When comparing Carcassonne vs Dead of Winter Crossroads, the Slant community recommends Carcassonne for most people. In the question“What are the best board games?” Carcassonne is ranked 14th while Dead of Winter Crossroads is ranked 17th. 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.
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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 Exciting risk-reward system
Sometimes performing an action can be risky. Typically, when moving or attacking you need to roll the 'exposure die' (you could get frostbite, receive a zombie bite, or have nothing happen). This means that it can be risky moving around to different locations. Each location has its own strengths and weaknesses, with some being very rewarding. Deciding whether or not the move is worth the risk makes it a very exciting system where you'll always be weighing the benefits and drawbacks of every single movement.
Pro Lots of tough choices to make on a personal level
All players attempt to survive together, fending off zombies, gathering supplies, and working towards a common goal. However, each player also has their own secret side-objective ranging from saving the most survivors to hoarding certain items and even betraying the group. Playing for the survival of the group while also juggling your own secret goals can result in many tough personal choices. Do you share resources with the group or keep them for yourself? Do you go off and scavenge supplies for personal gains even it means leaving the group weakened? Do you save that survivor or just let them die because it's one more mouth to feed?
Pro Survivalist theme of the game is very well integrated
The survivalist theme shines through in each and every tough decision, gameplay system, and objective the game throws at you. Most of the world is dead, the environment is extremely hostile, there are zombies everywhere, and one wrong move can be the difference between survival and death for you and/or your group. Do you work towards the goal of the group, or do you sabotage them for personal gains? Do you hoard resources or share? There is an endless list of choices that have to be made. Overall, it really feels like a true survival situation that sucks you in.
Pro Random scenarios and decisions add replayability
There are a couple of gameplay mechanics that add a very random and deadly element to the game that really affect how the game plays out. Since they are completely random card draws, each game session will be unique its own way.
At the start of each player's turn, another player draws a 'crossroads' card for that player. Each crossroads card has a trigger - sometimes it is triggered by an action that they player could take, where they are located, or which players are in the game. These cards typically offer a choice between two options, and can drastically sway the game for better or worse.
Also, each turn a 'crisis card' is flipped, showing the current crisis for that turn. If the players can't work together to overcome the crisis (or the betrayer sabotages it) really bad things happen which put the whole group in immediate danger.
Pro Unpredictable actions help keep things exciting
Most actions (searching, moving, etc) are based on a random dice roll, making it very difficult to plan ahead. Instead of a set number of actions per turn, you get one dice plus one additional dice for each character you control. Based on what you roll on the dice, you will be able to perform various actions. Since you're working within the constraints of each roll, each turn will present new opportunities or setbacks. This helps things stay exciting throughout.
Pro Great for quick games
Each game lasts about one to two hours, making it a great game for when you want to get involved in deep game that doesn't overstay its welcome.
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 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 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 It may be long and slow, with unexperienced players
As with many board games, new players may have trouble comprehending all the rules. Additionally, sometimes tough decisions need to be made. Newer players won't be aware of the nuances behind every choice and may need things explained to them.
Con Limited actions, especially towards end game
Some of the rules and effects completely discourage movement, such as an unlucky exposure roll that could cost you the game. Near the end game, zombies may fill up in an area and make it very difficult to clear them out, effectively reducing the map size and your access to resources.
Con Predictable enemies
The zombies are very predictable. You know when and where they will spawn, as well as who they will attack.