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The Castle is small, and there is not enough room for everyone. You must try to place all of your characters in the castle before your opponents do. In order to accomplish this you will have to plan carefully, and place your characters intilligently. When properly used your characters can pave the way for more of your characters to enter the castle, while keeping your opponents out. However, your opponents have characters that are just as powerful as yours. Some can even eject and return to your hand those which you have already placed.
Castle is a quick, light though intelligent card placement game by Serge Laget and Bruno Faidutti. This clever little game plays well with between two and five players, requires only a moderate amount of space, is quick to learn and fun to play.
Faidutti (Citadels, Fist of Dragonstones and many more) and Laget (Shadows over Camelot, Mare Nostrum and many more) designed this game together and it was released as a part of a set called ‘Blue Games’ – all designed to be simple to learn and fun to play.
In Castle players are competing to be the first to have no cards, the catch is that every card played will have some form of effect on the cards around it, usually sending one or more back to the people who own them. As usual for Faidutti, the game sings with theme, the game is about the occupants of a Fantasy castle jostling for position in the courtyard, on the walls and outside the walls.
What makes the game so much fun, and so tantalising, is that every turn you are struck by the desire to play cards (get rid of them) and hold on to cards to play later (each card has an effect on certain types of other cards). This game can be tense, fast paced, intelligent, tactical and challenging, and it benefits from a very simple game system and a well integrated theme.
Some people have complained about the randomness found in many of Faidutti’s games, and how it can prevent the sort of long term planning required in other games, but what many people don’t realise is that these games, Castle included, are not based around strategic planning, but rather swiftness of thought. You will not be witnessing grand plans reach fruition in this game, but you will be having to make the most of what you have given the situation at the time – often this ‘on your feet’ thinking can be extremely rewarding, and it is certainly fun.
Castle, in short, is a great game. If you are looking for a fun filled game for between two and five people that plays in around half an hour, has a great theme and is always a laugh look no further than Castle.
My wife and I have enjoyed Castle ever since I ordered it from this most delightful website almost two months ago. (Do you know how hard it is to get good games in Alaska? What would I do without Funagain?)
This game is simply packaged, wonderfully illustrated, and complex enough to keep you happily perplexed for hours. Lady luck does have a hand in the game, but the since you are allowed to trade cards out of your hand into the Exchange the luck component is minimized. I enjoy the strategy in this game because there isn't one sure route to victory, rather your strategy changes according to the interactions of the cards you are dealt. One game you may be trying to get all of your opponent's cards sent back to thier hand, the next you are trying to protect your own under the benficence of a Priest or Captain. The simple 'board' is fine, it really doesn't detract from the game at all. In short, if you are looking for an inexpensive game that is replayable and enjoyable but also realitively simple, Castle is a good bet.
First, I agree that this game is only well suited to 2 or 3 players (I prefer 3). Any more, and the number of cards played between turns completely undoes any strategic planning. With two, you have much less tactical deception, but more chess-like precision--so it balances out.
I disagree that the game is too random. Yes, your strengths are initially decided by the random deal of the cards. But the exchange and interaction between various cards quickly lends itself to skillful manipulation and forethought.
In fact, I would argue that the exposure of 10-12 cards in the exchange, coupled with two actions per turn, provides early strategic and tactical options that take several turns to develop in most card-based strategy games.
Couple that with well written rules and cards, attractive illustrations and a great price, and this one's a winner!
Your goal is to build a castle using the four walls provided, then populate it from your hand. Everyone gets a hand of cards and a personal deck. There is also a faceup Exchange, initially consisting of 10 to 12 cards. On your turn, you perform two of three possible actions. You may draw a card from your deck, swap a card with one from the Exchange, or play a card from your hand. Each card describes where it may be played (courtyard, rampart, tower, outside), and some have an additional effect (e.g., causing a card to return to its player, or to be moved elsewhere). You win by being the first to get rid of all your cards, which sounds easy, but... Castle is more strategic with fewer players, but any number may look forward to a few sneaky plays.
Bruno Faidutti has been quite a popular designer as of late. This year has seen a number of his games released, including Corruption, DemoCrazy, Ohne Furcht und Adel and his latest, Castle, which is co-designed with Serge Laget. Castle is released by Eurogames and is marketed as a part of the Blue Game line of games, which are designed to be fairly light and easily accessible by family members. Castle certainly fits into this category quite nicely.
The theme is one of infighting and intrigue at the king's court. The main idea is for players to attempt to deplete all of their cards; the first to accomplish this task is the victor.
The cards are beautifully illustrated with stunning artwork depicting a wide assortment of characters (soldiers, witch, ghost, king, siege engines, barbarian, knights, mistress, queen, lady in waiting, etc.). Any game designer would be thrilled to have such outstanding artwork included in his game. The cards are a visual delight.
The board--if it can truly be called such--is really just a cardboard frame consisting of four pieces. When put together, it forms the walls and towers of the castle and encloses an imaginary 4x4 grid which represents the courtyard. During the course of the game, cards are played onto this grid, on the walls and towers and outside of the castle. It's functional, but certainly no where near the quality of the cards.
Players are dealt a number of cards into their hands, plus a number of cards face down to their private 'reserve' deck. This number varies with the number of players, which can be anywhere from 2-5. An exchange pool is also formed with a dozen or so cards, depending upon the number of players. On a turn, a player performs two actions from a possible three:
The game continues until one player succeeds in depleting his entire hand and 'reserve' deck, at which point he is victorious. Since many powers force cards back into players hands, you can be on the verge of victory, only to suddenly receive a card or two back into your hand before your next turn. This can be quite frustrating, but is also what the game intends.
Castle doesn't pretend to be anything more than it is, which is a light, family style game which is entertaining, quick and fun to play. However, if you don't enjoy games where there isn't a whole lot of control, then this probably isn't for you.