Friday, November 20, 2015

Do You Want to Build a Castle?

Four of our crew recently returned from a trip to Germany, which included a visit to this beautiful location, the castle of Neushwanstein.


This castle is one of three built by Ludwig, King of Bavaria, who spent all his money and was subsequently declared insane and deposed from the throne. Our tour guide called him merely eccentric.

Crazy or quirky, Ludwig was onto something. Building castles is fun, as a certain genius game designer must have realized.
When I saw Castles of Mad King Ludwig for sale, I couldn't resist getting it for birthday boy, Jeff. And I'm glad I did. What a fantastic find.

The premise of the game is this: players are contractors working for the so-called mad king during his castle building frenzy. Players buy and place tiles shaped like various-sized rooms, hallways and stairs. Players can arrange their castle components however they want as long as doorways line up. If that isn't cool enough, many of the rooms are based on actual ones King Ludwig built, like the underground Venus Grotto in Linderhof castle, where he would listen to Wagner's operas in watery bliss.

As is typical, the person with the most points at the end of the game wins. But this game is far from typical. Bonus cards, King's Favors, a turn at being Master Builder and setting the prices, all of this adds variety and makes it so that this game is different every time.

One downside is that only four can play. I'd love to see an expansion that would take it to six so our whole crew can join in. It would be like walking the halls of Ludwig's castles together. Almost. And that's a second downside. This game hasn't cured my wanderlust. Instead, it makes me want to go back.

# Players . . . 1-4
Game time . . . . . . . . 90 minutes
Set up . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 minutes
Luck . . . . . . .  .  8 . . . Strategy
*Interplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Visual Appeal . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Component Quality . .. . . . . 9
*Replayability . . . . . . . . . . . 9


*See "How we Rate" for a definition.


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