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Castellan - Board Game Box Shot


| Published: 2013
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In Castellan, two players work together to build a castle. Finely-detailed wall and tower pieces link together to form courtyards, and the player who finishes a courtyard claims it with a Keep, scoring points for that courtyard equal to the number of tower pieces surrounding it.

Each player starts the game with two decks of cards: a wall deck and a tower deck. Each card allows a player to play the components shown on it, with the wall deck cards always depicting at least one wall (and some combination of walls/towers) and the tower deck cards always depicting at least one tower (and again some combination of walls/towers). On a turn, a player can play as many cards as she wants, but she draws only one card at the end of her turn. The goal is to create courtyards – and subdivide existing courtyards – while keeping your opponent from doing the same. Players have the same cards in their decks, so the challenge is all about what to use when. The game ends when all the castle pieces are used up, and the player with the most points wins.

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I play green
16 of 16 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Light, fun and surprisingly strategic”

The real beauty in this game is that it can be played happily by a 10 year old, and it gave my gaming friends a stretch in plotting a strategy to obtain the best possible point score.

The game comes somewhat overpackaged – primarily to pull the buyer into the look and colours in the game. It breaks down very simply into the box which comes inside the packaging – half the size, but which works surprisingly well in keeping all the bits! The pieces are all plastic with grey Walls and Towers for building the castle; along with my favourite colours (green and yellow) for the players’ Keeps. The pieces fit quite neatly together, but while the set is still new, you may need to slot the Towers/Walls together in from underneath rather than on top from time to time.

The green/yellow version arrives with five sets of rules for various languages; while the blue/red version has one simple set in English. The blue/red version is the ‘expansion’ supposedly, but there is really no reason not to purchase that one as your primary set if you prefer the colours.

The game set up is very quick – sort the Keep colours and shuffle the cards of the same colour into their two separate decks. The Castle Walls and Towers can stay in the box until needed. From new; the set up takes no more than about 3 minutes; to pull the packaging apart and tear open the plastic bags. We had a friend to show us how to play and we were underway in under 5 minutes – a super fast time to get playing a new game. The rules are extremely simple though, and even with having to read rules, unpack to first play would be less than 10 minutes – especially if, like me, you are happy to just play the game as it comes, rather than having to have the entire game strategy in mind before you get underway.

So the play of the game is in building the Castle. Starting players have 4 cards each. The cards depict the pieces allowed to be used in making your courtyards. It is enticing to use all your cards at once to build the most impressive first courtyard, but the crunch comes when you realise you are only allowed to draw one additional card at the end of your turn. This makes future builds quite limited. There are three special cards which allow one extra draw, but I often find these in my last round!! >.< The scoring all comes from having the most Towers in your Courtyard, so you do want to make some fancy styles of courtyard. And then you need to decide when to use your one double Keep scoring tile.

The best way to play this game is as a four player version; this adds complexity to the way the castle constructs and how you might be able to fashion your courtyard. The four player game is much more interesting for 'gamers' and was still finished in a leisurely 45 minutes.

I find the two player version quite simplistic after the four player game. It is over quickly and the strategy is far less, as it is much easier to 'set yourself up' for a pre-planned courtyard. With the four player game, this is virtually impossible! 🙂 Of course this makes the two player version just great for young players, a very quick fill-in game or for late night not-too-much-thinking times.

Value for Money? At the price, the game is not too expensive. However I feel that at 'double the price' (needed for the four player), it IS somewhat expensive for a very simple, not too challenging game.

I enjoyed discovering this game and it makes me smile to be writing this review on it. Long term I'm unsure it will stay at the front of the shelf, but I'll be putting it on the table several times before that happens.

And anyway, how would you not want to pay green?? 🙂


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