IanTheCool's Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

Carcassonne – Traders and Builders: Now With More Bacon!

Bacon has the ability to make almost anything better; put it on a cheeseburger and its better, wrap it around a filet minion and its better, crumble it up and toss it into a Caesar salad and its better. Likewise, the second Carcassonne expansion Traders and Builders, along with its brand new pig-shaped meeples, makes the Carcassonne base game better. But its not just our new porcine friends which improve Carcassonne. This expansion has a number of great new additions which add a lot for flavour to an already tasty treat.
Traders and Builders is great at giving players more rewards. The pigs improve the pay-off for farmers, commodities make cities more desirable, and builders give tile-laying bonuses. There is even a special gift which doesn’t affect gameplay but is a great addition to the Carcassonne experience. When it comes right down to it, this expansion simply gives players more. Traders and Builders is a rich and fulfilling expansion which makes Carcassonne juicier and crunchier.

Additions
The new additions here include the builder, the pig, the commodity tokens, and the Carcassonne drawstring bag. Each of them adds their own little piece to the overall game. When a pig is placed on a farm, it gives an extra point when that farm is scored. Simple yet tasty, much like most pork products. And of course, those colourful wooden pig-shaped blocks do look adorable.
– The builder is a really neat addition here. They are odd-looking meeples which look more like chefs than builders, but their role in the game is quite cool. When they are placed in a road or city, you are allowed to play an extra tile whenever you add on to that road or city. This can be a great advantage. The trade commodities are also a nifty new feature. New city tiles are added to the game with one of the three trade tokens on them (wine, wheat or cloth). Whoever finishes that city with a tile gets those commodities. Whoever has the most of each commodity at the end gets ten more points.
– However, the addition I am most excited about here has actually no bearing on the strategy or gameplay at all. It is the blue Carcassonne drawstring bag which allow players to pass the bag around and randomly draw your next tile from it. It makes things so much easier, and we no longer have to draw the tiles from someone’s dirty toque!

Critique
The heart of traders and builders is rewards. All of these extra features offer players more rewards and bonuses in the game, from the extra points with the pig, to the extra tiles from the builder, to the extra points from the trade commodities. They also offer new choices for the players, as finishing off a city even if you don’t have a knight there is now a tasty option in order to get trade commodities. On the flip side, if you are in the city and have placed your builder there, you may not want to finish it off so that you can continue pulling extra tiles as you add onto it.
All of these small improvements simply make a great game better, just like chocolate sauce on ice cream or, you guessed it, bacon on a juicy burger. The basics of Carcassonne are still present but it just has more possibilities and more things to do. Traders and Builders is Carcassonne’s best expansion to date.

Expansion –
Base Game –
Base Game and Expansion –

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