One of the best things about board games is their tactile nature. There’s just something about those chunky bits of card, wood, and plastic that enriches the game playing experience immeasurably.
The joy of moving your giant rampaging monster in and out of Tokyo, seeing the odds stack up against your bold mouse adventurer as more enemy figures pile onto the board, or watching your power grow as you put down another little wooden house and expand your empire just can’t be replicated by computer games.
One of our new favorite games has that wonderful tactile nature in spades.
Castellan is a game for two players aged 6 and up (although if you buy a second, different colored set, it can play up to 4 people). It takes around twenty minutes to play.
The players take turns to build sections of a castle using little plastic walls and turrets which click together really nicely. The pieces you use each turn is determined by cards you chose to play. You score points by being the person who finishes off courtyards within the castle and claims it with a keep.
Play your cards to get the building blocks in order to build your castle
Castellan is actually a more sophisticated version of the classic pen and paper game Squares, which is already a firm favorite of my kids. It does a fantastic job of retaining much of the simplicity and accessibility of Squares while adding the opportunity for a great deal of tactical thinking and interesting decisions to the mix.
In fact out of all the games I’ve played with the kids this is the one that has encouraged their tactical thinking the most. During my most recent game with Evan I could almost see the cogs whirring in his mind as he tried to work out how to make his next move without leaving me any opportunity to score points after he had finished.
Castellan close up
Castellan is a really fun family game with some really lovely bits. Invariably after we finish a game the kids spend an additional twenty minutes playing with the castle walls and turrets in order to build their own freeform creations.
It’s also a game that makes the jump to playing against other adults really well. I’ve played a number of times against various friends and its never failed to go down really well. In fact every time I’ve played the other person has always demanded a second game – a true sign of a good game.
You can buy Castellan for around £25 at various online retailers. Or alternatively you go visit your friendly local games store and I’m sure that if they don’t have it they can order it in for you.
Many thanks to Esdevium Games who sent me a copy of Castellan to take a look at.