This post originally appeared over at Board Game Extras.

One of my favourite things to do on a Saturday afternoon is to visit my local for a couple of pints and play Carcassonne.
There are a number of different factors that make the game amenable to playing with a pint,
I’ve listed some of these below, but I’m sure many of you can think up more.

1. It’s simple. Carcassonne requires some thought and concentration, but not to the extent that
your relaxing afternoon becomes a frustrating and challenging battle for success and survival. it
only took my wife and I a couple of rounds to pick up the basics and have enjoyed it ever since.

2. It’s quick. No one enjoys a game that outstays its welcome, especially when you’re playing
somewhere you might leave in a couple of hours. Timed correctly you can probably get in three
or four games of Carcassonne alongside three or four pints.

3. It’s scaleable. While the seemingly random placement of land tiles may make for rewarding
gameplay it also allows you to still have a game on a pub table that might not be so well-suited
for a ordinary sized board. The individual tiles at least allow you to send a board off in one
direction or another meaning most sizes of table can be accommodated.

4. It’s a conversation-starter. Despite Carcassonne having been around for over a decade now,
it still hasn’t entered the public’s collective consciousness. Therefore once the tiles are laid
out and each player carefully considers how many cities their farm could end up supplying,
members of the public tend to wander over and interject. My favourite comments are “That
look’s complicated” (it’s not), “Is that like Risk?” (no, not really) and “Is that a puzzle?” (it’s a
game!). The good news is that people usually come away thinking they’ve seen something
genuinely interesting and different that isn’t going to threaten the local poker night.

5. It’s not that copy of Trivial Pursuit from 1983. I think pubs should carry board games behind
the bar, but usually these are second-hand, either out of date and have essential pieces
missing (it turns out you can make Monopoly money from beer mats). By bringing a game like
Carcassonne along to the pub, it can show staff how broadening their horizons might not be a
bad thing after all, especially when its a game that isn’t going to lead to excessive gambling or
violence (at least not the way I play Carcassonne).

Would love to hear about other experiences you have playing in public, at the pub or other
places!

John – The Wizard of Walthamstow.

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