Carcassonne Expansion: Bridges, Castles and Bazaars
by Gary Walts
(Montreal Board Game Meetup)
Carcassonne game expansion: Bridges, Castles and Bazaars
Board game manufacturer:
Rio Grande Games
Number of players:
With twelve new tiles and three new mechanics, this expansion is sure to open the scoring and encourage more interaction in your games.
The game and gameplay
In addition to the new tiles, this box includes 12 wooden Bridges and 12 Castle tiles. Each player starts with two or three, depending on how many players are in the game.
The Bridges allow you to place a extend roads by placing a bridge on the tile you played OR a tile next to the one you played. It must extend a road, and both ends of the bridge must be on field segments, meaning that the tile you play a bridge on must have fields on opposite sides. Continues below
Not only do Bridges extend roads, but since they don’t cut off fields like roads do, they can also lead to larger fields.
Castles allow you to score a later feature. If you would control a two tile city and score it, you may instead build a Castle on that city. If you do, you instead place your Castle tile and Meeple on top of the city instead of scoring points.
The next time another feature in a 2 x 3 radius of the Castle is scored, you also score for that feature and take your Meeple back.
Farmers score 4 points for each Castle in their field at the end of the game.
Bazaars: Ok… here we go…
8 of the new tiles in this set feature the Bazaar. At the end of a turn in which a Bazaar tile is drawn, an Auction round begins with 1 tile per player available. The next player starts as the Auctioneer, and would place a bid on a tile of his choice. In turn order, players can raise the bid or pass until it comes to the Auctioneer again.
The Auctioneer may then buy the tile for the highest bid, paying victory points to the player who made the bid, OR the auctioneer passes and the highest bidder pays the auctioneer the number of points bid. However, if the Auctioneer’s bid is the highest (aka each other player passed on the tile), the points are deducted from the Auctioneer’s score and no other player receives the points.
The next player in turn who hasn’t purchased a tile becomes the Auctioneer, and the process is repeated. Players who have already purchased a tile may not bid on another tile for that round. Once the tiles are all purchased, each player then plays their tile in turn order. No other auctions take place until all the auctioned tiles are played.
Got all that? Continues below
Pros and Cons
The Bridges make fighting over control of the fields more dynamic. It’s harder to lock other players out of a field you control, but easier to expand on that field.
The Castles add a simple risk/reward strategy where you could score points of another play’s massive city, double up a cloister you build, or only get two points for a tiny road built next to your castle.
However, while the rules for the Bridges and Castles are good, the rules for the Bazaars auction round are much harder for players to wrap their heads around. I would suggest coming up with your own auction rules, if you use the mechanic at all.
Bridges, Castles and Bazaars is a good pick for an expansion to the base game. The mechanics in this kit work well together, in spite of the Bazaar’s epic-length rules. My bid for this one is 4 footprints out of 5.
If you’ve played Carcassonne Expansion: Bridges, Castles and Bazaars, please leave a rating and comments using the link below.