Rainy Day Game's Board Game Review of Carcassonne: The Castle:
Carcassonne: The Castle in Summary
It's a Carcassonne variant for two players with a brand new design courtesy of Reiner Knizia. Carcassonne: The Castle isn't an expansion for your old Carcassonne set. The Castle is a stand alone game that focuses the theme of the original into a new style of play specially designed for just two.
You've been transported inside one of the castles of Carcassonne and you'll have to design the paths, houses, towers and markets inside the Castle walls. Those walls are a boundary for your building and you'll have to fill in the space to get the most points.
Carcassonne: The Castle Gameplay
The basic mechanic of The Castle is similar to other Carcassonne flavours: you draw a random tile and add it to the map. But, things have been changed to fit two players and the Castle theme, so you'll have to scan through the 6 page rule book for at least a couple of minutes. First time Carcassonne players will find The Castle as easy to learn as all the games in the Carcassonne series: the game play is intuitively simple.
Each turn a player will take one terrain tile and place it on to the map. In Carcassonne: The Castle you have roads, towers, houses, and markets. After you place the tile you can place a little wooden dude ("meeple") on the tile to control that feature and score points for it when it's finished. Once a tower or house is completely surrounded by other tiles, or once a road is finished from end point to end point, the player with the most meeples on the structure gets points.
The first big difference to Carcassonne: The Castle is of course the castle walls. They are made up of 10 jigsaw puzzle peices that fit together and are laid down at the start of the game. The interior of these walls forms the playing field for laying all the other tiles. It also forms a scoring track, so put a meeple at zero and each time you score, move him along the track. And as a special bonus, there are special cards placed at the corners of the walls and if your score makes you land there, you get the bonus such as taking a second turn or getting 5 extra points.
Laying tiles is different as well. In The Castle only roads have to connect together perfectly. When placing other tiles, anything goes and you're not forced to neatly finish off all your structures. Throw down a tower tile next to a house tile and you've just created the boundary between the two.
Scoring is similar to other Carcassonne variants with some important differences that can change your strategy. First, when two players are tied for control of a structure, no one gets points. And perhaps the bigger difference is that unfinished strcutres are NOT scored at the end of the game. So there is a big incentive to finish off your structures.
Who should buy Carcassonne: The Castle?
The Castle is definitely the best way to play Carcassonne with two people. The castle walls force the players to compete and the scoring system keeps the game exciting and gives lots of chances for strategy.
Carcassonne fans who have been playing the basic game with two players will notice the improvement in game play. People new to Carcassonne will find a fantastic two player game they can play dozens and dozens of times. A world class game designer and a world class game series: The Castle is sure to be a favourite game of yours.
The Manufacturer's Board Game Review of Carcassonne: The Castle:
The imposing silhouette of Carcassonne sits like a throne in the Light of the setting sun. The city also acts as a fortress, protecting those who live there with its inpenetrable walls. Visit the city to discover its many features and to learn why it is so magnificent. An exciting tile-laying competition between two players. Inside the castle walls, the city grows as the players place tiles and their followers: knights to guard the towers, heralds to spread the news, and merchants to sell their wares in the markets. The player who makes better use of his followers will lead the race around the castle wall, which is also the scoring track for the game. There are several items waiting on the castle wall for the first player to reach them. Each will prove useful to the player who acquires.
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