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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!
Like the reviewers below, I initially played this game with a group thinking it would be light, but fun, entertainment. After two games, I retired it to my closet, disappointed. Fortunately, I decided to try playing it with my wife one night as we lacked fellow players and were tired of playing Hera and Zeus for the 150th time. This is, first and foremost, a TWO PLAYER GAME folks! (This is actually stated in the introduction portion of the rules, but I neglected to pay it heed.) Castle is a very tactical game with a great deal of plotting ahead, careful decision making, and being skillful at disguising your next move from your opponent.
It is a far more strategic game with two people because the randomness is reduced dramatically. If you don't have a certain card in your hand or deck, and it's not in the Exchange (a trading post where all cards are face up), then you know who has it. The question is when and how are they going to use it. Most of our games have nail-biting finales, with each player praying they will have just one more turn to execute that devastating blow they've spent three turns setting up.
This is now among my top five two-player games. Give it a try if you have only one opponent. If you have a group over, definitely keep it in the closet.
One of my favorite projects as a child was building a castle for all my troops to fight over. Castles have always been intriguing for me, and even though real life castles were dank, depressing, and unsanitary, they seem the pinnacle of fantasy fun. So a game called Castle just naturally sounded good to me, especially when I saw that it was co-designed by my favorite game designer, Bruno Faidutti (along with Serge Laget). It is one of Descartes Eurogames Blue Box series, produced in 2000. (2-5 players)
So is Castle any good? The short answer is that it is a fun multi-player game, and an excellent strategic two-player game. Let me explain in more detail...
First, an explanation of game play
A game board is set up in the middle of the table to represent the castle. This board consists of four cardboard walls that are placed connecting to each other to form the castle. Each wall is divided into four spaces forming a rampart, with another space as a tower in each corner. Inside the walls, an imaginary 16 square grid forms the courtyard. Each player takes all the tokens in one of five colors, placing them in front of them. A deck of cards is shuffled, and each player is dealt two piles of cards (the amount of cards in each pile is determined by how many players are playing.) One pile forms the players hand, while the other forms a draw pile exclusively for that player. All the rest of the cards are shuffled, and form a common draw pile called the Exchange. One player takes their turn, then each player follows in a clockwise order.
On a players turn, they have two actions. There are three things a player may do, and they may do the same thing twice per turn. A player may draw a card from their deck, may play a card from their hand, or exchange a card from their hand with one in the Exchange. A players goal is to get rid of all the cards from their hand and deck playing them in the castle.
There are fifty-six cards, with thirty-seven different types. Each card shows a character (ex: Ambassador, Archer, King). The card is color coded to show where it can be placed. (Yellow cards go on the ramparts, red cards in the courtyard, green cards outside the walls, blue cards in a tower, and purple cards on top of other cards) Each card may also have additional placement requirements (adjacent to the King, etc.) When a player places a character, they put one of their tokens on it. Many cards have text on them, moving other cards, or sending cards back. When a card sends another card back, it returns to the hand of the player whose token is on the card. Some cards, like the Knight protect other cards from being sent back. The protected character can only be moved if the card protecting it is first moved/sent back. When one player gets rids of all the cards from their hand and deck, they win the game!
Some comments on the game:
1). Components: As always, wooden discs are much more enjoyable to use over plastic ones and there are quite a few discs in this game. The colors are nice, but I put the different colors in separate plastic bags for ease of playing. The cards in this game are extremely nice they are square cards with rounded corners, are of good quality. They are easy to read and shuffle, and the colors that differentiate where each character should go are immensely helpful. The artwork on the cards is extremely nice with a definite fantasy feel. The only cheap feel of the components are the cardboard walls of the castle. The square cards fit on them well, and they dont move around much, but Id rather have a board. Of course, a board wouldnt fit into the small, compact Blue Box, so its quite a minor quibble. Lack of a board keeps the price of the game down, and since the rest of the components are such good quality, I feel a purchaser will certainly get their moneys worth.
2). Rules: The rules are printed on four small pages, but in an easy to read format. The rules are quite simple, but many examples and possible combinations are addressed, making a FAQ unnecessary. The game is extremely easy to teach and learn. It may take a little bit for new players to get used to cards returning to their hands, but after a while, they join in with a vengeance.
3). Players: This is the only Blue Box game I would play with 2 players, and its one of the few games that I will gladly play both with a group of five players, or just two of us. The rules state that a two-player game is very tactical, and last longer, while a five player game is more chaotic and is shorter. This is exactly the case, and I really have a hard time deciding which game I prefer. But I think it makes the game worth getting. If I have a game that I can play with my wife, and one that I can bring out when a group of friends are over and they are the same game then that game is a keeper.
