Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Castilion Kickstarter Review, Part 1: Contents

This review is for a project still at the Kickstarter stage. As such, final game contents may vary from those shown here.
Kickstarter is continuing to throw a whole plethora of interesting looking offerings into the big old melting pot that is the specialist games market.  We do keep an eye on the scene as often as possible and do frequently see a lot which catches our interest, but due to financial restrictions (as mentioned in the past, Games & Tea is a labour of love and we have no gaming budget to speak of) we usually have to just wistfully watch them pass by.  More frequently, however, we're being apporached by creators of games in development (such as the recently funded Pirates! and Good Cop, Bad Cop) to give our thoughts on the game before it hits Kickstarter.
Such has been the case with our latest review, as we take a look at Castilion: a board game of strategy and bashing your opponent's stronghold to smithereens from Joe Mellanby.

Castilion is a game for 2 players (with potential for more pending Kickstarter success), in which each player must manage their army in a campaign to bring down their opponent's stronghold.  Whilst technically a board game, it does have a very card-heavy element, so let's take a look at the contents before delving into the gameplay...
First of all we have the board.  Now, the more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed the lack of biscuit crumbs and cat fur in this image, giving away the fact that this isn't our photo.  This is an image of the artwork from the final board - kindly provided by the game's creators.  Seeing as the board in our review prototype was missing the outside edge, we figured we may as well show you the proper thing.  The board takes the form of a map, featuring 8 castles, and a few other resource pick-up points, and it's upon this map that the players' armies must face off against eachother.  Around the outside of the map there are points to stack the various decks of cards, so this seems as good as time as any to take a look at them...
Fist of all we have the castles.  You can't really have a game called Castilion without castles (well, we suppose you could, but it would be maddeningly illogical), and here we have a fine selection to choose from.  as mentioned above, there are 8 castles on the board, and each one has a corresponding card.  Each castle starts with roughly 200 damage points, although these vary from one castle to the next - the weaker castles tend to be much closer to resources, whereas the stronger ones are further out in the wilderness where they generally have to take care of themselves.  Each player draws one castle at random to act as their stronghold for the game, and the rest are discarded.  But a castle is a seat of power, and if you're going to have one then you'll need someone to... well... sit in it!  So let's move onto the Royals and the Generals!

Castilion features one deck of Royals and one deck of Generals, each with slightly differing attack stats (we'll move onto these when we come to gameplay).  The Generals lead the players' armies on the battlefield, whilst the Royals largely stay hidden away in their castle, lording it over the small folk.  Should the general ever fall in battle, however, the Royal has to take over command and continue the campaign until either death or victory!  As with the castles, each player randomly chooses one Royal and one General to start the game, and the rest are discarded.
 So you've got a castle, you've got a Royal and you've got a General - looks like you'll need an army!  The armies in Castilion are formed of two coloured decks of 11 cards, with each deck containing Troops, Items, Formations, Actions and a Hero and Heroine.  Each player takes two deks, removes one Hero/Heroine from each colour to place face-down beside the board, shuffles them together, and places them face-down in their gaming area.
No, we're not talking about the waterworks and the electric company.  There are three utility cards in Castilion, all of which are one-shot uses which can change the tide of battle.  These all begin the game face-up next to the board, and can be claimed by any player who heads to their corresponding map location.
As any battle-hardened general can attest to, knowing the terrain can make all the difference when it comes to besting an opposing army.  The Terrain cards in Castilion simulate that, slowing players' armies to a crawl, or even reducing their battlefield effectiveness at a crucial moment.
And finally we have the movement cards - a static army is rather easy to outmaneuver or avoid altogether, after all!  Each player's army can move up to 2 map spaces per turn under their own steam, but the Movement cards are where players can start to use hit and run attacks, giving their armies the speed needed to pull off their grand plans.
Phew!  So you certainly get a fair old whack in the basic Castilion game!  Head on over to Part 2 of the review, and well go through how the game works, and give our final verdict on the gameplay!

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