Between Two Castles Of Mad King Ludwig Review - Header

Between Two Castles Of Mad King Ludwig Review

Rob Kalajian review, tabletop Leave a Comment

Between Two Castles Of Mad King Ludwig - Stonemaier Games $45.00
Between Two Castles Of Mad King Ludwig Review - Cover

Game title: Between Two Castles Of Mad King Ludwig

Game description: The king demands a castle! You are a world-renowned master builder who has been asked by the Mad King Ludwig to help design his castles. Projects of such significance require the expertise of more than one person, so for each assignment you are paired with another master builder to execute your grandiose plans. Will your planning and partnership skills be enough to design the most impressive castles in the world?

Overall
4
  • Play (Mechanics)
  • Presentation (Art/Quality)
  • Plan (Rules)

Summary

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is published by Stonemaier Games as part of a collaboration with Bezier Games that combines Bezier’s Castles of Mad King Ludwig with Stonemaier’s Between Two Cities. It’s a game where every player sits around the table, drafting tiles, and attempting to build the best castle they can with both the person to the left of them and the person to the right. The interesting twist is that their final score will be the lower scoring of these two castles.

Pros

Excellent production quality

Easy to set up/tear down because of included Game Trayz

Interesting player dynamics

Cons

Scoring takes some getting used to

Tray diagram in rules doesn’t match physical tray

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is published by Stonemaier Games as part of a collaboration with Bezier Games that combines Bezier’s Castles of Mad King Ludwig with Stonemaier’s Between Two Cities. It’s a game where every player sits around the table, drafting tiles, and attempting to build the best castle they can with both the person to the left of them and the person to the right. The interesting twist is that their final score will be the lower scoring of these two castles.

Let’s start with the game’s production. Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig comes standard with a set of custom Game Trayz to hold all of the game’s components. They don’t quite match up with the setup diagram in the rulebook, so I had to dig a bit online to determine what when in two slots, but they’re absolutely amazing and greatly reduce the time it takes to setup/tear down the game.

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig Review - Game Tray
Excellent game storage

The components that get stored in the game are just as impressive. Thick cardboard tiles, quality castle meeples, and a small deck of matte bonus cards make for an excellent tactile experience while playing the game. The included reference cards and score sheets are also made well, and much needed during play.

As far as gameplay is concerned, there are two rounds, each with a set of turns comprised of 2 phases. Each player starts with a stack of 9 tiles. They choose two to place face down, then pass the rest of their tiles to the left. Then each player reveals their tiles and discusses with the player to their left and right which tiles should go into which of their two castles. Different tiles score in different ways and also interact with other tiles to increase a castle’s score. There’s tons of possibility here, and often many good choices to pick from. Once all the current tiles in play are exhausted each player gets another 9 tiles and the 2nd round begins. At the end of round 2 the castles are scored.

As the game goes on players need to be aware of their castles and how many tiles are in each. For every 3 tiles of the same class a bonus is earned. Sometimes this is a special tile, while other times it may be a special scoring condition added to the end of the game. At every 5 tile of the same class another bonus can be earned. It’s just another layer added to a game with plenty of scoring layers available as it is.

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig Review - Sample 3 player setup
3-player setup

Scoring castles at the end of the game takes a bit of effort, though the more you play the easier it gets. Every class of tile gets scored for each type of that tile in the castle. There’s also bonus tiles and throne room bonuses to take into account. Thankfully the including score sheet breaks everything down for you and helps speed the process along. Once each player has scored both of their castles they’ll take the lower scoring of the 2 as their final score. The player with the highest final score wins.

Between Two Castles of Mad Ludwig is an excellent game that combines simple mechanics with an amazing amount of depth that takes several plays to fully start to understand how everything works. Even then there’s still much to discover and try out over the course of many games, giving it longevity that well justifies the game’s MSRP.

A copy of Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig was provided free for review by Stonemaier Games

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.