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Subject: Not an experience to repeat rss

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Merric Blackman
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Most of the games I play have previously gained high ratings on the 'geek, for such is how they often come to my attention. Every so often, I play lower-ranked games for one reason or another. In this case, a couple of the younger players at Good Games Ballarat had bought Castle Panic a few weeks ago and now wanted to play it with me.

I am not averse to new games, so I was happy to play it with them. However, after the one game, I doubt I'll ever play Castle Panic again. Mechanically the game fits together, but it was an incredibly boring experience. Panic? Not at all. We were playing it with five players, which may have made the game easier, but nonetheless, it failed to have one of the key components of a good game: interesting decisions.



Everything was obvious and dull. I'm not a big fan of Pandemic, but it is a far better design than this. Co-operative games need either variety or tough decisions between two or more options. Castle Panic rarely gave us a situation where we had to think: kill all the monsters you could, and deal with the other later.

Every so often a monster would reach the walls and destroy one (and itself), and we'd then rebuild the wall. Hmm.



The only problems we faced were from the rolling boulders which, due a rules miscomprehension, were rolling through *everything*, taking out wall and tower alike. In fact, if we'd played the game properly, by its end the castle would have stood unbowed and unbroken and totally whole.

Scoring at the end of the game was pointless - it had everything to do with how lucky you were with the cards you'd been dealt and nothing to do with your "skill". As I recall, Rich and Jackson tied with 6 points each. Yay.

I really can't recommend this game. It might be good for the very young, but I'd prefer to play Monopoly to Castle Panic!

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Lo Ma
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LOL!!!

Our two favorite games this last month were Dungeon Lords and Castle Panic - we thoroughly enjoyed both ends of the spectrum.

Castle Panic is a very fun family romp with the youngsters (like 6 to 10 year olds) that the adults can have fun with too. It was very intersting to see the kids and the adults decide whether to do what's best for the team or what's best for themselves. The co-op play with competitive mechanic is brilliant. And then we had the kid who of course wanted the monsters to win and so really mixed things up very entertainingly indeed. Go traitor!!!

When the kids went to bed, we brought out Dungeon Lords and had a lord of a time!

It's all fun! ninja
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Tony Allen
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Good Lord! Submitting a review after just one play with mistaken rule interpretations. shake

Now, reread the rules, play Master Slayer with closed hands, and play several games with a variety of ages. THEN write a review. Please!
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Merric Blackman
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tada wrote:
Good Lord! Submitting a review after just one play with mistaken rule interpretations. shake

Now, reread the rules, play Master Slayer with closed hands, and play several games with a variety of ages. THEN write a review. Please!


Did you miss the bit where I posted this in the Session Reports section?

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Jonas
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MerricB wrote:
tada wrote:
Good Lord! Submitting a review after just one play with mistaken rule interpretations. shake

Now, reread the rules, play Master Slayer with closed hands, and play several games with a variety of ages. THEN write a review. Please!


Did you miss the bit where I posted this in the Session Reports section?



Score one for Merric.

I do enjoy this game, but realize that it's not a brain burner. It's actually a very good game to play with my kids who are 6 and 8. However I know that if you play several times there will be games where the monsters will over run you.
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Tony Allen
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MerricB wrote:
tada wrote:
Good Lord! Submitting a review after just one play with mistaken rule interpretations. shake

Now, reread the rules, play Master Slayer with closed hands, and play several games with a variety of ages. THEN write a review. Please!


Did you miss the bit where I posted this in the Session Reports section?



It was 90% Review and 10% Session. You put it in the wrong forum. Opinions are Reviews. Gameplay are Sessions. If most of your "session" is opinions, then it is a "review".
 
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Merric Blackman
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I'd say it would be excellent with kids. I quite agree that the game I played was probably surprisingly easy; the trouble was that there rarely was a moment when there was really a decision to make between two courses of action. Does this happen in your games?
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Ken Newell
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MerricB wrote:


Every so often a monster would reach the walls and destroy one (and itself), and we'd then rebuild the wall. Hmm.


You do know that a monster hits the wall and loses one hit point, right? The monster doesn't get destroyed just by hitting a wall unless it only has one hit point remaining.

