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While King Richard the Lionhearted is away leading the Third Crusade greedy nobles are trying to usurp his throne back in England. His authority diminishes as one castle after another falls. But you, hero, are faithful to King Richard. As a noble knight you retake these castles in order to preserve his legacy. Of course, you are not alone in this quest. Other Chevaliers vie for these same honors. To whom will Richard owe the greatest debt when he returns?
CASTLE LORDS is a card game. A Player builds an army by amassing cards, the better their hand, the better their army. The better the army the easier it is to recapture castles and to keep them under your control. But building the army is the tricky thing. Some cards you trade away, others you desperately want to hold onto. All in all, a rather unchivalrous way of doing things!
This is a fun, small game for the family, and at less than $20 US you can't go wrong. 3-6 players strive for control of six cities in medieval England. Control of a city requires building an army of cards larger than the army that currently controls it. Taking control of a city also gives the possibility of sending some of your opponents pieces to the dungeon.
The game contains six city display cards, six player display cards, a sheet of die cut playing pieces and a deck of cards. The cards represent various types of soldiers that you collect in order to gain control of cities. The rules, only a few pages long, are divided into basic, medium and advanced. The basic rules can be learned and taught in about five minutes, which is great for opening the box and jumping right in. Each additional layer of complexity can be learned in about another five minutes. This is a game that has good replayability, and only takes about 30 minutes to play a game. I have played this with family as young as my 7 year old niece, so the ages 7 and up is right on target. The seven year old won some games and loved it. I have also played a few games of this with adults only, and while not having a tremendous amount of depth or detail, it is still an enjoyable fast-playing game whose level of enjoyment is comfortably in line with the small time commitment required.
If you are looking for a heavyweight strategy game, this isn't going to fit the bill, but if you are looking for a simple yet enjoyable game that can bring in some of the younger members of the family, this is perfect.
Each colored suit contains four kinds of warriors. Castles, with various point values, have one to four rooms, each of which accommodates one resident. After drawing cards, you may attack one Castle each turn. Discard faceup on it more cards (all showing similar colors or warriors) than "defend" it. Initially, Castles can be captured with single cards. Take all defending cards into your hand. Place a resident in your color (from supply or already present) on the Castle's highest room--this indicates that you control it. Evict the current occupant one room down, possibly starting a chain of evictions. The last room's evicted occupant goes to prison; to retrieve a prisoner, discard three cards.
When the deck has been depleted, players must attack each turn in order to stay in play. After the final attack, whoever controls the highest value in Castles wins. This peculiar card-management joust produces fascinating endgames.