Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

I've been wanting to play this game for a while. Luckily a friend of mine who works at Offline Board Game Cafe in Saint John, NB already knew how to play so we met at the cafe and played a game. 

Now not that the rule book is overly long or complicated, but there's lots of small rules that just make sense. However, to write them all out would be like rewriting the rules book so I'm just going to give you a brief summary of how the game plays. 

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About

  • Published by Bezier Games
  • 1-4 players
  • Drafting
  • Pattern Building
  • Set Collection
  • Tile Placement
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Setup

  • Place the Contract Board in the middle of the table (The Triangle piece in the bottom right of this photo). Which side you use will depend on the number of players. 
  • Next place the other boards around the Contract Board as shown below.
  • Place the cards and tiles on the corresponding spaces on the board. The rule book will tell you to remove cards and tiles based on the number of players. 
  • Randomly select the king's favors for the game and place them on the empty circles at the base of the Contract Boards.
  • Place the money somewhere near the board so it can be reached by all players.
  • Choose who will be the first player AKA the master builder.
  • Place each player's score token on the score track. Players start with 1,2 or 3 points depending on who is the first player. 
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Give each player:

  • A foyer
  • 3 bonus cards (in player order each player returns one of their bonus cards to the bottom of the deck)
  • 1500 marks
  • Room Completion Rewards Chart
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Gameplay

Turn Sequence

  1. The master builder draws room cards equal to the number of empty spaces in front of the game board (The spaces with a cost indicated at the base of the game board). 
  2. The master builder may now rearrange all the rooms to any price slot. There may only be one room per price slot. 
  3. Each player, starting to the left of the master builder, may buy one of the priced room tiles, a hallway or stairs. That player pays the cost to the master builder. If a player decides not to buy a tile, they receive 5000 marks from the bank.
  4. On the master builder's turn, when buying a tile, the cost is paid to the bank. 
  5. Rooms that were not purchased during the round have 1000 marks placed on them in addition to any marks they may already have from previous rounds. 
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Placing a Room

  • At least one entrance must align with an entrance to a room already in your castle.
  • Room tiles cannot overlap.
  •  Your castle must always have at least one unused entrance. You cannot entirely close in your castle.
  • Downstairs rooms and Downstairs hallways may only connect to an upstairs room via stairs. 
  • No rooms may touch the fenced area of an outside room.
  • If you cannot legally place a room you cannot buy it.
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Room Placement Scoring

In the center of most rooms there is a number in a castle shape next to an icon representing a room type. Some of these may also show a wall in between the number and the room type. These icons indicate how the room can score you points or in some cases cause you to lose points.

  • Activity rooms have an adjacency room penalty, These rooms are indicated by a negative number in a castle symbol, followed by a red wall then one or more room types. If any of the room types indicated are touching this room, even if just by a wall, negative points will be scored.
  • Rooms that have a number in a castle symbol, followed by a wall showing an entrance then one or more room types will score points for connecting the matching room icon via an entrance.
  • Downstairs rooms provide points based on how many rooms with the matching symbol you have in your castle.

In order to score points for placing a room, do the following:

  1. Score the number of points on the castle tile located in the top left hand corner of the room.
  2. Add or substract any points based on the icons in the center of the room.
  3. Check the rooms that are connected to the room you just placed and add or subtract any points based on the icons for those rooms if the new room you placed qualifies.
  4. Check for any downstairs rooms and add points for their "each of your" icon condition if it matches the type of room you just placed. 
  5. If you completed one of your rooms (all of the entrances in that room are connected to the entrance of another room) apply the completion reward associated with that room on the Room Completion Awards Chart. 
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End Game

The game ends immediately after the round where the last room card has been drawn.

After the round ends players score :

  • 2 points for each room they have from each depleted stack of rooms, including hallways and stairs. 
  • points per their bonus card's criteria.
  • 1 point for every 10 000 marks.
  • points for winning the king's favors. 

The player with the most points wins. In the case of a tie the player with the largest castle (in square feet, shown in the upper right of each tile) wins. 

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My Thoughts

  • Setup was quick and easy. Once you've done it the first time, the next time you play setup is going to be a breeze.
  • The rule book is 6 full pages, but it's an easy read. Technically it's really only 5 pages since your last page gives you a history of "mad" King Ludwig and some information about game developer and designer.
  • You will likely have to refer to the rule book a few times as the game goes on, but every answer you could possibly need is in there and all the all rules make perfect sense. 
  • The game has a solo variant which is something you don't see very often. Solo board games aren't really my style but I know a lot of gamers out there who do enjoy them. It has a score chart that ranks your score from Court Jester all the way to King of Grand Castle Construction.
  • Overall I loved this game. It has everything you could need in a game: drafting, strategy, tile placement, money management and the ability to mess with your opponent's game play in a way that doesn't ruin the fun of entire game.
  • The only thing I didn't care for which in my opinion is quite minor, is the game board. It's five card board pieces that you have to place together. I get that they wanted to shape the game board like a castle. I just think it could have be executed better. It's a little bit awkward, the pieces slide apart and I don't find it really adds anything to the aesthetics of the game. 
  • This is a game I'd be happy to add to my collection. I can see it being a hit with my friends and family who play games less often as well as my friends who play all the time. I definitely recommend anyone to try it at least once.
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Buy today at http://amzn.to/2CXaQCx

What are your thoughts on the game? Have you tried the expansion yet and if so what did you think?

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