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Day 4 - Mists Over Carcassonne

"But it's cooperative" could actually be the byline for 2023 in gaming. Co-op games are on the rise and along with them are co-op variants of existing titles. One such game making the rounds last year was Mists Over Carcassonne, a co-op variant of Carcassonne that literally no-one was asking for... but one that is actually surprisingly good.

When it was announced that a co-op version of Carcassonne was coming out I couldn't see how such a variant would even work, given that Carcassonne itself is a very cutthroat competitive game. In base Carcassonne players lay tiles into a central map and claim features using their Meeples to score points.

Mist Over Carcassonne does the same basic things, although you have fewer Meeples and Farmers aren't a thing any more. However the way the game becomes cooperative is that it adds a timer, forcing you to collectively score a certain number of points before a stack of tiles are gone. The main stack of tiles is divided into three smaller stacks and the score required for each stack is based on the difficulty the players choose.

However, that's not all. The game also adds the titular Mist and Ghosts. Mist appears on tiles like a fourth terrain type. However you can choose to not place mist tiles next to each other, but you will make that mist bank un-finishable. Mists always contains ghosts. Ghosts are another way the game adds pressure. Your supply of ghosts is limited, run out and you lose. Ghosts can be removed by finishing Mist banks, or by forfeiting points you would have ordinarily scored.

Of course one of the joys of the original game of Carcassonne was sharing and stealing your opponents hard earned points by clever tile play. That aspect however is still present, except now, instead of stealing points by getting your Meeples to share features with other players, your presence in a feature is a score multiplier!

So, in this way nothing is really lost from the original (with the exception of expandability), but a new level of challenge is added. On top of that, the game is now much, much faster, with Mists Over Carcassonne clocking in at around 20-30 minutes per play, faster if you lose quickly. The box also ships with 6 levels of difficulty, with essentially 2 mini expansions baked in. We're currently sticking around level 4 with a win ratio in the 33% area, which I feel is a comfortable level of difficulty.

Mists Over Carcassonne has been a huge hit for me and the family and it one that I never thought I needed or even one that could possibly work, but it has brought Carcassonne back from the dead and made it a game that we can all have fun fighting against, rather than one where we're fighting each other!

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