I’ve just finished assembling my print and play copy of Castle dice by Fun to 11 games. I have had this game on my “to build” list for sometime but the number of dice I would have needed to source has always put me off a little. Fun to 11 games ran a kickstarter for Castle dice and had an option for dice only. I didn’t want to pay a small fortune in shipping so I elected for the dice only. As it turned out the dice only reward was meant for the US only (I miss read) but in what I can only say was a stellar level of Customer service, Fun to 11 games shipped the dice all the way to Australia (Big thumbs up and thanks).
A word of caution on Kickstarter, a number of people seem to see/treat kickstarter as a pre-order mechanism. This is not the case at all kickstarter is you providing an unsecured loan to the company or individual to launch a product. This means if the project goes south you’ll receive nothing (well maybe a refund). You can see the information AISC (Australian Investment & Securities Commission) has assembled on crowd funding. Basic rule of thumb as with any investment or business backing, do your research and don’t commit to more than you can afford to lose. Saying that I’ve supported 17 projects; 2 failed to meet funding goals so no cost to me, 7 I’ve received my goods for no issue, 5 I know the stuff is coming as the people running those KS already have 90% completed drafts (basically need funding to produce) or have started shipping, 2 are still active and 1 I’m unsure on but my pledge was minimal and was more of giving someone an opportunity.
On with Castle dice, if you live in the US and definitely want the game, I’d be inclined to just buy the game outright, it’s $65 shipped in the US and although I haven’t seen the printed commercial game in real life, the components look solid from the you-tube video’s. For myself as shipping to Australia almost doubles the cost of the game I used the print and play copy I received from the Kickstarter it contained cleaner artwork than the original print and play files. You might still be able to get these files from the Fun to 11 games website.
The market cards are meant to be smaller the the villager and castle cards for ease of making them by hand I enlarged my market cards back to standard card size. This enabled me to simply print a front and back for all the cards on sticker sheet, then cut them out using a craft knife as slightly oversize card shaped rectangles. These I then carefully stuck onto the front and back of common magic cards and trimmed any overhang and rounded the corners back. This was fairly mind destroying to complete 107 cards but they do look good if a tiny bit thick. I did contemplate using artscow however I might in the longer term expand my set to cover upto 8 players which will require me to print more cards and doing it at home through the same printer I can keep them consistent, plus new custom cards become a possibility. All the cards got plastic sleeved to make shuffling a tad easier and limit wear and tear.
For the playing mats and turn tracker I stuck these down to heavy box board and then covered them with clear contact to help minimize the wear and tear. I did discover that if I spray the box board with 3m glue and then stick the sticker sheet to the box board I seem to get much better adhesion and I had minimal warping. I tried this out the game pieces here as I had noticed a few my dungeon tiles the sticker sheet was lifting away from the box board. my guess is that the box board is very very dry and sucks any moisture out of the sticker backing causing it to lift slightly. I’m hoping the very light layer of 3m glue will provide a barrier and better adhesion, it seems to on these 5 test pieces.
Last up were all the tokens, I ran these through my trusty cutter and other than being a little thin they work well. I’ve played a couple of games and it would definitely be handy if the tokens were a little thicker and double sided. So I’ll probably work on remaking these int he future if the game itself gets enough play time (more on that later). The animal tokens are excellent and look very good on the table, the villager tokens in contrast I’m not so impressed with and I might find and use a different piece of artwork for these when I remake them. For resource markers I used clear glass beads which lets you read the numbers through the beads with little difficulty.
We’ve played through a number of games now from everything from 2 through to 6 players (yep stretching it out). For myself and the people who played the game with me we found the game a little to flat/detached with not enough player interaction. Although I should caution that as a group we tend to prefer games with lots of player interaction for example Citadels, Resistance although Munchkin gets rolled our reasonably often in one flavor or another. It’s possible we are simply missing something from the game play or that the game just dosen’t fit what we all prefer to play.
Saying that the game does play solidly, we had no issue with any of the rules and most players had picked up what was going on by about 1/3rd of the way through the first game. I can see it as being a fairly good game for younger gamers (okay anyone with Kids) although depending on age they might struggle a little with some of the card interactions but saying that 8-9 year olds handle Ipads like pros so it probably wont be an issue. We did find stretching the game to 6 players with just the standard dice wasn’t to much of a problem. In two of the turns the person picking last ended up with little choice but this actually made it slightly more enjoyable as we had exhausted the available resources for the world and naturally the time to play was also lengthened.
I do have some idea’s to increase player interaction so as to spice things up a little but as they will be experimental and it will require not an insignificant amount of work on my half to create customs cards etc I may not get to it but in no particular order, there a little shorthand noted:
- Bribe the Barbarians – play the card and send 1 group of rolled barbarians to any other player.
- Wall w/ Ballista – Destroy a bunch of Barbarians.
- Stables – Send out your on cavalry to raid a neighboring castle (resolve after barbarians raiding castle and receive one of resource if successful)
- Wall w/ Catapult – Pummel a neighboring castle, not sure how to make this work yet.
I guess the big question is would I buy this game now, answer would have to be No, it just doesn’t fit with what our group enjoys. I would point out that on BGG castle dice is running at a solid 7+ which is a fairly impressive score for a game so I suspect this is a personal group preference thing more than anything (not every game will please everyone) . If your not sure give the print a play version a try before you buy.