Game Review: Castles of Mad King Ludwig

CastlesMadKingLudwigCastles of Mad King Ludwig
Bezier Games, 2014

Once upon a time, there lived a prince in a fairytale castle. He loved fairytale castles so he built several of them, but the prince became obsessed with his castles, bankrupted himself, was declared insane and was most likely killed. True story. Moral of the story, don’t build crazy cool castles.

Unless, of course you are playing the new game “Castles of Mad King Ludwig” from bezier games. In this case, build the craziest, coolest, wildest castle you can build, attempting to please Mad King Ludwig in his quest for the “fairest castle of them all”.

In “Castles of Mad King Ludwig”, players take turns being the Master Builder. The Master Builder draws a series of rooms that will be avaialable to purchase from them during the round. They price the rooms strategically in order to make sure that players are paying them premium prices for the rooms they would like to add to their castle. Each player has goals publicly set by the king as well as private goals. The goals may consist of types or sizes of rooms, as well as amount of cash.

Players score their rooms as they go, and rooms can get synergy bonuses or negatives from other rooms placed near them, and by having all their exits matched up with other rooms/hallways/staircases. Strategically purchasing staircases or hallways can give you room to expand as well as buy you time to wait for a room that better matches your goals. Everyone can see what you are building, so watch out for telegraphing your bonus moves, because other players might try to buy the piece you want to stall you.

This is a very fun game with lots of ways to strategize in order to gain victory. Note though that the room pricing phase can be tricky and for people with analysis paralysis issues, this could be a sticking point for you. I very much enjoy this game with it’s historical connections and wildly creative castle building. Although the game has a single player option, I don’t recommend it, as it is essentially a beat-your-best-score deal, and I would think it would become boring very quickly.

If you like history and creative castle building, and aren’t given to analysis paralysis, give “Castles of Mad King Ludwig” a try.