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Subject: Lots of rules questions rss

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Yani
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Let´s clear the slate first by saying that the rulebook is terrible. Not messy and reasonably well written, but incomplete and non-explanatory. Was it ever reviewed by new players, I wonder..? The game needs an official FAQ urgently.

I am trying to figure out the game, and the only tool I have is the demo video from the kickstarter page and the rulebook. Perhaps I missed the answers to the below after 2 reads and 2 viewings, still I would appreciate an official answer, if Dan Zimmer is around.

1. I do not understand how the “Top off a stack” action works. What is a pile? Is it the same as the stack? How does the action work?

2. If you “play” a special Wizard for his ability after your action, do you discard him afterwards or keep him in place? In the demo video Wizards are discarded, but if so they seem terribly underpowered, especially the one that blocks a draw.

3. Do you announce a Magician´s/Adept´s Block Draw/Move before the opponent declares his action? If so the opponent might choose a different action and you might lose the Wizard.

4. What happens if you declare eg. Block 30 and the opponent sacrifices a Wizard to draw eg. a 20 card and a 40 card? Lose the block or not depending on which card he keeps?

5. If you discard a Wizard for their special power do the other Wizards you have shift to fill the empty slot left by the played Wizard? Or do any minions and magic (post-castle) below the discarded Wizard become danglers?

6. Same for when losing a Wizard due to an unsuccessful block. Do the other Wizards shift? Do their Minions/Magick shift to the empty column?

7. The rules say that when you block and draw a Castle the entire column of the blocking cards needs to be sacrificed. Does this also hold for pre-castle, when according to the rules only the blocking cards need to be discarded? Also, does the “whole column” include the Wife (if blocking with a Wizard)? In the demo video the player on the right did not sacrifice his Wife when unsuccessfully blocking with a Wizard.

8. When blocking, are the blocking cards always lost first and then you go up the stack (eg. Magicks, Minions, Wizard/danglers or Arms, Champions, General/danglers?

9. Can you examine the stacks of your tableau? How about your opponent´s? Can you examine the discard pile?

10. What is the pecking order of losing units, post-castle from unsuccessful blocks for the Wizards/Minions/Magick column? The rules say you go Magick stack first then Minion stack, then either danglers or Wizard. What if eg. the danglers are not enough to cover the rest of the loss, do you then lose the Wizard? Can you lose Wizards in other columns? Can you lose Nobles with lands? How about Nobles without lands?

11. Can you move cards pre-castle? The rules say no, but in the demo video, the right player moved his nobles around to put them in order pre-castle.

12. Same for the Army stack, what is the exact order of losses? When the rulebook refers to losing from the Noble columns to cover the shortfall, which is the outer column where you start from? And can you also lose a Heir which sits above the Noble you lost this way?

13. Can you choose to lose Wife and Heir during an unsuccessful block loss?

14. If the draw pile gets depleted without a player winning, does the discard pile get reshuffled?

15. When waging a war, do you have to declare the outmost column being attacked (wizard or noble), per the rules? In the demo video the right player did not declare it.

16. Assuming a Wizard on the middle row (2 of 3) does not move when another in the inside (center, 1 of 3) row is sacrificed, and a minion gets drawn, is it put under the empty spot in the inside row or under the existing Wizard?

17. Can the Sorcerer (Snatch draw) be played normally after the player´s action? The rulebook says you can play Block draw/move cards or announce blocking, but it is the opponents turn, which is a bit confusing.

18. If I sacrifice a wizard and draw eg. a Castle and a Wife (pre-castle), but do not want to keep the Castle, can I "keep" the Wife and discard it, since I don´t have a Castle?

19. Can you "Snatch a draw" using the Sorcerer and just discard the card you can´t use it (eg. Heir without Castle)?

20. Can you discard a card you draw even if it fits your tableau?

21. Can you replace a Noble (or Wizard), if not all 3 Noble spots are filled?


Thanks in advance, especially for official answers to the above questions.

---
edit: even more questions
 
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David McMillan
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1. A stack is simply a stack of cards (i.e. - a bunch of serfs stacks on top of eachother). If there happens to be a serf at the bottom of this pile of serfs - 'stack' and 'pile' are synonyms - then you may move the one from the bottom of the pile to the top of the pile. This is beneficial if the serf on the bottom has a value of 20 while the one on the top has a value of 5.

2. From the rules: "Whenever a player opts to use a wizard's magical ability, that wizard is immediately discarded". The wizard's ability can be used whenever you want to use it, but those abilities can only be used during your turn (unless the rules say otherwise). Playing a card - i.e. putting a card into play - and using a wizard's ability are not the same things.

