Castellan Review - Steve Jackson Games

Castellan Review - Steve Jackson Games

Quick Glance - Castellan

  • Game Type – Head-to-Head Area Control
  • Number of Players – 1 to 2 (3 to 4 with expansion)
  • Mechanics – Area Control, Co-operative Building
  • Difficulty to learn – Easy
  • Release – 2017
  • MSRP - $34.99
  • Publisher – Steve Jackson Games
  • Recommended for fans of - Carcassonne

Introduction

Area control games are some of my favorite. Despite most of my gaming group not liking Carcassonne, it's one that I am extremely fond of.  There is just something awesome about conquering a territory from your buddy that makes me smile.

Steve Jackson Games Castellan
Publisher Services Inc (PSI)

Gameplay

Gameplay is relatively simple. Two players cooperate together to build a castle. They take turns playing cards which give them the ability to use different pieces to build parts of the castle.

When a player successfully encloses an area (courtyard) in a rectangle or square, a Keep of their color can be placed, representing a point for that player. Depending on what pieces are drawn from the card, this can lead to some interesting strategies forcing a player to help their opponent unwillingly.

At only one time during the game, a player can claim an area with two Keeps, effectively increasing the number of points claimed for that courtyard. Once all pieces in the game have been played, the game ends and scoring begins.

Rulebook

Small, short and to the point. It took me no longer than 15 minutes to read through and understand how Castellan is played. Some examples of gameplay are provided along with what moves are not possible in the game.

Theme

Who doesn't love castles? The theme is perfect for what the game is all about, building walls and controlling courtyards.

Build a castle, but don't let your opponent take control of those courtyards!

Set-Up/Takedown

There isn't much to set up, there is no formal board. Just have your pieces organized in the provided bins, shuffle your cards and you are ready to go!

Components

The castle pieces are all made of highly durable and very detailed hard plastic. All components interlock seamlessly, which if they didn't would become a huge problem for playing this game as eventually all walls will connect to one another in some fashion. The red and blue keeps are aesthetically pleasing to the eye and stack well during gameplay.  The cards are made of a decent card stock and have a glossy finish.

Castellan components are very detailed and sturdirllly built.

Final Thoughts

Castellan is a great head-to-head game that can be played quickly if needed. I think a standard game took Dean and I less than a half hour, and the majority of that time is thinking about your next move. I really like the castle components as they will hold up for years over multiple plays.

However, I really wish it was sold as a 4-player game right out of the box. The expansion is no more than essentially doubling the number of components that you would need for four players and doesn't add anything else to the game itself.  With that being said, the game is extremely fun to play and really makes you think. Would my opponent build there if I did this? This is a question that I asked myself constantly while playing this game.

Castellan is one of those hidden gems that not a lot of people have heard of, but should not be missed. If you are a fan of building and area of control type games, or maybe just want a good head-to-head game that will make you think, you definitely should check out Castellan when you get a chance.

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