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Subject: Family Game night rss

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James Caldwell
United States
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Last night the family sat down for board game night and played our second ever game of Castle Panic. Defending the walls was The Mrs and I, plus "Hula" (6yr daughter) and "Lil' Maus" (3.5 yr daughter). Each game starts with one daughter naming the castle and the daughter placing a princess figurine in the courtyard. Last night it was Castle Rapunzel-Dog, home to the beautiful Princess Mulan.

Things went well, with a steady stream of orcs and trolls appearing in the forest. The defenders did their best, and while the walls were reached (and breached) with painful regularity, a few brick/mortars and special cards (nice shot, push em back) managed to keep the towers more (or less) intact, with only a few falling down. The highlight of the night was The Mrs drawing the Goblin King and placing a King/Troll combination in a red zone with two other monsters and no tower or wall!

At about 1hr 15mins into the game we had 2 towers standing and 6 monster tokens left to draw. While the situation on the board was tense, Lil' Maus was tired and had lost interest. The Mrs and Lil Maus had to drop out, leaving Hula and I to finish the last turns and save the princess!

Lessons Learned:

- At one point Hula, The Mrs and I were all trying to 'advise' Lil Maus at the same time and she just put her head in her hands and shut down. Whoops. We scaled back the advice *considerably* after that.

- We followed the suggestion for 'less panic' by removing 11 tiles, and while it helped shorten the game, it was still about 20-30mins too long. I think the sweet spot for my littlest would be 45mins total playtime.

- Removing 3 boulders was a bit overkill. They add quite a bit of excitement to the game, and in the first game they were a big hit (/groan)!

- I think for the next round I will remove ~16 monster tokens, and remove perhaps 3 walls to keep the game fast but suspenseful.

- When playing with little ones, the down time between turns (in a 4player game) is a killer. Lil' Maus was quickly bored and hiding cards under the board, playing with the monsters, moving the towers, etc before it was her turn again.

- Both daughters have a solid grasp of the mechanics and card play.

- Suprise of the night: Hula's favorite use of the Scavenge card is to go hunt for the Draw 2 card. We *really* needed the barbarian card, with a 3 pt troll at the walls, but she wasn't interested in digging for him.

- Cooperative play results in far fewer tears and fights. Our last game night was a simple game of "Go Fish!" and the air was full of "Not fair!","She always wins!", etc and the tears were copious.

I was a bit concerned about the theme not going over well with the girls (or the wife!) but all three enjoy the game. Overall, our family gives it 4 thumbs up. Once Lil' Maus is a bit older, I look forward to adding the Wizard Tower.
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Kevin Riddle

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wizard tower ups the difficulty a lot, but still neat
my kids loved the spells that you can cast
we lost the wizard tower early on after a boulder came with our wall down ...
lost all spell capabilities ...
really tough then

good review
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