As You Wish! Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig
Designers: Ben Rosset & Matthew O’Malley
Art by by Agnieszka Dabrowiecka, Laura Bevon, & Barlomiej Kordowski
A competitive, partnership-driven tile-drafting, castle-building game 3-7 Players (with 2-player variant) | 45-60 Minutes
The imposing and fantastical King Ludwig, on a stern whim, has tasked you to build an outlandish castle- with a partner- all while build building another castle, with the objective to gain his favor. Will your planning and partnership skills be enough to design the most impressive castles in the world? Shrewd choices will need to be made because the scoring is as distinctive as the King by building a castle with the person on your left and the other castle with the person on your right. Your lowest scoring castle will be your personal score at the end of the game. This is tricky because there objective to have a lesser castle, but not the weakest. The action is swift, and the tiles are small leaving the ends points unpredictable. Steeped in strategy and synergy, wrapped in elaborate tiles, works of art that lends to every castle to be impressive!
Between Two Castles of Mad Ludwig combines mechanics from Between Two Cities with those from Castles of Mad King Ludwig.
At first glance the game seems simple to play. Played in two rounds, players draw up a hand of nine random tiles, draft two tiles and then pass the remaining to the player on the left. Players will then place one tile on each of their castles they are building. Repeat this process until all the tiles are exhausted (extra tile is discarded) then another nine tiles are drawn for each player for the second round but this time they are passed the opposite direction. When all the tiles are placed, and the odd tile discarded it is time to score. Each castle is scored separately. Your personal final score is the lower of the scores of the two castles you helped design, and the player with the highest final score wins the game. To win, you must share your attention and your devotion between the two castles.
The complexity however lies within your placements of your tiles on both of the castles you are building. With each tile added, your castles will become more and more valuable. There are seven types of basic tile, food rooms, living rooms, utility rooms, outdoor rooms, sleeping rooms, corridor rooms, and downstairs rooms. Each tile is different, and there are unique advantages on tiles and have different scoring mechanisms. There are bonuses earned when tiles are connected correctly and when you have multiples of the same room. If you are fortunate your teammates will draft room tiles which synergize well with the shared castle because you are reliant on the tiles they place in the shared castle.
Each player starts with a Throne Room to build off of and worth up to four points if correlating rooms are attached. Each Throne room card has a specific type of rooms to pair with for the points.
Food Rooms score points for a certain type of room either above and below them, or on their left and right.
Living Rooms score points for a certain room type in the positions surrounding them.
Utility Rooms score points for groups of connected rooms of a given type connected to them. A connection is following a path.
Outdoor Rooms score points for a particular type of room anywhere in the castle and they can’t have anything above them.
Sleeping Rooms score four points (each) if you manage to collect all seven room types in your castle, and 1 point otherwise.
Corridors score a point for the matching wall hanging surrounding each room (swords, mirror, painting, or torches).
Downstairs Rooms score based on a certain room type above it.
In addition to all the individual scoring provided by each room, your castle will get a bonus after placing the third room of a given type.
Utility Rooms allow the player to draw a bonus card that awards victory points for various types and locations of rooms. Draw three at random then select one of those three to keep for scoring.
One placed a third Living Room, you claim the Living Room bonus award, a Royal Attendant. At the end of the game, players earn victory points for each wall hanging that matches the p Attendant you selected.
The bonus for their Food Room placed is to draw five random tiles and place one. The rest are discarded.
The Outdoor Room bonus after three are placed is a garden Fountain worth five point.
A Tower tile is claimed after placing a third Sleeping Room tile and awards one point for every tile placed under the Tower.
A Grand Foyer tile is claimed after placing three Corridor tiles. A Grand Foyer score one point per tile surrounding it with a maximum of eight point.
The bonus after placing three Downstairs tiles is to choose any room type bonus.
There is an App to streamline the process of end game scoring.
From the publisher ~ "I used it for the first time yesterday, and it was magical." - Jamey Stegmaier
However, we thoroughly enjoy the process of calculating each castle and having a written breakdown for future refeenc3e and it reinforces the team experience.
This game is not cooperative but brings a mechanism of teamwork due to you that fact that you are building two castles throughout the play that are shared. The trick is not to focus just one of the castles because both of your castles determine the scoring at the end.
We did enjoy the communication between you and the other player who shares the castle, though it may have been somewhat fraudulent as not to show favor to one castle. Depending on where the tiles are placed the score can vary.
We love Bonus cards and tend to snatch up the Utility Rooms for each castle. Getting them early and focused on completing the requirements add the usually needed few points. When possible, acquiring multiple bonus cards to stack the point.
When we felt our castle was lacking points, last ditch effort is to make a soaring Tower.
Bits and Bobs
147 unique room tiles
83 other tiles
20 bonus cards
7 player aid cards
7 wooden castle tokens
1 full-color, double-sided, 100-sheet score pad
4-piece Game Trayz custom insert
The game trayz are unequivocally perfect. They place together precisely in the box and utilized well for gameplay out of the box. The Game Trayz make setup a breeze. You can be playing right after opening the box.
The majority of our games were with the two-player variant and it plays abundantly well. It has often turned into a morning ritual over coffee.
We are huge fans of Castles of Mad King Ludwig and this is a streamlined, very thought out, and well produced adaption.
Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is all about strategic planning and spatial reasoning.
We bought the game without spoilers or reviews, and it has proven to be one of the better games in our collection.
Nerdz Garage recommends it for new and veteran gamers.