Castellan

Castellan
From: Steve Jackson Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Castellan is a new table top game from Steve Jackson Games.

At Origins 2013, I saw a lot of demos of a game called Castellan being played and I really wanted to try it out.  Try as I may, I could never find an open table with someone there to teach me.  It looked like a very simple game, reminding me of that game you play with your kids in restaurants while waiting for your food, connecting the dots and making more squares than your opponent.  I was very curious on how they made this into a board game.

From the back cover:
“The King commands two builders to raise a great castle … but only one will rule it!”

A game cannot get much more simple than this.  You form walls of a castle with the pieces that fit together, with certain restrictions for a legal placement.  These walls are connected by towers.  Completing a square allows you to place a colored keep in the middle of it.

However, it is not as simple as just placing walls and towers.  Each player has two sets of 7 card decks – a Wall Deck and a Tower Deck.  You draw from these decks into your hand and the cards tell you what pieces you can play to build you walls.  You can play any combination of cards from your hand and in fact, you can play all of the cards in your hand.  Once played, you draw the pieces from the supply in the game and build your walls; then place keeps where you complete a square or courtyard.

From the back cover:
“With every play, the castle grows”

There are subtle strategies that can allow you to get more points, like creating courtyards with an extra tower or dividing existing courtyards.  The rules recommend that if you can avoid it, don’t play all your cards and I found that was true the hard way.  Sometimes you feel like you can’t avoid it or your opponent will run away with the game but in most cases, it is simply a bad idea.  Be very careful how you place your extra walls and avoid leaving openings for your opponent.  Be very aware of how many your opponent has or she can lay down a bunch and rack up the points.

The games are nicely package and marketed.  There is a second set with different color keeps that allow you to play with 4 players.  After playing with two, I really want to see how this game player out with 4 players.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

For more details on Steve Jackson Games and their new Table top gameCastellan” check them out at their website http://www.sjgames.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 16

Product Summary

Castellan
From: Steve Jackson Games
Type of Game: Table top game
Game Design by: Beau Beckett
Developed by: Steve Jackson and Phillip Reed
Number of Pages: 4 page rules
Game Components Included: 108 plastic castle pieces(26 long walls, 30 short walls, 32 towers, 20 keeps), 28 cards
Game Components Not Included: Additional set to make it a 4 player game
Retail Price: $34.99(US)
Number of Players: 2
Website: www.sjgames.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung