Playing time: 30 minutes
Everyone has a copy of Carcassonne. Ours is the Hunters and Gatherers version, which means that the tiles are of forests and rivers rather than cities and roads. For those who haven’t come across Carcassonne, each player takes a tile at random and uses it to add to a central, ever-expanding board, using their player tokens to control certain areas (fields, rivers, forests) of the map and so score points. It’s quite straightforward.
Carcassonne works well as a game for parents because it doesn’t involve a huge amount of thought. Providing that one person is keeping score, the only thing you absolutely have to do on your turn is to pick a tile and place it. Obviously, if you just do that and don’t also consider how you might benefit from the tile then you’re certain to lose, but at least you’ve participated in the game! It does have a few small wooden meeples (person-shaped player tokens) which could be grabbed by a baby, so take care. As there aren’t any cards it’s easy to play one-handed.
One of the fantastic things about Carcassonne is that the tiles can be used as a game for toddlers. (Take out the meeples first, unless you’re sure your toddler won’t eat them.) Recently, we used our copy to create a new world with a three-year-old, who happily picked and placed tiles one by one, carefully matching up rivers and fields. The only difference between this game and the adult version was that we weren’t scoring.
Summary: a classic, and definitely worth playing!