Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Princess Bride: Storming the Castle Game Review


MK here with another game review. Today we will be dissecting another game based upon a cult classic: The Princess Bride! 

The Princess Bride is on my list of all-time favorite movies! Released in 1987 with what would become an all-star cast (including Pro-wrestling Legend Andre the Giant!) the movie is packed with fantastic displays of sword play, battles of wit, vengeance, romance, humor ...well everything! At one point there is a great storming of the castle and it is this moment applied to a game originally designed by Aaron Watson that creates the Card Game The Princess Bride: Storming the Castle.

Toy Vault first released this game back in 2008 (for those of you who have not seen the film, this game was created 21 years after the movie, that's how good it is!).   It is technically a card game, but many people consider it to be a board game because of the way it plays. Two - Four players can play with about an hour to finish the game. The basic goal of the is to be the first player to get to Prince Humperdinks' castle. Choose between Buttercup, Inigo, Fezzik or Wesley and get ready to see if you can make it down your path to the castle!

 The number of cards on the path is dependent upon the number of players, the more players, the shorter the path. Each path is revealed before you pick your character so you can try to plan ahead (although there is no mechanical difference, only visual, between them). Each player gets five "Tactic Cards" that are either equipment or actions. The equipment cards are needed to get past certain hurdles in your path, like how can you pass over "The Florin Sea" if you have no boat? Actions cards help you alter the path before you or harm other players. A lot of what is in the rule book happens to be clarifications on these cards. If you can't figure out how a card works, check the book!

That being said, one of the major complaints people have about this game are the rules themselves. There is a lot of negative chatter about an inability to understand the rules of play. While some say they could not enjoy the game because they couldn't figure out how to play it, others say that the rules may be simple and not all inclusive, but their simplicity (matched with the beauty of internet clarification rules, seriously guys, it's 2016, log on already) makes this game fun, quick to learn, and easy to play.

Each player gets three actions that they may take in various ways on their turn. Draw a new Tactic Card, play an Action Card or move one tile space. Luckily you can choose what to do with your actions! If you don't have what you need to get past the tile you are on and you do not get the Tactic Card you need on the first draw, you can always draw again! Only three actions, but spend them however you like (that is where strategy comes in). If you are not too worried about moving forward, use your actions to play Action Cards to hinder your competitors!

The layout of the game makes it versatile as far as space requirements go, and while the game is based on a concept of strategy, the random element of luck can cause the most concrete of plans to be reduced to dust. Keep in mind that if you are not the kind of player who likes the constant stab in your side from other players, or prefers not to make deviously unnecessary attacks at others, this game is not for you! There is a high volume of "hurt you because I can" elements to this one.

Again I may be letting my adoration of the base film alter my judgment (see Firefly: Tall Card review), but when you get to shout "INCONCEIVABLE" and "Hello! My name in Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!", or dress up as the Dread Pirate Roberts at the gates to scatter the minions, how bad can a game really be? If you have not seen the film (I try not to judge, but...) the references are lost on you and may take away from the overall experience. Drop everything you are doing right now, and GO SEE IT! 

I will drop a solid Three Stars on this game; as I drink from my glass, and you drink from yours. ;)

 Grab your copy at MKTabletop.com

I leave you with these final words...

Until next time ...Game on! -MK