Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig

How many fking castles does this guy need?


Between Two Castles is, as the name does not make any effort to hide, a mash-up of Between Two Cities and the Mad King Ludwig franchise. The core gameplay comes from Between Two Cities—there are two rounds, and at the start of each round, each player takes a stack of tiles. Draft two tiles, pass to the left, draft two tiles, pass to the left, until only one tile remains, which is discarded. You’re building a castle with each of the people adjacent to you, and your score is the lowest of the two castles you help build, which means you can’t let one of them suck.


The Mad King aspect is how all the tiles go together. There’s no spatial aspect like the original Castles of Mad King Ludwig; instead, you have several types of square tiles which can be placed around the core of your castle, the throne room. Like Castles, each tile has a type, and most tiles have a way to score points that relates to other tiles in the game. The most common adjacency rules are to score for tiles in the eight spaces around a given tile, or for all tiles above a tile, below it, or both. These can relate to the room type itself (utility room, outdoors area, etc), or the second icon on these tiles (swords, a mirror, and so on).


Another similarity to Castles is that you have much more freedom to build your castle however you want. Most rooms have to be built at the ground floor (the level of the throne room) or above, but there are downstairs rooms that can go below. Tiles have to be placed adjacent to other ones. The castle can go as high as you want, but all rooms must be supported by actual room tiles beneath them (you can’t place a tile above an outdoor area). Alternately, you can go as wide as you want—whatever works for your grand architectural plan.


Also like Castles, you get bonuses for fulfilling certain basic requirements. In this case, if you place three of a tile type, you get an associated bonus, and if you place five of one type, you get a specialty room tile that can add substantially to your final score. It takes some getting used to the bonuses; none of them are hard to understand individually, but understanding them well enough to grab them quickly in the flow of the game can be hard.


And if there’s a flaw in this game, the bonuses are it. Between Two Cities is a fantastic game. Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a game I don’t like playing, but which I can’t deny is well-designed—I’m just crap at spatial awareness. Putting together a castle in the Ludwig vein, according to BTC rules, is quite fun on a basic level. But the draft mechanic works best when everybody sorts through the available tiles, picks two, then everyone plays their tiles together and moves on to the next decision. When people get bonuses, new players will often overlook them because they want to move on to building more castle pieces; once everyone’s used to grabbing their bonuses, then the game either slows a bit while decisions are made (some of the bonuses require players choose from tiles or bonus cards), or some people move on with their next decision and are left to wait while the bonus earners catch up.


I didn’t have a chance to play this with a group who was experienced enough to blow through the bonus-grabbing process, so it’s theoretically possible the game plays very well once everyone is on point. Thing is, BTC is a fairly casual game, and it’s unlikely this game (especially with a bigger group) is only going to have experienced players in it. The rhythm of Between Two Cities that this idea relies on gets thrown off by the Mad King Ludwig aspects. Thus, while the idea is sound and the baseline game is pretty good, it winds up being about 90% as good as what you’d hope to get when putting two games of this quality together.


Still, when you’re working at this level, 90% is solid. If you liked both of the component games, you’ll probably like this. If you liked one and didn’t play the other, it’s worth trying. If… look, just play the game if you get the chance.


(4.1 / 5)

November 2nd Commander

November 2nd Commander

This past Friday we had 3 Commander pods for Friday Night Magic. We thought we would share some information about each pod’s winner.

Greg often hops into Commander Night, and he did so this past week. He used an unchanged Adaptive Enchantment deck from 2018’s Commander set. His commander was Estrid, the Masked(pictured). Asked if he will be making any changes Greg did not think he will be making any changes to the deck. He felt it is quite good right out of the package. In his pod the Hydra Omnivore surprised him with its efficiency versus the whole table that did not seem to have any board wipes. As it is Guilds of Ravnica Standard season we also asked each winner what Ravnica guild they belong to. Greg proudly fights for Dimir because it is the house that trolls the best.

Pod two was won by Landon T. His commander was Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. As he won he also felt his deck will not need any changes for next week. The card that caught his pod off guard was Death Mantle. His pod was not ready to have to kill most creatures twice just by paying 4 and returning the creature to the battlefield with Death Mantle attached. The guild that Landon supports is Golgari because death is only an illusion.

The third pod was won by Tim G. His commander was Aminatou, the Fateshifter. Even though he won his pod he plans to change to a different deck for next week. Variety is the spice of life and Magic. The card that caught Tim’s pod unaware was Urza’s Ruinous Blast. Exiling all non land permanents hurt a lot. It is a very good card. Tim is also a member of Golgari because that guild is his favorite color combination. It is dirty and gross.

There are 3 of the decks that won our Commander Friday Night Magic. Build your best Commander deck and come out and have some fun and see if you can challenge these pod winners for victory.

Kill Team League Week 1

Kill Team League Week 1

Week 1 of the Kill Team campaign kicked off last Monday night. We had 8 players participate(turn in their league cards at the end of the night.) We had 6 factions represented: Adeptus Astartes, Astra Militarum, Death Guard, Orks, Thousand Sons, and Tyranids. It looks like Orks, Thousand Sons, Astra Militarum, and Adeptus Astartes took loses, while a different Adeptus Astartes team, Death Guard, and Tyranids got wins.

So after 1 week we have a 3 way tie between: David S, Steve S, and Mike P.

There is still plenty of time to join the league only $5 a month(3 total months) which gets you a unique Tactics Card each week(12 in total), Pins for the top player at the end of each month(Weeks 4,8, and 12) in each faction including Guerrilla. Also at the end of each month the over all leader gets a metal. At the end of Month 2 and 3(Weeks 8 and 12) players get dice and acrylic objective markers. Make up games can be played on Monday’s during the normal open play time, or you can arrange with an opponent to meet at the store and play any time there is an open table.

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