Tuesday, August 18, 2009

_Castle Panic_ board game

At Armadillocon this weekend, buddy Doug and I tried out Castle Panic, a boardgame made by an Austingame company that will be available in a few weeks...maybe more in other cities.

I won the demo game we played, so I think it's a great game. The short skinny: easy to learn, clear bold graphic design, sturdy pieces, efficient game mechanics, fast tense gameplay.

The general premise is that the players, together, are defending a castle in the woods against monsters who come from the woods to attack it. There are two mechanics that I thought were interesting:

  • The monsters move automatically; they're not controlled by the players. They arise from the woods at random points and then move straight for the castle, except when cards modify their moves. The feel is that of a video game, where many dumb opponents keep heading for you and you have to take them out as quickly as you can.
  • If the castle is destroyed, everyone loses. Your goal is to kill all the monsters before that happens, then be the person with the most valuable pile of monsters. Y0u'll often want to help other players when a monster gets close to the castle, even if that means letting the other player get points.
You attack monsters using cards. The board has a sort of radian-style grid...nested circles make named rings, and lines divide the rings into arcs. Each arc can be referenced by a color and name. There's an archer ring, so if a monster is coming in through the blue sector and enters the archer ring, you can hit it with a Blue Archer card. And then there are cards that can hit anywhere in blue, and cards that can hit anywhere in archer.

At the end of every turn, all the monsters advance one space each, and you must draw a couple of new monster cards to add to the board. The kicker is that sometimes a monster card says "draw four new monsters" or moves all the monsters in farther.

It quickly becomes a panic: when you were confidently planning to hit a monster with a card, and that monster moves somewhere else, your plans go awry.

I liked it. I plan to pick it up as soon as it's available.

1 comment:

  1. I second the opinion that it was a fun game and easy to learn. As I recall, you beat me on the very last move of the game, which impressed the demo guy as quite cool and unexpected.

    I also liked the fact that it played in about an hour even with new players and that there is a cooperative "everybody wins or everybody loses" mode designed to let younger kids play as part of the "team" trying to defend the castle.