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Review: New World (Carcassonne)

26 December 2008

Carcassonne: New World is a recent addition to the family of Carcassonne
games. The mechanics are similar to other Carcassonne games, in that you have interconnecting square tiles, people-shaped pawns, and a game of strategy where tile and pawn placement is paramount. In this game, the pawns are settlers trying to expand colonies from Plymouth to Jamestown, and the tiles contain towns, farms, and roads.

Carcassonne’s farms have been replaced by plains in New World, which can contain wooded areas with animals. Trappers (laying-down settler pawns, akin to farmers in Carcassonne) score points not for each tile, but for each animal icon in their domain. There are also no rivers to keep plains areas small, which makes jockeying for position harder.

There are also two special pawns called surveyors. At the end of each turn, a surveyor pawn moves, westward if possible. The net effect is that once you have two tiles in leftmost column of tiles, both surveyors will move one column to the “west”. Any standing settlers east of the surveyors, like shopkeepers (akin to knights) and robbers are returned to their owners. You get a hefty bonus if you complete a road or town where a surveyor stands, and thus there is a great impetus to expand westward.

I have also played Carcassonne and Carcassonne: The Castle, and whereas the confined space of The Castle adds space pressure to the game, the necessity of completing features before your settlers become “obsolete” in New World adds some time pressure to the game. I must admit, based on playing New World once, it’s destined to become my favorite version.

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