When someone mentions castles, my mind wanders to the castles of Europe and I daydream about visiting a real one in person some day. Ireland and Scotland are on the top of my list along with Germany and Norway to name just a few. As with everything else, we get our temporary fix by playing board games like Dragon Castle, Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Castle Panic, Castles of Caladale and Castle Dice. Our latest in the list is Once Upon a Castle, a roll and write game from Blue Orange Games.
You can play a beginner version of Once Upon a Castle or incorporate more advanced rules. We’ve set it up for an easier “apprentice” level game which uses the green side of the player boards and green deck of cards. Each player takes a player board (flipped to the green side), all the tokens of one color, a sheet from the Castle paper pad and something to write with. If you’re the creative type, you can use the blank side of the paper and design your own castle utilizing the designated number of walls, towers, etc. as noted on the sheet. If you’re like us non-creative types, use the side with the pre-printed castle. The deck of cards is shuffled and placed in the center of the table. Give the dice to the first player and you’re ready to go!
In Once Upon a Castle, you’re working to build the most prestigious castle and attract the most visitors. You’ll do this by using resources earned from the dice to purchase parts of the castle.
On your turn, you’ll roll both dice. For each resource (wood, stone, gold and food) result, you place a token on one of the related spaces on your player board. For each resident shown, you draw in two of the people icons by your castle. If you roll a “?” then you can choose something else from that die.
But there’s more to it than that. You aren’t sitting around twiddling your thumbs waiting for your next turn. Just like in That’s Pretty Clever, you can make a single selection during all your opponents’ turns! But be cautious about what you select because you cannot take advantage if all your tokens are in use nor may you move a token already on the board.
After you have rolled and recorded your selections, you may opt to draw one of the components of your castle! Remove the tokens in a row or line on your board and take the corresponding action on your drawing. If you have multiple lines or columns full, you may take all actions. In the event that your completed line and column cross, you must select which of the two you’ll use your resource for.
When you’ve added a floor to your Donjon (that’s the inner tower of your castle), you may draw a card from the Guests deck. The game ends when one player completes their entire castle of four walls, four towers and the Donjon. Continuing clockwise from the person who completed, everyone takes turns spending all available completed rows and/or columns to fill in more parts of their castle or add guests. No additional dice will be rolled.
At the end of the game, you’ll earn points for any green guest cards, for your level of residents, flags drawn, being the first to build four towers and/or completing your castle first. The player with the most points wins Once Upon a Castle. If you’re looking for a more advanced game, utilize the blue side of the boards and the blue deck of cards.These guests have powers and there are special effects on the player boards.
At a half an hour, Once Upon a Castle is a quick game and can incorporate young kids with the basic mode or seasoned gamers with the advanced rules. You can start your castle adventure by picking up a copy of Once Upon a Castle from your local game retailer, direct from Blue Orange Games or on Amazon. Learn more about what Blue Orange Games is building into their 2020 schedule by visiting them on Facebook and Twitter.
Have you ever visited a castle?