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Castle Keep

A game of building and destroying castles for 2 to 4 players

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating


Castle Keep

Castle Keep

Image courtesy of Gamewright
The age range (eight and up) is wrong. My son was playing this as a five-year-old and doing reasonably well. As a seven-year-old, he razes my castle like a professional siege expert.

And that's the point. This simple card game (yeah, I know they use cool chunky tiles, but it's really a card game) is all about building your castle and/or destroying your opponent's. Both paths to victory can work.

The Basics of Castle Keep

Each turn, you draw two tiles, play as many as you want to, and then discard down to four tiles. You have four kinds of plays you can make:

(1) You can play walls. They come in three colors and three shape patterns and must match the tower they are placed next to in shape or color.

(2) You can play towers. Just like walls, they come in three colors and three shape patterns and must match the walls they are placed next to in one of those elements.

(3) You can play a keep. They come in three colors and must match one other tile present in the castle. These are the center pieces of your castle.

(4) You can attack one other player with an exact match tile (which destroys the tile and any other wall/tower tiles connected to it that are the same color). You can even destroy their keep, though you'll need two identical keeps to blow it away. There is, of course, one exception. When your opponent is down to just his keep, 1 identical tile can put him out of his misery.

The first player to destroy another player or to build his own full nine-tile castle wins the game. That's it.

Why Castle Keep is Worth Buying

Here's why Castle Keep earns three stars:

  • It plays quickly and cleanly.

  • The components are top-notch and kid-friendly.

  • The dual victory conditions teach kids tactical planning and defense.

  • There are a variety of variants (including a solitaire variant) included in the rules.

  • It's fun.

One warning: three- and four-player games can drag a bit if players don't play quickly. Especially with four players, you can end up playing "King of the Mountain" as the other three players work to pull down the leader's castle.

However, Castle Keep has a built-in way to slow this behavior with the "destroy one castle" victory condition: It doesn't make sense to weaken an opponent too much if another player can then eliminate them and win.


Castle Keep is for 1 to 4 players, ages 8 and up. It was designed by Richard D. Reese and published by Gamewright.

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