3. From the rules: "Play this card at the end of a turn to Block an opponent’s Draw. Your opponent may still Move, Wage War, etc., they just cannot Draw a card." You play it at the end of your turn to prevent them from using their action to draw a card on their turn. Same goes with "Block Move"

4. From the rules: "During a turn, a player may sacrifice a WIZARD card to Draw TWO cards from the deck. Only one card may be kept, but the player now has a choice between two cards. Normal Blocking rules apply, so it’s possible to waste a WIZARD in an attempt to get a needed card" The person drawing the cards chooses which card to keep. If neither card is high enough to defeat the blocking attempt, then it doesn't matter which card the player keeps as either one of them would be blocked. Obviously, the drawing player will choose the card that has a value higher than the value of the blocking attempt.

5. From the rules: "Whenever a player opts to use a WIZARD’s Magical Ability, that WIZARD is immediately discarded. MINION and MAGICK cards left behind become Danglers and are marooned until another WIZARD is drawn to control them, or until they are moved one at a time to an adjacent WIZARD column." So, no, the minions and magic do not move. They stay right where they are and become danglers until another wizard is placed into the spot or until they are moved into a different column.

6. Same thing as #5. Minons and Magicks that are orphaned stay right where they are.

7. Pre-castle, only the blocking cards are lost. However, just like the rules state, once you have a castle in play, if you announce a block and the drawn card is higher than the block, then you must sacrifice cards to equal the loss. if you blocked with wizards, minions, and magicks, you would start with the magicks and work your way up the column until you have discarded cards equal to the value of the card that you attempted to block. This is clearly illustrated in the multiple examples shown in the rule book. Once you've gotten rid of your magicks, you start with the top card of the minions and work your way down into that stack. If you still have not covered the difference, you must either get rid of your wizard or begin sacrificing danglers. If you blocked with your champion / arms stacks then you'd start with the arms and go up the column. The Wife and the Heir(s) are considred danglers, so they are not a part of any column. They are their own separate entities.

8. Yes. You start with the top Magicks card and work your way down into that stack until there are no more left. Then you move up the column to the Minions and work your way down into that stack. Then it is on to the Wizard.

9. The rules do not specifically prohibit this, so yes, you can examine whichever stacks of cards you want (other than the stack of cards that the players are drawing from). However, you cannot change the order of any of the cards other than using your action to move the bottom card of a stack to the top of the stack that it is a part of.

10. From the rules: "Once the entire ARMY is lost, if there is still a shortfall of points, the damage carries over to the NOBLE columns, working from the outer column and up from the lowest stack." Since the rules say that the concepts of blocking with wizards/minions/magicks is the same as blocking using champion/arms, then the same concept applies. If you cannot cover the shortfall by sacrificing magicks, minions, wizards, and danglers combined then you must begin sacrificing cards from the nobles columns. The rules show that you begin serfs, then fruits, then lands, and then the noble that controls those lands, fruits, and serfs. Then you go on to the next nobles column starting at the bottom and working your way up.

11. Good catch there. The right player does move at 5:09 in the video. I'd go with the rules, though, which says that players cannot move pre-castle. Dan will have to answer this one.

12. Heirs and the Wife are always considered danglers. Whenever the rules mentions sacrificing danglers, then you may always sacrifice a Wife or one of your Heirs (or multiple Heirs if you have them). With the Army, you start from Arms and then work up to Champions. Then you sacrifice either your General or your danglers. it's an either/or thing. You can get rid of your General OR you can sacrifice danglers. But, if neither of these is able to make up the shortfall, then you have to start digging into your Nobles stacks.

13. Yep. The Wife and the Heirs are always considered danglers.

14. Yes. You keep playing until a winner emerges. The only way to keep playing would be to create a new draw pile. Yes, he left this out of the rules, but it should go without saying. In my experiences, we have never reached the bottom of the stack. This would be an extreme fringe case, so it is understandable why he might have missed it.

15. The video was created before the rules were finalized. I am not Dan Zimmer's spokesperson, so I cannot answer for the video. I'd recommend that you always go with the rule book when things like this crop up. In this case, the rules state that you will wage war against a specific outermost column.

I will have to answer the others later. I am at work and it's very busy here.
 
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Yani
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Thanks David, much appreciated. Can I ask for couple of clarifications in your answers:

1a. I suspect that you could also move a Serf from the middle of the pile to the top of it, not just from the bottom of the pile, correct?

