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Jeff Niekamp
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My wife and I enjoy the TV show Castle. Our FLGS rents games. I saw they had Castle for rent, so I picked it up for us to give a play to. Apparently, other than a store employee, we're the first to give it a go. HOORAY!

Disclosure statement: I won -- 4 episodes in a row with 5 solved tokens. (We were only going to play one episode, then decided to play to 3 out of 5, but since I'd been lucky enough to win a high-stakes game the first round, I was already ahead by two. So, in the end, we played to five.)

This is a nice light filler but as others have already pointed out, it's a very lucky game with little real strategy. That's not to say there isn't any strategy there, but you'll be lucky if you get the chance to implement it.

Basic play involves drawing cards to create a set of three as required on a specific suspect card. Generally, there are 5 suspects per episode (round). When you have the right set, you can confront the suspect, turn over a poker chip (nice touch, BTW) and determine the suspect's guilt or innocence. If innocent, there's some additional action which usually helps everybody BUT the person doing the accusing. If guilty, you win a solved token.

You play as a character from the show and each character has a special ability they may use once per episode. For example, Castle has the ability to discard two cards from his hand and draw four. There's a little strategy here in knowing when to play your ability.

There are also special action cards which have a variety of different abilities. Some let you swap cards with another player, some let you sneak peaks at the suspects guilt/innocence tokens, etc. Again, knowing when to play these involves a bit of strategy. Unfortunately, if I've just sneaked a peak, and you don't have the right card to counteract that, I may win on my next turn. So a lot of luck to have the correct cards at the correct time.

So, I'm trying to follow/develop a format for my reviews. If some of the following categories don't make sense, it's because I'm trying to be consistent.

Table footprint. You don't need a lot of space to play Castle. You'll need more than just a draw and discard pile for the cards, but not much more. The only real additional space you'll need is for the suspect cards.

Number of players. Fine with two. In fact, this might be one of those where it's actually better with two when you have the special action cards to make it work.

Time to learn. VERY easy to learn. Draw cards following the rules on the player mats, match three cards to a suspect, confront. Rinse, repeat.

Time to play. Depends on how many episodes you decide to play, how many additional suspects get added during an episode, and on how lucky you get. We had one episode where I was able to sneak a peak on my first turn and I happened to pick the guilty individual. I used Castle's special ability to draw four cards my next turn and then on my third turn I confronted the guilty suspect. So end of episode in three turns. It might even be possible to win in a single turn if you were dealt a set of cards matching a suspect and you were lucky enough to confront the guilty suspect.

Luck. Pretty high amount of luck as has already been stated.

Strategy. It's there, but it involves a lot of luck to be able to be strategic. For example, if one player sneaks a peak using a special action card, there is another special action card that adds a new suspect to the game and shuffles all the guilt/innocence tokens -- effectively rendering the sneaked peak useless. IF you have that card and can play it immediately after a sneaked peak, hurray! If not, well, that may just be too bad. You can also watch to see what the other player(s) are discarding, but I find that to be a lot less useful. I know I discarded a card because I already had a duplicate in my hand and it was unnecessary to have two. That didn't mean I didn't need that type of card, if that makes sense.

Fun factor. We enjoyed playing and laughed a bunch while we did. I think if we'd slowed down the play and made up stories as we played, we might have had even more fun (think Gloom). Would I be dead set on getting it off my shelf if I owned a copy? No. We had fun and we will probably play it again before the rental's over. However, I probably won't be running out to the store any time soon to pick up a copy either. If it comes my way and at a good price, sweet. But I have other game grails much higher on the list than this.
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Sarah Reed
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Re: 2-Player Castle
Thanks for the review and another insight into a game I wish was more than what it is. I'm like you, if it's available at a really good price, I'd probably get it, but there are so many other games on my list to get that I won't be getting it any time soon.
 
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Hann_Boe
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Re: 2-Player Castle
patella wrote:
My wife and I enjoy the TV show Castle. Our FLGS rents games. I saw they had Castle for rent, so I picked it up for us to give a play to. Apparently, other than a store employee, we're the first to give it a go. HOORAY!

Disclosure statement: I won -- 4 episodes in a row with 5 solved tokens. (We were only going to play one episode, then decided to play to 3 out of 5, but since I'd been lucky enough to win a high-stakes game the first round, I was already ahead by two. So, in the end, we played to five.)

