Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Tobago, Samarkand, Carcassonne and Isle of Skye: From Chieftan to King standing on a wooden table

Mad Castles and Wine Making

Jobby and Sarah play another two games in their 2017 11x Best of Three challenge. Up tonight are Castles of Mad King Ludwig and Viticulture Essential Edition.

King of the Castle

In Castles of Mad King Ludwig players are purchasing room tiles and using them to build up a castle to try and score the most points. Points are scored in a multitude of ways: primarily through laying the room tiles but also bonus points by matching King Ludwig’s favours (which change every game) and by matching bonus cards in the player’s hand.

In this particular play, King Ludwig wanted round rooms and corridor type rooms; whichever player had the most would get a nice amount of bonus points at the end. As will be seen, the luck of the tiles and bonus cards can make a big difference to scores.

When I looked at my initial hand of bonus cards, I knew I would be doing OK. I had a card which gave me bonus points for stairs. Stairs are a type of corridor room so that synergised well with the King’s favours. Also, stairs are may always be purchased (forgoing buying a normal room) so I knew they would be available. The round rooms might prove trickier so I was glad to be on a dead cert.

As the game went on, it became apparent that round rooms really weren’t showing up much. In fact, only about three turned up during the whole game. I was merrily buying all of the stairs, though, much to Sarah’s confusion.

Another bonus of owning all the stairs is that it meant I was the only player who could build downstairs rooms. These are great because they give bonus points (more of ’em!) for each room of a particular type.

With all of that and a bonus card which gave big points for owning a full set of different rooms ensured that I won. Sarah’s bonus cards included one for points for each round room, which, as mentioned, were sorely lacking.

This is probably the thing that irks me about this game. Getting a bonus card that matches the King’s favour well ensures that if you do well with the favour you will do very well with the bonus card.

Final score: 94 to me and 85 to Sarah. Game to me.

Enjoying a Little Plonk

Well, making it, anyway. Our next game was Viticulture: Essential Edition. This is a worker placement game about making and selling wine. Its mechanics do a pretty good job of mimicking (what little I know of) wine making. It’s also a race: when a player hits the 20 point mark then each player only gets one more turn. I feel like I don’t do well in race games.

In this game, I made a move to buy my windmill early. The windmill grants a point every time its owner plants a vine. I figured I’d be planting plenty of vines (gotta harvest the grapes from somewhere, eh?). I feel this really did help during the game, it certainly gave me an early lead which demoralised Sarah! 👿

Apparently during this game I did a very good job of blocking the spaces that Sarah needed (unintentionally) and somehow I just managed to race ahead. Although Sarah’s vines were better than mine so she could harvest better grapes, I was harvesting more frequently so could put together the wines I needed. I even managed to fulfil an order for some blush wine!

Somehow this game just went all my way. I’m sure Sarah will come back in the next game of this and beat me.

Final score: 20 to me, 13 to Sarah. Game to me.

Results so Far

This brought us to no matches won yet and four games to me, two to Sarah.

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