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Subject: Found Castle Panic at Origins 2010 rss

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Thomas Melinsky
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I found Castle Panic while walking around the vendor area this year. My wife pointed to it, and she said "I heard good things about that one." Later (not long before the vendor area closes), my wife was doing demos for other games, I figured that I'd have some time to stop back and grab a copy of the game with good things.

The sales person was there along with Mr. Justin De Witt (the game designer, development, graphic art and design, etc). I was asking Justin about the game, and he spoke very passionately about all the details (this is definitely his baby). I bought the game, and asked him to sign my copy. Justin was happy to do so, and I thought to myself that this is everything I love about (and why I support) the board game business. It's accessible, friendly, and fun. Good people, good games. Justin invited us to play the game and have a chance to beat him (and have some snacks). As much as my wife loves snacks, we were sadly not able to make it back for a castle attack.

After Origins (and a stormy drive home), I busted out my copy of the game at around 9:30 pm. I figured I would assemble it all together, read the rules (or absorb it through osmosis), figure out single player setup, then head off to bed and ponder the game mechanics. Hopefully, I would get a chance to play it the next day. After opening and assembling it, easy breezy like, I picked up the rule book. There's really not a whole lot of complicated things going on here. I figure, hey, I'll do the setup so I can get that down then run through a quick turn. I do so, and I think to myself, I can beat these guys.

Suddenly, someone messed with the time-space continuum (probably that pesky Q - when will he ever respect humans and their needs). It's now midnight, and my wife is home from the late shift wondering why I'm still up. I can do this, that's why. I can beat these damn Orcs and Trolls - first play through. I had some good breaks, and I've lost three towers, but there's not many baddies left. Someone has to stay up and finish the job. Oh wait, job, and I have one tomorrow. I finished the game, and I won, and it was intense. It was every bit as intense as the instructions claim. Man, I can beat them, I say, and I did, beat them, yeah, and I will beat them ... again ...

So, I crack it open after work the next day, and I throw it all up in seconds. Soon, I'm pounding out Troll guts. I get the baddie that summons three creatures - no problem. Uhhh, I drew the summon 4 more token. No problem, I beat this game yesterday. Uhhh, I drew the summon 3 more token. After finishing all the token draws along with the bad guy that moves everyone up a ring - I'm going down. I know it, it's plain. I'm going down, but I'm taking as many with me as I can. It won't be a personal best by any means, but that Hero guy is looking at me. I can't quit. Sure, HE'S the Hero, but what will I be if I amscray? I have to run it through to the bitter end. Even after a killer draw with Barbarian, Redraw a card (Barbarian twice), Tar, Fortify, and a wall spackling job - I'm toast. It was a proud yet futile stand. The Trolls will talk about it as they digest my remains. The count for me is one and one.

Yeah, I'm hooked. It's an incredibly fun game. Solo play is fantastic. I downloaded the monster expansion. I will buy any expansion for this game. My head is coming up with new monster abilities automatically - how about a Grey Dragon that moves forward and rotates? How about a Kobold that can move two spaces? How about a Siren that will heal one point to one creature occupying the space after she moves? It's addictive.

Well done, Mr. De Witt, well done.
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Victor Aldridge
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I've gotten to play the game a few times with our local game group, and at first didn't give it much thought. (The artwork on the box and in the game is rather cartoonish.) I'm a big fan of cooperative games, though, and have enjoyed the few times I've played this. I haven't beat it yet, and sadly it isn't as frustratingly addictive as Pandemic, but it's a not-too-complex game with a reasonable duration. I might just pick it up some time.
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Markus
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This review made me go out and get this game. Thanks from me and no thanks from my wallet. modest
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Thomas Melinsky
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DeePee wrote:
This review made me go out and get this game. Thanks from me and no thanks from my wallet. modest


As far as games go, at least it didn't set your wallet back too much. And there's a free print and play expansion. Free is a great price. The way I see it (and you may, too) is that for twenty some odd bucks - that's many hours of entertainment.

I went to see A-Team with my son for Father's Day (a great action film), and I spent 9.50 x 2 tickets plus 17 dollars for two drinks and a large popcorn = 36 dollars! I went to what I thought would be a matinee, but now theaters don't do matinees on Sunday those jerks. After two hours, it was all over. I have already surpassed value with Castle panic, and I may continue to do so. The cost per hour value drops every time I play it. I still can't believe I spent 36 dollars on a movie and snacks. Sure, I could have snuck in some snacks and two beverages, but that's going to add 5 bucks to the 18 for about 23 bucks. Still, the game is the better value.

Markus, I hope you enjoy the game every bit as much as I do (and still do). It's great for kids, too.
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If it falls on me and pins me underneath it, does that still count as seizing the day?
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lonadar wrote:
I haven't beat it yet, and sadly it isn't as frustratingly addictive as Pandemic, but it's a not-too-complex game with a reasonable duration.


My wife an I love Pandemic and have yet to beat it in eight or ten plays. We save that game for when we're with another couple. When we want a co-op game with our kids we break out Castle Panic. We have a good dozen plays under our belts, and have only lost one (IIRC), but every single game was close down to the very end. The kids (9 and 11) love it and ask for it often.

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I might just pick it up some time.


