Good Luck Storming the Castle! A Review of Castle Dash

Castle Dash

What do medieval kingdoms do best? Why, acquire treasure, of course! But if you really want to make sure you have more treasure than the neighboring kingdoms, you might as well steal theirs.

In Castle Dash, by 5th Street Games, players are trying to battle their way into neighboring castles to steal treasure and recover their spies that are being held prisoner. It is a fun casual game for 3 to 6 players that was originally funded on Kickstarter, but has undergone a few modifications since the original version.

Gameplay

Each player controls a castle that is facing all of the other players. For 3 and 5 player games, a central castle acts as a dummy player to ensure that each castle faces an enemy on all sides - the front, left, and right (the central castle was added since the original version). Each player controls a certain number of soldiers that can be used for battle on any side of the castle or placed on armory cards to gain special abilities.

After taking turns to place all of their solders next to the castle or on armory cards, players then resolve battles between castles with dice rolls. More soldiers in the battle have a greater chance of winning. Players also have cannonballs that can be fired at opposing soldiers to try to reduce their numbers. Some armory cards also modify the battle outcomes.

The winner of each battle places soldiers on the opposing castle's wall. Once three soldiers are on the wall, the opponent breaks into the castle and can choose to either take treasure (which leads to victory) or rescue a prisoner (which can then be used as an additional soldier). The first player to steal 3 treasures from his opponents is declared the winner.

Review

Castle Dash is a bit more in-depth than it might seem from the packaging. It is easy to learn, but offers plenty of choices and trade-offs to keep things interesting. For instance, having multiple battle fronts on each castle requires a player to carefully consider where to place his soldiers – beefing up one side of the castle leaves the other sides vulnerable due to the limited number of soldiers available. Also, the armory cards can be a good resource to help gain an advantage, but dedicated soldiers to retrieving them can lead to more losses in battle due to a lack of soldiers to fight.

On the flip side, we found the components to be a bit lacking in quality and there could be some improvements made to the graphic design of the rules and box. The central castle rules effectively address a specific issue raised by reviewers early on, but they do add additional complexity to the game.

Overall, Castle Dash is an enjoyable game that we would recommend to other casual gamers.

Pros: Fun and interesting theme and gameplay

Cons: Components and graphic design could be improved