If you’ve read my previous review of Castle Panic, you know that I’m a big fan of the game. I like that it can be played in single player mode, co-operatively, or even co-operative mixed with some competitive aspects. I originally played it on Tabletop Simulator, which lead to purchasing the physical copy, which lead to the two expansions, which finally lead to The Broken Token game insert for it. Touché, Fireside Games.
However, through sheer skill (i.e. dumb luck) I found myself winning the majority of the games I played of the original game. It’s really fun, but it can get a little too easy and repetitive if you play it often. Thankfully, there’s The Wizard’s Tower Expansion, which adds new monsters, bosses, fire, cards, a token bag, and as the name implies, a Wizard’s tower. This expansion not only beefs up the content, but also the difficulty by quite a bit. If it were an SAT question, I would say The Wizard’s Tower is to Castle Panic as the Ticket to Ride Pennsylvania Expansion is to Ticket to Ride. It changes the game play just enough to make it more challenging and interesting without making it feel like a completely different game.
Setup requires removing some monster tokens from the original set. This is one place where the Broken Token game insert really comes in handy. I keep the 6 monsters that you normally start with in the original game in their own section, and then I add the additional removed monsters for The Wizard’s Tower in another section. This makes setting up quick and easy for either game mode. Plus, with The Dark Titan added into the mix, you really need a way to keep things organized.
You then randomly choose 3 boss monster’s representation tokens to place in the new token bag as well as the original and new monster tokens. The boss tokens are unique shapes which could easily be felt in the drawing bag, so you place substitute tokens in for them that are shaped like the others. There are some Imp tokens that come with The Wizard’s Tower, these stay off to the side as other monsters summon them onto the board.
The Wizard’s Tower cards go in their own draw pile and the Wizard’s Tower replaces one of the original towers. As long as this is standing, players have the option to either draw a regular card on their turn or a more powerful Wizard’s card. Having more power is certainly handy as all of the new monsters are beefed up as well. Ranging from summoning a swarm of imps, having the gift of flight, crawling over walls, more hit points required, moving 2 spaces at a time, spitting fire balls, flaming boulders, etc., the new monsters will cut through your defenses like butter. Yeah, the new monsters can light your castle on fire and fly over your knights and swordsmen, so be prepared.
Thankfully, you can also light monsters on fire, which deducts 1 damage for every move per flame on the monster. However, if they set fire to one of your towers or walls 3 times, you lose them. The first time I played the solo variant, I thought I was going to be out of the game within 5 minutes as I lost 4 walls almost instantly.
However, I did mange to hold on and only lost with 10 monster tokens left, which wasn’t too bad. It’s a bit easier in co-op mode as there are more cards available to trade and someone else to help strategize upcoming moves. Overall, this expansion is one of my favorites to add onto an original game. It really makes Castle Panic go from an introductory co-op game, to more of a gamer’s game. Match it with some epic battle sounds from Syrinscape and a quick setup/cleanup time because of The Broken Token and it’s a really nice experience.