Carpe Diem Review: Strategic Triumph with Highly Satisfying Gameplay



45-75 [min]

Time to Play 





What is in the Box?

Game Components:

  • Game Board
    Durable, high quality, sturdy, foldable board with clear and intuitive layout. 
  • Player Boards
    The 4 player boards are uniquely customizable with puzzle shaped borders. Each board is constructed from a centerpiece that is identical to everyone and 4 border pieces (that come in different combinations each time). Rearranging the borders in different ways may affect the future strategic decisions. 
  • Player Aid Mats
    4 double sided rectangular boards with information about what type of benefits building different constructions brings. The mats also include an area to keep all the collected coins and tokens.
  • Cards
    66 victory points cards, 60 scoring rules cards and 24 bonus cards. 
  • Building Tiles
    84 building tiles with white backgrounds and 39 building tiles with black background. The components are made from thick cardboard, making them durable and resistant to damage from repeated use.
  • Meeples
    4 wooden meeples: red, green, blue and yellow.
  • Discs
    20 wooden round tokens of 4 different colors: red, green, blue and yellow.
  • Cardboard Tokens
    18 bread tokens and 24 gold coins.  
  • Wooden Tokens
    Goods tokens are made of wood: 5 grapes, 5 chickens, 5 leaves and 5 fish.

Who is the Game for?

Who Should Play?

Carpe Diem can be enjoyed by both casual and experienced gamers alike. It provides an accessible gameplay together with strategy depth and decision-making.

Ticket to ride: family gamers
Friends and Families
Puzzle Solvers
Ticket to ride: strategic players
Players who love strategy games
Competitive Players
Casual Gamers
Solo Gamers

Who Should not Play?

Although Carpe Diem board game is appealing to a wide audience, it may not suit the preferences of all players.

Ticket to ride: players who don't like strategy games
Players who don't like strategy games
Players who prefer games with intense and direct player interaction
Players who like fast games

How to Play?

  • Objective

  • Game Setup

  • TURNS &  Actions

  • Game End

The objective of the game is to get most victory points. 

How to get Victory Points?

There are several ways to get victory points in the end and during the game:

1. Meeting the requirements of rule cards.

2. Progress on the prestige bar.

3. Fulfilling conditions of bonus cards.

4. Fulfilling placement conditions on the personal boards.

5. Building villas.

6. Leftover resources.

Down Time

The downtime between turns in carpe diem is minimal. Players take turns selecting building tiles from the main board and placing them on their board. Most times, the other players will plan their next moves while the current player is taking his turn. 

Game Mechanics

In Carpe Diem the players should balance tile placement and resource management to fulfill the best objectives and maximize their scoring potential.

Tile Placement:

Players select tiles from a common central display. Once a tile is selected, players strategically place it on their player boards while planning their future tile placements and optimizing the arrangement to suit their objectives and resource management.

Resource Management:

Players gain resources by completing tiled constructions on personal boards. Players must use the resources efficiently to meet objectives.

Set Collection:

Carpe Diem includes different constructions, each representing a set. Some of the scoring cards in Carpe Diem revolve around completing sets of particular building types or combinations. 

Objective Fulfillment:

Objective fulfillment is a key aspect of the gameplay. At the end of each round, players select scoring objectives from a set of options. Players earn victory points based on completed objectives and get negative scoring for not being able to complete them.

Educational Content

Carpe Diem is designed and marketed to the audience primarily as a strategic board game. However, the game incorporates elements that can provide learning opportunities and various educational benefits.


Players engage in basic arithmetic calculations. Including addition, subtraction, and calculating costs for building constructions, resource exchanges, and victory points.

Carpe Diem also requires players to make strategic decisions based on numerical considerations. Evaluating the value of different building choices, examining resource quantities and their respective values, and calculating potential scores are integral parts of the gameplay. Engaging in these numerical evaluations enhances the ability to understand and work with numbers in various contexts. 


Carpe Diem introduces fundamental economic concepts through resource management and trade interactions. 

  • Supply & Demand: Players work with the resources they have and decide based on their availability.
  • Resource Allocation: Players determine which resources to gather, how to divide them among different tasks, and when to deploy or trade them.
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis: Players have to weigh the potential advantages of different actions and choices while considering of the associated costs and compromises.
  • Risk Management and Economic Decision-Making: During gameplay players face uncertainty, as there are limited resources, potential competition on tiles and timing related considerations. These elements help players gain practical knowledge and skills in making economic decisions, which can apply to real-life situations.
  • Financial Literacy: Carpe Diem introduces players to basic financial concepts like budgeting, evaluating resource worth and efficiently using available resources.

Planning and Organization

Thoughtfully structuring the layout of buildings on player boards enhances efficiency and increases scoring opportunities.

Patience and Delayed Gratification:

To be successful, players must pursue long-term goals. Perusing those goals will demand patience and the ability to postpone instant rewards. Players need to gradually gather resources and avoid spending them impulsively. Completing different constructions and being rewarded for them may take several turns and sometimes even rounds. Players may also need to wait for the right moment to take specific actions that will cause better results.

Brain Benefits

 Carpe Diem provides a mental workout by engaging players in strategic thinking, decision-making, resource management, and planning.

Strategic Thinking

Strategic thinking is strengthened in Carpe Diem through long-term planning, managing resources, evaluating risks, deciding and adapting to changing circumstances. Players need to take tiles while considering the future available tiles, tiles that the opponents may want, the rewards for completing those tile constructions and the ways those will help them complete forum rules and gain a maximum amount of victory points at the end. 

Critical Thinking

In Carpe Diem players analyze the potential benefits and drawbacks of taking available tiles. Players analyze the risks of not taking specific tiles in time and the benefits the opponent may gain from them. At the end of each round, players evaluate between different objective cards to ensuring they make the most helpful decision.

Spatial Skills:

Carpe Diem challenges players to mentally arrange and manipulate objects in space. 

Players need to decide where to position the tiles on their personal boards and make sure those fit together while the layout remains efficient.

Pattern Recognition: 

Players need to pay attention and recognize which type of constructions help them achieve their goal and score more. They may find that certain combinations of buildings give them more points or that specific types of resources are more valuable for their strategy.

Attention & Focus

Players need to pay close attention to the tiles and identify the ones that are best for their aim. It is essential to keep track of the resources and stay alert to scoring opportunities that may arise during the game.

These brain benefits may contribute to overall cognitive development and can have positive effects on various aspects of life.

Size & Quality

Box Size:  Will Carpe Diem Box fit in a Kallax cubicle?

The size of Carpe Diem game box is 22 cm in width, 31 cm in height and ~ 7 cm in depth. [8.66" x 12.2" x 2.75"]. It will easily fit in a kallax cubicle that is often used to store board games.

Board Size & Function

The board is made of thick, sturdy cardboard with clear and detailed artwork. The dimension of an unfolded Carpe diem board are: 53 cm [20.8"] in length and 36 cm [14.17"] in width. Personal boards are 25.5cm x [10" x 10"] and the size of personal aid and disc holder boards are  19cm x 8.5cm [7.5" x 3.35"]. 

Overall, the components are well-made and are visually appealing.


Well made cards 6.8cm x 4.4cm in size.


Thick sturdy cardboard tiles 3cm x 3cm [1.18" x 1.18"]

Scoring Discs and and Meeples

Wood made in 4 different colors

Cardboard Tokens

Bread, coins and writ tokens are made of cardboard. 

Wooden Tokens

Grapes, leaves, chicken and fish tokens are made of wood.

Is Carpe Diem Easy to Learn?

Many find Carpe Diem easy to pick up, especially if they are familiar with other modern board games. The tile placement and resource management mechanics are intuitive. The scoring and objective fulfillment mechanisms at the end of each round are a bit more complex and less familiar. However, those also add strategic depth to the game. Overall, Carpe Diem is relatively easy-to-learn.

Is the Game Language Dependent?

Besides the rule book, there are no language dependent components in the carpe diem. The game fully relies on icons: tiles, cards, player aid boards, etc. 

How Much Player Interaction is Involved in Carpe Diem?

Carpe Diem is not a game with direct player interactions. Players take turns taking tiles. The players may intentionally or non-intentionally take tiles other players need and create a non direct interaction this way. There is also a competition on the prestige bar advancement and spots on the scoring cards.

Are there any Variations or House Rules that can Apply to the Game?

Carpe Diem is designed to be played with official rules. Variations may apply, but those may interfere with game balance, which is very well designed. We often play carpe diem with a different scoring method. The game is designed for each scoring disc to be placed between two scoring cards. These scoring cards should then be calculated at the end of that round. However, while the discs remain in place, the cards are not recalculated in the next rounds, and players are not required to fulfill those objectives. The first few times we played the game, we overlooked this rule and thought we needed to meet the objectives of all the discs on the scoring board in each round. Even though this is not how the game is played, it also creates a very interesting gameplay experience with short-term and long-term planning. But be aware that if you play this way, you may need some extra bread and coin resources.

Is there a Solo Mode, and how does it Compare to the Multiplayer Experience?

Carpe diem does not have an official solo mode included in the game. However, the fans of this game created their own solo variants which involve an ai opponent. The exact rules and explanations for this mode can be found on the file section of carpe diem page on bgg.

How does Carpe Diem Compare to Other Games in Terms of Complexity and Depth?

Carpe Diem offers a good deal of depth with a moderate complexity. We can consider it having a similar level of complexity as: Castles of Burgundy, Terraforming Mars, Concordia, Viticulture or Russian Railroads.

As for gameplay, which involves tile placement, resource management, and optimizing your board for scoring, it may partly resemble Patchwork, Cottage Garden, Suburbia or Quadropolis. 

What is the Typical Setup and Cleanup Time for a Game of Carpe Diem?

Carpe diem is a game that will take some time to set up and clean up. The process includes unfolding and arranging the main board with the relevant tiles and scoring cards on top. Sorting and distributing resources and achieving victory points. The total may take about 10 minutes. The cleanup takes about the same. It is important to sort everything during cleanup to insure the faster setup of the game next time you play.

Is Carpe Diem Accessible for Color Blind Players?

Carpe Diem does not have specific color-blind accessibility features built into its components. The gameplay actually heavily relies on color differentiation. It might be challenging for color-blind players to play the game without workarounds. Adding stickers to tiles and cards may help make the game more accessible. 

Is Carpe Diem Good for 2 People Play?

Carpe diem is designed for 2 to 4 players. The players count issue is well planned, and the game is adjusted to deliver almost the same experience in any player count. The objective cards amount is different for different players count and therefore a competition for which objective card to select exists in any player count.

How Re-playable is Carpe Diem?

Carpe Diem is highly re-playable. Each session presents a new tile arrangement. The end-round objective cards are different in each game you play. The personal board bonuses are also different. Since each game has new objectives and bonuses, the players need to develop new strategy to gain victory points each time they play. So many variable elements keep the game engaging and prevent it from feeling repetitive.

What are the Best Strategies to Win Carpe Diem?

There is no single "best" strategy that guarantees victory, especially since the game objectives are different each time you play. 

  • Plan ahead and anticipate future moves. 
  • Concentrate on specific objectives. That can help you score more efficiently. 
  • Pay attention to your opponents' objectives and tile placements. 
  • Be adaptable and be ready to adjust your plans as the availability of tiles and resources can change throughout the game.
  • Try to balance short-term and long-term goals.

What Other Board Games Might Appeal to Fans of Carpe Diem?

Castles of Burgundy

Both Carpe Diem and Castles of Burgundy are designed by Stefan Feld. Both games feature tile placing mechanic but in different ways. Castles of burgundy also requires an efficient resource management and just like carpe diem has a variety of ways to score points.

Great Western Trail

A strategic game where players move cows along a trail in the Old West, managing resources and optimizing their cattle. Features tile placement, resource management, and strategic depth.

Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King

If you enjoy Carpe Diem  you're likely to appreciate the strategic and tactical decisions involved in the Isle of Skye. This is a tile-laying board game where players competitively expand Scottish landscapes. The players strategically place tiles, decide on prices, and try to score points in different ways. 


A board game where players compete to run successful vineyards, cultivate grapes, and produce wine. All while managing resources and making strategic decisions.

Rajas of the Ganges

This game is set in India and players play by expanding their provinces. It combines economic and spatial challenges while competing to be the fits to achieve a specific point threshold.


This is a tile-laying board game where players compete to build the most impressive bear-themed park. We may consider this game a bit less complex than Carpe Diem but with slightly more player interaction.

Pros & Cons Summary


  • Rich strategic experience.
  • The choices throughout the game have a significant weight and impact on the overall course of the game.
  • Highly re-playable.
  • Quality components.
  • Enjoyable by both casual and experienced players.


  • Maximum player count of 4. Some players prefer games suitable for larger groups.
  • Can be a bit overwhelming for people who are entirely new to board games.
  • The setup is a bit tedious and time consuming. 
  • Some players find it hard to distinguish between the different tiles.

Price Vs. Value

As with any purchase, it's essential to weigh how well it matches your preferences against the cost. The strategic depth, re-playability, the quality of the components and the rewarding experience that comes with the game will all make it well worth the price for many. It is actually one of the most played games at our home. People who place a lot of importance on the game's visual appearance may feel that the artwork is less visually impressive compared to other board games they enjoy. While the art may not be a major issue for everyone, it's an aspect worth considering. However, it's important to note that art preferences are subjective and can vary significantly from person to person. 

Our Rating for Carpe Diem
4/5 stars





Rule Simplicity




Katia is responsible for graphics and content design. She is a mom of two beautiful children. Katia spends her free time searching for and trying to solve different brain games and teasers. She also likes board games, puzzles and crosswords.