SaltCon 2015: Castles of Mad King Ludwig
I’m not sure if I agree with the name of Castles of Mad King Ludwig, considering the titular king never struck me as particularly mad. In this competitive eurogame, you compete to build a castle that will win you the most victory points at the end of the game. Trouble is, you have to satisfy a whole host of conditions for each room in your castle and compete for choice room types and sizes. Not only that, but every player has a set of secret conditions they can complete at the end of the game to score some extra points. My castle was a crazed assortment of entertainment rooms chained together at the end of a long hallway, with a focus on round rooms because I had a secret objective that directed me to use as many round rooms as possible. After awhile, I started to feel like maybe King Ludwig was just expressing an honest enjoyment of round rooms, and would probably be utterly mortified to see my insane parody of castle architecture. Perhaps, I thought, the King is perfectly sane, and the architects themselves are mad, coming up with absurd layouts for a castle that just doesn’t make any sense at all. Anyway, part of the fun of this game was taking a step back to look at the various designs that each player came up with, and imagining how inconvenient a castle would be if almost every rooms was festooned with tapestries and brightly-colored furniture. I feel like I only scratched the surface of the strategic depth it has to offer, but still enjoyed the experience overall. Castles of Mad King Ludwig (or Castles of the Perfectly Sane King Ludwig and his Mad Architects) is a pretty fun eurogame that rewards multiple playthroughs with a deeper understanding of the mechanics and economy.