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4.1 out of 5 stars18
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 30 March 2010
This is the second expansion to Carcassonne that I own. I have previously bought and played the Builders and Trader expansion, which I really enjoy. I have not yet played the expansions together.

I really enjoyed playing this as it changes the dynamic of the game. There is no longer a fixed ownership. The tiles within this game cause you to lose ownership of your farm, castle, road or monastery. The Dragon, for instance, removes any meeples it comes into contact with. The princess cards remove one of the meeples from the castle it is attached to. Alternatively the fairy protects whatever tile it is placed on from this. The portal card allows you to place your meeple on whichever tile you want, thereby claiming (or re-claiming) anything that is no longer claimed. You can also use the dragon to reclaim any meeples that you want back, such as from any unfinishable castles or from a vastly outnumbered farm.

By playing with this expansion my gameplay has had to alter dramatically. It forces me to think in different ways. Even though I very much love Carcassonne after playing it so many times it can get a bit stale and this expansion, with all its uncertainty, has given the excitement back. I am looking forward to playing it with the other expansion I own.
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on 6 February 2011
This expansion rather disrupts the flow of the other Carcassonne expansions - most of which are excellent.

This review assumes you've played Carcassonne, and even some of the other expansions.

Quite often in Carcassonne, players play to strategically place their followers and build roads and cities around them. This expansion then adds a game mechanic (the dragon) which can then come along and kill (ie, return to player: no score) the followers, in a way that we have found to be rather chaotic and against the spirit of Carcassonne.

Unlike the other expansions, we played this one only once or twice, then gave it to a friend. The friend in question has two small children who enjoyed this expansion much more.

Verdict: bad for adults and those who like Carcassonne's original intent. Perhaps good for the more chaotically minded.

Recommendation: if you haven't already got the Inns and Cathedrals and Traders and Builders expansions, most definitely should start there! While boring-sounding (in comparison), they are MUCH more fun to actually play!
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VINE VOICEon 6 August 2010
This is a good fun expansion. But, unless you are going to try and make life difficult for the other players it's a waste of money. If your going to be 'nice' to each other choose a different expansion.
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on 4 August 2009
Sorry, but I must disagree with the previous reviewer. This expansion can be disruptive, but you must plan the move of the dragon carefully on your turn. Also, the princess can protect you if skilfully placed. This expansion is as much about skill as any of the others.
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on 4 August 2009
Definitely one of the more fun Carcassonne expansions. The Princess rule is a bit silly, and the Fairy is only moderately useful, but the Dragon is brilliant! He's a fabulous wooden model for a start, and the constant threat of him eating all your Meeple by being moved onto their squares is awesome! This expansion adds a lot of new tiles, and a lot more fun!
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on 4 February 2009
This game is brilliant - it adds a lot to the original Carcassonne as the game can now completely change in just a few goes as the person winning could suddenly be losing! Really fun, especially with adults playing - young children may be less amused if the dragon ruins their game-plan...
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on 2 October 2013
This expansion provides several new dynamics to the original Carcassone game features, and a set of extra tiles to use them with.

The dragon - a very nicely presented playing piece - removes placed followers from the board. This is a very different game mechanism to the careful placement and manouevering to "steal" features built up through the initial game, and could be very frustrating to purists. I enjoy it because while there is an element of luck (if a dragon move tile is drawn) to the rampaging beast there are also new tactics available to play followers safely away from the dragon, placing of volcanos to start the dragon elsewhere, and even to take advantage of the rule barring the dragon from retracing its steps during its movement.

The princess in the tower tiles remove a Knight from an incomplete city in a similarly cruel (assuming that its your opponent's knight!) way, although it can be counter-productive if a large city portion is consequently unclaimed, and another player gets their foot (knight) in the door first. This tile type is certainly more directly agressive, which may not fit everyone's preferred playing style, but if adding the tile to an unoccupied city, the player can place a follower in the normal way instead, so there is scope for people who play "independently" to get on with the new tile types. Even in a non-agressive game style, having to avoid placing a princess into cities that are already occupied encourages a slightly different growth strategy, so adds interest to the game.

The fairy, which can "protect" a tile from the dragon, also adds a point at the start of the turn of a player who has a follower on the same tile as the fairy. This adds something else to think about and do during that mid-game period when most/all of your followers are out on the board and followers are not being placed every turn - but can also get to be slightly ridiculous when, for a series of rounds, players each move the fairy to a tile with their own follower each turn. In the early game, a smart fairy move can score highly as most players place followers (and so cannot move the fairy) which one player racks up the points. Of all of the features in this expansion, the fairy points scoring is probably my least favourite - for me it doesn't quite fit with the way that the other points are scored from completed game features - but the total number of points involved remains small, and it doesn't seem to be a game changer overall. Other people's experience may vary, but this hasn't tipped the balance against a better played strategy in games I've played.

The final aspect of the expansion undoes some of the horror of removing followers - it is possible to place a follower on any incomplete feature on an already played tile when a portal tile is played (instead of placing it on the tile laid as usual), subject to the usual rules for occupying a feature. This certainly helps to offset those cloisters that get an unwanted visit from a Dragon and are then sitting empty and abandoned - it's satisfying for those players who hate to see a good feature going to waste with no players able to score from it. That said, with relatively few portal tiles, it isn't something that can be relied upon, and inevitably the portal comes up the turn before a feature is forcibly vacated, not after. I don't know how this compares with the Flyers mini expansion as I have not played the latter.

The new mechanisms introduced in this expansion are rather more susceptible to the chance (random drawing of tiles) part of the game - dragon move does nothing until the dragon is on the board, princess towers depend on the overall state of development of cities at the time they are drawn etc, - but are well designed otherwise. I think they add good features to the game, but are definitely for those players who like to interact when playing, more than those who play independently.

I have played this expansion with Carcassonne, The River, and the Inns and Cathedrals expansion. Adding more expansions does make games last longer, and adds tile types (so that certain "gaps" are possible to fill). I have played with 2 and 4 players. As noted by another reviewer - kids love the dragon piece. (So do I...)
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on 1 January 2010
This is the fourth (or fifth?) expansion I have bought and I love it. Although you do have to choose who to play this with. The dragon is nasty and when I first played it with my husband (who is completely ruthless) I did have a tendency to sulk for a little while!!! Having said that it has taught me a very valuable lesson - don't play with the spouse - only kidding. You can't take this game too seriously. If you want a serious game play the other expansions. If you want a bit of fun (and there is a lot of skill involved as well) then this is a great expansion - just don't play with anyone who is likely to take offence.
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2010
What I mean is, this game will NOT work if you play with people who say thinks like "Oh, I can't bear to take your meeple of that tile". Forget it, you have to be robotic and take off as many other players as you can when you get control of the Dragon.
And don't forget the Fairy. She's the only thing that will protect you from the Dragon.
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on 5 May 2014
I absolutely love this expansion kit! I am a big fan of Carcassonne, but after a while the basic games gets a little bit boring. I bought this expansion kit together with Expansion 1: Inns & Cathedrals, and it extends the play duration immensely.

I love the little fairly that protects your castles etc, and the constant threat imposed by the dragon makes the game very exciting, and also unpredictable! One second you might be winning, but then the dragon comes and the tables turn! The magic portals allow you to place knights on tiles you usually couldn't place them.

I highly recommend this expansion kit!
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