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Board game reviews, strategy tips & session reports

Castles of Burgundy Review

Castles of BurgundyStats:
No. of players: 2-4
Amount of time to play: 90 min
Age requirements: 12+
Set-up time: 10 minutes

Castles of Burgundy is a Euro-game with dice. You must build the most grand estate to score more victory points than your opponents and win.

Castles of Burgundy Description:

Castles of Burgundy takes place over five phases which each has five turns. This means you have 25 turns to build your estate and score VPs.

There are four actions you can take on your turn. Take a hex tile from the main board and add it to one of the three storage slots on your player board. Move a hex tile from one of the storage slots and place it in your estate. Sell goods for siverlings and VPs. Or take workers tiles that let you adjust your die rolls by one pip.

What action you can take will depend on what you roll on your two dice. Each area of the main board where you can claim a hex has a number from one to six associated with it. You may only take a hex tile from the area that matches a number on the die you rolled. In the same way each section on your player board has a die number associated with it. In order to place a tile on your estate it must match the number on one of your dice. Even selling goods requires you match the die on the goods you want to sell.

There are different types of hex tiles and they give you actions, abilities or points when they are added your estate. Most of these are resolved once when they are placed on your estate. But a few just give you end of game VPs.

Knowledge tiles get you abilities that can change rules for you to get an advantage. They also include some hex tiles that grant you extra VPs. Ship tiles let you take goods and get ahead in the player turn order. Animal tiles score you VPs based on the number of animals on the tile. Placing them in pastures with other animals of the same type scores you even more VPs. Castles let you take an extra action as if you rolled any result. Buildings let you make use of that buildings advantage depending on the building type. Mines get you more silverlings between phases.

You score VPs by filling regions on your player board. Each of the hex tile types has a color associated with it. You must place them into your estate onto a spot that matches that color. Once you fill a colored region you score VPs based on its size and the phase of the game. You also get extra points if you are the first or second player to fill all the regions of a color on your player board.

Quick Review of Castles of Burgundy:

Castles of Burgundy blends action dice into a Euro-game. The result is unique and fun. It requires smart planning, awareness and luck to win.

The components for this game are good. The art doesn’t stand out but doesn’t offend either, The rule book is very well-written and easy to follow. And though there are symbols on your player board for the building uses you’ll be referring to the rules a few times the first couple games. I wish they just made a written player aid with the building and knowledge hex explanations.

I like the way you can control the luck in this game with the worker tiles. They make this game more strategic than you’d think at first glance.

There are also multiple strategies to victory. Even if fate is not in your favor you can adjust your plan to easily stay in the game. It helps if you keep an eye on other players’ boards. Sometimes your best move is taking a tile someone else wants.

I just like rolling dice. I am also a fan of Euro-games. I like the way these are blended together in this game. It is very well done and creates a fun experience.

For how simple the game is, it is a bit complex to take in and teach. The learning curve is not so steep that it is a barrier but keep it in mind if you play games with lots of different groups or people. This is not so bad, as I think everyone has a shot in this game. Experienced players will tend to beat new ones, but new players won’t dread learning the game and should have fun.

The game can also slow down a lot if you are playing with someone with analysis paralysis. There are lots of decisions (especially early in the phase) and it may take some players to determine the optimal decision.

Castles of Burgundy can be enjoyed by gamers and non-gamers that don’t mind the initial learning curve. If you like Euros but miss rolling dice, pick this up. If you like games where you build things you should give this a try.

Score and synopsis: (Click here for an explanation of these review categories.)
Strategy 5 out of 6
Luck 4 out of 6
Player Interaction 4 out of 6
Replay Value 4 out of 6
Complexity 4 out of 6
Fun 5 out of 6
Overall 5 out of 6

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One Response to “Castles of Burgundy Review”

  1. Kathy says:

    I think most down time is early in the learning process when you have to keep looking up what each tile does. We downloaded some player aids from BGG which were really helpful at first, but by the 3rd or 4th game we didn’t need that any longer. Now the player boards are enough if we need something to jog our memories.

    Very fun game, much more interactive than some give it credit for since, as you say, you should be keeping an eye on your opponent(s) to be sure they don’t run away with too much.

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