Placing Tiles and Building Features: A Guide to Playing German Tile Game Carcassonne

German Tile Game

Carcassonne is a tile-placement game with roads, cities, cloisters and fields. Players draw and place a new tile each turn and build features on them: roads to other roads, cities to cities, cloisters to cloisters and grassland to grassland.

Each completed feature scores points for its owner. Avoiding sharing a feature is important for gaining an advantage.


During a player’s turn, they draw a tile and then place it on the board. The tile must be placed so that its edges connect to other tiles with the same terrain type. This creates roads, cities and cloisters that score points for the players who have followers on them.

The game ends when the last tile is placed and features are scored. Roads and cities are completed when their segments at both ends connect to a city or cloister, and fields when the connected field segment is either a farmer or a thief.

It’s a fast-paced game that’s great for casual gamers who like the challenge of placing perfect tiles. It’s rare to have a row of tiles that all match but it’s well worth the effort. The game also has some long term goals to help you keep moving forward with the game. If you can keep up, the reward of unlocking locked boxes can be huge.


The game is played by placing tiles in a horizontal row on the table. Each player then places his or her followers in a circle surrounding the tile.

Each turn a player may place a new tile, placing it adjacent to the existing ones. Roads, cities, and cloisters are scored when they are completely completed. Farmers are scored when their farms border a city, regardless of the distance between the farmer and the city.

There are two older editions of the game that have different rules for scoring cities and fields. These old versions of the game are no longer sold, but copies sometimes appear for sale on sites like BoardGameGeek. These editions had thicker cardboard, and a rule booklet instead of the information cards printed on the top of the inner box. Schmidt Spiele produced these editions in 1968 and 1971. They resemble the Green Box editions of those years. The box art is also slightly different.


A number of different materials were used in German tile games, from high-end to cheap. Cardboard or compressed paper was the most common, and was often faced with acetate (like the red-painted Chad Valley set shown at right), with printed, impressed, or etched designs. Celluloid was another material used in high-end sets, often with a hand-carved design. Casein Formaldehyde was an alternative to Galalith – it could be pressed into sheets and then impressed with a design before formalisation, making it cheaper than carved ivory or bone. It also had a duller colour and is less likely to show age-yellowing.

Ebony was usually a dark hardwood dyed black, sometimes with an inlay of Bone, Ivory or French Ivory. Some sets described as Ebony may actually have been a cheaper African wood, such as Diospyros crassiflora. Horn was also used, but is usually reserved for luxury sets. Tortoise shell, primarily from the Hawksbill turtle, is sometimes used, as is Shellac – a resin secreted by the female Lac bug (Kerria lacca) and produced in India and Thailand.


There are many variations in german tile game. Most of them are based on the same game mechanics but use different themes and artwork. Some have additional components, such as special aesthetically pleasing items for towns or fields.

Other differences are the number of players and the way in which incomplete features score. For example, cities, roads and cloisters score when completely enclosed by neighboring tiles, while fields score when completed by other fields.

Some games have a mechanism to stop the game within a specified playing time, such as a pre-determined winning score or depletion of limited game resources. This is especially important in games with a lot of moving parts, such as german tile game. In these cases, a player might choose to conserve their followers in order to avoid being forced to share with another player. For example, a player might place an islander on the edge of a road or field to prevent them from being extended further.

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