‘Castle Panic’ game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
The push and pull of war-themed strategy games such as Axis and Allies or Risk have been thrilling gamers for years by allowing them to flex their strategic muscles. But what if the game is just about you hunkered down, trying to survive wave after wave of bloodthirsty marauders, just hoping to see the next sunrise?
Castle Panic is a cooperative strategy game for one to six players designed by Justin De Witt and published by Fireside Games in 2009. Players work together to distribute the forces they have to try to prevent a horde of fantasy creatures from completely levelling their castle. The players win if they manage to get through all the monsters with part of their castle still standing.
I love cooperative games—this one more than most. Although there is a winner at the end of the game, determined by which player personally takes out the most monsters, the drive of the game is focussed on survival. You end up planning strategically with your fellow players just so you can keep the walls up. This makes it a great game for older kids and players who don’t react very well to competition.
The one downside I found is that the game is just too easy. Unlike other solo games such as Pandemic or Forbidden Island, Castle Panic leans more towards the players winning. Players can offset this by focussing more on the competition side and trying to kill more monsters. This ends up being a very personal choice by the players.
Castle Panic is a fun game that I would recommend to most casual groups. More hardcore and strategy-driven gamers may find the game’s challenge a little lacking.