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Castle: The Detective Card Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A simple, quick game that is heavily luck dependent rss

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Mm C
Australia
Sydney
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Give me a man ripe for a breakdown, and I'll end the world for you.
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Our roads may be golden or broken or lost, but we'll walk on them willingly knowing the cost: we won't take our place on the shelves; it's better to fly and it's better to die, say the wicked girls saving ourselves.
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I picked this up on a whim this afternoon.  My FLGS had it for AU$35, which is reasonably cheap for the Australian game market. (It's roughly a comparable price to, say, the Alhambra card game.). Given the terrible reputation of franchise tie-in games, I didn't have great hopes; especially since I am a fan of the show, but one that has not got around to watching the current season as yet and has felt not much compulsion to catch up.

The components are relatively good.  The character cards / player guides are made of sturdy card, as are the "Solved!" tokens.  The poker chips are lovely, heavy and nicely printed (Not sure if the printing will scratch away over time, though).  The cards are moderate; I don't bother to sleeve my cards, but they may benefit from the treatment for those that care to.

The game itself is simple enough; a series of "suspect" cards are dealt to the centre of the table, each of which lists three of the card types from the main deck.  On each of these cards is placed one of a series of poker chips (one labelled "Guilty" and the rest "Not guilty").  

On a player's turn, they can do one of a number of actions:
* Draw a card
* Discard a card to draw two cards
* Play an action card, such as "Killing by the book", which allows the player to draw the top three cards and choose one
* Use their character's special ability, e.g. Castle's ability allows his player to discard two cards to draw four.  Special abilities can only be used once per "episode" (round)
* "Confront a suspect", the core of the game.

Confronting a suspect involves laying out the cards listed at the bottom of a suspect card (e.g. "The vindictive ex-lover" requires the green "Interview victim's family", the purple "Search suspect's home", and the red "Autopsy" cards), before flipping the associated poker chip: if "Not guilty", the cards and character are discarded; if "Guilty", that player wins the round.  The players can play several rounds in a row ("a season"), with the winner being the first to three victories.

The game is simple and quick; there is a built in time limit for a given round, since if the deck is exhausted, the round ends with no winner.  There is very little opportunity for strategy, given it is largely luck based: you can strategise to confront a particular suspect, but you have no idea whether that suspect is actually the killer.  That said, it does not overstay its welcome, and manages to be sufficiently entertaining for the ten-minute game it is.  I would not want to devote an entire evening to it; but I quite enjoyed the several rounds we played this evening.
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Sarah Reed
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Thanks for the review. I am also a fan of the show, but this game does not sound like anything we'd enjoy as we prefer games with strategy. Thanks for saving us some money!
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James Cartwright
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Nice review.

I'm a fan of the show but it sounds like there's not enough 'game' for the price that's asked for it.
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Sarah Reed
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citizen wrote:
There are also a couple of variant scenario games that add more strategy and even co-op play.

Co-op makes a lot more sense for this game considering the show. I'd be interested to know more about that, but considering it's a varian and not the main way to play it, still not sure I'd invest in the game, not unless I can get it for very cheap.
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Hann_Boe
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mmastertheone wrote:
I picked this up on a whim this afternoon.  My FLGS had it for AU$35, which is reasonably cheap for the Australian game market. (It's roughly a comparable price to, say, the Alhambra card game.). Given the terrible reputation of franchise tie-in games, I didn't have great hopes; especially since I am a fan of the show, but one that has not got around to watching the current season as yet and has felt not much compulsion to catch up.

The components are relatively good.  The character cards / player guides are made of sturdy card, as are the "Solved!" tokens.  The poker chips are lovely, heavy and nicely printed (Not sure if the printing will scratch away over time, though).  The cards are moderate; I don't bother to sleeve my cards, but they may benefit from the treatment for those that care to.

The game itself is simple enough; a series of "suspect" cards are dealt to the centre of the table, each of which lists three of the card types from the main deck.  On each of these cards is placed one of a series of poker chips (one labelled "Guilty" and the rest "Not guilty").  

On a player's turn, they can do one of a number of actions:
* Draw a card
* Discard a card to draw two cards
* Play an action card, such as "Killing by the book", which allows the player to draw the top three cards and choose one
* Use their character's special ability, e.g. Castle's ability allows his player to discard two cards to draw four.  Special abilities can only be used once per "episode" (round)
* "Confront a suspect", the core of the game.

Confronting a suspect involves laying out the cards listed at the bottom of a suspect card (e.g. "The vindictive ex-lover" requires the green "Interview victim's family", the purple "Search suspect's home", and the red "Autopsy" cards), before flipping the associated poker chip: if "Not guilty", the cards and character are discarded; if "Guilty", that player wins the round.  The players can play several rounds in a row ("a season"), with the winner being the first to three victories.

The game is simple and quick; there is a built in time limit for a given round, since if the deck is exhausted, the round ends with no winner.  There is very little opportunity for strategy, given it is largely luck based: you can strategise to confront a particular suspect, but you have no idea whether that suspect is actually the killer.  That said, it does not overstay its welcome, and manages to be sufficiently entertaining for the ten-minute game it is.  I would not want to devote an entire evening to it; but I quite enjoyed the several rounds we played this evening.


Thanks for the review! I appreciate your acting on the "whim".
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Andy Bogart
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Iowa
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My father picked this game up last night and my wife and I joined him in a few games. We actually really enjoyed it. Sure it's not a super hard core game but that doesn't make it bad really. We found it fairly relaxing to play. If anything it's a good filler if all you want to do is play an 'episode' or two.

If I was to improve it at all it would be to find a way to add some more flavor to it. Like some more background info on each episode that might introduce a few other game mechanics. We found ourselves making up silly stories because the victim would end up with multiple spouses as suspects on top of also have a mistress and 'another man'. I would also make the suspect cards bigger with a bigger type size. We were constantly dragging them closer to ourselves to try and read what we needed to confront the suspect.

I really liked the poke chips very nice weight to them. The regular cards are printed very well.

Overall, if you see it on sale it's probably worth picking it up you're looking for a short filler game. My father is a big fan of the TV series so that was an insta-buy for him, along with all the Doctor Who stuff he had in his other hand.
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