I've played The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game 6 times so far, all of them with the solo rules included in the official rulebook. Since I've also played the board game it is derived from, The Castles of Burgundy, on yucata.de and this is a game many are familiar with, I'll mainly describe the similarities and differences between the two. I don't intend to give a full overview of the rules.
The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game plays very similar to its sibling game. It has most of the different building types with their special functions, different animals, goods, silver, workers etc. and lots of different ways of scoring points, but everything is on cards. There are no boards, no tiles, no dice. This makes it very portable when packed up, but on the table, it still needs a lot of space, probably no less than the board game.
One thing that is missing in the card game is the spatial component that the map and tiles of the board game create, and this makes it less enjoyable and visually appealing to me. You are collecting sets of three cards of the same colour and stacking them, not arranging tiles on a map. This makes it feel a lot less like building a kingdom.
The other major thing that has not been taken over - and which I don't mind - is that the card game has only a single type of knowledge card (which is more like a regular building, since all it does is give you +2 workers), whereas the board game has lots of different knowledge tiles that give you different advantages during the game or scoring boni. Since there are so many of them, even after several games I still have to occasionally look up what some of them do. For casual gamers, this might be a welcome simplification, and there is still enough left to think about.
As for Aaron, the automatic opponent for solo play, I find him pleasantly unobtrusive. I don't think he deserves to be called "an almost real opponent" (which, according to the rules, is what his name stands for) because he doesn't take or sell goods, use silver or workers, or collect animals. He doesn't get special actions either. You just turn over a stack of cards (3 at the beginning of the game, then 4, 5, 6 and 7) at the start of each round and sort them according to colour. When Aaron completes a set of three this way, he scores points. At the end of each round, if you have fewer points than Aaron, you lose the game. Else you continue until you've played 5 rounds. If your score is equal or higher than Aaron's after the fifth round, you win the game.
I don't mind Aaron not being more "real" as I don't like having to do a lot of housekeeping for automatic opponents. At my current level of skill, he is challenging enough, and should beating him become too easy, you can always try to increase your score, or the difference between your score and his.
As for component quality, I'd say the cards are fairly standard mini-size cards. I found the rules (of the German version) clear and easy to understand. The only thing I had problems with was figuring out which cards are which. The component list on the first page of the rules should have come with a clear picture for each type. It took me a while to determine which one the estate card is, for example. There are pictures on the next couple of pages, but most of them are very small and hard to differentiate, especially those of the building cards. Being familiar with the board game helps a lot, since many of the graphic elements are the same or similar.
To sum up my opinion of the game, I like The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game for its small box, low price, easy-to-handle automatic opponent, and I don't mind the fact that the bonus point options have been greatly reduced by more or less doing away with the knowledge tiles.
Given a choice, however, I prefer the board game. Tile laying, apart from being one of my favourite mechanics, fits the theme of building a kingdom better than collecting sets of cards. I also like rolling dice better than having a die result printed on a card determine my options.
I'd say it's a good game, but I don't see much need for owning both versions. Unless storage space and price are decisive factors, or you want a somewhat simplified version, I consider the board game the better option.
To give you an idea what a solo game looks like set up on my table, here are two pictures:
1. At the start of the game, before I took my first turn:
2. At the end of the game. I lost to Aaron during the 4th round (round D), because I had only 13 points to his 14 (one more point for me and there would have been a 5th round):
3 for for the beige buildings
4 for the yellow knowledge cards
4 for the grey mines (using two purple cloisters as jokers)
1 for the victory point card
1 for having two different animals in my storage
2 x 4 for the blue ship cards
3 for the beige buildings
3 for being first to have cards of all 7 colours out
Edit: It seems I misread a rule: I didn't use the bonus cards for being the first to complete a triplet of a type, and those are used in the solo game. So those scores are incorrect - someone should have gotten those boni, but I don't remember if it was Aaron or I who completed them first.
- Last edited Fri Jul 1, 2016 9:26 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:08 am
May the Force be with you.
Good and evil; there never is one without the other.
Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful review. We love the original and I picked this up tonight. We look forward to giving it a try, and are happy to here it is at lest pretty good (given the original is our favorite game).
Thanks, Tony! I hope you're going to have fun playing it!