Hey gamers! Yes, yes…I have played yet again a new Carcassonne. A Carcassonne geared, I think more towards children than adults. Was it the same as the original? What new mechanics did Z-Man Games have in store for this version. I’ll get to that in a second, but first let me introduce to you, Carcassonne Over Hill, Over Dale.
Carcassonne: Over Hill, Over Dale is a tile placement game for two to five players, appropriate for gamers ages seven to adult, & may take thirty minutes to play. It was released from legendary game publisher Z-Man Games in 2015.
I am what I consider to be a connoisseur of Carcassonne since I own the original & a plethora of expansion. Plus I own a handful of the stand-alone games for the family of Carcassonne games. So when I found out a new Carcassonne game was coming out I had to get it.
In Carcassonne: Over Hill, Over Dale you are a farmer who likes to hike, harvest plants, & take care of a multitude of animals. Each starts out with five Farmer Meeples & two wooden stables. One farmer is lost to the scoring track so he can wander around keeping score.
Just like in any version of Carcassonne at the start of the game a central tile is placed on the tabletop forming the playing area that every player will follow. Starting with the first player, players will then take turns placing a tile to match up with meadow, path, or field. After placing the tile the player whose turn it is will decide if they want to place their farmer meeple, their stable, wander a path with a wandering farmer meeple, or do nothing.
If a path or field is closed off with a farmer meeple on it, the player that owns that meeple will score points for that feature. There are many differences in Over Hill, Over Dale starting with the fields. Fields may contain a harvest token which will be important for end game scoring. Scoring a closed off field will give the player two points for each tile the field is represented in & whatever harvest tokens are represented in that field.
Another feature of Over Hill, Over Dale are the animals depicted in the meadows. A player on their turn could decide to place one of their two stables into a meadow. There are some special rules. Before placing a stable into a meadow a player has to make sure that their isn’t another stable in any of the eight tiles surrounding the space it is placed in orthogonally or diagonally. Once a stable is placed, it stays where placed until scoring at the end of the game for each animal in that nine tile area.
A stranger feature in Over Hill, Over Dale is the wandering farmer meeple. Unlike any other version of Carcassonne where you place a “robber” on a path where he stays on the tile he is placed, a wandering meeple can do just that, wander. If a player already has a farmer meeple on a path & they place a connecting path to it then their meeple can hike one tile to collect one point. A player can only hike if they decide not to place another meeple or a stable on their turn. So once a path is closed off the wandering meeple scores one point for each tile on the path.
Onto end game scoring for Caracassonne again is similar to the original as well. If there are any wandering farmer meeples left on a path a player receives one point for each connected path tile that hasn’t been closed off & one point for a farmer meeple left on fields that still need to be finished.
Another great way to score are for sets of harvest tokens a player obtains from closing off fields during the game. There are six different tokens to gather: apples, wheat, sunflowers, pumpkins, strawberries, & smiling scarecrows. Each token collected is worth one point. On top of that, the tokens are worth an extra five points for every five a player has. Which means if a players collects five tokens they will receive ten points.
The last way to score during the game are for the stables. If a player has been smart & is able to positions their stables perfectly they are almost guaranteed some big points. For every tile surrounding the stable, plus the one the stable is on, players will count every animal. One point will be awarded to that player for each animal they counted for their stable.
Now this was a fun version of Carcassonne. No hard rules to learn, nothing difficult to remember. Big things a player will have to remember during the game: wanderers can’t be placed on the same path as another unless a path actually connects them together & the same things goes for fields. So in regards to this players could get sneaky & try to build up to taking a path or field away from another player.
Over Hill, Over Dale is by far the easiest & happiest Carcassonne I have ever played. Who wouldn’t like a game with a smiling scarecrow? Hey, even the pigs are smiling!
Somehow I need to get my hands on the new Carcassonne: Star Wars.
So lets get ready to harvest the fields, hike the paths, & game on!