[The Gentleman Nerd is a weekly column written by Jason McMaster and is dedicated to the more discerning tastes of the refined dork. Due to Jason's extreme nature, most of his columns will be subtitled 'Why I Love...' or 'Why I Hate...' - in case you were wondering.]

CarcassonneTile laying. That’s right, I said it. I’ll say it again: tile laying. That’s what I have to say to all of you tough guys out there. I play a game with little wooden guys that are nicknamed “meeples” and I lay tiles on a table to make countryside. And yes, I play the occasional game of patty cake. So what? I’m proud of my Carcassonne habit. You know why? It’s because I’ve seen the face of the meeple gods, my friends, and I laughed. I laughed right in their wooden faces. I’m the one who keeps you safe.

You see, because my friends have such extreme hatred of dice and cards (Brian), or just don’t like complex games, we’ve started bringing friendlier games into the fold. Most of my games are about killing things and cackling with glee. There are a few exceptions, like Robo-Rally, but overall, we’re pretty stabby. Since Puerto Rico and San Juan have been such a hit at the house, I decided we’d give this one a try too. It’s been surprisingly successful and not nearly as peaceful as I’d hoped.

CarcassonneThe idea behind Carcassonne is that you build cities and countryside. You do this by drawing tiles and then placing them where you can with the other tiles. These tiles are used to make up cities, roads and farms. Each tile has a place to put your little meeples so that they may make the most of their pathetic, wooden lives. They also get you points. What’s a meeple, you say? I’ll tell you. They are your wooden servants, and you must make them work.

Now, making your little guys work is pretty easy – you just put them on a piece of land, city or road that doesn’t have anyone else attached to it. That stakes your claim. Now, if it ends up connecting to something else that has people on it, then whoever has the most meeples on that feature gets all the points. If you tie, then you both get full points. Easy! Well, mostly easy. You see, there’s a touch of strategy to it, and if there’s even a touch, then that means that Brian and I are going to try to screw each other over. Oh well, there goes that “play nice” thing we had going on.

CarcassonneYou see, whenever there’s a large farmland, every completely walled city it touches is four (or sometimes five) points for whoever controls it. This can change the entire game. So, as you can imagine, most of mine and Brian’s time is spent trying to grab that freaking farm land and I usually lose this struggle because of skullduggery.

For instance, last time we played, I was the only one trying to stop the juggernaut that is Brian’s little yellow meeples. They were everywhere, man. I kept blocking him off and using towers to take them prisoner, but it was no use. I kept trying to get everyone to understand that it was only me, and my green meeples that were stopping that evil, yellow cloud from overshadowing the land. They didn’t listen. Everyone started feeling sorry for Brian. The damned fools. Luckily, I sacrificed myself so that he wouldn’t win, even though people were actually trying to HELP him. This made my wife, Sarah, the very surprised victor.

So, basically, thanks to selfless heroes like me, you people can play a nice game of Carcassonne without threat against your freedoms. You want my meeples on that wall. You NEED my meeples on that wall. Who’s your savior now, Jack?

[Jason McMaster is a freelance writer who has written for Gamasutra, GameSpy and several other publications. He’s currently working on a few small projects and updating his blog, Lamethrower, as often as he can.]