Tuesday, 16 April 2013

At The Table: Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower

After what seems like an extended lull, our game table has really seen a lot of action of late. Either that or, I have suddenly had a lot more free time for gaming.. Most likely a little of both. Which ever way I look at it though, to get back to leisure of gaming is nothing but a good thing.

Castle Panic: The Wizard's Tower

After long term ownership and what I can only really describe as a fanboy-esque appreciation of it's predecessor I finally got around to breaking out the expansion yesterday and, WOW! Is this ever a horse of a different color.

The mass appeal of the original game I suspect and indeed, it's personal  appeal to me was the sheer speed and simplicity of play.. Which has gone right out of the window. In fact the whole dynamic of the game changes when you introduce the Wizard's Tower.

If I had to compare it, I would say that the original game is a lot about playing a 1st level Warrior. Things are straight forward. You hack, you slash and, more often than not, you prevail. Playing the expansion though is a lot more like playing an epic level magic-user straight after the fact. You have a lot more power (and BOY can you feel it) but, the challenges that the GM throws at you are a lot more life and death, with no clear path to victory.

In fact, I would go as far as saying that the original game would be more aptly named "Castle Don't Sweat It", a claim which I could never make of the expansion. The expansion really ramps up the difficulty level of the game, which isn't a bad thing. It makes victories a lot more meaningful and I always relish a challenge.

The only real downfall with this add-on is the sheer volume of rules it adds. Don't get me wrong, it's not a lot but, to go from what is realistically a casual level game suitable for the whole family to, a gamer level game with a virtually vertical learning curve is going to be a bit too much of a leap for a large chunk of the folks who invested in the original.

That aside though, speaking as a gamer who appreciates a challenge (and a fanboy of the original), I'd highly recommend adding this one to the collection. It's not an expensive buy in and, it's worth every penny.

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