I've used the RGG 1st edition scoring rules because I was unaware until recently that there are 3 different scoring systems for Carcassonne. Without having tried the (now most common) 3rd edition scoring rules, it is obvious that there is a decreased emphasis on gearing the whole game towards winning a mega farm at the end. But I'm guessing there are other less obvious ramifications I haven't thought of.

I'd like to hear a more detailed answer to this question from those who have used both 1st and 3rd edition, both with respect to the basic set and with respect to any expansions that have been heavily impacted:

How is game feel and strategy different between the 1st and 3rd edition scoring rules?

  • I think if you look over the annotated rules, you will find that Rio Grand Games had to modify some of the rules in expansions to not clash with their 1st edition rules when releasing Big Box sets. As for "feel", I would drop that from the OP. Feelings are not objective, and really this question would be covered by strategic differences.
    – user1873
    May 23, 2012 at 13:37
  • @user1873 Upon first reading your comment I thought - your're right, I'll drop game feel. But then I read the first answer and it mentioned how farmer's are so much simpler to score, thus reducing a "feeling" of tedium (headache). Objectively one could say this reduces the amount of time (and possibility for mistakes) when scoring farmers. But honestly I think "it makes the game feel less tedious" communicates the same thing more directly. By asking about "game feel" I am explicitly soliciting this kind of comment without having to list every possible objective game impact.
    – Joe Golton
    May 23, 2012 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


I prefer the new rules for the simple reason that farmer scoring always used to be a huge headache. Doing it pasture by pasture, with the ability to simply empty the pasture of farmers once it's been scored, seems like a great timesaver. It also feels good that pasture rules have fallen pretty much exactly in line with city-scoring rules.

When I found about the rule change, I was a bit miffed about the new city scoring. It seemed excessively cheap to be able to make a size-2 city and score 4 for it without any meeple investment. The added consistency is welcome, though. It's annoying when teaching any game to new players to have to say "the rule is this... except in this situation, when it's this". So this change is probably a score draw at worst.

How do the changes alter things strategically? Well, now that small cities are twice as attractive an option, you're going to get a lot more of them. More cities equals more opportunities for farmers to make big scores. That being the case, it's probably good that the farmer rules have been simplified; no one wants a game that makes their head hurt. Well, most people don't. (A lot of my friends love Ricochet Robots.)

Simplified-rules Carcassonne retains the excellent central dynamic of the game - between scoring points on the board throughout the game, or building up a farmer presence that will allow for a big score at the end. Novice players generally don't really get farmers, and I've often found them disappointed when they get crushed in the final tallying-up of a game they thought they were holding their own in. By keeping farmer rules simple enough that they have a chance of understanding them during their first game, everyone is more likely to be happy. Farmers may still be the weapon of choice for the Carcassonne expert, but explaining how exactly you won with them no longer feels so dirty!

  • 1
    Great answer! I find that the changes also makes the game a bit more aggressive with people vying to capture farms throughout. Newbies especially fall into this tactic and end up over extending themselves and running out of meeples at the end. Lessons hard learned!
    – Mohamad
    Oct 22, 2012 at 15:08

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