Castle Panic Rules
Number of players: 1 to 6
Ages: 10 and up
The forest is filled with all sorts of Monsters. Goblins, Orcs, and even mighty Trolls lurk in the shadows. They watched and waited as you built your Castle and trained your soldiers, but now they’ve gathered their army and are marching out of the woods. Can you work with your friends to defend your Castle against the horde, or will the Monsters tear down your Walls and destroy the precious Castle Towers? You will all win or lose together, but in the end only one player will be declared the Master Slayer! Objective Castle Panic is a cooperative game with a twist. The players work together as a group rather than competing against each other. Players use cards to hit and slay Monsters as the Monsters advance from the Forest toward the Castle. Players trade cards and plan strategies together to stop the Monsters from smashing the Castle Towers. They either win or lose together, but only the player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer. To win, players must play through all 49 Monster tokens, slaying all the Monsters that are revealed. Players lose if the Monsters destroy all the Castle Towers.
There are three different ways to play Castle Panic: Standard, Co-op, and Overlord. The Standard game is described in the rules that follow. For more information on Co-op and Overlord versions, see the Game Variations section on pages 10–11.
• 1 Board
• 49 Castle cards: Players use cards to attack the Monsters and defend the Castle. All of the components are described in detail on pages 7–10.
• 49 Monster tokens: These are the Monsters and Special Effects that the players must survive.
• 6 Walls with plastic stands: Walls keep Monsters out of the Castle and can be rebuilt if they are destroyed. (The first time Castle Panic is played, the plastic stands will need to be put on the Walls and Towers.)
• 6 Towers with plastic stands: Towers are the heart of the Castle. If the Monsters destroy all of the Towers, the players lose the game.
• 1 Tar token: This token is used when the Tar card is played.
• 2 Fortify tokens: These tokens are used when the Fortify Wall card is played.
• 1 six-sided die
• 6 Order of Play cards: These cards aren’t used in the game. They are just helpful reminders of what to do on a turn.
The board has a series of rings with the Castle at the center. The rings are labeled and split into red, green, and blue arcs that are numbered 1 through 6.
• The outermost ring is the Forest. This ring has the arc numbers on it. The numbers are where the Monsters will start on the board.
• The next ring is the Archer ring. The Knight ring is further inward. And the Swordsman ring is closest to the Castle.
• The center of the board is the Castle ring. This is where the Towers of the Castle are placed.
• The line between the Swordsman ring and the Castle ring is where the Walls of the Castle are placed and built.
• The order of play and summaries of some of the more challenging Monster tokens are printed at the corners of the board for easy reference during play.
No matter which version of Castle Panic is played, the game is always set up the same way.
1. Put one Tower in each of the lightcolored spaces in the Castle ring. Any Tower can go in any space.
2. Put 1 Wall on each of the lines between the Castle ring and the Swordsman ring.
3. Draw 3 Goblin, 2 Orc, and 1 Troll from the Monster tokens. Place one Monster in each arc of the ring labeled Archer. (NOTE: During the rest of the game, Monsters will start in the Forest ring. Monsters are placed in the Archer ring during setup only, which allows the first player to hit or slay Monsters.)
Players choose which Monster goes into which arc, but there should only be 1 Monster in each arc. Place each Monster so that the corner with the highest number is pointing toward the Castle.
In the accessible version of the game, place stackers under monsters with more than 1 hit point. Place 1 stacker under orcs and 2 under trolls. This instead of the direction that the triangle is facing will indicate how many hit points are left to kill the monster.
4. Separate the 6 Order of Play cards from the Castle cards and give 1 to each player. Keep this card in view to remember the steps of each turn. Set any remaining Order of Play cards aside; they will not be used in the game.
5. Shuffle the Castle cards and deal a hand faceup to each player. Since Castle Panic is cooperative, there is no need to keep cards secret. The number of cards in the hand depends on the number of players. Use the chart below to determine how many cards to deal to each player.
2 players - 6 cards
3 to 5 players - 5 cards
6 players - 4 cards
Place the remainder of the Castle deck facedown. This will be the draw pile. Leave room for a faceup discard pile next to the draw pile.
6. Turn the remaining Monster tokens facedown and mix them up. Set them aside—this will be the Monster pile. Leave room nearby for a Monster discard pile.
