Carcassonne: Versions & Expansions

It's hard to keep track of all the Carcassonne versions. If you're looking for your next expansion or a different Carcassonne-style challenge, we've compiled everything we could find on the standalones and expansion along with a quick brief on each to help you decide. If you'd rather an easy visual, check out the Carcassonne infographic below. Otherwise, skip past it to see the descriptions of all the Carcassonne Expansions.

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Carcassonne (2-5 players, 30-45 mins.)

Players draw and place tiles to build farms, cities, cloisters and roads so that everything is connected. Everyone has meeples that lay claim to specific areas, but only get points if that area or feature is complete. What's more--scoring points for you can also mean scoring points for your opponents. It's a fun and strategic game good for rookies and vets alike.

10 Year Special Edition

This edition released in 2011 on Carcassonne's 10th anniversary. It's the same game but in a meeple-shaped box with a meeple-shaped scoreboard, coloured and see-through meeples and 10 new land tiles called "The Festival." These tiles all have their own rules.

Abbey & Mayor (2-6 players, 30 mins.)

Abbey & Mayor has 12 land tiles, six abbey tiles and three wooden pieces. Abbeys are like cloisters but don't have to match adjacent tiles. They also complete adjacent tiles when placed. Mayors are placed in cities and score points based on the amount of pennants. Wagons are placed in clositers and cities or on roads and can move to an adjacent tile when their mission is finished. Lastly, fields are scored during the game instead of after by using a barn.

Amazonas (2-5 players, 35 mins.)

Amazonas  is a standalone game. Players become sailors on the Amazon, scoring points for the wildlife they discover, villages they visit and the water they sail on. The river has piranhas and caimans which can bring points to players far down the river.

Big Box 1 (2-5 players, 45 mins.)

Big Box includes Carcassonne, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, Princess & the Dragon, The Tower and The River (in the English box).

Big Box 2 (2-6 players, 30 mins.)

Big Box 2 includes Carcassonne, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, Princess & the Dragon, Abbey & Mayor, River 2, The Count, The King and The Cult.

Big Box 3 (2-6 players, 30 mins.)

Big Box 3 includes Carcassonne, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, Princess & the Dragon, Abbey & Mayor and Bridges, Castles & Bazaars.

Big Box 4 (2-6 players, 40-100 mins.)

Big Box 4 includes Carcassonne, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, The Flying Machines, The Messengers, The Ferries, The Gold Mines, Mage & Witch, The Robbers and The Crop Circles.

Big Box 5 (2-8 players, 45 mins.)

Big Box 5 includes Carcassonne, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, Wheel of Fortune, Hills & Sheep and The River. There are also pink and purple meeple sets.

Big Box 6 (2-6 players, 35 mins.)

Big Box 6 includes Carcassonne, Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders, The River & Abbot, as well as the 6 mini expansions from 2012 (The Flying Machines, The Messengers, The Ferries, The Gold Mines, Mage & Witch, and The Robbers...Corn Circles II mini-expansion also included).

Bridges, Castles & Bazaars (2-6 players, 30-45 mins.)

BCB adds three options to the original Carcassonne. Players can auction off tiles for points at bazaars, they can continue a road over fields using a bridge or they can use castles to collect from adjacent features with a castle on a city.

The Castle (2 players, 30 mins.)

The Castle is a standalone game where players race each other around the wall, gathering bonus points as they reach them first. Players get points for heralds on paths, squires on houses, merchants on courtyards (and even more with markets), knights on towers, and the largest house and the largest undeveloped area. The bonuses can change the scoring drastically, which is tracked on the wall. This standalone can be paired with the expansion The Castle Falcon.

The Castle Falcon

This expansion is available to print online. It's an expansion specifically for The Castle where the Prince is a falconer, creating falcon nests in the castle, and religion allows chapels to be built in the castle. 

Catapault (2-6 players, 30-45 mins.)

Catapult has 12 land tiles with faire symbols, a catapult, measuring board and 24 catapult tokens. When a faire tile is drawn, it's placed and a catapult round begins. Players then have to try to launch tokens with the catapult to knock out tokens and remove meeples, swap meeples, try to hit the faire tile or catch for points.

The City (2-4 players, 30-45 mins.)

The City is a standalone game where players work together to build Carcassonne with streets, walls, residential areas and markets but still work individually to get the most points. Points are scored during and at the end of the game. Players have followers who become sellers on markets, citizens on streets and stewards in residential areas. Markets score when they're completed and for each kind of good, and residential areas score for each market touching a complete area. Eventually, a city wall is built around the city. Guards can sit on walls which grant points for specific tiles, and towers placed at wall ends get points in specific situations. This is a more complex game with additional rules, so we haven't covered them all here.

Count, King & Robber (2-6 players, 30-45 mins.)

This expansion includes The King & Scout (excepting tiles for Hunters & Gatherers), The Count, The River 2 and The Cult.

The Count of Carcassonne (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

The Count has 12 tiles and a wooden Count figure. The Count can move to regions and imprison the meeples. Players can complete other players' features and then move their own meeple to that region for points (or prevent other players from scoring). The Count is also found in The Count, King & Robber.

The Cult (2-5 players, 60 mins.)

The Cult is a small expansion with six cult tiles. If a cloister and cult are adjacent, they challenge each other, and the player to encircle his tile first gets nine points. The loser walks away with nothing.

Cult, Siege and Creativity (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

This expansion includes The Cult, The Siege and two blank tiles for you to create your own (Creativity).

The Dice Game (2-5 players, 10 mins.)

Players use dice to attempt to build or score for castles or collect points for knights. It's quick and simple but there is a lot of chance involved and it's hard to know when to stop--take the points, or keep going and potentially score big?

The Discovery (2-5 players, 30 mins.)

The Discovery is intentionally simpler than Carcassonne but still provides a strategic challenge. Meadows, mountains and seas introduce explorers, robbers and pirates. Mountain regions can increase in points, even if they're already finished, and players can score points for areas by removing a meeple even if the area isn't finished. However, some regions can continue to increase in value, making when to score meeples a hard choice. 

The Ferries (2-6 players)

The Ferries is a small expansion that add roads leading to lakes. Players can place ferries to connect the roads instead of meeples. When the road contains two or more ferries, the first placed ferry can move closer to the road to connect and potentially finish the road. If the road is finished, it is scored.

The Festival (2-6 players)

The Festival provides 10 tiles for a small expansion, allowing players to place meeples or return meeples back to their supply.

The Flying Machines (2-6 players)

In this small expansion, landscape tiles with wings are placed and enable meeples to travel across the land as determined by a die. 

The Gold Mines (2-6 players)

Another small expansion, eight land tiles have gold bars. A gold token is placed on the land tile and adjacent tiles it touches, then given to any players involved in the closing or completing of those features, clockwise from the current player. Gold is worth 1-4 points, depending on how many players collect.

Gold Rush (2-5 players, 35 mins.)​​​​

Gold Rush is a standalone game where players are returned to the 1800s to mine for gold. This version introduces railways (similar to roads) and locomotives to increase completed railway points, prairies with Indian camps and wild horses (two and four points respectively) and mountains. The mountains produce gold and can be claimed through completed mountains or miner tents. Additionally, cities are only one tile, but all railways leading from it must be complete before the city is scored.

Hills & Sheep (2-6 players, 40 mins.)

Hills and Sheep is an expansion that introduces shepherds, hills and vineyards. Vineyards placed around monasteries add three bonus points to a complete monastery. Hills are placed on top of other randomly-drawn tiles, and act as tiebreakers between players sharing other tiles. Shepherds are placed in fields. When the field is expanded, a sheep can be drawn from a bag and placed near the shepherd. In the sheep bag are two wolves which make players lose all their sheep and start over.  Alternatively, all sheep can be traded in for points varying from 1-4 points each. 

Hunters & Gatherers (2-5 players, 30-45 mins.)

Forests, rivers, lakes and meadows replace cities, roads and farms. Meeples are hunters in the meadows, gatherers in the forest and fishermen on a river. Huts gather fish when placed on rivers and lakes. Completed forests grant one gold nugget and the benefit of placing one of 12 bonus tiles. Meadows grant two points for every animal on it except tigers. Rivers grant points per each tile in the segment, plus the number of fish in the lakes. Huts grant points for fish in the lakes connected by rivers.

Inns & Cathedrals (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

Inns & Cathedrals is a large expansion with new tiles--the inns and cathedrals. Tiles also create new shapes for cities, roads and cloisters, and players get one large meeple that counts for two meeples. Cathedrals are substantial and can increase a city's value, while inns are small and double the value of thieves. Any incomplete feature with a cathedral or inn, though, gets no points at the end of the game.

King & Scout (2-5 players, 45 mins.)

The King & Scout is a mini expansion where the King grants bonus points at the end of the game for the player with the largest city, and the Scout does the same for the longest road. Seven tiles are part of the King expansion and five are for the Scout. The King is also found in Count, King & Cult.

Mage & Witch

This small expansion includes mage tiles that are placed normally. The mage or witch is then moved on an incomplete road or city. At the end, the mage adds one point for each feature and the witch takes away half the points for each feature, rounded up. 

The Messengers

Players get a second meeple on the score board and decide which to move every time they score. The dark spaces on the score track force the player on it to draw a message tile and either score points or take the action. These actions include playing additional tiles, scoring points for farmers, banners in occupied cities or knights and scoring for a cloister, road or city--completed or not.

The Mini Expansion (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

This mini expansion has 12 tiles with two river tiles, a cloister with four roads, a field with nothing else, and several other brand-new tiles.

My First Carcassonne (2-4 players, 10-20 mins., ages 4+)

In this junior edition, animals are running amok, and children lay tiles to chase them and complete roads. Tiles are matching to alleviate complexity. Tiles also show player colours on the roads, so when roads are completed, players add their matching meeples to the proper spot. The first player to place all their meeples win! It's a great intro game to strategy and tile-placing for the little one in your life.

New World (2-5 players, 45 mins.)

