With ten full Carcassonne expansions to choose from, you might not know where to start. Some of the best Carcassonne expansions were the first ones to be released, like Inns & Cathedrals. Over the years I have played through many different ones and found that they each add a different, unique angle to the base game.
If you’re already familiar with the game, you know the basic gameplay of placing tiles and “meeples” to create a medieval landscape. It’s typically a short game. If you’re like me, you like expansions that add varied tiles and increase the play time. I’ve listed a selection of Carcassonne expansions ranked below that will be guaranteed to keep you at the table.
Playing the base Carcassonne game is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t offer a lot of need for strategy. As the first to be released, Inns & Cathedrals is also considered one of the best Carcassonne expansions in terms of added strategy.
While you get the expected new tile pieces, I appreciate some of the rule changes. For example, placing a road tile with an Inn now provides two points on the scoreboard. However, the road must be completed by the end of the game or else it will be worth zero points. In past games, I’ve seen opposing players just place tiles randomly. With this expansion, the penalty for doing so is much greater.
If using your brain motivates you to win, you’ll love this one. But unlike some of the other expansions, Inns & Cathedrals keeps the game pretty simple.
Adding more ways to increase your score, this is one of Carcassonne’s best expansions for twists to the base game.
I like the addition of resources in this one. Keeping the traditional elements of Carcassonne in place, the goods focus in Traders & Builders makes it feel like a whole new game. Using the builder class can either shoot you to the top of the scoreboard or make you very frustrated. Think hard when you’re playing this expansion!
On top of all that, it gives you a bag to hold your tiles. While this doesn’t affect the gameplay, I thought it was a nice bonus to help keep things organized. With more expansions comes more mess to clean up!
If you’re playing Carcassonne with larger groups of people, this is a great expansion to have. While I don’t recommend playing this as your first expansion, it can make a great addition once your familiar with the base game and the other best Carcassone expansions.
If you’re the competitive type, you’ll love using the princess and the dragon to kick off other player’s meeples. With these additions and a significant amount of new tiles, I’ve seen games reach heated conclusions. Rather than the sometimes passive experience of the base game, I find this expansion to be really engaging and fun.
Need more elements that add complexity? Count, King & Robber is one of those Carcassonne expansions that really appeal to the diehards. In this one, there’s a lot of ways to add points and disrupt your opponents strategies.
As an example of how much this can change the base game, this expansion allows you to start in two different areas this time, adding Carcassonne City.
I’m a big fan of the river additions. A must-have, you can even use these new tiles to improve the base game if you’re not interested in the other new offerings in this expansion. But I still recommend playing around with the newKings and Robbers, especially if you like being rewarded for building big roads and cities.
Lots of new additions with this one! Even though this one is at the bottom of my list of these Carcassonne expansions, that doesn’t mean it has nothing of value. In fact, this adds a lot of new elements to the game.
If you like diverse tiles on your landscape, this expansion has a lot of unique ones with cool artwork. I love how these new pieces look and I use some of them even when I’m not playing exclusively with this expansion.
With four new mechanics in total, this expansion has a nice variety that can appeal to any kind of Carcassonne player. Great for groups with different tastes.
Buying Carcassonne expansions is the best way to add replayability to this already-great game. With the wide variety of expansions available, you can play what feels like a new game every night.
Depending on the type of game you prefer, using the expansions can transform Carcassonne into your ideal experience. When I’m playing with a competitive group, I’ll choose an expansion that lets you really mess with your opponent. If I’m playing with a friend that just appreciates the building aspect of the game, I select an expansion that has more score-enhancing pieces and new tiles.