Defending your castle against invaders, which we know mainly from computer games, is applied to a cooperative board game in Castle Panic, where the goal remains the same: to keep the castle standing. Once the monsters come in, it’s hard to keep your castle standing.
The game board is divided into three colored areas with space in the middle for the 6 walls and battlements of your castle. The areas are divided into 3 rings that indicate which defenders can be active in that area. The monsters move from the woods to your castle and are the first to be hit by your archers in the appropriate color. When they come closer, the knights can come into action and when they are almost hitting your walls, it’s time to send a swordsman to them.
For defense purposes, all players receive cards showing the type of men and the colour. This contains the element of cooperation. You may exchange cards with each other to make sure you can hit the monsters in your turn. Every turn they move closer to your castle, so you can predict when they will be where.
Besides the regular defense cards, there are also nice special cards such as the giant boulder that flattens everything in its path in a straight line or cards to build new walls with. Also the monsters sometimes use special powers so it is not an easy job to win. If a group succeeds in leaving at least one battlement, you have won the game.
Castle Panic is a fun and cooperative family game you should own
The age indication wrongly indicates that it is not a fun family game. The theme and the beautiful execution are very appealing to children and with a little explanation and help even a 6 year old can help to beat the monsters, which in most cases also succeeds.
For adult players, Castle Panic might provide too little influence and the choices you can make are obvious. Perhaps the expansions could change that. But as a family game, especially for children who can’t stand their loss, it is a nice addition to the collection.