Carcassonne: Builders and Traders is the second expansion to Carcassonne, it adds a new way to score to the game that really changes the strategy on cities, as well as two new Meeples to add to your entourage of followers.

Just like the first expansion Inns and Cathedrals, this is a great expansion for new players and fairly easy to teach as you play.

In the Box:

Carcassonne Expansion 2: Builders and Traders Content

Playing the Expansion:

Take all the base tiles along with the new Builders and Traders tiles and put them all in the cloth bag and give the bag a good shuffle. Hand out the Builder and Pig Meeple to each player. Finally, put all the goods tokens off to a secure location

While most of the gameplay is the same, there is the important feature of the double turns that can happen with the builder. Especially if you typically grab a piece before the next player. If a player has a builder on a feature and adds a tile to it, they are able to take a second turn immediately.

When the game is complete you would grab all the tiles with the shadowed Pig Meeple, along with the Goods Tokens, the Builder Meeples, the Pig Meeples, and the Cloth Bag if you’re keeping the expansions separate. 

This expansion will take roughly 45 mins to complete, fairly accurate with the description in the box. 

New Features:

Four features are added with the Traders and Builders expansion.

Trade Goods and Tiles

Possibly one of the most game-changing features to Carcassonne. The Trade Goods and Trade Tiles introduce new strategies for each player. 

The expansion introduces three goods to the game: Wine, Grain, and Cloth. We have a tendency to call them Barrels, Wheat, and Silk.  At the end of the game, each player that has the most of each Goods Token will receive 10 points. This means a single player could receive up to 30 additional points at the end of the game if they have the majority of Tokens for each good. 

What makes game-changing strategy is that you receive tokens whenever you close a city with the corresponding Goods icon. This means that closing out an opponents city with a lot of goods can be more beneficial than expanding your own feature. In short, tokens are awarded to whoever completes the city, not whoever has majority ownership.

Builder Meeple

The Builder Meeple is what I would consider a support Meeple. The Builder Meeple doesn’t count when deciding who has majority ownership of a city.

The Builder Meeple also requires you to have an existing Meeple on the feature before placing it down. You cannot claim a feature with the it. You also can only use Builder Meeples on cities and roads, you cannot use them on monasteries 

Once you have placed a Builder Meeple down however, it grants you the option of having two turns in a row. If you expand a feature that the Builder Meeple is on, you get another tile immediately.  You get a second turn if you expand or close out the feature the Builder Meeple is a part of on your first turn.

You are allowed to place/remove your meeples in-between the two tiles, and I would encourage trying to adhere to that rule so someone can’t pull a fast one after they see the second tile. 

Pig Meeple

Much like the Builder Meeple, the Pig Meeple is also a support Meeple. The Pig Meeple cannot be used to claim a feature, and is not included in the total Meeples on a feature when deciding who has majority ownership.

What Pig Meeples do however, besides make great score keepers if your not playing fields, is increase the value of each closed city within your field. Instead of the traditional 3 points per closed city, you would receive 4 points per closed city. 

Cloth Bag

You wouldn’t think the Cloth Bag to be a pivotal feature, but it’s something I use consistently now. Previous to the Cloth Bag, you would spend quite a bit of time shuffling tiles up, and then placing them in several stacks around the table. 

The Cloth Bag however allows you to shuffle them up very easy, and allows you to pass the bag to each player. This means  you don’t have to think about what stack has the piece you need, and helps reduce that “if I only took this one…” feeling we’ve all felt before.

Final Thoughts:

Traders and Builders, like Inns and Cathedrals, is one of the expansions I would consider really well to play with new players, and to consider a part of your typical Carcassonne tile deck. The features themselves aren’t too overwhelming for someone to remember. The two Meeples introduced in this expansion are very easy to use in other expansions as you get them, especially the Builder.