New World is a standalone game. Players are settlers in the United States, travelling west and building roads, towns and the country to advance on. As players score, surveyors move the exploration west. Any meeples in the midst of building a feature are immediately removed from the board, and the players don't get to score those points.

Over Hill & Dale (2-5 players, 35 mins.)

Over Hill & Dale is a standalone. Meeples can become farmers who take care of animals, fruit and vegetables in their fields. Building stables and walking meeples down paths score players even more points.

The Phantom (2-6 players, 45 mins.)

The Phantom is six transparent meeples, one for each player. Phantoms can be placed on a tile beside a player's meeple, albeit on a different feature, for more points.

The Plague (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

The plague is controlled by players and spreads across the land, taking any unfortunate meeples that encounter it.

The Princess & The Dragon (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

The Princess & The Dragon is one of the expansions that is rated for an older audience (13+) due to complexity. This expansion brings 30 tiles with princesses, magic gates, dragon nests and volcanoes as well as a wooden dragon and fairy. In the city, the princess relies on help from knights and the farmers build secret passages to move undetected by the dragon. Across the land, the dragon creates dangerous situations and everyone needs fairy protection against the dragon. Among other important elements, the dragon can eat meeples and the princess can force meeples out of control shares. Oh, and the fairy grants three bonus points if it's on a completed tile set. Whew, it's a lot. Like The City, this is a huge and fairly complex expansion, and we can't go into all the details here.

The Robber (2-6 players)

The tiles with a robber are placed normally, and then the player places a robber token next to the score of any other player. Whenever a scoring meeple has a robber, his points are cut in half--rounded up--and then the robber is removed.

The River (2-5 players, 45 mins.)

The River is a mini-expansion with 12 river tiles. They are placed first, and the rest of the game continues on as normal. Meeples can't sit on river tiles. Scoring remains the same.

The River 2 (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

The River 2 is similar to The River, only this time, the tiles are designed to combine with Inns & Cathedrals, Traders & Builders and The Princess & The Dragon. You can also find this in Count, King & Robber.

South Seas (2-5 players, 35 mins.)

South Seas is a standalone game but still plays like Carcassonne. Players gather fish, shellfish and bananas and ship them to traders for points. It's a little simpler to play and learn than the original Carcassonne with similar rules but unique elements and less long-term strategy planning.

Star Wars (2-5 players, 35 mins.)

Star Wars is a standalone where roads become trading routes, cities become asteroid fields and cloisters become planets. Merchants replace robbers, explorers replace knights and conquerors replace knights. The Empire, Rebel Alliance and Bounty Hunters give bonuses and majority control is ruled by dice rolls, introducing a bit of chance. Players can also play in a two vs. two team game of Empire vs Rebel Alliance.

The Tower (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

The Tower gives players the option of placing towers, adding to towers or placing meeples on the top of a tower (completing it) instead of placing a meeple. Towers capture other meeples in view of the tower--within one tile for a one-piece tower, two tiles for a two-piece tower, and so on. Players lose points they may have earned if they're captured and have to pay three points to be free.

Traders & Builders (2-6 players, 60 mins.)

This expansion has 24 new tiles. Some tiles grant wheat, wine or cloth resources. The player with the most of each type of good--wheat, wine and cloth--get 10 bonus points, and get a point for each good when its tile is complete. Builder meeples added to cities and roads give that player an extra turn, and pigs added to farms grant extra points. 

Travel Carcassonne (2-5 players, 30-45 mins.)

You can't expand the travel version, while everything else about it is virtually the same.

Under the Big Top (2-6 players, 45 mins.)

Under the Big Top brings the circus, and with it, 20 new land tiles (circus, acrobat, animals, ringleader, big top) and two new meeples. These meeples have specific skills that can attract patrons to view their animals or watch their stunts, giving big points for generating crowds. The circus changes the way a player's meeples and the crowds behave, so players have to adapt their strategy in order to stay in the game and score points. 

Wheel of Fortune (2-5 players, 30 mins.)

Wheel of Fortune can expand Carcassonne or replace it. It has 72 tiles including a new wheel of fortune (start) tile. Nineteen tiles allow players to spin the wheel of fortune or place a meeple on the wheel instead of on the game. The wheel can be good or bad, doing things like giving points and taking away meeples from the board. All other expansions can be played with this version as well.

Winter Edition (2-5 players, 40 mins.)

Winter brings--what else--snow and some animal tiles to Carcassonne, while the rules remain the same. 

Which are the Best Carcassonne Expansions?

This question can be debated for hours, with no way of telling who is correct in their opinion. So, that said, below are the highest rated (from BGG) expansions for Carcassonne, as well as our favourites.

  • "Inns & Cathedrals"
  • "Traders & Builders"
  • "Hills & Sheep"
  • Stand-alone: "South Seas", "Amazonas", or "Star Wars"

A note here is that the Big Box sets (especially #6) usually give you the best bang for your buck, and are a great way to go if you want to get deep into the game at a great value.

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Some of these versions and expansions may not be available everywhere, or available for a decent price. We tried to create a complete list but may have missed one or two--and if we did, let us know! We'd also love to hear from you about your favourite expansion or version! Happy playing!

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