Last night I had the opportunity to play Carcassonne including the Hills and Sheep expansion and now the almost ubiquitous River 2 starting expansion.

The Hills and Sheep expansions adds a number of interesting elements to the core Carcassonne game which are quite easy to understand and in my opinion help to balance out the scoring potential of features. Firstly the introduction of the vineyards helps to boost the scoring potential of Monk meeples but in a nice non overpowered way, more reward for completion of cloisters but no penalty for the lack of completion. The hill pieces have two effects firstly they provide a way of loosing tiles blindly which introduces a nice way of varying the playing titles available in any given game. Secondly they provide a means of resolving a tie between meeples within scoring features which introduces a nice extra element of game play.

The best of the expansion in my opinion though was the sheep game play, in which once a player has played the shepherd meeple they were able to add sheep to their flock when they expanded the shepherds field. This within our game unintentionally encouraged more ambitious road building as players found they could expand both the shepherds field and the thief’s at the same time scoring significant points. This gave added purpose to the typical straight road piece which in later game play can become a little boring to play.

Overall for experienced Carcassonne players the Hills and Sheep expansion offers a nice variation to the game which requires minimal explaining but does introduce new game winning strategies and hence would be recommend.

The Hills and Sheep expansions rules can be found online here.