Saturday, February 6, 2016

Review: Castles of Mad King Ludwig (good)

I've played this game maybe 5-10 times now with different number and skilled players. Overall, this is a great game for both competitive and co-op-friendly players even though this game is more competitive style. Actually, it is a competitive style play but there is a factor that seems to keep some of the less competitive players interested. So it is a great game to bring to a party of unknown players or even first time players.

Although playable with less than 4 players, I agree with most of what Lyrisse (link below) said about fewer players. We actually made it a 5 player game and it seems to work out just fine too. We used a coin or some other small object for the score keeping and made another foyer.

I am not sure if there is a favorite to who goes first and winning, at least not an obvious one. Two big factors seem to be the big value rooms and bonus cards. As long as a player sticks to a game plan, I've found that the scores usually came pretty close at the end. Lucky players with good bonus cards usually do end up winning by a larger margin but does not happen often. I have also found scoring the last place person first at the end of the game keeps the lower skilled people more involved with the game so that they can at least feel like they led even if it is a short period of time.

The game is very replay-able. I still have not found a strategy that dominates another nor which rooms to keep at what cost. I found that it did not really matter that much.

At the beginning, I said that it was also somewhat fun for less competitive players because they just enjoyed building a castle and if they are adventurous a theme to their castle. Sometimes, this made it an interesting twist for the more competitive players.

Besides making it 5 players, we've even added another bonus point system at the end. If there are other non-players around, we had them vote on who had the "best" castle. You can make it a blind judge where they do not know who owns which castle, but it was a lot more entertaining having the players "sell" why their castle is better. You can use the same bonus structure as the middle bonus (8 for first, 4 for second, 2 and 1)... or really could be any system you want to use.


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