6a. Say you lose a Wizard (eg. discard for special ability) and there are no minions or magick below, the whole column is empty. If you have a Wizard in the next outer column, again with the whole column under him empty, does the Wizard move to occupy the innermost column?

12a. When taking losses for an unsuccessful block and you exhaust the Arms stack, then the Champions stack, and then decide to discard the topmost General, if you still have loses, can (or must) you discard the General below (assuming you have 2 Generals), or you just discard the first General and then move to the bottom of the outer Noble column? (You said it´s an either or General/Danglers so you cannot discard Danglers after losing a General, if I understand correctly.)

12b. Same question for the Magick block. In general, are the loss effects exactly the same (except Losing on the Wizard vs. General column) when blocking with either Magick or Army?

Would be great to get a reply to the rest, thanks again.

Best regards,

Yani
 
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Yani
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Hi, just a kind reminder.

Thanks
 
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Dan Zimmer
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Hi Ioannis, Be sure to download the latest version of the CASTLES rulebook from the following link: http://www.aaiieee.com/newrules.pdf
I am looking over your questions, and will attempt to incorporate answers to those questions into the next revision of the rules to try to cover everything you have mentioned.
Thanks,
Dan Zimmer

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Dan Zimmer
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1a. I suspect that you could also move a Serf from the middle of the pile to the top of it, not just from the bottom of the pile, correct?

When "topping off a stack" you may place any card from any position in the stack on top. Only one card may change position, you cannot re-stack the deck as you please.

6a. Say you lose a Wizard (eg. discard for special ability) and there are no minions or magick below, the whole column is empty. If you have a Wizard in the next outer column, again with the whole column under him empty, does the Wizard move to occupy the innermost column?

If a Wizard column is completely empty, you should slide all of the Wizards and their associated Minions and Magic cards over into the empty spots.

12a. When taking losses for an unsuccessful block and you exhaust the Arms stack, then the Champions stack, and then decide to discard the topmost General, if you still have loses, can (or must) you discard the General below (assuming you have 2 Generals), or you just discard the first General and then move to the bottom of the outer Noble column? (You said it´s an either or General/Danglers so you cannot discard Danglers after losing a General, if I understand correctly.)

With the Army column, you lose cards differently. You only lose the TOP card from each ARMS, CHAMPION, and GENERAL stack first, then start back at the bottom of the column at ARMS and work your way back up again, losing one ARMS card, one CHAMPION card, and one GENERAL card, before cycling back to the beginning. If you're defending against another player waging war against you, you may choose to first lose a Dangling stack, then the top card from each stack in the ARMY, then back to another Dangling stack, then back to the ARMY. Any time you choose to take losses from a Dangler, you will lose every card in that stack before you may move on to another part of the Kingdom to lose more points (to the ARMY, or the NOBLE column.)

12b. Same question for the Magick block. In general, are the loss effects exactly the same (except Losing on the Wizard vs. General column) when blocking with either Magick or Army?

When your WIZARD column loses the block, you lose the MINION and MAGICK cards that were doing the blocking to begin with, then the further loss is taken first from the MAGICK stack until all of the cards are depleted, then you move into the MAGICK stack until all of the cards are depleted. At this point, if you still need to lose points, you may sacrifice a Dangler. If you have no Danglers, you will have to lose the WIZARD card as you must always cover the difference of the point loss. You may never have a short fall.
 
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Dan Zimmer
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Re: Castles Gameplay Video
The original gameplay video has a few flaws. Now that I have altered the rules a bit from the original version, I will need to create a new video. This is in the works and will be ready in the near future.
Thanks for your questions and interest in the game.
- Dan Z.

 
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Yani
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Hi Dan,

Thanks for the updated rulebook and answers. Could you also tackle, if possible, questions 16-21 in the OP that were not answered?

Also, on 12a, one minor clarification, if I may. I was under the impression that the loss sequence you mentioned (1A, 1C, 1G cycle) was only for war waging, is it also for blocking with C +/- A?


Thanks in advance,

Yani
 
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David McMillan
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coralsaw wrote:
Hi, just a kind reminder.

Thanks


Hello again. I am sorry that I have not been able to return to this. I do not have access to the internet from my home and I only have a few minutes to spare each day when I am at work.

I see that Dan has jumped into this thread so I will let him handle your questions from here on out. Who better to answer your questions than the designer of the game, right? =)
 
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Dan Zimmer
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16. Assuming a Wizard on the middle row (2 of 3) does not move when another in the inside (center, 1 of 3) row is sacrificed, and a minion gets drawn, is it put under the empty spot in the inside row or under the existing Wizard?

