Scott’s Toy Box: We Built This City on Cards and Tiles
As the calendar turns from one year to the next, it’s a time to look back at the highs and lows of the past and make resolutions to build a better future. In the spirit of building, I found several games in which the objective of the game is to build. The scale of what you are building ranges from a single castle to an entire countryside but it all fits on your tabletop, and may even help build strong bonds among you and your fellow builders.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig
First, we have Castles of Mad King Ludwig. In this 1 to 4 player game, one plays as a contractor for a mad king. You and your fellow contractors buy rooms for the castle you are building for the king and your job is to build the best castle. Each room will give (or possibly even take away) points for you based on the number that’s on the room. You gain these points during the game but also at the end based upon the king’s satisfaction. This game does come with a lot to take in soit’s best to read the instructions and even do a little solo run through before bringing it out on game night. You can get Castles of Mad King Ludwig for $39 on Amazon.com.
Next, we have Citadels. In this game you lead a city and hope to make it more prosperous by building the next city districts. Each round you will have a chance to use your gold to buy one of the district cards in your hand and lay it in front of you, but each round you will be using one of eight characters to help you do so. Each of the eight characters has their own power from the Assassin, who gives the player a chance to take out one of the other players for the round. The Warlord then allows their player to pay to destroy a district. Each round the characters will determine the order of play as the characters go in order from 1 to 8, which is important to keep in mind when choosing which character you will play for the round. You also want to pay attention to your city, as certain characters will earn you gold. The game ends when a player has built an eighth district. Citadels is a 2 to 8 player card game and can be found on Amazon for $19.
Lastly, we have Carcassonne. In this game, you and the other players, will be building a country, complete with roads, cities and monasteries. You build this country by placing matching tiles (drawn one by one from a stack) together. For example, if the tile on the table has a road on it, you must place a tile that continues the road on that side. In the case that the tile you lay down also connects to a second tile, that second side must also match that tile as well. When you lay down a tile, you can claim something on that tile (like the road, a city, or a monastery) and you get points when completed. For instance, a road is completed when it leads from one village to another. To claim roads, monasteries, and cities, you are given 7 pawns called meeples that you place on the tile until you can score it and an 8th meeple is used to keep your score on the scoreboard. If you’ve used all your meeples you have to wait until you’ve scored to get at least one of your meeples back. The game ends when all the tiles have been used and all unfinished roads, cities and monasteries are scored. This game also offers expansions once you have finished the simple version. You can finds Carcassonne on Amazon for $28.