Score the best of two castles

If the name in the headline seems slightly odd and lengthy, you’d be forgiven for thinking so, but such is the cost of combining two fairly different tile-laying games into one new and surprising title. Stonemaier Games announced on Wednesday that they’ve gotten permission from Bezier Games  to combine their Castles of Mad King Ludwig with Stonemaier’s Between Two Cities, creating a more unique version of the latter with advanced scoring and theme from the former. It’s a kind of board gaming mad science that, when coupled with several prominent reviewers having received early copies to critique, makes for one very powerful piece of news that subverts disbelief with lots of pretty new tiles and possibilities. Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig plays 2 to 7 players, features a 4-piece Game Trayz custom insert, and is set to hit retail on October 19th.

     “Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a competitive tile-drafting game in which each tile is a room in a castle. You work together with the player on your left to design one castle, and with the player on your right on another castle. […] At the end of the game, each castle is scored. Your personal final score is the lower of the scores of the two castles you helped design, and the player with the highest final score wins the game. To win, you have to share your attention and your devotion between two castles.”

As presented within the description above, it really is just Between Two Cities but with some better bits mixed in. You’re still doing the same wonderfully unique exercise of building two places between your neighboring opponents, but now there’s more involved with what kinds of rooms you add that affect scoring in new and interesting ways. It is doubtlessly a more attractive package than either of it’s parts, both on the table and in it’s design. Fans of either game have something a bit more of value in store in this union, which speaks to the thoughtfulness of Stonemaier Games’ presentation of this product.

Apart from the praise and criticisms this game will gather under it’s own merits, I can’t help but applaud the idea of smashing up two games into something a bit different. Will this become a new trend to takeoff into 2019? The year of board game mashups? It would be fascinating to see, and I encourage it! If you’re interested in learning more about Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, check out Stonemaier Games website for more pictures, videos, a full rulebook, and updates.