Answer:

If your innermost Wizard has been sacrificed, leaving an empty space and orphaning the Minion and Magick cards, your layout would look like this:

Col. 3 Col. 2 Col. 1
Wizard Wizard [Empty]
Minion Minion Minion
Magick Magick Magick

If you draw a new Minion card, that card would be placed on top of the Minion in Column 1.

Wizards may not move to change positions, but Minion and Magick cards may move to relocate beneath an adjacent Wizard. So on future turns, the Minion and Magick in column 1 may migrate over to Column 2. As soon as column 1 is completely empty, that column doesn't exist anymore and your Wizard columns should be pushed over into that vacated space so that Column 2 becomes Column 1, and Column 3 becomes Column 2.


17. Can the Sorcerer (Snatch draw) be played normally after the player´s action? The rulebook says you can play Block draw/move cards or announce blocking, but it is the opponents turn, which is a bit confusing.

Let's say Player One just drew a Wife. It is now Player Two's turn, and he announces that he will play his Sorcerer card to snatch that draw. He adds the Wife to his Kingdom. Player Two's turn is effectively over, but NOW, on the same turn, he can play either the Block Draw or Block Move Wizards. So in some cases it is possible to play two Wizard cards during one turn. It's similar to calling out a Block action (using your Minions or Champions) at the end of your turn, only now you're using your Wizard cards instead to Block Draw or Block Move.

18. If I sacrifice a wizard and draw eg. a Castle and a Wife (pre-castle), but do not want to keep the Castle, can I "keep" the Wife and discard it, since I don´t have a Castle?

Great question! I hadn't thought of this scenario before. If you draw the Castle, and your Kingdom doesn't already have a Castle, you must keep it.

19. Can you "Snatch a draw" using the Sorcerer and just discard the card you can´t use it (eg. Heir without Castle)?

Yes, you can snatch and discard a Draw from another player to strategically keep them from acquiring cards they need to complete their Kingdom. You may not use Snatch Draw to acquire "illegal" cards, such as grabbing a Wife before you have a Castle, or an Heir before you have a Wife. You can snatch these cards from the other player, but they must be discarded.

20. Can you discard a card you draw even if it fits your tableau?

You must keep any legal card draw. So if you draw a lesser value Minion card, you must place it into the valid space in your Kingdom (which may effectively change your ability to block in that Column.)

21. Can you replace a Noble (or Wizard), if not all 3 Noble spots are filled?

Yes, you can "upgrade" a Noble or Wizard even if you're only holding one Noble or one Wizard. All three spaces do not have to be filled before you can upgrade or swap them out.

Q: Also, on 12a, one minor clarification, if I may. I was under the impression that the loss sequence you mentioned (1A, 1C, 1G cycle) was only for war waging, is it also for blocking with C +/- A?

A: When losing a block made by the CHAMPION + ARMS cards, assuming you have a CASTLE in place, you would lose the Champion and Arms doing the blocking first, then you may choose to lose Danglers or lose more of your Army. If you have no Danglers, or choose not to sacrifice them, you would lose the top Arms card, then the top Champion card, then back to the top Arms card, and so on, alternating between the Arms and Champion cards until they are all gone. If there are points that still must be lost, you would then eat into the GENERALs.
 
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Yani
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Thanks so much Dan, I think we are clear now. Except of one tiny question I had when reading the new rulebook (which is much better than the old one!).

When doing a "Top off" action, the rule say you have to move a "high" card from the stack on top of it. What does "high" mean? Must the card be higher than the top card? Must it be the highest in the stack?

Ready to play a proper round now, will post impressions later.

Yani
 
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Yani
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aaiieee wrote:

When your WIZARD column loses the block, you lose the MINION and MAGICK cards that were doing the blocking to begin with, then the further loss is taken first from the MAGICK stack until all of the cards are depleted, then you move into the MAGICK stack until all of the cards are depleted.


Hi Dan, the above quoted paragraph is in contradiction with the new rulebook example on p7 that says:

Quote:
We start counting up the value of our loss starting with the top card, which is “10” plus the next card down, which is “5”, then we move up to the lone MINION card, which is 20.


From the rulebook it seems that (after having a castle), you do not lose first the MINION and MAGICK blockers, but straight away lose the MAGICK stak, and then go to MINIONS.

Did I misinterpret the rulebook or is this a contradiction?
If a contradiction, which of the above 2 passages is correct?

Thanks.
 
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