«Castles of Mad King Ludwig» review

Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Castles of Mad King Ludwig was published in 2014 by Bezier Games. It was designed by Ted Alspach. The illustrations in the game were done by Keith Curtis, Agnieszka Dabrowiecka, and Ollin Timm.

Game Components

  • Rules
  • 1 corridor board
  • 1 contract board
  • 9 hallways
  • 75+ unique room tiles
  • 50 room cards
  • 6 stairs
  • 22 favor tiles
  • 27 bonus cards
  • 2 room boards
  • 4 foyers
  • Coin tokens
  • 4 player aids
  • 1 Master Builder token
  • Wooden player markers
  • 1 giant tower-shaped scoreboard

Gameplay

Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm, also known as the Mad King Ludwig, was King of Bavaria. He became known for his incessant passion for extravagance. King Ludwig is still remembered for his exuberant castles. One of his castles was the inspiration for Disney castles.

In this game, you are invited to connive at King’s whims and construct one of his inconceivable castles.

One to four players take part in the game. Each player starts with a foyer. Every round, one of the players becomes the Master Builder. This player sets prices for rooms that other players can buy.

Players add their rooms to their castles and get money for it.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Building

Game Rules

Every round, the Master Builder takes enough room tiles to fill all the empty places in the castle and names prices for them. Then all players buy the tiles for the assigned prices from the Master Builder. If a player passes, they receive the money instead. The Master Builder gets to choose last.

Unbought rooms get 1000 coins each from the bank: this amount of money will go the player who purchases the tile.

Players add the tiles they bought to their castles according to room placing rules. Then they get points for their rooms.

When there are no more room tiles, the game ends. Players count their rooms, bonuses, and money. The player who has the most points wins.

Rules for Placing Rooms

  • Entrance of a new room must align with an entrance of a room that is already there
  • Tiles cannot overlap each other
  • Orientation of your room does not matter
  • Entrances must be aligned to walls
  • There has to be at least one “real” entrance (entrance that leads into your castle from outside)
  • Rooms on different floors can only connect via stairs
  • An outdoor room has a top edge that no room can be adjacent to
  • To purchase a room, you must be able to place it according to the rules

Room types

  • Living rooms
  • Activity rooms
  • Outdoor rooms
  • Utility rooms
  • Food rooms
  • Corridor rooms
  • Sleeping rooms
  • Downstairs rooms

Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Castle Example

King’s Favors

King’s favorites will get extra bonus points at the end of the game. To score favor points, you need favor items:

  • Room favors – the number of rooms of a specific type in your castle
  • Size favors – the total square feet of all rooms of a specific type in your castle
  • The money favor – cash
  • The external entrances favor – how number of external entrances in your castle
  • The completed rooms favor – the number of completed rooms in your castle
  • The incomplete rooms favor – the number of incomplete rooms in your castle
  • The circular rooms favor – the number of circular rooms in your castle
  • The square rooms favor – the number of square rooms in your castle
  • The small rooms favor – the number of small rooms in your castle
  • The large rooms favor – the number of large rooms in your castle

Bonus card list

  • The unique size bonus card
  • The unique types bonus card
  • The hallways bonus card
  • The stairs bonus card
  • The external entrances bonus card
  • The completed rooms bonus card
  • The square rooms bonus card
  • The cash bonus card
  • The round bonus card

You can download rules in PDF here.

Errata

There is no errata for Castles of Mad King Ludwig, but you can read this thread if you want some clarifications .

Similar Games

Castles of Mad King Ludwig vs Suburbia

Suburbia

In Suburbia, you buy tiles in order to build your infrastructure. In this way, it is similar to Mad King Ludwig. The mechanism is quite different: in Mad King Ludwig, there is more interaction between players because every round one of them names the prices for tiles. In Suburbia, the puzzle aspect is more interesting. It also takes a bit more bookkeeping.

Expansions

Castles of Mad King Ludwig: Secrets

Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Secrets

Ludwig was often called the Swan King. With this expansion, you can fill the rooms and halls of your castle with gorgeous white birds. Also, added to the game are more King favors, secret passages, and moats.

Buy on Amazon

Zamki szalonego króla Ludwika: Polskie zamki

Zamki szalonego króla Ludwika: Polskie zamki

This is a set of ten tiles for famous rooms of Polish castles. This expansion was given to people who joined the crowdfunding campaign from the Polish platform wspieram.to.

FAQ

Q: Is there an app for playing Castles of Mad King Ludwig on iOS and Android?

A: The mobile version of the game is being developed and hopefully will see the light of day soon enough both on iOS and Android.

Q: Is Castles of Mad King Ludwig a good game to play alone?

A: Yes, if you enjoy playing board games alone, you will love Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Calculating points is simple and straightforward. During the game, you will be building a splendid castle to keep you company. A solo game is simpler than the multi-player version because the problem of evaluating rooms is gone.

Q: Is the game language independent?

A: Yes, it is. If you get the Polish edition of the game, the only thing in Polish will be the names of rooms.

Q: Does the Master Builder create a lot of down-time for other players?

A: Yes, it might be, especially with new players. That being said, when all the players get used to the game, this process will take less time. Besides, deciding on the prices is an exciting part of the game puzzle and is essential to winning.

Q: If I am a fan of Suburbia will I like Castles of Mad King Ludwig? Or are they too similar? Or too different?

A: If you like Suburbia, you definitely should try out Castles of Mad King Ludwig. There is a doubt whether you will love it as much as Suburbia. Some fans of Suburbia have claimed that Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a simplified version of Suburbia and basically lacks all that is fun about Suburbia. Other players say they prefer Castles of Mad King Ludwig. The dynamics in two games is quite different. You should try and decide for yourself.

YouTube

Watch a playthrough of the game on YouTube:

Here is a quick tutorial:

Conclusion

Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a fun tile-placing game for lovers of impressive European architecture. It allows you to exercise your talents of bargaining for a good price as well as designing a home for royalty.

The theme is played out beautifully – you aren’t building just for money, you can also enjoy looking at your creation, which gives the game a dynamic spin. Points are easy to keep track of.

Another point that is worth noting about Castles of Mad King Ludwig is the player interaction. Every round, there is a new Master Builder who has to name reasonable prices. You cannot win unless you are following what other player are doing.

Castles of Mad King Ludwig - Scoreboard Tower

The rules of Castles of Mad King Ludwig are quite intuitive and clear.

The game takes about an hour and a half to play.

You can buy Castles of Mad King Ludwig on Amazon.