Hey there! We’re Chris & Valerie and we like to play games together. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for us to find others to play with – this means we often have to pay special attention whether the selected game is a good fit for two players. Here we explore these games and help you decide the all-important question, “Can this game work well with just two players?”
As usual with our write-ups, we’re not going to go over the game play in its entirety. We all know others have covered that before and of course we’ve linked a few above. That said, a very brief overview of the core play mechanics can’t hurt for those that don’t have the time to watch a few videos prior to reading an article on a game that will take you less time to play than the above research.
Castle Panic has a few simple mechanics:
- Your castle is in the center of a circle which is lined and ringed like a dart board. It has 6 walls surrounding six towers. Emitting out from the castle walls is the Swordsman Ring, then the Knight Ring, then the Archer’s Ring, and finally the Forest beyond.
- Monsters enter via the forest and march 1 ring closer towards the castle per player turn.
- Your goal is to defeat the monsters from all directions without the monsters getting to the center of the board where your tower is.
- You defeat monsters by playing cards in your hand such as “Red Archer” whom can only attack monster in 1) the Archer Ring AND in the Red zone of the board. That monster takes a point of damage.
- Did I mention the board is split into three zones? The Red zone (lava), the Green zone (fields), and the Blue zone (water).
That’s it. When you run out of monsters in your Captain Morgan felt bag you saved from your days at College (even if you never went to College) and removed them from the board you win. If your 6th tower piece is destroyed by the monsters, you lose.
So what do Chris and Valerie think of the first Co-Operative game to hit Boardgamery? Read below to find out.
In the scope of a 2 Player game this game does pretty well. You have less people to trade cards with, but the challenge level (see below) isn’t so great that that benefits you all that well. There aren’t any special rules for 2 Players and Castle Panic really doesn’t need them.
To be honest, I have little bad to say about Castle Panic. It’s the perfect entry-level cooperative game. You’re not going to be biting your nails too much (think Pandemic) but you’re going to have some good “oh man, oh yeah” moments. My favorites are when I get a “draw 3 more monsters” card and then a “draw 4 more monsters” card within that. Because truthfully, this game works best when you’ve got a lot of monsters on the board. You get to burn through the cards in your hand easier because you have more options. When you burn through your cards you get to use the most powerful cards more often as you always replenish your hand and reshuffle the discard/used card deck when the draw deck is empty.
The game isn’t that much fun when you’re playing well. If you’re doing good at keeping the monsters down it’s almost boring. An efficient player isn’t welcome here, especially when you have additional rules in the game to help you out.
That said this game isn’t made for 30-somethings. It’s made for 30-somethings with 7-somethings. We have a friend who plays this with her 4 year old step-son. I understand all this so I won’t hold it against the designers of the game. I know they’ve thought of me though, I see you Wizards Tower expansion!
I can fully endorse this game for two players. Chris and I have played a number of games that are for 2 or more players (or have a 2-player variant) and most of them work well enough, but Castle Panic plays wonderfully for two. The only rule specific to the number of players is how many cards each player has in their hand, but otherwise the game plays exactly the same with 2 players all the way up to 6. And not only are the rules the same for any number of players (there’s even the option to play solo), but the game play, feel and experience are the same. Very often multiple player games are able to be played by two players but there is a sense that the game would be more enjoyable with more players, or that the game mechanic would be fully realized with additional players. This is not the case with Castle Panic – the game you play with two will run nearly identical to the game with 4 or even 6.
Castle Panic is a great light game that is neither too long or too short. It is easy to teach to new players and the theme is more cutesy than hard-core fantasy. As this is a co-op game, strategy can be discussed openly. The only complaint I have about Castle Panic is that regardless of the number of players, it is difficult to lose. The sense of challenge wanes when you find yourself winning game after game. However, there is an expansion for Castle Panic (The Wizard’s Tower), which I personally have never played, but have heard increases the difficulty. I enjoy this game enough that the expansion is on my Amazon Wish List, waiting for “the deal” to be purchased. Overall, I highly recommend Castle Panic for two players or more and feel the investment in the expansion would be worthwhile as well.
Suggested House Rules:
- If you want to make the game harder buy the Wizard’s Tower expansion which we’ll be reviewing in the coming months. If you want the game to be easier remove the bosses special effects and get rid of the “plague” “rotate” and “draw x” tokens from the box.
- Leave the boulders, they’re just fun!
- Want to try tougher Cooperative games? Try Pandemic or Elder Sign.
For two players this is a great game. There isn’t much you have to modify, and the gameplay doesn’t change much from 2 Players to 4 (or more). I could even persuade you to believe it plays better with 2 Players as it increases the challenge, through having less tradeable options and deck rotation. This is our “we want to play a Co-Op game but don’t want to be in agony all night” game. You’re done in 30-40 minutes and the entire family (even Cats) can enjoy it.