Interesting that your experience is no panic, yet every game I have played has come down to the wire in either direction. And I have played with various groups (young and old, experienced gamers and inexperienced) with the same results. Granted the younger and the inexperienced seem to like it better but it has been an interesting play each time. We haven't even tried the advanced game yet. The one thing we always do however, is play with hidden hands.
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Merric Blackman
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LFITQ wrote:
You do know that a monster hits the wall and loses one hit point, right? The monster doesn't get destroyed just by hitting a wall unless it only has one hit point remaining.


Yes, we did get that one right.

Quote:
Interesting that your experience is no panic, yet every game I have played has come down to the wire in either direction.


Absolutely bizarre. I'm pretty sure we got the rules right (except for the rolling boulders - which actually made the game harder), but as I don't own the game I'm somewhat at the mercy of what I could discover on the night. It may be that we got the one "perfect" game.

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The one thing we always do however, is play with hidden hands.


That would have made things more interesting - at least then there isn't the "advice" problem of many co-op games.
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Justin Moore
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MerricB wrote:
LFITQ wrote:
You do know that a monster hits the wall and loses one hit point, right? The monster doesn't get destroyed just by hitting a wall unless it only has one hit point remaining.


Yes, we did get that one right.

Quote:
Interesting that your experience is no panic, yet every game I have played has come down to the wire in either direction.


Absolutely bizarre. I'm pretty sure we got the rules right (except for the rolling boulders - which actually made the game harder), but as I don't own the game I'm somewhat at the mercy of what I could discover on the night. It may be that we got the one "perfect" game.

Quote:
The one thing we always do however, is play with hidden hands.


That would have made things more interesting - at least then there isn't the "advice" problem of many co-op games.



I'm still squarely in the, "This has been too easy," camp. The only time I've lost this game is when we modified the draw rule to draw 3 new monsters per turn instead of the normal 2. In this case, I've seen victory and defeat so it feel balanced, but tough.

My only problem so far with the game is when you get down to only having a couple monsters on the board and you are just waiting to draw the right card to be able to kill it. Can be a little bit anticlimactic.
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Tony Allen
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Played with the correct rules, with the Master Slayer option, with closed hands, and playing multiple games to even out the randomness, this is by far the biggest hit with the combo of adults and kids that I've seen in a long time.

Most of my games come down to the last monster and the last tower. The tension is awesome fun, especially seeing light bulbs go off in youngsters head as they figure out the correct trade or action that just barely wins the game. Or the exasperation of just losing by a hair knowing one better decision earlier might have made the difference.

This game is about interaction at a quick pace that reminds me of a video game. No need for AP to figure out your clever strategies to prove your mental capabilities as this is not designed for that and it never advertised itself as such. Negotiation is the point here. To further the team to a win while holding back enough for you to get the most kill points. With this in mind there a plenty of decisions to be made that may not be overtly shown to your partners/competitors. Behind the scenes cutthroat mindset is where this game shines.

Anyway, I've always loved playing games with kids and this hits the spot precisely. Fireside Games aim is a dead-on bulls-eye.
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Maaike Fest
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I can imagine that the game is easier with 6 players, because then you can always trade for a good card. With solo or 2 players it is also quite hard to rebuild walls.

You did know that you can only trade one card on your turn right? And that hitting the monster only gives 1 point of damage?

I have played solo games and 2-player games. Some were relatively easy, and some were a nightmare! It also depends on how the monster tokens come out, try drawing a boss monster and a draw 3 more monsters token, while the monsters are ganging up on the red side of the castle because you couldn't get red swordsman cards (and then hope that you don't draw a red monsters move 1 token)! Or a plague! swordsmen token while you had just been saving up your swordsman cards so you could hit some monsters next turn because they were threatening the walls!
 
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Merric Blackman
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maaikefest wrote:
I can imagine that the game is easier with 6 players, because then you can always trade for a good card. With solo or 2 players it is also quite hard to rebuild walls.

You did know that you can only trade one card on your turn right? And that hitting the monster only gives 1 point of damage?


Yes to both.

Having 5-6 players and the trade option I think makes the card pool very big.

Cheers,
Merric
 
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Logistics Pete
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feydjm wrote:

I'm still squarely in the, "This has been too easy," camp. The only time I've lost this game is when we modified the draw rule to draw 3 new monsters per turn instead of the normal 2. In this case, I've seen victory and defeat so it feel balanced, but tough.

My only problem so far with the game is when you get down to only having a couple monsters on the board and you are just waiting to draw the right card to be able to kill it. Can be a little bit anticlimactic.