7. Place the Tar and Fortify tokens nearby for use when the Tar and Fortify cards are played.
Order of Play
Choose a player to go first. Play continues clockwise around the board. Each player’s turn consists of these 6 phases in this order:
1. Draw up
2. Discard and draw 1 card (optional)
3. Trade cards (optional)
4. Play cards
5. Move Monsters
6. Draw 2 new Monsters
1. Draw Up
Draw back up to a full hand of cards. When the deck of Castle cards runs out, reshuffle the discards to make a new deck. Because each player has a full hand to start the game, players do not draw up on their first turn.
2. Discard and Draw 1 Card
At the start of a turn, the player may discard 1 (and only 1) card from his or her hand and draw a new card to replace it. Players never have to discard if they don’t want to.
3. Trade Cards
On his or her turn, a player can trade cards with other players to improve his or her hand. The number of cards players can trade depends on the number of players in the game.
• For a 2- to 5-player game, a player can trade 1 of his or her cards with 1 card from any other player. Each player may make only one trade on his or her turn.
• For a 6-player game, each player can make 2 trades on his or her turn. Each player can trade 2 cards with the same player or trade 1 card with 2 different players.
• Both players choose which cards they want to trade, and players never have to trade if they don’t want to.
• Players can’t trade with a player that doesn’t have any cards and can’t simply give a card to another player. It has to be a trade.
4. Play Cards
In this phase, the player can play as many of the cards in his or her hand as he or she is able. Cards can be used to attack Monsters, slay Monsters, slow them down, build Walls that were destroyed, or even draw more cards! For more details see the Play Details section.
• To attack a Monster a player must be able to “hit” it. In order to hit a Monster, the player must play a card that matches both the color and the ring location that a Monster is in, as shown below.
• Several cards can be used to hit multiple Monsters or the same Monster.
• Monsters can NEVER be hit in the Forest ring.
• Only a few cards can hit monsters once they are in the Castle ring. Those cards have a symbol on them to indicate this.
• Each time a Monster is hit it takes 1 point of damage unless otherwise specified.
• Rotate a hit Monster clockwise so that the next lowest number is now pointing toward the Castle. Each type of Monster begins with a different number of damage points. Goblins have 1 point, Orcs have 2, and Trolls have 3 points.
In the accessible version of the game, instead of turning the monsters, remove one of the stackers. Orcs should have 1 stacker under them, trolls should have 2 stackers each representing one additional hp.
When a Monster loses their last point, they have been “Slain.” The player that hit the Monster for the last point of damage keeps that Monster token as a trophy. (See Ending the Game for details on victory points.) Monsters that are slain by anything other than hits from players, such as attacking Walls or Giant Boulders, are not kept by any player. Instead those Monsters are put into the Monster discard pile.
Some cards do not damage Monsters, but instead slow them down or even move them back into the Forest. For more information see the Play Details section.
During the Play Cards phase of a turn, the player can also build Walls to replace any that have been destroyed by Monsters. To build a Wall, play both a Brick card and a Mortar card. A second Wall cannot be added to a Wall that already exists.
5. Move Monsters
All remaining Monsters on the board move 1 space.
• Monsters outside the Castle move 1 ring closer to the Castle.
• Monsters that are in the Castle ring move 1 space clockwise, staying in the Castle ring. See the Play Details section for more information.
6. Draw 2 New Monsters
Draw 2 tokens from the Monster pile and turn them face up one at a time. If the token is a Goblin, Orc, or Troll, roll the die and place the Monster in the Forest ring in the space that matches the number rolled. Place the token with the highest numbered corner pointing toward the Castle. More than one Monster may occupy the same space.
The tokens drawn may also be Special Monster tokens: a Boss Monster or Monster Effect. Boss Monsters attack the Castle as usual and also have a special effect. Monster Effects are not placed on the board but instead affect the players or Monsters and are then discarded.
For more information on all the Monster tokens, see the Play Details section.
End of Turn
After the player has resolved the two Monster tokens, the turn is over. The player to the left now begins his or her turn.
Ending the Game
The game ends when either the last Tower is destroyed by the Monsters (in which case the players lose) or all 49 Monster tokens in the game are played and all the Monsters are slain (in which case the players win). If the players have won the game, each player then adds up the number of victory points they have in trophies of slain Monsters. The player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer!
