How the top five survey items line up with what’s in the game
Last year we did a huge (1000 respondent) survey asking players what they wanted to see in a Castles of Mad King Ludwig Collector’s Edition. We analyzed the results, and set out to ensure that the Collector’s Edition we were making was in line with player expectations…but we didn’t stop there. We wanted to make sure that we went above and beyond what players wanted, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
If you haven’t read them yet, be sure to check out the articles I’ve written regarding the survey we did regarding what players wanted to see in this collector’s edition.
The Kickstarter for Castles Collector’s Edition will start soon (January 19th, 2021 at 10am), and before it does, here’s a preview of what you’ll see there, and how well it lines up with the survey results, this time in order from top requests to bottom!
#1 - GameTrayz™
The original game was in need of a good storage solution, and by partnering with GameTrayz™, we’ve come up with an amazing set of storage trays for the game that make it easier to store *and* set up. We’ve really thought this through, and you’ll find that setting up the game is natural based on the storage: The rules are at the very top, followed by the gameboard, followed by the trays that sit on the gameboard, then the main components, with the expansion components at the bottom (because not everyone will want to play with the expansions every time they play). There are a whole bunch of little touches here too, such as the in-game card trays being used for both storage and gameplay (for instance, you always use the same number of Bonus cards regardless of player count, so the Bonus cards are stored in the same tray you’ll use to hold them on the scoreboard).
If you opt for the additional, colossal set of rooms, you’ll be delighted to discover that the lids for the colossal trays are used to organize your stacks of room tiles during the game, and like the trays for standard-size rooms, they have the number of tiles needed for each player count on the trays themselves. Even better, the colossal set of tiles comes prepunched and organized in GameTrayz, so you’re ready to play it right out of the box!
#2 Secrets Expansion
All four elements of the Secrets Expansion: Secret Passages, Swans, Moats, and additional rooms are included, but with a few extras:
#3 New Rooms
The base game has 75 rooms (9 each of 5 “small” rooms and 6 each of 5 “large” rooms). Secrets added 3 more of each room size, to bring the total number of rooms to 105. Throw in the Polish expansion, which added one more of each room size, and you have 115 rooms. And that doesn’t include the 11 Hallways, 7 Stairs, and 5 foyers. But that wasn’t enough!
The Towers expansion adds 8 more “325” rooms with a unique shape, and we’ve set up stretch goals for additional rooms to be added during the Kickstarter, depending on how well the campaign does!
#4 Upgraded Artwork
Not only did we enlist the skills of artist Agnieszka Dabrowiecka to provide amazingly detailed artwork for this edition, but we readjusted all of her artwork from the original Polish edition to make it clearer and more playable based on feedback from players of that edition. Room types are very easy to determine from viewing the artwork across the table as a result, making the game both beautiful *and* playable.
In addition to better looking rooms, the entire graphic design of the game has been given a huge facelift. Most noticeable are the scoreboard lakes, which represent different seasons in Bavaria: a long summer lake with bright blue water and lots of greenery, along with the reverse side which has a more square winter lake, with the scoretrack consisting of a watery path through the ice and snow-covered islands.
The colossal edition received a lot of extras in the artwork department too: All the rooms aren’t just 4x larger, they are 4x as detailed! And there’s a new, colossal-only scoreboard as well as that shows the Southern Mountains of Germany along with a waterfall and a mountain stream used as the scoretrack.
#5 New Expansions
There are two new expansions in the Collector’s Edition: Towers and Royal Decrees. Both are very different, and like all expansions for Castles, you can add one or both when playing.
Towers adds a new 325 room type, and there is one new tower for each of the 8 room types. What’s great about these rooms is that they have a 2nd completion reward: in addition to the regular room type reward (for instance, taking an extra turn when you complete a yellow food room), you also get a special Tower completion reward: take 3 random King’s Favors, and choose one to keep. At the end of the game you’ll score that favor for yourself, relative to how you did on it compared to other players. And this happens for each Tower room you complete, so it’s possible to have several additional end game “personal” favors to score. But what really sets this expansion apart are the amazingly detailed minis that you place on top of the favors once the room is completed. Each mini matches a tower room, and all are unique, having been designed to match a different castle that Ludwig either built or lived in.
4 of the 8 Towers pictured
Royal Decrees adds dozens of unique starting abilities that give players a boost in VPs or $ in a variety of ways. For instance, one decree gives that player the ability get *both* a free Hallway and stairs each time they earn a Corridor Completion Reward (instead of having to pick just one of them). Another Decree allows its owner to ignore Active room penalties - so you can place the red-bordered Activity rooms anywhere in your castle, and never get penalized when they are next to a room that would otherwise incur said penalty. The Royal Decrees come in a deck of cards, and are drafted between players at the beginning of the game.
It’s really exciting to know that we were able to address the top five survey requests from our players, and I think we’ve gone above and beyond what players expect in each of these areas. Be sure to check out the Kickstarter when it launches January 19th!