quality components. The box itself is made of wood and works as a great storage for all the small pieces. The stackable pieces are either wooden or plastic, depending on which edition you’ve got. Either way, both materials are durable and do not feel cheap.
Many of the stackable pieces are unusual shapes – partially curved figures, dumbbells, flowerpots, etc. However, their centers of mass are very well-balanced, which means that no piece is better than another – it’s all situational.
Pro A lot of variety
You will never play the same game of Junk Art twice. Usually you’ll get different combinations of cities and your constructions will be unique every time. The base game comes with 12 cities (one of which requires the game “Flick ‘Em Up” to play) and 3 blank cards for custom cities.
The 12 cities are diverse – some require you to be the fastest, others make you compete in creating the highest structure, and there are even some especially interesting cards, for example, Montreal makes you swap places with other players, or Paris requires you to cooperate and create one structure together.
Con Risk of accidental tile moving
If the game is not played on a flat surface or if you accidentally apply more force to the tile when you're placing it adjacent to another, then everything can shift, which can be annoying to fix.
Con Small official scoreboard
The official scoreboard that comes with the base game only stacks up to 50 points, but proper games of Carcassonne go way past that mark – a game without any expansions can easily reach over 100 points. If you add expansions to the equation, then the points can stack up even past 400, but some expansions feature scoring tokens that help resolve this issue.
Con Highly random
As is typical for a game with a drawing mechanic, almost every action in the game is influenced by whatever tile is drawn and where a player has chosen to place it, so it’ll benefit him the most. The randomness is enhanced by the fact that the players only draw one tile at a time, so you must take what you get.
Con May be a little light for hardcore boardgame players
The game itself is not very deep in design or play, which may be a turn off for the more hardcore of boardgame players though can be good for newcomers.
Con Not for people with shaky hands
It’s no surprise that dexterity games require steady hands, otherwise creations risk falling. Some cities allow room for errors, but in others the round ends as soon as someone drops a piece or two, which is fine occasionally, but if it happens too often because of trembling hands it kind of ruins the gaming experience with an abrupt ending.
Junk Art is quite a pricey game due to the components – there’s a lot of them and they are of high quality wood or plastic. The version of the game with wooden pieces sells for $40-60, whereas the plastic version goes for $25-40.
Con Environment dependent
Junk Art is a game that requires you to stack pieces together – this demands a completely even surface, so the tower won’t fall over, and some room for every player, so they don’t accidentally elbow each other. Moreover, this game can’t be played outside or next to an open window very well because a gust of wind might ruin your construction.