Do it soon as you are missing out on a lot of fun.
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Thomas Melinsky
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lonadar wrote:
I've gotten to play the game a few times with our local game group, and at first didn't give it much thought. (The artwork on the box and in the game is rather cartoonish.) I'm a big fan of cooperative games, though, and have enjoyed the few times I've played this. I haven't beat it yet, and sadly it isn't as frustratingly addictive as Pandemic, but it's a not-too-complex game with a reasonable duration. I might just pick it up some time.


Pandemic is a fantastic example of a co-op game done right. It has an adjustable difficulty level, it plays differently every time, it's a great theme for a game, it's a reasonable playing time, and it's very reasonably priced. The expansion is also very nicely done - it adds more of what we already like along with different play mechanics to make the game fresh again. I would consider this the ideal co-op game, and I will use it as my barometer for other co-op games. That said, you're exactly right about Castle Panic compared to Pandemic.

However, Castle Panic plays solo whereas Pandemic does not. It's a very challenging solo play as well. The difficulty can easily be tweaked for any of the co-op modes, too. It's play mechanics are much simpler than Pandemic, but they make sense given the castle siege theme of the game. It could be better all around with a few expansion packs and varying monster themes. Until On the Brink arrived for Pandemic, it was getting a little old. Of course, we played the heck out of it by then, so it's been a great investment considering. Castle Panic will also continue to be a great investment.
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Dan Conley
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Thanks for the review, Thomas! I'll be picking this one up before long. As the Origins price was normal retail, I figured I'd wait and grab one at my FLGS so they can get their portion. My impatient friend got his at the convention, so I look forward to trying it out soon!
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Jupiter Jones
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I've been touting this game since I purchased it a couple of months ago. It's the game my 5 and 8 year old kids request first every time. As far as family games go, this is absolutely top notch!
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Jay Moore
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My ten year old son likes this a lot too. I agree that it's nice for families.

However, we haven't found it very difficult. I might have to adjust the game "settings" a little bit, because it's just a little too easy for us.

Thanks for mentioning the free print and play expansion - I didn't know about it!
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Chris Sessoms
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I picked it up after demoing, and I must say playing the game with Mr.De Witt made the demo 100x more enjoyable and it was one of my bigger factors in buying the game cause I had a lot of fun while demoing it.

Quote:
However, we haven't found it very difficult. I might have to adjust the game "settings" a little bit, because it's just a little too easy for us.


Haha. I taught this to my friends that night, the game was going fine until we drew the draw three more monsters and one of those monsters was the goblin king. We ended up losing. Bad.
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Thomas Melinsky
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philomars wrote:
mithras wrote:
However, Castle Panic plays solo whereas Pandemic does not. .



Pandemic plays solo very well, actually I like it better, because you have only yourself to blame when you lose.


Huh, is there a set of rules somewhere for Pandemic solo play? I should check the files section for Pandemic here on BGG. I didn't see it in the official rules. Was it in On the Brink rules?
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Thomas Melinsky
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LordJunon wrote:
I picked it up after demoing, and I must say playing the game with Mr.De Witt made the demo 100x more enjoyable and it was one of my bigger factors in buying the game cause I had a lot of fun while demoing it.

Quote:
However, we haven't found it very difficult. I might have to adjust the game "settings" a little bit, because it's just a little too easy for us.


Haha. I taught this to my friends that night, the game was going fine until we drew the draw three more monsters and one of those monsters was the goblin king. We ended up losing. Bad.


Yeah, he's a very positive energy person. I am seriously regretting not getting time to play the game. Next time at Origins I think I will schedule fewer events to leave room for some free play.
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Thomas Melinsky
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I just played this with my gaming group. We're a mix of ages from 15 to 45, and everyone loved it. I knew they were hooked. I said, what about a game of Settlers, and they all said, what about this again?

We're ready for a tougher game, perhaps 3 monster per turn or no walls at start. With the 5 player co-op (no Master Slayer), we were always able to combine our resources. Perhaps a limit on the number cards that can be traded. With Master Slayer, there is good reason to hold onto some cards and not trade which makes the game more challenging. With no Master Slayer, we can dump our entire hands to other players for less useful cards.

Great game!
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Neal Carter

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mithras wrote:
Perhaps a limit on the number cards that can be traded. With Master Slayer, there is good reason to hold onto some cards and not trade which makes the game more challenging. With no Master Slayer, we can dump our entire hands to other players for less useful cards.


You do realize that you can only trade 1 card per turn, right? Unless you're playing the 6 player version, and even that's just 2 trades.

If you're trading more than one card each turn, yeah, that's going to make it super easy, but having to figure out the BEST trade available is part of teh challenge.
 
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Dan Rivera
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There are 2 ways to make the game a lot harder:

1) Play the "My home is my castle" Varient that is mentioned in the back of the manual. You assign one tower per player. If you lose your tower your out of the game. The net result is alot less cooperation.

2) Play the "Monster overlord" Variant also mentioned in the manual where one player instead of playing with the heros plays the monsters and draws 3-6 tiles, depending on how sadistic you are, and gets to decide which monsters are played where.

these 2 variants make a very good game shine that much brighter. I esp. like the first variant and my buddy use to realy enjoy the second before he moved.
 
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