Review: Castle Panic: The Wizard’s Tower – great expansion
Human forces were brave and defended the castle againts hordes of goblins and trolls. But it seems, that their heroism is not enough. With the second dawn of the Battle of Raqht Castle, there arrived reinforcements for the attacking army. Now, there will not be only troll chiefs running downhill, but there will be also dragons, necromancers, or even chimeras fighting by their side. When the sun comes out and castle inhabitants see a brand new army, they feel like their battle is lost.
Fortunately, with the first rays of sun, there was seen a giant eagle on the sky. It deftly avoided all the arrows and dragon failed to take off in such short time. So the eagle landed behind the walls, on the castle courtyard. A few characters in the hoods jumped from its back. None of the inhabitants of the castle could have any doubt about fact of who they are – magicians from the king’s brother, who listened to their plea for help. A new round of the battle can now really begin.
Caste Panic (review) is a game, where players try to defend their castle against hordes of incoming monsters from all world sides. And this game from Fireside Games has lived up to its expansion in the year of 2011. The author is the same as author of original board game – Justin De Witt. The illustrations were taken care of by the author himself. Anne-Marie de Witt helped him with the development of the game.
If you have read our review of the original Castle Panic, you could see, that we really liked the game and marked it as a perfect family game. Its basis is a cooperative effort in reflecting enemy onslaught. Only as the second goal is competition among player themselves for the one, who manages to defeat the most monsters.
And now there is an expansion waitin for you in a half oblong box. Do not worry, that you could be disappointed with its content. There is everything you could want inside – a new castle cards (ten of them), and many new monsters. They even added the new magic pack (22 cards) and fire tokens, which we will talk about in a moment. Box also includes rules, that will explain everything and prepare you for a new phase of castle defense.
The amount of new monsters will amaze you – because you will find 49 new chips of them! And there are really many kinds. This means, that you will see only a few orcs and trolls from the basic game. You will also be pleased with the new bag to draw monsters from and couple of reference cards, where you will find all new rules in one place. Everything is completed, when we take a new tower out of the box. This is the place, where all the magical stuff resides. You source of new, powerful defense.
How differs the very game preparation? The most significant change is made in monsters, which you put in the bag. You put aside many original tokens (rolling stones, monsters and coloured movements) and keep only six goblins, six orcs and five trolls. The rest is replaced by the new nineteen different races of monsters.
You now add also three of the six mega bosses into the recipe to have the whole package of the attacking army. These are really powerful monsters, that have four to five lives (hits) each. You could differentiate them by touch (more edges of the token), so they are substituted in the drawing bag with a harbinger tokens. You will then take an according monster, when you draw this token out of the bag.
All six slices, which made up for castle surrounding, will possess one randomly drawn monster at start of the game, as usual. But this cannot be the mega boss, so if you draw one, just return it to the bag and draw another token. All put in play events are resolved at the start of the game for these monsters.
Now you build castle in the middle, with its walls and towers. One of these towers will be replaced by the brand new wizard tower. There comes also a deck of cards for drawing spells with this building. Do not forget also to mix new ten castle cards into the castle deck. These cards give you new skills to deal with the impending attack. Eighteen purple imps and fire tokens are put in piles on the table. Both of them will become important further during the game.
Now it must be said, that not only mega bosses, but also common new monsters have special abilities, which will complicate your life. The most insidious are the flying and fire breathing creatures, which bring a number of additional rules with them. Flying monsters cannot be reached by the ground troops – nor knights either swordsmen. But archers can shoot at them in all three sectors in the available colors.
Far worse are fire monsters, which puts the game into flames. There are also fire rolling stones, which will not only destroy your first wall, but set another one on fire. Likewise, you can be harmed by the fiery dragon breath and flame spawning chimeras, which are both mega bosses.
A fire is not pleasant. Game contains tokens to monitor the buildings on fire. For every fire attack, the wall (or tower) gets a flame token. When the third hit comes, it is completely destroyed. In addition, there is a hitch – a burning building (wall) does not hurt a monster, which attacks it. So it can break through walls unpunished, without any wound suffered. In regular case, it would lose one life.
It is therefore important to regularly quench the wall. Brick and mortar cards can be used for this purpose – for each card discarded you can remove one fire token. These chips are designed very cleverly, as they are fixed directly on the wall. This allows you to easily keep track, which parts of your castle is battered by this hungry element.
