Castles of Mad King Ludwig Review

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01 June 2020
Whimsy and giggles, plus depth and thought

Bezier Games | Tile placement | £37 | 1-4 players | 90 minutes | 

King Ludwig II took the throne of Bavaria in 1864, and was obsessed with building fairytale castles. He spent his entire fortune on their lavish construction, until he was declared insane and removed from the throne in 1886. Sometimes the strangest of true stories make wonderful games.

 Like all good royals Castles of Mad King Ludwig comes from good parentage. Designed by Ted Alspatch, published by Bezier Games, you feel like you’re in safe hands. But when you realise this is another tile placement game for one to four players based around a construction theme, you can’t help wondering is this just Suburbia in a fantasy theme?

You can’t ignore that the game is based on purchasing and placing tiles to your best advantage, with open goals for players to compete for, and hidden goals to sway your building choices, and both games have been worked on by artist Ollin Timm, giving a familiar style to them both 

But where Suburbia can feel dry and abstract, Castles of Mad King Ludwig is immersive. The interaction between players as you take turns choosing how much new rooms cost and receiving your opponents money when they buy from you. Then building your castle is joyously silly. Attaching a garden to a bedroom and squeezing a banquet suite next to them both, may seem like ridiculous planning, but you’re dealing with the whims of a crazy royal, it doesn’t need to make traditional sense.

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Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a silly puzzle game, but surprising in the depth of strategy involved. It’s got enough whimsy and giggles for casual, or new board gamers, with enough depth and thought to get them ready for another game, and will still engage a “serious” board gamer. It’s a must for your collection.

(Millie Lavelle [email protected], Twitter: @geekonradio)


This article originally appeared in the first issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.

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