Monday, 18 January 2016

Carcassonne Over Hill and Dale

Time to play: 35 minutes.
Players: 2-5 players
Suggested age: 7+
Price: £27.99 RRP.

Mike: First can we say a big thank you to Esdevium Games for our review copy. You can find your nearest game store using their handy store locator.
Carcassonne is well known and much loved in the board game community. It’s simple yet rewarding gameplay makes it a great gateway game for newcomers to the hobby.
Since its release in 2000, there have been many expansions and variants. Today we are reviewing the latest variant to be released-Over Hill and Dale.

David: In Over Hill and Dale you are building fields and meadows (instead of cities and farms in the original Carcassonne).
You start the game with 4 farmer meeples and 2 stables. Your 5th meeple is placed on the scoring board. Find the starting tile (it has a different colour back) and place this face-up in the centre of the table. Place all the other tiles stacked face down and you’re ready to begin.


Mike: In this version there are also 33 harvest tokens. There are 5 of each crop and 8 happy scarecrows. More on these later.



On your turn, you take a tile from the face-down deck and flip it over. You then place this tile on the board so it matches up correctly to an already placed tile. All placed edges must match up that is really the only rule when placing tiles.
On the placed tile you can place a meeple or a stable. What you choose is important as they score differently. A meeple will also stay in place until it’s able to score so you need to think if it’s worth committing as you have a limited supply. Stables will stay where they are placed until the end of the game.

David: This is what I enjoy about Carcassonne it’s very easy to learn and you always seem to have options each turn. You have to think about how you are going to score. For example

If I placed this tile. 

I could put a meeple on the road (a wanderer).



On the field (a farmer).



Or place a stable.



Stables score you points at the end of the game. They score by adding up the number of animals on the 8 surrounding tiles plus the tile the stable is on.
So for example, this would score 9 points at the end of the game. For the 4 chickens, 4 pigs and 1 cow.




Mike: Those fields can score big as well. Remember the harvest tokens? Well if you complete a field that has one or more harvest tokens you take these from the supply. At the end of the game, you get 1 point for each token and 5 bonus points for each set (1 of each crop). The scarecrow tokens are wild cards and can be used to complete sets.
For example completing this field will give the yellow player a pumpkin and grain harvest token.




David: I like this addition as the harvest tokens let a player catch up at the end. Players may have scored smaller fields to collect harvest tokens and then make lots of points later on.

Mike:  Yes it does add a bit more tactical play in the game and removes the farmer meeple scoring from the original game. 

There is also one other small change. When you place a meeple down on a road it becomes a wanderer. Normally in Carcassonne, this meeple wouldn’t score any points until a road is completed.

However in Over Hill and Dale your meeples can go for a hike. Once you have placed a tile that extends the path your meeple is on you can move him along the path and score a point for each tile.

This is another nice addition and gives some more point options in the game.

David: I’m so used to the older Carcassonne that I forgot about doing this. It does mean you can get a few more points from the road place meeples that don’t often score as many.

Mike: So is the game any good? Yes, it’s Carcassone with some nice additions that keep the game fresh. It may entice younger players with its cutesy art style. 

Is it worth buying if you own Carcassonne? Maybe not, the harvest tokens are a nice addition but really that’s all that is different here. I prefer this to the original Carcassonne and would recommend it to someone that doesn’t already own a copy of the original.

If you already own the original it would probably be better to look at some of the expansions if you are looking for something new to freshen up the game.

David: I agree they are almost the same game I prefer Over Hill and Dale to the original as I like the harvest tiles and stables. Also, I prefer the artwork and theme it’s a lot brighter and nicer looking.

Mike: Yes, at the end of a game it looks really picturesque with its big meadows full of farms and animals.

This is a definite recommendation from us for families with younger gamers. Carcassonne is so simple to play, it does say 7+ on the box but you could omit a few of the rules and let younger gamers join in. David and I have introduced this to families at board game events and it has always gone down well.

Carcassonne is a firm favourite in our house and this is a welcome addition. A big thumbs up from us and hope they continue to keep releasing additions to the Carcassonne world.

3 comments:

  1. The ability to move meeples is a pretty cool feature - I tend to suffer from poor placement tactics and end up with not much to show for it when playing Carcassonne :(

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    Replies
    1. yeah it's a pretty neat feature and lets you eek out a few more points in the game.

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  2. Can you tell me how far you are allowed to move a wanderer? Can he only move one tile at a time or the entire length of the road? And once you start moving in one direction, can you move back the other way to continue scoring? Thanks!

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