Castle Panic, in the words of Designer Justin De Witt of Fireside Games, is a cooperative tower defense game that is equal parts strategic and chaotic. Originally released in 2009, Castle Panic has been heaped with well deserved praise and given renewed energy time and again through the release of three different expansions over the course of it’s 12 year life span. With so much time between release date and today, why am I writing about this board game? Well, Castle Panic is getting a Deluxe Collection!! I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Mr. De Witt at Tribe Comics and Games in South Austin to check out the updated game and some material from the expansions. When I say the Deluxe Edition and all of the updated expansions is all I wanted and more, it feels like an understatement. I’m going to take you through some of the updated features and a brief Q&A that I was able to have with Justin so that you can fully understand WHY I am so excited for this game!
First, let’s start with my history with this game. I’ll keep it brief, I picked up the original Castle Panic in the middle of 2020 to keep myself sane throughout the worst of the pandemic. My partner and I felt VERY late to the party when we were on our third game of the night and realized just how much FUN we were having! So when the opportunity came up to meet with Justin and check out this update I couldn’t turn it down.
But now onto what you’re here for (no more mommy blogging, I promise). Castle Panic updates many of its features in this new Deluxe Collection that improve the visuals, the tactile feel, and the accessibility of the game as a whole.
From a visual standpoint, the Deluxe Collection features updated character art, card designs, and monster aesthetics. The art is modernized and SO clean! Looking at these cards is like walking through a gallery and they bring a massive amount of character to the play experience. This goes doubly for the monsters, which are no longer just tokens. The monsters in this updated version are all represented by use of 3D miniatures as shown in pictures throughout this article, which leads us to…
The tactile nature of this game! Where once all of the pieces were thin cardboard and paper (which doesn’t make the game ANY less fun) we now get the amazing change to fully 3D models. The towers, walls, barricades and monsters all have unique and intelligent designs that bring a more immersive and dynamic feeling to the game by their very nature. Additionally, the health trackers for the monsters are built into the design, so half of the work in that regard is done for you. The variable sizes of the creatures and their detailed designs capture the scale of the creatures against your fortress and help in keeping everything easy to organize and plan for.
Finally, let’s talk about accessibility. Not only do the variant monster sizes and designs help players keep track of the board, even the deck of cards has been updated with accessibility in mind. The biggest leap is on the Hit cards. Castle Panic Relies on both the Color (Red, Blue, Green) of the card in addition to the type (Swordsman, Knight, Archer) to determine how to play your hand. The cards now have more distinct art, including a unique icon for the card’s range, and fully typed out card color and type in bold font rather than just a differently colored cloak or shirt.
Suffice it to say, Castle Panic has managed to improve in every aspect without sacrificing what made the game great in the first place. The Castle Panic Deluxe Collection Kickstarter (including all expansions) will be going live later this year on May 11, 2021 if you’d like to pick them up! Lastly, I was able to ask Justin a few questions about his experience with the game. Enjoy!
What were your inspirations for these changes?
We knew we wanted to update everything for the 10th anniversary, but delays have pushed it to a bit later than expected. This is a long time coming! The feel of having the miniatures and the modernized art were a must for us, and we’re glad we were able to bring those visions to life.
What’s your favorite experience throughout the development of this iteration of Castle Panic?
Seeing the 2D art become fully fledged 3D pieces in the form of miniatures. It turned out so much better than I could have hoped!
What’s your favorite experience playing Castle Panic?
Very early into the release, probably back in 2010, we were demoing the game to customers at a game store. A little girl we met played a game with us, and was quiet the whole time. We weren’t even sure she was enjoying herself! After playing for a little while, she stopped after the 3rd tower fell and yelled “I LOVE Castle Panic, it’s so scary and fun!”
Do you have a message for fans of the game?
This is the fancy version of Castle Panic you’ve always wanted! However, it won’t be going to retail, so be sure to special order your copy or back us during the Kickstarter campaign!
Thank you so much for checking out this review! Be sure to check out our twitter @nblogcollective or my personal account @skunkosourous. Also, please follow Justin @firesidegames or check out the Fireside website at www.firesidegames.com for updates on the game and Kickstarter announcements. Special thanks again to Tribe (@Tribecag) for letting us use their facility.