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2Player Preview – Castellan with Chris & Valerie – Boardgamery


Board Game Geek:  Here
Dice Tower Review:  Not yet released
Geek and Sundry Tabletop: Not played
Plano Box Size:  Not really necessary
Number of Players: 2 or 4
Val’s ‘Geek Intensity’ Rating:

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?”

What’s this!?  A PREVIEW!  Valerie and Chris recently traveled to PAX East to try some new games.  Here’s a quick preview of the upcoming Steve Jackson game, Castellan.

Goal:  Did you ever play the ‘Dot Game‘ as a child?  Well here it is in glorious 3D.  The goal is to create courtyards (squares) with as many turrets in them as possible.  A turret is worth 1 victory point.  At the end of the game the person with the most victory points wins.

This game will be sold as a 2 Player game, though it will be released with 4 colors (see the gallery below).  The first two colors will come out shortly, with after a few months, the second two colors as an international version.  They are identical sans the colors of the towers “keeps” used for identifying player-controlled areas.  I (Chris) believe suggested MSRP is $35 or $40 per box.

Base Mechanics:

  1. You have two small stacks of cards, one for walls and one for turrets.  Each card will have some quantity of short or long walls and turrets.  Whichever stack you draw a card from specializes in that kind of object but will have other objects as well.
  2. On your turn you play as many cards as you choose.  You acquire the walls and turrets identified on the played cards and you add them to the castle being build in the center of the table.
  3. If you can make an enclosed square from both existing elements in the growing castle and your acquired pieces you own the square.  Place one of your “keep” tokens in the square to signify ownership.
  4. Once per game you can place a double-tall keep in a court yard, doubling the turret’s values.

Chris’s Thoughts:

I was initially drawn to this game by the promise of building a 3D castle.  I love 3D game spaces and I love building things.  I figured let’s see what Steve Jackson can do.  We actually played this as a 4 player game with some friends, but the game’s mechanics are so introductory you can easily see how the game will play with 2 players.

A 2 Player game will play just like the Dot game mentioned above, though I’ll place (draw) more than one line.  I’ll place my pieces completing what I can, surrendering pieces to Player 2 if I don’t add them myself, or adding them to precariously ridiculous places on the castle.

Player 2 will take my work, complete what I didn’t and build upon their work as well.  If you’ve played the Dot game you know how this goes.  You’ll keep denying a 3-sided cube as long as possible but eventually someone is going to have to do it.  That starts the chain reaction of completed squares.  This game has the same feel though it minimizes this by allowing you to place as many objects as you care to based on the cards you have in your hand.

My honest opinion?  You’re paying $35-$40 for a game you can play for free with a pen and paper.  Further, if you wanted to play 4 player, you need to buy another set.  I’ll save you $75, buy a pad of paper and a 4-color pen.  I’m not saying the Dot game is 100% identical to Castellan, but when you consider the difference in the two games vs the difference in price, I feel confident skipping this game.  Lower the price and you may have something you can play with the kids, as long as they know not to chew on the pieces.

Valerie-IconValerie’s Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings on this game. The 3-D aspect definitely adds and the game is very simple to learn. But for two players I agree with Chris – there is too much similarity to the “Dot Game”. With this one a four player is really the way to go (not clear on whether three could play but I don’t see why not). By the time it is your turn again, the castle can and probably will be entirely different, so there isn’t much chance for advanced planning (although I did not see this as a negative). The game was good for four and as to replayability one game was not enough for me to make a final call.

A fun game? Yes. Cool game pieces? Check. Easy to learn/teach to a variety of levels? Absolutely. Worth $75? Not quite. I understand the components are probably fairly costly to make. But it didn’t seem strong enough to me to be a viable 2-player game and is too expensive for a 4-player. Would I play it if someone I knew owned a copy? Definitely with four, maybe with two. But I don’t think I would shell out the money myself to add to our library. However, I did thoroughly enjoy trouncing my opponents by over 25 points!

Final Thoughts:

I (Chris) think we’ve said what we need to about Castellan.  As a four player game it has potential, as a two player game it’s a pass.  There just isn’t enough game per cost here.



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