After (only) 3 plays (three player), I have to agree - it's been too easy. However, my 7 year old daughter has really enjoyed it . . . it is a good co-op experience and we've enjoyed observing her work as part of a team. She loves that her, Mom, & Dad are all on the same team.

In our next game we are going to add a combat die and she is excited about this. The game Toss Up! has 6 sided dice with 1 red, 2 yellow, and 3 green sides. Play your card and roll a die: green is a hit, yellow roll again, red is a miss. This should add a little tension/excitement.

We may also experiment with another variant I've seen here - putting the boulder killed monsters back in the draw pile.

Too easy for Adults, but good family fun and co-op experience for young kids. My 2 cents!
 
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Bill H
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tada wrote:
Fireside Games aim is a dead-on bulls-eye.

I agree that they hit the bulls-eye, but I think they were aiming at a completely different target.

At BGG.Con the designer said the game wasn't designed as a "Family Game" and it surprised them that it was such a hit with kids.

It is one of our favorite family games, though, and all our games have been tense (even when just the adults played, albeit with closed hands).
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Tony Allen
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MerricB wrote:
Scoring at the end of the game was pointless - it had everything to do with how lucky you were with the cards you'd been dealt and nothing to do with your "skill". As I recall, Rich and Jackson tied with 6 points each. Yay.


Something doesn't sound right here. Are these the winning scores in the Master Slayer version?

There are a total of 74 victory points to be collected throughout the game. Each victory point being equal to the monster starting hit point value. The game ends when all the monsters are killed thereby requiring all of these victory points being acquired by the whole group of players. You played with 5 players, so the minimum winning score has to be 15 victory points. Right?
 
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Larry Welborn
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tada wrote:
MerricB wrote:
Scoring at the end of the game was pointless - it had everything to do with how lucky you were with the cards you'd been dealt and nothing to do with your "skill". As I recall, Rich and Jackson tied with 6 points each. Yay.


Something doesn't sound right here. Are these the winning scores in the Master Slayer version?

There are a total of 74 victory points to be collected throughout the game. Each victory point being equal to the monster starting hit point value. The game ends when all the monsters are killed thereby requiring all of these victory points being acquired by the whole group of players. You played with 5 players, so the minimum winning score has to be 15 victory points. Right?


Not quite correct. If I recall, any monsters killed by boulders and destroying parts of the castle do not count for anyone's total. Of course, I do agree that 6 points seems low.
 
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Merric Blackman
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I'm probably misremembering. Certainly quite a few monsters died due to boulders and castle walls, but it was a couple of weeks ago now and I didn't write down the scores.

Maybe they had destroyed 6 monsters - that sounds more likely - I didn't recall the HP total.

Cheers!
 
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Tony Allen
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Larry Welborn wrote:
Not quite correct. If I recall, any monsters killed by boulders and destroying parts of the castle do not count for anyone's total. Of course, I do agree that 6 points seems low.

MerricB wrote:
I'm probably misremembering. Certainly quite a few monsters died due to boulders and castle walls, but it was a couple of weeks ago now and I didn't write down the scores.

Maybe they had destroyed 6 monsters - that sounds more likely - I didn't recall the HP total.

Cheers!


Thanks

 
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Paul Leoncavallo
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I've only played this game with 2 players (me and my son) and we've had nothing short of a great time each game. I see how this is more geared towards kids as opposed to a gaming group, and I doubt I'd ever bring it out with mine, but I would definitely recommend it for Dads (or Moms) looking to get junior into more than just the Walmart shelf.
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Eric Lucero
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Something to consider:

Never judge a game that has a lot of elements of chance based on one single play through. Sometimes the luck of the draw (so to speak) can cause a vast misrepresentation of what a standard game plays like.
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If you're more of a highbrow "need interesting decisions" gamer (like myself), Castle Panic really begins to be a valid strategy game with Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower expansion.

Even then, if you are awesome (or just familiar with board game mechanics and/or tower defense games) you may need further optional rules.

I discuss this a bit in my TWT expansion session report: Smiling From High Atop The Wizards Tower: Striking the Mega-Boss Balance.

Regardless, the high number of people you played with would add to the simplistic feel, especially if you were playing open handed. That's a whole lot of trade options to get exactly what you need every time...

Edit: I realize this is an old thread compared to my reply (what - 2 years or so...). But I am anticipating more action on the board when Tabletop airs in 2 weeks: Castle Panic on Tabletop June 15th!...
 
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