Review: Castles of Mad King Ludwig Offers Simple Mechanics, Depth of Strategy

Review: Castles of Mad King Ludwig Offers Simple Mechanics, Depth of Strategy

Our partners at Down to Game have reviewed Castles of Mad King Ludwig, a castle building, set collecting adventure! Read on to learn why Caylie Sadin loves this game!


I absolutely love Castles of Mad King Ludwig. It’s one of my top favorite games on my shelf. I think the game is well-designed, from the room pieces to the mechanics. The game has almost endless replay value, and it is very simple to explain.

Each player is trying to build their own castle and score the most victory points. Each round the player who is the master builder will draw cards that tell them what kinds of rooms they need to put out for sale. The master builder sets all the prices of the rooms, but then gets to buy a room last.

Rooms vary from 100 sq. ft. to 600 sq. ft., and there are 8 different kinds of rooms, activity, outdoor, utility, etc. When you place a room in your castle, you score points based on what you put that room next to. Each room has a base victory point value, but they will also have a bonus point value that you will score if you meet the criteria. For instance, there’s a room that will score you 3 extra points if you connect it to the doorway of either an activity room or a utility room.

Now all those rooms will also give you a completion reward if you manage to successfully match up all of the doorways with other doorways. Those rewards could be something like re-score the completed room, take an extra turn, get 10,000 mark coins, or take another bonus card.

At the beginning of the game, each player will get 2 bonus cards. These will give you extra points at the end of the game. Some examples: 2 extra points for each 250 sq. ft. room in your castle, 1 extra point for each round room, 2 points for each outdoor room, and so on.

There are also public end game scoring objectives. They are similar to the bonus cards, except they look for the person with the most of a type of room or square footage of a room, etc. The person who wins the objective gets the most points, the second place person gets less points, and so on. The point values and the amount of end game objectives change based on the player count.

One of the major things I like about Castles of Mad King Ludwig is that there are so many avenues to victory. But even with all of that variety, the game is pretty easy to explain. It rarely takes me more than 10-15 minutes to explain this game, and within a turn or two, new players are getting into the grove of picking rooms and attempting to maximize the benefits of completing a room.

Want to hear more of Caylie’s thoughts on Castles of Mad King Ludwig? Click here to read more and watch a video!

Caylie Sadin is the Editor-in-Chief of Down To Game. She’s in charge of penning almost everything on the site, from this page, to the reviews, and even the descriptions of the rules videos. You’ll also see her face in her review videos.

Caylie’s nerdiness began when she was about 8 years old, and was introduced to some classic Dungeons and Dragons novels.  Her favorite board games include Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Battlestar Galactica, and Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition. Her favorite book is The Name of the Wind, and her favorite video game series is Dragon Age.