4). Fun Factor: The theme is certainly strong in this one, Luke. Certainly its just a tile placement game but its a blast to play. Probably one of the more fun parts of the game is the Siege Engines vs. Soldiers. If four soldiers are placed in the same wall, they send back the Siege Engine facing that wall. If one Siege Engine faces all four walls, however, all the Soldiers on all walls are sent back. Other fun cards include the Fairy, who sends a card from inside the Castle to the outside, and the Ghost, who sends back a card that he lands on in a Tower. Each card has an interesting ability, and coupled with a fascinating picture, invokes a castle type feel.
If I had to pick only one Blue Box game to get, it would be a hard choice. However, I think in the long run my pick would gravitate towards Castle. A good two-player game that couples as a fun 5-player game is a rare find, and coupled with the inexpensive price and mostly good components, makes Castle a game worth getting. Most people I have taught this game to have enjoyed it on the spot, and want to play again. And since getting others to enjoy board gaming is a high priority of mine, Castle will see play, again and again. Bruno and Serge have produced an excellent little game here, and one that should be in your collection.
I found Castle to be a fun and lighthearted game. It's about 2/3 luck of the draw, and 1/3 skill. The mechanics are good, not great, but it has excellent replay value.
Because each card needs to be read, this is not a game for younger children, but the rules are easy to learn and no one gets an unfair advantage.
I call the game light because of the random nature of the cards and the effects of each card, but there is still skill involved in which cards to play, when to play them, and when to exchange.
Although the 'board' is not a real board, but four borders, it allows the game to be very portable. The game box is barely larger than a paperback book. The portability of the game in my mind really made this game a must in my collection. It plays like a real board game, but I can take it anywhere.
Take the rampart or tunnel from within.... Both options are available based on the luck of the draw. Even playing with two people, the game provides plenty of twists and turns to excite the tamest of gamers.
I played this with only 2 players and it's still really cool!
With more players the luck is probably more determinant, but also more funny. Next weekend I will try with some friends.
Try it, it's easy to learn and very funny to play.
Greg Schloesser has done a nice job of describing the mechanics above, so I don't need to do that here. It is neat how you get two actions a turn out of three things you could possibly do. This keeps the decision-making aspect important but also keeps it fast--both of which are crucial to a game like this.
What do I mean by 'futile'? Well, I bought this as a light game I could play with my wife's family. They found it amusing, but were a little frustrated that though almost all the cards can do something special, they just had to play some, even though the conditions weren't ripe for the effect. So, when you play the card, it feels like you're just laying down a dud. I myself think the strategy as the 'castle' gets more characters balances it out, but they don't feel that way.
The game plays especially well with 3, I've found. It definitely is more chaotic with 4 or 5, and with 2, feels a little lame. But with 3, somehow, things can really click, if all the players have a good feel for the game. A couple of games I've been in have had neat turns with the whole 'Soldiers vs. Siege Engines' conflict. And then, like Uno, someone's out!
If you're looking for a light filler, with 3 or 4 in mind, Castle is a good choice.
Unfold the flimsy cardboard castle wall rectangles to make a top down view, deal the cards, and start trying to get rid of yours first! That's the simple, learn-in-three minutes game that has come from Bruno and Serge's late night game brainstorming that also produced Citadelle (or Ohne Furcht und Adel, if you prefer German to French... not I, said the frog). The different well-illustrated cards all have special powers which may effect the placement of other cards, move or protect certain cards, or remove cards from play. You can bump your own card off the board to use its effect more than once. Everyone has colored wood chits that are placed on the card they put down, so you always know whose are who's, and how many they have down. Each player has a hand of cards and their own draw pile in addition to the 'gallery' of 8-12 face up cards from which any player can choose a card as part of their turn.
The excellent price, entertaining illustrations and quick, easy play make this one a no-brainer as to whether to add it to your game cupboard. The game is definitely in the 'More the Merrier' category--two-player games are fine, but lack the play balance, sneaky fun and ganging-up that occur with more people. The floating flimsy cardboard castle walls detract a little from enjoyment, but it does make it highly portable due to the small size: a little smaller than King of the Elves or Settlers card game, a bit larger than Buried Treasure. I may tack the wall pieces to a larger sheet of cardboard and draw a grid in the courtyard for at-home play. I can see the theme getting a little old if played frequently, but if rotated with other fillers such as Mamma Mia!, Buried Treasure, and (insert your favorite here), this one should stay fairly near the top of the quick n' fun/ Beer n' Pretzels list. Talk to ya later.
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.