Each Monster type is worth a different number of victory points:
Boss Monsters: 4 points
Trolls: 3 points
Orcs: 2 points
Goblins: 1 point
In case of a victory point tie, the player that slayed the most Monsters wins. If there is still a tie, Fireside Games recommends players arrange for a duel of swords at dawn . . .
• Work with other players to plan ahead. Trading a card with another player can be a great way to protect the Castle, even if it’s another player’s turn!
• Sometimes the biggest threat to the Castle isn’t always clear. Pay close attention to the whole board.
• Some cards are more useful than others. Make sure to play them at the most advantageous time.
• The Monsters are worth different victory points. Carefully choose which Monsters to attack when.
• Remember, no one can be the Master Slayer if all the Towers are destroyed.
At this point in the rules, players have learned enough to start playing. The following section contains details players will need at certain times during the game, but they can reference this section during play for those specific rules.
• “Any Color” Archer, Knight, and Swordsman cards can hit Monsters in any color of their respective ring.
• Hero cards can hit Monsters in the Archer, Knight, or Swordsman ring of the color shown on the Hero card.
• Only Barbarian, Tar, and Drive Him Back! can affect Monsters once they are in the Castle ring. These cards have a symbol on them. (See Slaying Monsters and Slowing Monsters below for more information.) Slaying Monsters
• Barbarian This savage warrior can slay any Monster anywhere on the board (including the Castle ring) except the Forest.
• Nice Shot This card enhances any regular hit card. Play this card with any card that hits a Monster, and that Monster is slain. Slowing Monsters
• Tar This card temporarily stops a Monster in its tracks. Play this card and place the Tar token on any 1 Monster anywhere on the board, including the Forest or the Castle ring. That monster does not move during the Move Monsters phase nor during the Draw 2 new Monsters phase of the turn. Even if a new Monster token would cause the Monster to move, it remains where it is. On the next player’s turn, the Tar token is removed and the Monster is hit, slain, or moved as usual.
• Fortify Wall This card reinforces one Wall to make it stronger. Play this card and place a Fortify token on any 1 Wall. When a Monster attacks that Wall, the Monster is damaged for 1 point as usual, but the Fortify token is removed instead of the Wall. The Monster stays in the Swordsman ring. If a Giant Boulder hits a Wall that has a Fortify token placed on it, the Giant Boulder stops, the Fortify token is removed, and the Wall remains in play.
• Drive Him Back! Play this card and move 1 Monster all the way back into the Forest, keeping it in the same numbered arc.
• Missing Play this card to avoid drawing any Monsters during the Draw 2 new Monsters phase of the turn. In the Overlord version of the game, this card prevents the Overlord from drawing or playing any Monster tokens. Drawing Cards
• Draw 2 Cards Play this card to add 2 cards to your hand, even if it exceeds the normal hand size. These cards may be played during the Play Cards phase of the turn in which they were drawn.
• Scavenge Play this card and search through the discard pile for any 1 card. Add that card to your hand. That card may be played during the Play Cards phase of the turn in which it was drawn.
Monsters and Walls
• When a Monster moves from the Swordsman ring and a Wall is present between the Swordsman ring and the Castle ring, the Monster attacks that Wall. The Wall is then removed from the board, and the Monster that attacked the Wall takes 1 point of damage. If the Monster still has points remaining, that Monster stays in the Swordsman ring until the next Move Monsters phase, as shown below.
• If two or more Monsters move from the Swordsman ring to attack a Wall at the same time, the Wall is removed and 1 Monster (players’ choice) takes 1 point of damage. The others are unharmed. All remaining Monsters stay in the Swordsman ring until the next Move Monsters phase.
• If no Wall is present between the Swordsman ring and the Castle ring, then Monsters pass into the Castle ring with no damage.
Monsters in the Castle ring
• If a Monster moves into the same space in the Castle ring as a Tower, the Tower is removed and the Monster takes 1 point of damage. If the Monster survives, it stays in the space where the Tower was, as shown here.
• Monsters in the Castle ring are not affected by Walls. On the next Move Monsters phase, that Monster will move clockwise to the next Castle ring space.
• This movement will continue on each turn until that Monster loses its last point or the last Tower is destroyed. Towers that are destroyed can’t be rebuilt. If all 6 are destroyed, the players lose the game—so make sure to defend the Towers!
• Once a Monster is in the Castle ring, it can only be affected by Castle cards that have the symbol on them.
