By Rick Teverbaugh
The Herald Bulletin
— Castle Panic is the best co-operative board game I’ve yet played, especially in terms of creating the need to work in tandem and creating real tension.
For those who don’t know of the game, it puts the gamers inside a castle trying to withstand an onslaught of monsters bent on its destruction. Through an ingenious system of random monster movement and appearance together with a variety of abilities, there is no easy way for the gamers to survive. In fact, my experience has been that more than half the time they don’t.
Now the tension and the challenge goes up a notch or two, but fortunately so does the tools available to successfully complete the job in the first Castle Panic expansion, The Wizard’s Tower. The original Castle Panic game is required to use The Wizards’ Tower.
In this expansion, a wizard has joined your fight to give the gamers magical options as long as they can keep his tower standing. That’s the good news. The spells are powerful and include the introduction of fire to the game.
The bad news is that you’ll need all of them. There are new monsters who have joined the attack. Some replace the old monsters from the base game and some merely join in as the setup to the game has changed. There are imps, flying creatures like a Phoenix and a climbing Troll. There are also Mega Boss Monsters like a dragon and a necromancer.
Fire can also be used against the defenders of the castle, making the shelter even more vulnerable. Game time can be extended a bit using this expansion, but it does not make the game seem long.
“When we created Castle Panic, we planned on it serving as a gateway game that would be easy for casual or new gamers to learn,” said game creator Justin De Witt of Fireside Gamesx. “Our intention was to build on the game by adding new monsters, cards, and other elements to increase the challenge and complexity of the core game. The Wizard's Tower is the first expansion to Castle Panic, and it does just that.
“We intentionally reserved magical elements for The Wizard's Tower. With the expansion, players now have a Wizard deck to draw from that provides magical abilities in keeping with the idea of a wizard now inhabiting the world of Castle Panic. Many of the new monsters and cards in The Wizard's Tower are
actually concepts that we came up with while working on Castle Panic but decided to withhold for various reasons. Some of the new ideas were actually suggested by fans, and after we tested them to make sure they worked, we added them as well.
The new monsters definitely add a lot more danger for the castle defenders. Stronger, smarter, and faster, these new threats provide a new level of challenge for the players. To keep the game balanced, we added new cards to the original deck as well as the Wizard deck, which give the players more
choices and more firepower to deal with these beasts.
“We've still got a few tricks up our sleeves when it comes to the world of Castle Panic, so stay tuned. There's more good stuff in the works.”
That’s good news for players. Castle Panic is for 1-6 players and anyone about 12 years of age and older can play this game. So whether you already are a fan of Castle Panic or just learning about it, I’d suggest joining the fray. It’s co-operative, but it also provides a mechanic to determine an overall winner for those who want to use that option. It is reasonably priced at $35 for the base game and $24.95 for the expansion. It can be played in about an hour or can run up to 90 minutes using the expansion.
For more information on the game go to: http://www.firesidegames.com/castlepanic.html