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It seems that the scoring for fields and cities in Carcassonne varies -- has this changed over the years, or is this a difference between the US and international versions? Are there generally-accepted correct scoring rules for fields and cities?

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up vote 37 down vote accepted

The third edition scoring is now what is shipped by both Rio Grande Games(US distributor) and Hans im Glück(Original, German publishers)

Rio Grande Games made the changes for the english version of the game (1st and 2nd edition scoring).

Here are a summary of the scoring rule changes by edition

  • 1st Edition
    • Small City scoring (Completed 2 tile cities only score 2)
    • Farmer scoring:
      1. Select a city
      2. Count the farmers in fields touching that city
      3. The player with the majority of farmers on all farms touching that city scores 4
      4. Repeat for each city.
  • 2nd Edition
    • Small City scoring (Completed 2 tile cities only score 2)
    • Farmer scoring:
      1. Pick a farm
      2. Count the farmers on that farm
      3. The player with the most farmers scores 3 for each city touching that farm
      4. Repeat for each city. However, each city can only be scored once
  • 3rd Edition
    • All city scoring is 2 points per tile, no small city exception
    • Farmer Scoring:
      1. Pick a farm
      2. Count the farmers on that farm
      3. The player with the most farmers scores 3 for each city touching that farm
      4. Repeat for each farm. Each city can be scored multiple times.

Rio Grande Games only recently (2009) starting shipping the 3rd edition rules, while Hans im Glück issued them in 2004. The reason given is that RGG prefers not to issue rule changes when reprinting a game. This meant that they had to rewrite the rules of most expansions issued to ensure they were compatible.

I do not believe that Jay Tummelson (Head of Rio Grande Games) has stated why the switch was made in 2009. I think there are two possible explanations.

  1. The Abbey and Mayor expansion introduced the barn piece. The barn piece is scored essentially like a farm (it scores and eliminates all farmers in the farm). This is easily understood for those familiar with the 3rd edition rules, but confusing for those using 1st.
  2. All electronic editions of the game use 3rd edition scoring. This could have forced RGG's hand. When everyone in the US was playing just the RGG version it was easy to maintain a consistent rule set. Now, a lot of us play on our Xbox or Ipad as well as using the board game. This makes the differences more noticeable.
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There are three versions of the Carcassonne rules; citing Wikipedia:

In the first and second editions of the game, completed cities covering just two tiles scored two points (one per tile) and one extra point for every pennant that resides in the city. This exception is removed from the third edition, in which there is no difference between two-tile cities and cities of larger size.

The greatest divergence in scoring rules between the editions of Carcassonne is in scoring for fields. In the first edition, the players with the greatest number of followers adjacent to a city were awarded four points for that city. Thus, followers from different fields contributed to the scoring for a city, and followers on a field may contribute to the scoring for multiple cities. The second edition considered different fields separately — for each field, the players with the greatest number of followers in a field scored three points for each city adjacent to the field, although points were only be scored once for any given city. The third edition removes these exceptions and brings field scoring in line with the scoring of other features.

I would imagine that tournaments will typically use the newest official version of the rules, but for recreational play there is no such thing as "correct" rules. Use whichever version your co-players and you agree on.

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I actually think that the original scoring (per city rather than per field) was more intuitive, but that's just my opinion. 2nd Edition was very confusing. – Andrew Vandever Nov 6 '10 at 4:57
The first edition was inconsistent and required extra record keeping. That's the main reason the third was changed: so that it "brings field scoring in line with the scoring of other features" – Aldaron Nov 6 '11 at 17:46
@Aldaron: it's a largely academic issue, but what extra records did the first edition require that you keep? I've always played first edition rules, and we never kept any records beyond the figurines placed on the tiles. Maybe I'm misunderstanding your remark? – Erik P. Nov 7 '11 at 21:30
@Erik: Just that you needed to keep track of what farmers had been counted for a given city, since you can't track that by removing them. With all other features (and now all features) figure removal mirrors scoring. Not a big deal, but a source of error and fidlyness. – Aldaron Nov 8 '11 at 0:02
@Aldaron: Got it, extra record keeping during scoring. I thought you meant during play. Thx! – Erik P. Nov 8 '11 at 13:07

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