• If two or more Monsters move at the same time into the same space as a Tower, the Tower is removed and 1 Monster (players’ choice) takes 1 point of damage. The others are unharmed. All the Monsters stay in the space where the Tower was.
Drawing New Monsters
Special Monster Tokens
In addition to the regular Monsters, there are many Special Monster tokens that have additional abilities.
These Monsters attack the Castle as usual, but they also have a special effect that occurs when they are drawn. Boss Monsters can be identified by the gold background of their damage points.
• Goblin King This royal Monster arrives with loyal subjects at his side. Roll the die, and place the Goblin King in the Forest. Then draw and resolve 3 more Monster tokens.
• Orc Warlord This fierce warrior leads his troops into battle. Roll the die, and place the Orc Warlord in the Forest. Then move all the Monsters, including the Orc Warlord, in the same color as the Orc Warlord 1 ring closer to the Castle or 1 space clockwise if they are in the Castle ring
• Troll Mage This giant emboldens all Monsters to press the attack. Roll the die, and place the Troll Mage in the Forest. Then move all Monsters on the board, including the Troll Mage, 1 ring closer to the Castle or 1 space clockwise if they are in the Castle ring.
• Healer His mysterious potion rejuvenates his allies. Roll the die, and place the Healer in the Forest. All Monsters on the board regain 1 point of damage. If a Monster is already at its full health, nothing happens.
These tokens are not placed on the board but instead affect the players or the Monsters in different ways and are then placed in the Monster discard pile. These tokens have small symbols on them to help explain their effect.
• Blue Monsters Move 1 All Monsters in the Blue arc move 1 ring closer to the Castle.
• Red Monsters Move 1 All Monsters in the Red arc move 1 ring closer to the Castle.
• Green Monsters Move 1 All Monsters in the Green arc move 1 ring closer to the Castle.
NOTE: If the Monsters are in the Castle ring, they move 1 space clockwise. Remember, the Forest and Castle rings are included in the colored arcs.
• Monsters Move Clockwise All Monsters move 1 space clockwise but stay in the same ring. This includes Monsters in the Castle and Forest rings.
• Monsters Move Counter-Clockwise All Monsters move 1 space counter-clockwise but stay in the same ring. This includes Monsters in the Castle and Forest rings.
• Plague! Archers All Players must discard all the Archer cards in their hands.
• Plague! Knights All Players must discard all the Knight cards in their hands. • Plague! Swordsmen All Players must discard all the Swordsman cards in their hands.
• All Players Discard 1 Card Each player must choose 1 card from his or her hand and discard it. If a player doesn’t have any cards, that player takes no action.
• Draw 3 Monster Tokens Draw and resolve 3 additional Monster tokens.
• Draw 4 Monster Tokens Draw and resolve 4 additional Monster tokens.
The Monsters have pushed a Giant Boulder from the forest, and it’s rolling right toward the Castle! In their eagerness to attack, however, they may not have noticed that some of their friends might be in the way. Or maybe they just don’t care. Giant Boulders immediately roll all the way across the board, destroying everything in their path until they hit and destroy a Wall, Tower, or Fortify token. Giant Boulders are the only way Monsters can be damaged while in the Forest ring.
• Roll the die to determine which arc the Boulder starts in. All Monsters in that numbered arc are destroyed, including any in the Forest ring. These Monsters are NOT kept as trophies; they are placed in the Monster discard pile.
• The Boulder stops rolling only when it hits and destroys a Wall, Tower, or Fortify token. This may mean the Boulder continues rolling through the Castle ring and into the opposite arc.
• If no Wall or Tower is present in that arc, the Boulder continues into the Forest, destroying any Monsters in its path.
In the Co-op version of Castle Panic, players still work together to defend the Castle. They will all either win or lose as a team, but there is no Master Slayer. The rules are the same as the Standard game except players do not keep trophies of Monsters they have slain. Instead, all slain Monsters are placed into the Monster discard pile.
In this version of the game, one player becomes the Overlord and takes command of the Monsters while the other players work together to defend the Castle. Choose a player to become the Overlord. Setup is the same as the Standard game except the Overlord player does not receive any cards since he or she will be working against the Castle players. Instead he or she draws a hand of 3 Monster tokens and keeps them hidden from the Castle players. The Overlord player’s turn consists of these 3 steps in this order.
