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There are a lot of different Carcassonne expansions available and I'm curious if anyone has any insight in to telling if combining them may break game play? Recently we've been using Inns & Cathedrals with Cult, Siege and Creativity. It seems to have drastically changed the balance so that it's very dangerous to try and build a city of any size. Most cities end up being 2-3 tiles, putting a ton of them in the field and sieged cities make being a farmer even more attractive. Last game, every big meeple was a farmer and three players had 5 meeples each in one large field.

Is there any general advice on combining expansions? Are we just experiencing different game play thanks to different tiles?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In my opinion you can combine any of the expansions (except possible the Catapult) together to make a decent new game. In fact we often combine different parts of different expansions if we want to avoid having too many rules. We might play with the inns, pigs and mayors for instance.

Also we sometimes want a longer game but without too many extra rules. For example, by playing with Traders and Builders we get a lot of extra tile shapes, which can be very satisfying if you like to fill in holes, but we might agree before the game that we won't use the resources associated with those tiles.

One expansion which we never use alone is the Princess and Dragon. We like to play with the dragon on a large board, as this helps to encourage more long-term strategies. For example on a small board (with the dragon) you are unlikely to risk making a large city, or placing a farmer early. If the board is bigger then the dragon is less likely to come near your meeples, so there is a bit more margin for prospective play.

In your example it sounds like you are using a sensible number of rules. If you're not a fan of small cities then you could maybe try playing without the siege tiles? However at this stage it becomes a question of personal taste.

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Why not the catapult? –  tunaranch Oct 29 '10 at 7:00
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The catapult brings physical skill into a game focused on strategy and negotiation. It changes the game significantly, and I'm not convinced that it complements the other expansions (or even the base set). Opinions vary on this though - have a scan through the reviews here for more: boardgamegeek.com/forum/4738/carcassonne-catapult/reviews –  tttppp Oct 29 '10 at 7:11
    
Be a little bit careful about mixing only parts of expansions. With Princess and Dragon, mixing in just the dragon and not the fairy might make the game quite a bit more destructive than you'd like. –  James Feb 27 at 0:57

The only way it breaks the game is each expansion's impact on the score becomes less as you add more expansions. Except for king and scout that scales exponentially as more expansions are added.

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My only caution is that the additional expansions begin to greatly increase the amount of time the game takes to play. I always found part of the enjoyment of Carcassonne was that it was quick and satisfying. When you add on two or three expansions the game begins to get really long and the interest of the parties can start to fade.

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+1, simply because I've played games (mentioning no Quests for the Magic Carrot) where people seemed to think it would be a good idea to play with every available expansion; 9 hours of tedium later... Completism is a dangerous tendency when a lot of boardgames work a LOT better if you cherrypick one or two expansions per session, rather than just throwing them all in. –  thesunneversets Oct 18 '11 at 19:39

Each expansion give a independent set of rules. It's complete safe to combine expansions. Even fan made expansions provide an independet set of rules.

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I find that the additional mechanics of the expansions rarely combine constructively. I will play any of the expansions alone, and many of them in pairs, but usually decline a game that uses three or more because of the sort of undesirable consequences you describe.

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I have played with Inns & Cathedrals, Builders & Traders, Princess & Dragon, Tower, and River all in play simultaneously. It didn't break the game, but neither was it really more fun in any way - it got very bogged down in mechanics.

Pick your favorites and combine 'em!

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