Based on King who liked to build lots of unique castles in Bavaria might seem like a bit of an odd theme for a game but in the end it made a for a great game. Players will each be building their own unique castle. There isn’t much in the way of construction rules, although there are some benefits to building in certain ways, so players can wind up having funny stories about their castles once they are complete.
The game element that makes Castles of Mad King Ludwig really shine is how it does the auction cycle. Whoever is the master builder that round (it rotates) sets the price for all of the available rooms available at the moment. There is a number of slots with prices above them so it isn’t completely freely pricing. If a player buys a room they pay the master builder and it is one of the few ways to get more money.
So when you are the master builder you really want to price rooms your opponents want at high prices, but not so high that don’t want to or can’t afford the room at all. On the flipside you want to price rooms you want (you pay directly to the bank) as cheaply as you can but not so cheaply your opponents will buy it out from under you.
Once everyone has bought stairs, hallway, a room, or passed players place their purchases in their great castles. They want to place them close to rooms that give bonuses but not touching rooms that give them negatives. They can also get some special abilities if they connect all of the exits of a movie so that is a sub-goal as well!
This game is moving into one of the classics - as they have made a few games themed in the same universe to get interest from this title. The great auction mechanic is definitely what makes this game shine above others. So if you enjoy auction games you owe it to yourself to see if this new and not yet repeated auction mechanic is as great as we think it is!