1. Move Monsters
2. Draw up to a hand of 3 Monster tokens
3. Play Monster tokens
The Overlord takes his or her turn at the end of each Castle player’s turn, replacing phases 5 and 6 of that Castle player’s turn. After a Castle player has played their cards in phase 4, that Castle player’s turn ends. The Overlord player’s turn now begins. The Overlord moves the monsters on the board and then draws Monster tokens until he or she has 3 in his or her hand. Now, the Overlord can play Monster tokens in one of two ways.
1. Choose 1 Monster from their hand and place it in any arc of the Forest ring he or she chooses.
2. Choose 2 Monsters, 2 Monster Effects tokens, or 1 of each from his or her hand. Roll the die for each Monster, placing them in the numbered arc of the Forest ring that matches the number rolled, and resolve the Monster Effects tokens as usual.
• The Overlord can play up to 2 tokens normally, but he or she does not have to play any tokens if he or she chooses not to.
• The Overlord cannot choose which arc Giant Boulders start in. He or she must roll the die as usual.
• When the Overlord plays either the Draw 3 Monster tokens or Draw 4 Monster tokens token, he or she draws that number of tokens and adds them to his or her hand. The Overlord can then play that same number of tokens, but they do NOT need to be the same tokens that were just drawn. This is the only way the Overlord can play more than the usual 2 tokens on his or her turn. Any Monsters that are placed at this time MUST be placed randomly by rolling the die. The Overlord cannot choose their starting place.
• The Castle card Missing prevents the Overlord from drawing or playing any Monster tokens, but any Monsters on the board are still moved.
Castle Panic can even be played as a solo game by just one player. All the standard rules apply to the solitaire version with the exception that the player deals a hand of 6 cards and may Discard and Draw 2 cards instead of just 1. Be prepared for a challenging game!
Optional Rules :
After playing the standard game, players may want to include some of these optional rules to change the game.
For an easier game, try playing with some of these rules:
Easier Battles For younger players, or for a quicker game, try removing the following Monster tokens from the game:
Draw 4 Monsters
1 Green Monsters Move
1 Red Monsters Move
1 Blue Monsters Move
3 Giant Boulders
All for One! Play 1 Archer, Knight, and Swordsman card of the same color to slay 1 Monster anywhere in that colored arc (except the Forest or Castle ring) instead of merely hitting it.
Heroic Powers Hero cards can now hit 1 Monster in the Castle ring of their color as well as the Archer, Knight, and Swordsman rings for 1 point of damage.
So, players think the game’s too easy? Try playing with some of these rules for more of a challenge:
A Man’s Home Is His Castle At the start of the game, each player chooses 1 Tower as his or her own. Play continues as normal, but if a player’s Tower is destroyed, that player is out of the game.
Dwindling Resources Each time the Castle Deck is shuffled, remove 1 Brick and 1 Mortar card and discard them from the game.
Under Construction Set up the game as usual, but do not put any Walls on the board. Players start the game with no Walls in play. Better get busy building . . .
Game Design: Justin De Witt
Development: Justin De Witt and Anne-Marie De Witt
Editing: Anne-Marie De Witt Graphic Design and Art: Justin De Witt Playtesting: Gary and Lisa Anselmo-Marnach, Kim, Oriana, and Skylar Barthelmes, Angela Bumstead, Heidi Burau, Neal Carter, Mary Crawford, Cleveland Dear, Eric and Karyn Derby, Lauren Gilbert, Lindsey Gilbert, Adam Gretencord, Joel Hobbs, Owen Houd, Laura James, Pauline Johnson, Rene and Thad Martin, Madeline, Michelle, and Kyle Parsons, Meredith and Steve Paterson, Scott Peterson, Dillon Pittman, Hannah Pritchard, Isaac Reyes, Lauren Rincon, Gabby Ruenes, Jesse Samford, Chris, Corey, and Steve Souza, Ariana Triesault, Melanie Ulrich, Susan, Mike, David, and Gabriel Walker, Anne Woods, James Zuniga Special
Thanks to: Rick and Roberta De Witt, Jim Gardner, Sibone Jacques, Phil Reed © 2010 Fireside Games, LLC. Castle Panic and all game and company logos and slogans are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fireside Games, LLC. P.O. Box 151164, Austin, TX 78715. All rights reserved. No part of this product may be reproduced without permission from the publisher. Please retain this information for future reference.