Dragon Castle is a game freely inspired by Mahjong Solitaire. During your turn, you take a pair of identical tiles from the central “castle” (known as the Dragon Castle) and place them on your own realm board to build your own castle. From time to time, you may sacrifice these tiles to acquire shrines in their place.
Every time you create a set of tiles of the same kind, you “consolidate” them, i.e. flip them face down to score points. When you consolidate a set, you may also build shrines on top of the consolidated tiles: Shrines allow you to score more points, but they also limit your building options. You may also take advantage of the available spirit card and its game-changing powers…but this will come at a cost! Finally, don’t forget to check the dragon card in play, and to follow the building requirements to score bonus points.
When the Dragon Castle has been reduced to only one floor, the end of the game is triggered. After one final round, the player with the most points is the lord of the new Dragon Castle…and the winner of the game!
Time: 30-45 mins
Designer: Hjalmar Hach, Luca Ricci, Lorenzo Silva
Artist: Cinyee Chiu
Publisher: Horrible Games
Dragon Castle will look fantastic on your table as soon as it’s setup and that appeal long with a very basic premise that it’s basically Mahjong. That old Eastern tile game that a great many of us will remember playing countless games on windows 95 instead of doing our homework or whatever it was we did on windows 95.
The Dragon Castle or mahjong style game that sits in the centre of your kitchen table is constructed from Mahjong-like tiles, and players obtain tiles in a similar way to its computer based father. You may take an exact matching pair of tiles, but only if their long edges are exposed.
I am a huge fan of playing Mahjong on the computer and was very excited to try Dragon Castle as soon as it was setup. But taking pairs of tiles is kind of where the Mahjong comparison ends and the Euro game begins.
Tiles you take from the castle go to your player board where you are building your own structures. Sets of matching colours get turned over when you have 4 or more adjacent, scoring you points depending on how many are flipped over, and from then on letting you place new tiles on top of these flipped ones. As you flip, you have the opportunity to build one of your shrine pieces on them, and the higher these shrines are built, the more points they will be worth at game end.
There is something really enjoyable that comes from holding chunky plastic tiles, and even more that comes from arranging them on your board to build something.
Dragon Castle taps into the enjoyment that we all have in building and constructing something. There is a huge amount of variety of different castles to build and explore given variations in the rulebook is one of Dragon Castles greatest strengths.
It’s not only present in the castle itself. A collection of cards let players discard one of their own tiles to do some useful ability, and far more impactfully, a set of end game scoring cards encourage building in certain ways each game. This makes the game highly replay able and provides a new experience each time you play.
this games simplicity makes it one for families, and the recognisable Mahjong elements will appeal to a broader spectrum of players. But there are still enough engaging decisions for more enthusiastic gamers, especially if you add in multiple end game scoring cards.
This game has a great element of family friendly but detailed game with most players guaranteed to enjoy it it’s simplistic nature may be a turn off for some players but generally most people will enjoy this modern mahjong.