Saturday, March 21, 2015

Systems Saturday - Castles of Mad King Ludwig (2014)

Last weekend, I was able to spend some serious time playing Castles of Mad King Ludwig (2014) over the course of a couple of gamedays.  I played two games of this gem on each day with a number of skilled gamers and held my own fairly well.  It's a strategy game that relies on Tile-Placement mechanic and random draw decks for the appearance of available tiles as well as special victory point scoring opportunities.


The description from Board Game Geek is as follows:
In the tile-laying game Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players are tasked with building an amazing, extravagant castle for King Ludwig II of Bavaria...one room at a time. You see, the King loves castles, having built Neuschwanstein (the castle that inspired the Disney theme park castles) and others, but now he's commissioned you to build the biggest, best castle ever — subject, of course, to his ever-changing whims. Each player acts as a building contractor who is adding rooms to the castle he's building while also selling his services to other players.
In the game, each player starts with a simple foyer. One player takes on the role of the Master Builder, and that player sets prices for a set of rooms that can be purchased by the other players, with him getting to pick from the leftovers after the other players have paid him for their rooms. When a room is added to a castle, the player who built it gains castle points based on the size and type of room constructed, as well as bonus points based on the location of the room. When a room is completed, with all entranceways leading to other rooms in the castle, the player receives one of seven special rewards.
After each purchasing round, a new player becomes the Master Builder who sets prices for a new set of rooms. After several rounds, the game ends, then additional points are awarded for achieving bonus goals, having the most popular rooms, and being the most responsive to the King's demands, which change each game. Whoever ends up with the most castle points wins.

The game and a player's strategy needs to constantly be adjusted as the availability of rooms for building your castle change, as does their pricing.  There are a myriad of ways to gain victory points, so no one is ever boxed out of options and players can forge their own path or try and impede other players if they can figure out their strategies.  I definitely had fun with this one and would play again.


A look under the hood of various Games, Rules and Systems.
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