Castle Panic Review

Castle Panic is one of our favorite cooperative board games. The first time we played it, we knew we were hooked. Right from the start of the game, you can see why it’s named “Panic” because monsters are very quickly closing in on your castle walls and you can sense the doom.

Everyone we’ve played it with has enjoyed it as well. Working together to fight off the marauding monsters is a lot of fun. And it does take a lot of teamwork to win the game.

So when the expansion Castle Panic The Wizard’s Tower came out, we were anxious to get a copy to add to the fun.

And let’s not forget the Draw Bag!
What the draw of The Wizard’s Tower?
The Wizard’s Tower expansion adds a ton of stuff. There are 10 new cards to add to the Castle card deck. There’s a whole new deck of cards – the Wizard deck – with 22 cards that all add special abilities. There are Flame tokens that can both damage monsters as well as weaken your castle walls and towers. There’s a Wizard’s Tower (how appropriate) that replaces one of the castle towers. And there are a ton of new monsters and new monster types that increase the Panic a ton.

Using a draw bag for the monster tokens is a whole lot nicer than having all the monster tokens face down on the table to draw from. And a black bag with beady eyes is the perfect addition to the game.

Does The Wizard’s Tower add to the fun?
If you like facing almost insurmountable odds, then yes, The Wizard’s Tower expansion adds a lot of fun to the game. The additional monsters and elements added to the game sure do increase the tension. It also increases the amount of things you need to keep track of.

When playing with The Wizard’s Tower expansion, we make sure to keep the added reference cards and rulebook handy because there are so many things that are added.

First the simple additions…

The Actual Wizard’s Tower
This is an easy addition to the game. Just replace one of the regular towers with the special Wizard’s Tower. As long as that tower is still standing, players can use the Wizard Deck to draw from. Once that tower is destroyed however, that deck of cards can’t be used (players can still use any wizard cards still in their hand).

The Wizard Deck and New Castle Cards
The cards in the Wizards Deck add some cool abilities like damaging a monster anywhere on the board, catching monsters on fire, all players drawing up to full hand, or even getting monsters to attack each other.

Of course the 10 new castle cards are pretty cool to have at your disposal as well. Some of the new abilities include changing the color of a hit card, changing the range, adding a double strike, knocking monsters back, having another player play a hit card, and a appropriately named card “Never Lose Hope” where you immediately discard as many cards as you want and draw that many castle cards.During the Discard and Draw phase, players can discard a card to draw a card from the Wizard deck. It’s tempting to get a lot of wizard cards because of their abilities, but to fight a balanced fight, players will need to keep a good stock of regular castle cards as well. A tricky balance.

Now on to the tough additions…

The Dastardly Monsters
If you’ve thought the original game was too easy, then this will be what you’re looking for. Now there are a ton of new monster types to battle – including monsters that can fly!

There are also 6 new Mega Boss Monsters that are very tough to take down. Mega Boss Monsters have abilities that are in effect as long as the monster is in play. And some have special movement and damage rules. Which would you like to go up against – Basilisk, Chimera, Dragon, Hydra, Necromancer, or the Warlock? Oh, and you should know that the Dragon and Chimera breath fire – watch out for ranged fireballs! (The only saving grace here is that only 3 are randomly selected at the start to be in the game.)

Because they’re so powerful, up to 5 hits to destroy, their monster token has more points on it. So instead of placing the monster token itself in the monster token draw bag, there are Harbinger tokens that have the standard 3-point shape. Each of the Harbinger tokens has the name of the Mega Boss that it represents printed on it. That way, when a player reaches in the bag, they don’t know if they’re drawing a regular monster token or a special monster. When they draw a Harbinger token, the Mega Boss monster token that is named on the Harbinger token is placed on the board to start its onslaught.

But the Mega Bosses aren’t all. There are 13 other new types of monsters in the game!
Now there are Centaurs, Cyclops, Gargoyles, Imps, Ogres, and more! And they all love to wreck havoc in new ways.

For example, one of the added monster tokens is the Doppelganger. It isn’t moved, hit, or slayed. It just sits there until another monster is destroyed. When the next monster is destroyed, the Doppelganger token is replaced with the token of the recently destroyed monster as if that monster were just drawn from the bag and placed. So with a Doppelganger on the board be careful what you kill next because it will come back to haunt you.

See why it’s important to keep the reference cards and rulebook handy to know what you’re up against.

The downside of having so many new monster types and special abilities is that the game slows down. Sure they’re cool to add, but because they’re all so unique it takes a long while to get familiar with everything going on.

But they sure all add a lot of Panic!

Sorting it all out
Another thing we love about The Wizard’s Tower expansion is that all the new items have a cool Wizard Hat Icon on them. This makes it so helpful for sorting all the items at the end of a game. That way if we’re tired of getting destroyed so much, we can pull those out and just play with a ‘regular’ level of panic for a while.

Final Thoughts

Castle Panic The Wizard’s Tower expansion adds a ton of new elements to the game. While it’s played the same as the original, all the new monsters and cards add a lot more to think about. You’ll definitely be glad that you’re working together as a team to fight your way through all this new panic.

We’d also recommend not introducing The Wizard’s Tower to new players. The base game is just great for new players. Adding in the expansion elements in a game with new players is just way too much to take in.

We like having the expansion and being able to challenge ourselves as much as we’d like. If we want more panic, we’ll add it all in. If we’d like not so much panic, but do want some more variety we’ll simply choose to play with a portion of the expansion elements.

One thing we all agree on – Castle Panic is a great cooperative board game and we highly recommend it.

Summary of Added Components

  • 1 Wizard’s Tower
  • 10 Castle Cards
  • 22 Wizard Cards
  • 49 Monster Tokens
  • 12 Flame Tokens
  • 6 Reference Cards
  • Monster Draw Bag
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