Games of all kinds have forever concerned themselves with conquest.
Whether it's knocking over an opponent's king in chess or wiping entire species off the face of the universe, the overwhelming human urge to be top dog is often at the forefront of a designer's mind.
Carcassonne is no different. A digital adaptation, by Exozet, of the hugely popular European boardgame, Carcassonne sees you and your opponents duking it out for control of a kingdom that doesn't even exist before the game begins.
You'll learn to block your enemy's strategies, anticipate their treachery, and plan ahead to build a land worthy of you as ruler. In the space of a few short turns you'll make the leap from simple player to iron-fisted despot.
Or at least, you will if you're not surprised at the last minute by an audacious city building coup.
Don't get tiled down
The game begins with a single tile in play. From there you and your opponents take it in turns to place randomly allocated pieces of the map, building your potential kingdom as you go.
All of the tiles are delightfully detailed, and the art for the different players adds a cartoon flourish to a title that expertly avoids being dull on the eye.
You build cities, roads, and cloisters, and expand the fields. You also place your followers onto the map in order to score as many points as you can.
Points are awarded for followers positioned in finished cities, completed roads, and surrounded cloisters, with those in the fields giving extra points once the game has run its course.
A tile of some cities
You can only place tiles on the board that link up with other tiles - road to road, city to city, and so on.
That means you can't block off an opponent's megalopolis by throwing in a random field. But you can try and steal some of their glory by helping them build it.
Whoever has the most points once all the tiles have been used up is crowned the victor, and gets to boast about their royalty to anyone who'll listen.
Because you're generating an entirely new board every time you play the game, no two play-throughs are ever the same. A winning strategy one round is a catastrophic mistake the next.
The game includes Carcassonne's expansion, The River II, which adds river tiles into the deck, changing the way that the game plays (by expanding the starting territory) and allowing for even more strategic geographical manoeuvring.
Head and tiles above the rest
The game unfortunately lacks the high-quality online match-ups offered by The Coding Monkeys’s iPhone/iPad interpretation of the game, but the local multiplayer goes some way to making up for this absence.
While it misses those hilarious moments that only having four humans cramped around a table can provide, Carcassonne still offers a rich, massively replayable experience both solo and in multiplayer.
Taking over the world is a desire that flows through all of our veins, and Carcassonne delivers a convenient way to achieve that goal.