Castles of Mad King Ludwig


Date of Review: 9/22/15

Current Personal Ranking (2015): #9

Time to play (in my experience) 60-75 minutes

Difficulty Level: 2 (5-10 minutes to teach, less than 90 minutes to play)

Age Level: I’d probably play this with kids as young as 9 or 10.

Type of Game: Tile placement. This means pretty much what it says, you place tiles (or pieces) trying to place them in the most optimal way to score you the most points. In this case, each player is building his/her own castle.

Game setting: 19th Century Bavaria

Brief overview of how to play: On your turn you have the opportunity to either buy a room to place in your castle or take money (most of the time you’ll buy a room). Each round there is a “master builder” who sets the prices for the rooms, and each other player pays the master builder the set price for the room they want to buy (on the master builder’s turn, who also goes last, he/she pays the bank for the room). The master builder rotates each round.

A game of "Castles" in progress. With snacks. 

How do you win?: Have the most points accumulated from your room points and end game goals.

How many players does it play?: 2-4

Ideal number?: 3 or 4

Why do I love/recommend this game?

Unique shapes to the tiles: Most tile placement games have tiles that are all the same. The tiles in this game are all differently shaped and sized. Every time I have played this game, the castles take really unique shapes. At the end, I often ask myself, who would build a castle like this? “Mad King Ludwig” might, that’s who! 

It’s fun to build a castle: I love watching how my little castle takes shape each game.

Different every time: There are four different end game scoring tiles in every game, which reward different ways of building for each game. Furthermore, a certain number of tiles and cards are removed from each game, so you are never exactly sure what the balance of rooms will be in the game.

Fairly easy to play: On your turn, you either buy a room or take money (unless you are the master builder that round, in which case you also set prices for the rooms). Pretty easy. Knowing how to play well is a little trickier (knowing when to take room bonuses and so forth).

Being the Master Builder is really interesting: There is a range of prices from 1 deutschmark to 15 deutschmarks, and the goal is to set the rooms at the highest price you think the other players will be willing to pay you, while at the same time setting the room that you want at a price you think that they won’t be willing to pay. It is very interesting, though surprisingly difficult. If there is a little bit of a drawback to the game, it is this phase that can sometimes slow the game down a little bit.

Notice the cool variety of rooms, and the prices that they are set at. 

Also, there are the four round end game goals (they explain what each one means in the rule book)


 Is there anything offensive in the game? Anything at all? Nothing that I can see.

Final Word: This is a delightful tile placement game that often results in giggling throughout the game at the ridiculous floor plan you have built. The various end game scoring tiles make each game unique. It is my favorite tile placement game, and I highly recommend it.





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