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This is a very good, quick-playing 2p game. There are some differences between this and the other Carcassonnes that I have played: the shape of the field remains constrained, the only tile sides that have to match are the paths, and one rarely gets points for unfinished buildings and/or paths at game end. All of this leads to a lot more flexibility and opportunities in tile placement. The scoretrack runs along the castle walls, which is also a cute touch. Finally, the wall tiles make for some interesting twists and force some sub-optimal plays just to be able to grab a wall tile.
By removing the jigsaw puzzle aspect of the original, this game throws open the decision space and makes the game [i]so much[/i] more interesting. The house/keep mechanic, the bonus tiles, the illusion of freedom that reveal itself to actually be self-directed levels of constraint are all ingenious. Since I almost exclusively play Carcassonne 2p, I don't really see a reason to play the original anymore. Leave it to Knizia to make the best game in the Carcassonne franchise.