Also monsters can begin to burn, if you send a fireball from behind the walls. This is possible with playing of spell cards. You can play these cards during your turn just like any other action. And spell power is usually very large. You can draw one magic card in your turn, if you throw away one of the cards from your hand. In this case, you can reveal either a card from a deck of ordinary fighters, or draw from the pile in magical tower.
Most spell cards allow you to hit a monster in a particular place or it will help fortify the wall. All these new cards without exception are very useful and you need them, especially at a time, when there are hordes of new enemies coming your way. The attackers may even be immune to some of the ways of combat. For example, the centaur will not be harmed by arrows, but it is put down with a single strike of a knight. Climbing trolls are another example, with thein climbing gear to jump over the wall without stopping.
Doppelganger is also great. It is a monster, that will never attack you by itself. Instead, it remains hoden in the forest and will take the form of the first monster, which you kill. You must therefore be careful in that moment and kill some weak enemy. You should beware killing boss at all costs.
In addition to common enemies, you can be attacked by groups of imps. Their number is determined by one roll of the dice and number of your towers still standing. These imps are not drawn from the bag, but you take them directly from the pile on the table. Although they are weak and have only one hitpoint, there is a lot of them and their numbers can prepare you many harsh moments. In addition you will not get any points for slaying them, they are running back to the drawing pile once they defeated. From there they can be reborn.
The core and heart of the whole game are of course six mega bosses. These will provide much more chaos into the play, than their common comrades. Each of bosses has some special abilities. Hydra adds two imps for each hit you strike and overflows you with attacking force. As long as the Basilisk is in the game, players can not exchange cards in the second phase of their turn. But most damage is done by the dragon, who moves not only forward – its motion is determined by the dice. And this feature often spits fire, igniting everything and destroying parts of your castle.
Castle Panic: Wizard’s Tower is absolutely superb extensit, which provides an already nice family game a next breath. Author managed to remove the most fundamental problems and objections, that players may have against Castle Panic. First of all, it was rather a monotonous game. Now with the great variability of monster, you never know, what will peek at you in the next turn. That is really exciting.
It would seem, that now the game is also more difficult, but it is not true. You have powerful spells at your disposal and new castle cards in the deck. All only to help you cope with enemy raids. According to statistics it even seems, that the rate of victories has increased since we put extension onto our table. But because there are always only three of the six bosses in one game, there is really easy way to make the game more difficult – just add one more.
A great addition is the fire. Of course, its influence will vary game by game, because it depends on several conditions. It may be your biggest problem to put it out, but it could also make only one puff and be gone. The more variable the game gets and offers real experience of defending besieged castle – you do not know, which problems will you have to deal with in the next match.
Many situations are handled much better in the expansion and players with the new cards in hand have more chances to deal with monsters, without requiring a specific card with the right coordinates. But you still have to have luck or cooperate precisely with your fellow players. On the other hand, some creatures in the game are completely immune to certain types of attacks.
Even the graphic is colorful and has really changed since the last time. It leaves really better impression. And that’s good, because the appearance is enhanced significantly and provides much deeper impression of the whole game.
By adding lots of additional rules, the game is also more complex and less accessible to children. At least in the beginning, we definitely recommend playing only the basic game without expansion and gradually add new rules and new principles. The game is not very complicated, but remembering which monster has which special skills, will take a while. Children learn it very quickly and enjoy the kooperative game as never before.
Castle Panic: Wizard’s Tower is an extensiion, which multiplies experience of the basic game many times. In particular variability of enemies, but also magic, fire, monsters and the ability to enrich the gaming experience, causes, that no match will be the same. And above all, these parameters will make you want to defend the kastle again and again.
Review: Castle Panic: The Wizard’s Tower – great expansion
Castle Panic: Wizard's Tower is one of the best expansions, which are available on the market. But still you have to own the main game to play. But this box adds so much, that all fans of the original will be thrilled. And if you found Castle Panic too simple in gameplay, then this expansion adds completely different charge to the game. Lots of new monsters, fire on the walls and spells flying all around. Just imagine it! This is how the real castle siege should look like. And it will stay in bard songs for a very very long time.. And you should be right there, in the centre of it all..