Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

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Friday 21 April 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Carcassonne South Seas

GameCarcassonne: South Seas

PublisherZ-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.
Every turn you have the opportunity to use your collected resources to buy a ship tile. Ship tiles are worth different point values and take a different mix of resources. There is a supply of four face-up ships, so you might deliberately choose to work towards different resources or compare the relative value of different tokens - sometimes it take 5 resources to buy a 4 point ship and other times it might only be 3 or 4 resources you need for a 4 point ship.

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.
Thinking about Carcassonne: South Seas on it's own, it's a simple, easy to teach, gateway level tile laying game. It looks really nice on the table and introduces the idea of resources as well as tile-laying if you are using it as a gateway game with new players. However, I just don't need to own it. It does nothing spectacularly different to the base game and with the base game at least I can expand it and play with different expansions each time to keep the game interesting and different. If you don't own Carcassonne, you won't go wrong with buying South Seas, if you do own Carcassonne, South Seas probably won't blow your mind and for us it's heading to the trade pile.

In spite of this, the Yellow Meeple gives Carcassonne: South Seas a 7/10.

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