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Midevil II: Castle Chaos» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Some cool new rules and a lot of wasted tiles rss

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Mike Holyoak
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This first expansion to MidEvil is a lot different than the expansions previously created for its sister game—Zombies! And that’s either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on the size of your table.

While all Zombies expansions require the core game for bits and figures, they are essentially mini-games that can be run independently from the core game’s city. That is not the case with Castle Chaos. MidEvil II is a true add-on game requiring everything from the core game.

The Castle:

With Castle Chaos, the altar really isn’t the place to bring the Necronomicon after all. Instead, you have to start the game and win (end) the game in a castle sparsely populated with 1-point skeletons. Unlike any other Zombies expansion, Castle Chaos is also pre-built. That’s right, you build the castle BEFORE you start the game, so there’s no random drawing of rooms! To me the castle doesn’t really add anything exciting to the game. It just gives me a bunch of extra tiles I have to run through before I can get into the meat of the game (searching for the grave yard). The only redeeming aspect of the castle is the drawbridge. To get in and out of the castle, you must make a die roll to see if you can lower the bridge. Then once you cross the bridge, you have to roll to see if it stays down or goes back up. In both cases, you have a 50/50 chance, and while it can slow you down or slow your pursuers, it really isn’t an addition I got very excited about— it just feels tedious.

Other Stuff:

Luckily, there is more to the expansion than the pre-built castle. There are also a couple of non-castle tiles worth playing, some new cards with new weapons and black skeletons.

The Tiles:
The non-castle tiles add a lot more to the game than the castle itself. One of them is a tile of putrid mess that no player can move onto, and it works very well at creating a dead-end on a path another player may be blazing toward the graveyard.
The other enjoyable card is The Pit. When the pit comes into play, it’s basically an ordinary tile with a center square that can’t be moved into. It doesn’t reach it’s full potential until you draw the card that banishes a player into it. It’s a very effective way of putting a little distance between yourself and another player if it looks like they are about to beat you to the graveyard or steal your precious Necronomicon.

Black Skeletons:
The skeletons are a great addition to the game that make the graveyard feel and play like it is the most important tile in the game. They are similar to the glow-in-the-dark zombies from Zombies! 2—only better. What makes them better? Well for starters, they’re tougher. You have to roll a 6 to kill them, and unlike the über-zombies in the military base, you HAVE to encounter them as they are all placed on the graveyard tile when it comes into play. This adds a new level of tension and strategy, as you have to decide if you want to face the big baddies or wait and let your buddy do it, hoping you can just steal the book once he has done all the dirty work.

New Rules:
The biggest rule variation from the first game concerns the alter tile. While the castle has stripped this tile of its game-winning ability, it has not left it powerless. Now when you step up to the altar, you have the ability to teleport to a tile just outside the castle walls. This requires your entire movement for the turn (like the ducts in Zombies 2), but gives you an additional pathway back to the castle, making it a little more difficult for players to steal the Necronomicon. If you can make it to the alter, your only a good drawbridge roll away from victory.

Overall impressions:
I liked this expansion and believe it is worth buying, but the castle itself is a very small part of what makes this set good. There must be some cost savings involved in producing a 16-card set (all zombies expansions are also 16-cards), because 8 of them serve no purpose at all. Since there are no life tokens on them, there is absolutely no need to run into any but one of the castle’s four corners, so a lot of the castle mostly just takes up space on your table. BUT, the non-castle tiles add some fun new twists, and the black skeletons pose a real threat (at least to your PVP bidding pool). So, on a whole, this is a set that adds a fair amount of variety to your basic MidEvil Experience.

If you’re a fan of MidEvil, this set just gives you more to love.
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Scott Everts
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Thanks for the good, solid review. I didn't even know this expansion existed until a few days ago when I stumbled across it on their website. I like this game better then the zombies games since it appears to have learned alot of lessons from that earlier design. After picking it up I sold off all my old Zombies games since I feel this is a better game. Of course now they are coming out with Zombies 2.0! Wonder if that will be more like this game.

I do have a question. If the castle seems like just a waste of space can you just roll in the cards, black zombies, & non-castle tiles and play it like the original? Or are cards and new tiles dependant on the castle to work?
 
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Mike Holyoak
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Technically, you need to use at least the drawbridge and the corner piece, since the new "goal" is the corner of the castle, BUT
if you wanted to keep the alter as the goal, you could leave out the castle entirely and still play with the other new tiles, skeletons and cards. You would just have to pull out the cards that specifically refer to the castle.

Side note:
I couldn't sell my Zombies!!! as I like zombies a lot more than skeletons.
Instead, I play my favorite zombie levels with MidEvil rules, substituting, zombie dogs and glow zombies for the red and blue skeletons.
Instead of looking for the Necronomicon, we pull one of the buildings at random, and determine that is where the helicopter pilot is (we use a life token from MidEveil to represent the pilot). We then play MidEvil style, where you have to get the pilot and then make it to the helipad, and other players can steal the pilot from you.
Now that Zombies 2.o has female zombies, you can even use them as the "black skeletons" and fill the helipad tile with those baddies!

This is my absolute favorite way to play. It requires buying a couple Bags 'O Zombies, but as a sucker for Zombies, that was a non-issue for me. Plus I like being able to just play the mall, military base, or university for a smaller, quicker game.
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