Between two Castles
As we love tile building games, we have been wanting to try out Between two Castles by Stonemaier Games for a while now. When we saw all the tiles and possibilities that this game brings, we decided we were going to build the biggest and brightest castle Mad King Ludwig has ever seen! Have we succeeded? Judge for yourself.
How to Play.
To start the game you first have to shuffle the seven throne room tiles and you place one throne room tile in between each player, then you place one wooden castle token above the throne tile. Each player also gets one aid card that shows what each card can or can’t do. After that you take two trays. The small tray is not mixed, while the tiles in the big tray are mixed. Each stack contains exactly nine tiles. Last, you shuffle the bonus cards and place them face down in the small tray, and you are ready to play.
Each game is played in only two round. in the first round, each player takes nine tiles. Each player then secretly chooses two tiles from their stack and pass the remaining tiles to the player on your left. Once every player has chosen two tiles, everyone reveals their two tiles. Now comes the fun part. One of your chosen tiles, will go to the castle on your right, the other to the castle to your left. Because every player has to build a castle on their left and right, you are building you castles together. That’s why, when the tiles are revealed, you can openly discuss with the players next to you what tiles go where so you can both get the most points. You may even discuss in this step what tiles are in the stack you just passed to them. Then each castle receives two tiles, one from the player left of the castle, and one from the player right of the castle. If this is done, you can no longer move any tiles in the castles. Next you take what is left from the stack that is given to you from the previous player and repeat all these steps again. If after you choose your tiles, there is only one tile left to give to the next player, discard it face down out of the game. After placing the last tiles you just chose, round one is over.
Round two follows the same rules as round one, except you give your tiles to the player on your right after choosing, not left. When placing tiles, there are a couple of rules to follow. All the tiles above ground level must be supported by a tile below, so the room itself doesn’t float above ground without support. there is also no limit with how high, how many floors below ground, or how wide your castle can get, but all tiles must be oriented in the same direction. Also when you place a third tile of the same room type, you receive a specific bonus for that room type. There is also an even greater reward if you place five rooms of the same room type. Your player aid also shows what bonus you will get.
After round two is over, each castle is scored. The player with the highest score wins. You as a player get the score of the castle you helped to build with the lowest points.
There is also a two player variant. Here you set up everything as if you would play with three player. The third player will be ‘Ludwig’ (the autobot). Each player again takes nine tiles including Ludwig. When you have chosen your tiles, one player takes the top two tiles of Ludwig and picks one for each castle. In the second round, the other player will choose from Ludwig. When you place the tiles in the castle you are building with Ludwig, you choose the spot for your tile, as well as Ludwig’s tile. Keep in mind that Ludwig at the end of the game could also win.
Playtrough of the game.
We have tried this game with three players and we have tried Between two castles with the two player variant. If you are thinking about buying this game when you mostly play with board games with two players, our opinion is don’t. But if you have friends who also play a lot of board games that you meet up with regularly, then buying this game is definitely worth it. We think the two player version is really well thought of, but for us it’s lacking the fun of the communication and discussion you have when you play this game with more players. That being said, keep in mind that this is just our opinion.
Between two castles has a really nice insert that has just the right size to place in the middle of the table without blocking the castles to much. It’s a big plus you don’t have to count the tiles as you take them, you just take a stack from the insert as they fit exactly nine tiles. We also love the idea of having to work together to build your castles, but you still have to try your best on each castle as you will only be rewarded for the castle with the lowest points. We found that playing with three players created a lot of different creative castles with a lot of discussion on how to get the most points. Each tile gives different rewards depending on the way it’s placed, so it’s wort discussing over. It’s also a game that is really easy to learn and pretty straightforward. This is definitely a great game to bring to your board game group.
Between two castles is a great tile building game that is most fun with more players. You will have to work together with your neighbors to build the best castles with the resources you are given. This game is easy to learn, and even if you’re struggling, you can always count on the players that you work together with, to score the best points. The quality of the tiles and components are really good, and the design of the tiles are really well made. If you love tile building games and your friends do as well, this is a great game to take with you at the next board game evening.