Board Game Fridays: Try New Ways of Winning with the Competitively Collaborative Carcassonne!


This week, team Pug Pharm had another fun Friday afternoon playing the classic tile-laying board game, Carcassonne. It’s a straightforward and competitive game for 2-5 players, but there’s also room for collaboration!  

Each player takes turn taking a tile from the overturned pile and tactically placing it on the board to form a map of Carcassonne. These tiles may contain segments of city, road, field, and cloister, and players must connect them to tiles that are already placed. Each tile placement grants the player an opportunity to claim one of the resources on that tile using a meeple (colour-coded board game pieces that look like a person), but you only have a limited amount, so use them wisely!  

Players need to strategize each turn by considering what resources nearby are already claimed and whether they should claim anything this turn or risk losing a potentially lucrative opportunity. Do you try to finish a small city (get a meeple back, to be reused elsewhere!), or do you try to steal and dilute another player’s hard work? Each placement is an investment—do you work with another player or block them off?  

Although Carcassonne is a competitive game, players still need to play collaboratively while to create advantages for themselves. Sometimes you realize you don’t have much choice but to help another player complete their castle, but isn’t that a good chance to reap some of the benefits?

Despite how much collaboration happens here at Pug Pharm, we still like some healthy competition. The best feeling during the game is when you hear another player’s groan when your move foils their plan. But what if it’s your plan being ruined? Use that to motivate yourself to get creative and take revenge!  

The fun thing about games like Carcassonne is that each game will always be a different experience. This is the kind of flexibility that good game design provides, where players can adopt different kinds of roles and strategies that suit their play style best. And the more you play, the more you begin to see what strategies and techniques work best for you—and maybe even challenge you to try new ways of winning!