Carcassonne Game Launches on iPhone: A TUAW Review

Following the release of Small World, the gaming community has been eagerly awaiting the arrival of Carcassonne on the App Store. The app, which mirrors the original board game’s mechanics, offers a straightforward gaming experience without any additional complexities such as river tiles or dragons. It boasts a variety of play options, including against computer-controlled players or online opponents, and even includes a solitaire mode for solo play.

While there was a similar app named Might And Card: Golden Edition, the official Carcassonne app now available for iPhone and iPod touch at a price of [$4.99] is a significant upgrade, enhancing the digital board game experience on Apple devices.

The Game

Known throughout the Euro gaming community, Carcassonne offers a blend of simplicity and strategic depth. Players draw and place tiles to construct a landscape, matching the sides correctly, and may place one of their limited meeples on the tile to score points.

Strategic placement is crucial, as meeples can become stranded, making it a challenge to reclaim them.

The App

The app version of Carcassonne retains the charm of the board game while adapting it for a mobile experience. Players can customize their game by selecting meeple color and adjusting opponent difficulty. The interface is intuitive, with simple mechanics for tile placement and meeple management. A tutorial helps new players understand the game, although it is somewhat slow due to its reliance on audio instructions.

The app performs well on newer devices, though it may run slowly on older models like the first-gen iPod touch.

Despite minor issues such as text scaling on the iPad and occasional slow performance, the app is a robust platform for enjoying Carcassonne.

AI opponents in the app are challenging, particularly at higher difficulty levels where they employ strategies that can block players from completing features and reclaiming meeples. The app also modifies some scoring rules, such as awarding four points for a two-tile city, deviating from the official board game rules.

Additional features include visual indicators of unplayable spaces and a menu that displays remaining tiles, enhancing strategic planning. However, some players might prefer the option to disable these features to maintain game suspense.

The app’s re-centering of the board after each turn can be frustrating for players who prefer a broader view of the game area. This aspect could be improved to accommodate different play styles.

The solitaire mode offers a unique challenge, tasking players with constructing an efficient layout using the fewest tiles.

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Anthony is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing readers the latest news and insights about Apple products. With a keen eye for detail, Anthony covers everything from the newest iPhone releases to the latest updates on the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch. His articles are known for their clarity and depth, making complex tech topics accessible to everyone. When he’s not writing, Anthony enjoys exploring new features on his iPad and staying ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving world of Apple technology.