First Impressions: Castle Panic!

Hello everybody! I hope you have all enjoyed your Easter weekends much more than I did. The area I live in was hit with quite the ice storm, which ruined many trees. This made me quite busy since I am in the industry of trees. My four day long weekend quickly turned into a four day work blitz. Hence the later than usual post. Anyway, let’s get past me and into some games! This week, I will be having a look at Castle Panic! from Fireside Games. Lets charge into it.


Getting a game of Castle Panic! ready to go!

How It’s Played

Castle Panic! is a cooperative tower defense game that is played in a few stages in each players turn. Orcs, Trolls, and Goblins are placed on the round board in the forest, which through turns will come closer to the castle in which you are trying to defend. You will play cards which are labeled with Archer, Knight, and Swordsman (along with other special cards), to help defend the castle in the centre of the board. The player will first draw cards to get to a predetermined number for the game. The number is determined by the number of players (Eg: 6 cards for 2 player game, 5 for 3 players etc.). From there, you have the option to discard and draw one new card if you choose, followed by trading cards. While trading in 2-5 player games, you may trade one card away, and in 6 player games, you are allowed to trade two. From there, you may play any number of cards in your hand to attack creatures that are coming to attack your castle. Once all of the cards you are playing that turn have been played, you will then move all of the monsters on the board one space closer to your castle in the middle of the board. Finally, once all monsters have been moved, you will then draw two more monsters and place them on the board according to a roll of a die (1-6 is labeled on the board to represent which section a creature is placed in). When you are attacking monsters, each card you use will give them one damage (unless otherwise noted). The health of each monster is represented on their token, and when they are damaged, the token is rotated to the next lowest number. Once you have damaged the monster when 1 is facing the castle, you have destroyed that monster. This is a basic rundown of the game, and while there is more to it with special cards and such, this gives a fairly good idea of how the game is played. 

A blue knight can destroy the monster token.

The Pretty Little Bow

First of all, the quality of the components in this game are very well made. All of the monster tokens are thick enough to take the constant touching that is needed to move them through the board. As well, the board itself is thick, and has stood up to at least one accidental dropping. The castle is built of 12 pieces (6 tower, 6 wall), which are of similar thickness to the monster tokens, and are held up by small stands. I found the stands fall off quite easily when a wall or tower has been destroyed, but when I take the stands off to put the game away, I don’t have scraping on the bottom area of the piece. That practically evens out to me! The box is your run of the mill game box, and the insert is a fairly functional one that keeps everything organized and all the cards in place. The artwork is very well done and reminds me of a classic computer animation style. I think this works for Castle Panic! considering I believe the game is trying to emulate the tower defense games that you can find all over the internet (or at least you could when I was younger), or on your cell phone. Overall a very well put together game.

What’s Not To Love?

There were a couple of small issues that I found in this game. I think that this game can be extremely tough, since your options can be limited depending on where monsters are on the board, along with what is in your hand. Sometimes you are handcuffed to doing nothing on your turn, and you are forced to let monsters get in closer on the castle. It can be extremely random at points due to having two uncontrollable factors as well (card drawing, and dice rolling). These factors in an unfortunate order can really lead to a near impossible game to win. Having said this, on the flip side, when the cards and dice rolls are in your favour, you stand a great chance of beating the barrage of monsters coming to destroy your castle.

What’d You Think?

Castle Panic! is a very good cooperative game. I think this is a wonderful game for folks who understand the concepts of tower defense video games, and a great transition from that style of video game, into board gaming. I think it is a wonderful family level game and many families could enjoy this game. I have even played a game with my three year old son, and while I was helping him with “game play decisions”, it was a great way for him to learn about dice rolling and placement on the proper number, as well as learning about some fantasy creatures, and spacing. Questions such as “Who can reach this back circle? (Archer) Do you have any of those? etc.” are wonderful to make young ones feel involved in the game. As great of a game as it is in those aspects, I think it is a game that can keep usual board game players involved as well. There is enough depth and puzzle to the game to keep all sorts of game players interested, and coming back. Overall, I think that Castle Panic! is a great choice of game for most game nights. I know that it will certainly be out and if not on the table set up, it will be in the “plan to play tonight” pile from night to night.

The Castle is being attacked!

I hope that you have enjoyed this weeks review, and you look forward to the next! I don’t want to say something like “I’ll see you Monday” this week, since my busy life may throw a wrench in my regular planned review day, however, what I will say is that I will talk to you all again as soon as I can! Remember, I love you all!

2 thoughts on “First Impressions: Castle Panic!”

  1. This is a fun one that I will play with my kids or sometimes as a solo option. You are right about the randomness, though. Sometimes you get absolutely brutalized by a series of random explosions of monsters and there’s nothing you can do about it. In this case, I think that could be fixed with a house rule or two, and maybe by increasing the complexity of the rules system a little bit, but unfortunately, ALL co-op/solo games are going to suffer from this condition at least a little. And it’s great for a light-weight option. I’m interested in trying out the expansion that goes with it. This game would look great on the table using minis instead of the cardboard tiles, saving the latter simply for purposes of blind-drawing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are certainly games that are tougher than others, however, there are also way easier games once in a while. It all balances out for the most part, and realistically, it doesn’t hurt my feelings or deter me from playing when we get demolished by monsters 🙂 I’d love to see minis, however with the way their life is counted, I think it’s just extra unnecessary pieces for the most part. It’d be pretty though for sure! Loved playing this enough to go out and get Dead Panic! and haven’t been disappointed.

      Liked by 1 person

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