Klaus-Jürgen Wrede


No. of Players:
2 - 5



Gamebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

It is now eight years ago, when HANS IM GLÜCK first published the awards winning family game Carcassonne. Nobody could have expected such a lasting interest in the game, but over the years to come Carcassonne was followed a big campaign with a lot of variants. This year it was time again for a new variant (and a new expansion) of the basic game, and in the new variant game Mayflower the players take the roles of settlers conquering America. Starting at the east side of the country after their landing, they move forward towards the west.

Mayflower has a nice and modern design and comes in the typical Carcassonne box, with its playing materials being design-variants of the preceding games but still quite well known. Victory points are now counted on the starting spaces of Americaīs east coast, and as usual the landscape tiles are shuffled at the beginning of the game and each player gets his six figures for his group of settlers.


The game is very similar to the original Carcassonne and the other variants. Like in the predecessors the players have to position their settlers on the landscape tiles they just played. Victory points are given for constructions like complete roads, cities and grazing lands, and they are harvested by the player with the majority of settlers present. Thus, I wonīt explain the traditional Carcassonne scoring mechanism in this review again, so if you do not know the Carcassonne game already, please check the corresponding review in the German boardgames section. A completely new element on the other hand is the farm, and it is finished (and scores) when all nine neighboring landscape tiles have been placed.

As indicated, the starting spaces are the seven spaces of the east coast of America. All further landscape tiles will be placed westwards of the starting spaces, so that the stepwise discovery of America is simulated. In effect, this means another difference to most other variants of Carcassonne since the starting point is not the first landscape played on the table, but you have already seven possibilities where to place the first landscape tile.


The most important new element in the game are two surveyor-figures who are moved one column to the west each time a construction has been finished (and a scoring has taken place). Once the surveyors both have passed settlers on the board and left them eastwards (with an exception of settlers on the grazing land), these settlers are removed from the landscape and given back to the players (i.e. all settlers eastwards of the current position of the surveyors are returned to the players). This gives the game a very strong new aspect, since the surveyors prevent the players from investing too much time to build their own big cities, because there is a big danger to loose the settlers to the surveyors. Thus, there is a tendency to finish the constructions much earlier than in other variants which needs to be weighted against the risk and profits from a larger construction. To lessen these effect a bit it is still possible to place landscape tiles (with settlers on it) behind the surveyors. This is often the only possibility to finish complicated constructions like the farms, but it is also a high risk, because after the next scoring these settlers are returned to the players again. As a sidenote, let me also state that if you do not like the surveyors, leave them in the box, and you can nearly play the original game!

In my opinion Mayflower is a bit of a mixture between the basic game and the first variant Jäger und Sammler, but there is more to the game than first sight might suggest. Playing at high risk compared with the tendency of finishing the constructions quick is the way to win Mayflower, and this requires seasoned Carcassonne players to adjust their strategies. This is intensified by the fact that a player gets four additional victory points for a scoring when the settler who scores stands in the same column as the surveyor. So there is often a fine line between getting many victory points and loosing the settlers.


I like the new variant very much, although there is a tendency that the table quickly can get too short, because normally you will rapidly move to the west to get out of the way of the surveyors. The design gives the game a new, more modern touch. Perhaps the game animates the players a little bit too strong to finish the constructions. In the playtesting I did so far the surveyors moved forward rather quickly, so that there was no time for building more complicated constructions than with two or three landscape tiles. Furthermore there was always a huge difference between the victory points of the first and last player. I guess this is due to the high luck factor in the drawing phase, but a bit of skill and experience should lessen these effects. Still, only if your landscape tile makes it possible to quickly finish a construction, you will be able to win the game.

There is still the question if you really need the new variant Mayflower. I think you do not really need the game if you already own the basic game of Carcassonne and one or more variants. Here it is indubitable that Carcassonne remains a top game and the new variant has not fallen short of the basic game and maybe it is even superior to it. But Mayflower does not introduce enough new elements to give enough attraction to a player who has followed the game-line for long years. On the other hand, if you do not possess Carcassonne, you can buy Mayflower without thinking twice!

Looking for this game? Visit Funagain Games!

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Copyright © 2008 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany