Carcassonne is a game I've been playing since well before I got into gaming. My brother in law got it for the family back when all I knew was Catan, and we played it quite a bit for years. When I finally got into gaming, it took a few years but eventually Carcassonne made it into my collection. And it has stayed there ever since.
Carcassonne isn't the best game ever, at least not for me. In fact as someone who tends to love both heavy euros and ameritrash destruction....Carcassonne falls into neither category and misses both by quite a long shot to boot. But it has a simplicity that's charming and that has kept it here safe on the shelf.
Now don't get me wrong, there are many who will argue the strategic depth of Carcassonne, and I'm certainly not here to argue, it's just not the way we play it. Similar to playing Ticket to Ride competitively, where screwage can be a far more effective strategy than building up your own routes, Carcassonne is a game where we focus more on the building and procedural nature of the game, rather than the potential depth.
Which brings me to what I love about it and why it has stayed for so long. The game can be taught in 5 minutes, with additional rule modules expanded upon as they come up. The game can be infinitely expanded with dozens and dozens of small expansions that mix up the gameplay. The game can be played with adults and children alike...my 5 year old plays this as well, although with a focus on roads over castles that wins him no games unfortunately. The game is relaxing and doesn't require an undue amount of attention, making it great both for the end of a long day as well as introducing friends to gaming. And finally it plays well with 2, 3 and 4 players. Even up to 6 possibly but likely not recommended.
Catan was an integral part of my journey in the jobby, but whereas Catan got replaced by games that do it better, Carcassonne has that lightness but for me remains best in class in what it does. It's a great game, and I recommend giving it a shot if you haven't yet.