Simple to Read Carcassonne Rules

Quick reference and simple to read Carcassonne rules. We cover the essential instructions and directions to get your game started quickly.


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What is the goal?

Carcassonne is a tile-placement, territory building game centred around the world-famous French city, known for its fortifications erected during the Middle Ages. Players build the area surrounding Carcassonne and place their followers onto roads and into cities, monasteries, and fields. 

Players take turn to  place tiles, representing landscape of roads, cities, monasteries, and fields. Meeples placed on these tiles become highwaymen, knights, monks, and farmers and allow players to score as many points as possible. Points are also earned at the very end and the highest scorer at the end is the winner. 

Game setup

Land Tiles

  • There are 84 land tiles which depict:
    • roads
    • cities 
    • monasteries
Carcassonne land tiles

Land tiles with Rivers

  • Twelve (12) of these tiles show a river.
  • Every tile shares the same back, with the exception of the start tile and the twelve River tiles. The back of those tiles is darker, making them easy to set them aside.
Back of Carcassonne tiles
Back of Carcassonne tiles

Placing the Starting Tile

  • Place starting tile (the one with a dark back) in the middle of the table.
  • Shuffle the remaining tiles and set them as different facedown stacks that are easily accessible to all players.
Carcassonne Starting Tile
Carcassonne Starting Tile

Scoreboard and Meeples

  • Put to the scoreboard to the side of your playing surface (table, floor, etc.)
  • There are 40 regular meeples (8 meeples in each of these colours: yellow, red, green, blue, and black)
  • There are also 5 abbots (1 in each of the same colours)
  • Each player chooses a colour and gets 7 meeples of the colour as personal supply
  • Each player will take the remaining meeple in their color and sets it
    on space 0 of the scoreboard.
  • Return to the box any unused meeples and, for newcomers, the abbots
  • Select a first player
Carcassonne Score Board
Carcassonne Score Board

Gameplay

Player take turns in clockwise order. Each player takes the following actions to try to complete and own features (Roads, Cities, Monasteries) on their landscape.

  1. Place a tile
    • The player draws exactly 1 Land tile from a stack
    • The player places it faceup and continues landscape
  2. Place a meeple
    • The player may a meeple from their supply onto the recently placed tile
  3. Score a feature
    • The player must score any feature completed by their tile placement. 

Placing Road Tiles and Scoring Road Features

Placing a tile

When drawing a road tile, you must place it such that it continues the existing landscape (the tiles already in play)

Carcassonne 1

Placing a meeple on a road

  • Once a road tile is placed, you may place a meeple as a highwayman on one of the road’s segments
  • The road segment must be unoccupied by another highwayman
Carcassonne 2

Scoring a road

  • A road is completed and scored when both ends are closed.
  • The end of a road is closed when it meets a village, a city, a monastery, or it loops onto itself by meeting the other end
  • If another player places a tile to close a road and it completes your road, you will still score points.
  • How many points do you score? When scoring a road, each tile of that road grants you 1 point. Once scored, return the highwayman meeple to your supply
  • Move your meeple on the scoreboard by the number of points
Carcassonne 3

Placing City Tiles and Scoring City Features

Placing a tile

  • Tiles are drawn to continue the landscape
  • Illustration of tiles must be continued. For example, a city segment must be connected to an open city.
Carcassonne 4

Placing a meeple as a knight

  • You can place a meeple as a Knight in the city if there isn’t already one. 
Carcassonne 5

Scoring a city

  • When you complete a city feature, it must now be scored.
  • A completed city is surrounded by walls and there are no gaps inside the city
  • If you have a meeple in the completed city, you are the player to score it
  • Each tile in a completed city is worth 2 points. In addition, each knight is worth 2 more points. Once scored, the meeple that was in the scored feature (knight) returns to your supply.
  • Move your meeple on the scoreboard by the number of points
Carcassonne 6

Placing Monastery Tiles and Scoring Monastery Features

Placing a tile

  • Once a tile is drawn, continue the landscape
  • Monasteries are illustrated in the centre of a tile
Carcassonne 7

Placing a meeple as a monk

  • You can place a meeple from your supply on a monastery as a monk
Carcassonne 8

Scoring a monastery

  • A monastery is completed when it is surrounded by tiles.
  • Once completed, you will score the monastery feature.  The feature is worth 1 point per tile that completes it (including the monastery itself).
  • Once completed, as usual, you to take your meeple back.
  • Move your meeple on the scoreboard by the number of points

Multiple meeples in the same feature

Here are some scenario examples that result in multiple meeples in the same feature.

Scenario 1: Multiple players scoring the same road feature

  • You draw a road tile and have the option to continue the road. 
  • There is already a highwayman on that road, which means that you may not place yours. 
  • You place your tile, and a highwayman, in a space that is not connected.
Carcassonne 9
  • In following turns, you draw this tile and decide to continue the road with it.
  • Both roads, each with a highwayman, are now connected.
  • The road is completed and both you and the other player score 4 points.
  • Then, you both take your meeple back.
Carcassonne 10

Scenario 2: Controlling a city feature with multiple meeples

  • You wish to take control of the city away from yellow and place your
    tile as pictured with a knight on it.
  • You are allowed to place a knight there because the city segment is not connected to another city segment with a knight on it.
  • If you succeed in linking your two city segments, your two knights will allow you to take the city from yellow.
Carcassonne 11
  • You place the tile you needed to connect the city segments.
  • Since you now have the most knights in the city, only you get to score the 10 points awarded for completing that city.
  • Then, both you and the other player take back your meeples.
Carcassonne 12

How do you win?

End of game

Game ends after the turn of the player who placed the last tile. Once the game is over, all meeples still in play are scored.

Scoring post gamePoints
Incomplete road1 point per tile
Incomplete city1 point per tile
Incomplete monastery1 point per tile plus adjacent tile
Field (also used for games involving farmers and fields)3 points per adjacent completed city

Farmers are presented in the supplementary rules. It is recommended to play a few games before introducing farmers and fields.

Carcassonne 13


How to Play Carcassonne and Review Videos

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