Castles of Caleira Preview
If “draw a card & play a card” sounds like the basis for a shallow 18-card micrograme, think again. Castles of Caleira has a unique wrinkle that becomes the main highlight of this small card game about building castles. You get to choose whether to play your cards face-up or face-down each turn, significantly increasing the strategic depth. Card powers will flip and unflip cards throughout your castle and your opponents’ castles. At the end of the game, face-down cards are worth one point, and face-up cards are worth differing victory points, depicted on the face of the cards. Check out the game currently running on Kickstarter: Castles of Kaleira Kickstarter
The game never bogs you down with decisions, but still feels solidly like a “boardgame.” The microgame category is frequently filled with games that amount to little more than fluff, but Castles is able to punch above it’s weight. At most, you have six decisions on a turn. Three cards that you can add to your castle, and a choice of playing them face-up or face-down.
Castles of Caliera is beautifully illustrated. Using a card like “Trebuchet” to destroy part of your opponent’s castle is more satisfying than it should be in a game that typically lasts only 10 minutes.
The game can at times feel more swingy than I’d like, especially in early play throughs. After a few games, though, you will likely have the make-up of cards memorized, which would reduce this feeling.
Castles of Caleira is an exceedingly pleasant micrograme of clever positioning with small amounts of bluffing and reacting in turn to your opponent’s best-made plans. In other words, use the “Observatory” to find your opponent’s “Princess Spire” and win the game by destroying it. Now doesn’t that sound cool.