Friday, February 3, 2017

Go digital #1 - Carcassonne for Android

In "Go Digital" series I introduce many ways to play Carcassonne on digital devices. If playing from time to time with your friends is just not enough. As always as I assume that the reader has basic knowledge of Carcassonne rules.

I would like to start this series with a short review of an official Carcassonne App for Android. It is available here.

Content

In the base price of the app we get possibility to play with base set with free expansion The River II. As an in-app purchases available are: Second base set, Inns and Cathedrals, Traders and Builders, Crop Circles and The Festival. The app can be associated with your google account so your purchases can be restored in case of reinstalling. It has not been expanded for over a year now, so it is doubtful that we get any more content.


There is quite few options for beginners. Easy game mode rules out farmers. App can show broken tiles and show reference of remaining tiles in the stack. There is very short manual, but it is quite confusing for players who did not play Carcassonne before.





Gameplay

The application is attractive audio visually and interface is easy to use on mobile screen. Whole thing runs smoothly and I have not noticed any bugs. I had once problem with starting the game but re-installation fixed it.

There is quite annoying thing that the AI characters comment on every point gain, but it can be switched off.



Gameplay can be saved and continued at later time. There is hot seat functionality (up to six players on one device).

Opponent AI

The opponent AI is the biggest flaw of the program. There are three levels, but even on hardest one, the device is worthy opponent only for beginner players. It makes stupid moves like blocking itself or farming very early. This may disqualify the game for many players.

AI player with two farmers trapped

Online play

There is possibility to play online with up to six friends. If you do not have any friend on hand, you can start  quick game with random opponent. The quality of the connection is not astounding, and you have to wait a while for every move. Application does not provide number of players online, but I guess that there is not many, since most of the time I had problems with finding an opponent. There is no ranking system, so opponents often disconnect the second they are starting to loose (or maybe I was simply unlucky to encounter such players).

Summary 

I would recommend this game for beginner players, who are not sure about the rules and would like someone (the device) to keep track of the them. You could check out the chaos of six player game, even if you do not have other five live partners to play. The tile reference and marking broken tiles can also be very useful if you learn how to play.

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