Once again I have spent another evening hidden away from the majority of gamers at NoBoG in what has got to be one of my favourite areas of the Mash Tun, seriously I’m there so often that I am thinking of renaming it the James Hayward room. We were there to play Castles of Mad King Ludwig, a game that I have enjoyed immensely since I bought it last year and it was great to have the chance to play it with some new faces.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig involves players setting prices, paying for rooms and building up their castles. The last time I played it was as a three player game so having a fourth made for a nice change of pace although as usual it did take a while to set up.
Before long I had run through the rules and once again I started the game as the Master builder in order to demonstrate what the role actually involves on a practical level. Luckily for me the other players picked up the game very quickly and soon the green player was storming into the lead, leaving the rest of us for dust.
Green played masterfully and managed to stay ahead for the entire game although as the game wore on I was able to reduce the lead they had built significantly. For example in on round I used a food room to complete my entrance allowing me to complete said food room which allowed me to take another turn, so I grabbed another room and used it to complete a garden which gained me another 10,000.
Being able to play combinations such as that is the key to putting yourself in a position to win the game, of course the high points room are going to help too but you really do need to look out for the rooms that will work well together.
(Yellow Castle (Mine))
However as this was the first time most of the players at the table were playing Castles I decided to be a bit more relaxed. This meant that I ended up allowing everyone to correct one mistake before it was to late as wanted people to enjoy the game as well as learning how to play it.
At the end of the game it was looking like Green was going to win but once I had recounted all the rooms, added up the secret bonuses and worked out the public ones, it was my yellow castle that came out on top. This was mostly due to the fact that I was able to win two of the four categories outright as well as being able to tie for the lead in the other two.
It has only been a few weeks since I last played this game but it was nice to be able to play it again, this time with four people. Everyone seemed to pick it up really quickly and they all did very well, even to the end it was a very close game and I hope they all had as much fun playing it as I did.
Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a really good game and I am glad that I was able to pick up my very own copy of the game and its expansion, although I haven’t really had much of a chance to play with the new elements that it brings to the table.
After a quick break the four of us were joined by Shaun for my first game of Guillotine in 2016. Guillotine is a game that sees people playing cards to manipulate a line of nobles in order to chop off the heads of the ones with the most points. Some of the cards take more explaining than others but it is a very simple game and everyone seemed to pick it up very easily.
Guillotine is played over three rounds but we only ended up playing two as shaun played Robespierre which allowed him to end the day early which was fortunate for him as he had enough points to win the game. However this made him a bit of a target in the second round we played but despite multiple people messing with his nobles he also managed to win the second round.
Shaun left us at this point but to make up for it we picked up another two players including Mr. Weird himself for a game of CS Files which sees players attempt to figure just who amongst them has committed a murder. After a short night phase in which the murderer indicates their chosen weapon and clue, the forensic scientist attempts to lead everyone else to the right answer.
To do this the forensic scientist randomly draws tiles and selects options in order to help guide the players but much like codenames they can’t speak or give further clues. Subsequent rounds see new tiles replacing existing ones which can help narrow down the search but it is up to the players to make the right guess.
CS Files is a little bit expensive for a filler game but there is a ton of re playability that makes it more than worth the cost. What I like about this game is that to make a guess you literally have to turn in your badge, if you right you win but if not the game continues and while you can contribute you can no longer make a guess.
We did two rounds with myself starting as the first forensic scientist but we did so terribly that Andy was able to walk away as the murder twice in a row. I will definitely be brining it again and hopefully next time we will be able to catch the murder.
Overall I have to say that I really enjoyed playing CS Files with a bunch of amazing players and I am already looking forward to the next game. I have no idea what I will be playing next week but whatever it is, Im sure that it will be great.