This is a nice light filler but as others have already pointed out, it's a very lucky game with little real strategy. That's not to say there isn't any strategy there, but you'll be lucky if you get the chance to implement it.

Basic play involves drawing cards to create a set of three as required on a specific suspect card. Generally, there are 5 suspects per episode (round). When you have the right set, you can confront the suspect, turn over a poker chip (nice touch, BTW) and determine the suspect's guilt or innocence. If innocent, there's some additional action which usually helps everybody BUT the person doing the accusing. If guilty, you win a solved token.

You play as a character from the show and each character has a special ability they may use once per episode. For example, Castle has the ability to discard two cards from his hand and draw four. There's a little strategy here in knowing when to play your ability.

There are also special action cards which have a variety of different abilities. Some let you swap cards with another player, some let you sneak peaks at the suspects guilt/innocence tokens, etc. Again, knowing when to play these involves a bit of strategy. Unfortunately, if I've just sneaked a peak, and you don't have the right card to counteract that, I may win on my next turn. So a lot of luck to have the correct cards at the correct time.

So, I'm trying to follow/develop a format for my reviews. If some of the following categories don't make sense, it's because I'm trying to be consistent.

Table footprint. You don't need a lot of space to play Castle. You'll need more than just a draw and discard pile for the cards, but not much more. The only real additional space you'll need is for the suspect cards.

Number of players. Fine with two. In fact, this might be one of those where it's actually better with two when you have the special action cards to make it work.

Time to learn. VERY easy to learn. Draw cards following the rules on the player mats, match three cards to a suspect, confront. Rinse, repeat.

Time to play. Depends on how many episodes you decide to play, how many additional suspects get added during an episode, and on how lucky you get. We had one episode where I was able to sneak a peak on my first turn and I happened to pick the guilty individual. I used Castle's special ability to draw four cards my next turn and then on my third turn I confronted the guilty suspect. So end of episode in three turns. It might even be possible to win in a single turn if you were dealt a set of cards matching a suspect and you were lucky enough to confront the guilty suspect.

Luck. Pretty high amount of luck as has already been stated.

Strategy. It's there, but it involves a lot of luck to be able to be strategic. For example, if one player sneaks a peak using a special action card, there is another special action card that adds a new suspect to the game and shuffles all the guilt/innocence tokens -- effectively rendering the sneaked peak useless. IF you have that card and can play it immediately after a sneaked peak, hurray! If not, well, that may just be too bad. You can also watch to see what the other player(s) are discarding, but I find that to be a lot less useful. I know I discarded a card because I already had a duplicate in my hand and it was unnecessary to have two. That didn't mean I didn't need that type of card, if that makes sense.

Fun factor. We enjoyed playing and laughed a bunch while we did. I think if we'd slowed down the play and made up stories as we played, we might have had even more fun (think Gloom). Would I be dead set on getting it off my shelf if I owned a copy? No. We had fun and we will probably play it again before the rental's over. However, I probably won't be running out to the store any time soon to pick up a copy either. If it comes my way and at a good price, sweet. But I have other game grails much higher on the list than this.


Thanks for the review!
I am glad you enjoyed the game. Very Helpful!
We might end up getting this game but the price is too high for us.
 
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Tom Tjarks
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Re: 2-Player Castle
Its starting to sound like winning in this game is almost like winning in fluxx, you can control some things, but it can go pear shaped on you, and often.
 
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Jeff Niekamp
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Re: 2-Player Castle
I initially started to write a reply that said it was nothing like Fluxx, and I will still argue that in terms of winning conditions it isn't. With Castle, you always know what you need to do to win: find the guilty suspect.

However, as I was writing, I realized that the special action cards can add a Fluxx-like feel to things. You might know who the murderer is due to a sneaked peak, then have those scrambled on you. You might have the cards you need to confront and then have someone take some of those cards from your hand. So yes, there are some Fluxx-like characteristics.

On the other hand, I don't feel like those are Fluxx-specific kinds of things. I know I've seen mechanics like that in lots of other games.

In the end, as I intend to do with most reviews, here's my summary comparing the two: I would play Castle again. My wife and I played several hands of Zombie Fluxx and I don't feel like I never need to play any Fluxx games again.
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