Game: Carcassonne: South Seas
Publisher: Z-Man Games
Designer: Klaus-Jürgen Wrede
I'd like to say that all of my board game purchases are well considered, but lately that would be a lie! I love a bargain, so the odd impulse buy on eBay or on Facebook groups is inevitable and that's where Carcassonne: South Seas came from. We don't need any more Carcassonne, we have the original game with lots of expansions, plus we have played and enjoyed Hunters and Gatherers, but just didn't see the need for it. With that in mind is Carcassonne: South Seas good enough and unique enough to justify a place in our collection?
If you have played Carcassonne before then South Seas is a very pretty version set in a Caribbean setting. Roads become bridges, cities become islands and fields become seas. If you've never played Carcassonne, then perhaps you should, but the game is a tile-laying game where every turn you draw a tile and choose where to place it on the table, adjacent to at least one previously place tile, with matching artwork touching ie. roads must continue, island must touch island as sea must touch sea.
In South Seas, instead of scoring the the size or length of the features you complete you obtain resources as printed on the board. For example if you complete an island, you will receive a number of bananas equal to the number printed on the island, irrespective of how large the island is. you collect shells from completed bridge and fish for seas. You are not required to complete seas, but instead when a fishing boat is placed into a sea you have a meeple in, so collect a fish for each fish pictured in the sea and then cover up one group of fish which makes the sea less attractive to future fishermen.
|The end of the game.|
It's hard not to use this review to compare Carcassonne: South Seas to the original Carcassonne. For me, South Seas awards opportunism whereas the original game rewards more long term planning, especially with the farmers. I also believe there is more luck involved in South Seas. Both games make you make the best of the one tile you draw, but South Seas also has an element of luck in the ship tiles variable on your turn - there's no denying that some tiles are just better value than others.
|The ship market and the tile supply. Here, an example of paying 4 for a ship worth four points or four for a ship worth 3 points. Ship values and leftover resources are your points at the end of the game.|
In spite of this, the Yellow Meeple gives Carcassonne: South Seas a 7/10.