The Castles of Burgundy the Board Game Review

Castles of Burgundy is a board game created by Stefan Feld back in 2011 for two to four players and plays for around 30 to 90 minutes. It is a tile placement game, where players take turns removing hexes from the main board, and placing them on their player board. Each removed hex tile gives the player a bonus, and choosing what, how and when to place them determines who will become the winner.

Castles of Burgundy Rules and Gameplay

Players are building a chateau and the player that builds the ‘best’ one will be the player with the most victory points and the winner. During a player’s turn they can perform two actions, normally taking or laying of one of the chosen hexagon tiles. These tiles, when placed on a player board, will grant them special benefits, ranging from free actions, to victory points, to bonuses. After five turns, the game progresses to the next round. After five rounds, the game ends and whoever has accumulated the most victory points wins.

The game is played in five phases, each consisting of five rounds.
Castles of Burgundy the board game box review
Lovely hexes covered in ships and buildings and dice and mines! This is Castles of Burgundy.

Player turns are governed by the roll of a die, with the number rolled determining which of the various actions on the board the player can carry out. Each action on the board is represented by the hexagon tiles mentioned above, so if they roll a 5 they can take a tile from the board in the 5 area, that tile is then placed on the player’s own mini board. On the initial taking of a tile it must be placed into the storage section of the mini board and a subsequent placement action allows the player to move it to the main section of their board and at that point reap its rewards.

A player also accumulates tiles known as Goods during the game and these are placed at the top of their mini board. These goods may be sold as an action on a player turn in exchange for victory points, but of course the player must roll the matching number in order to sell a particular good. There is one special good called a silverling which players can use to exchange for black tiles which live on the middle of the main board. The black tiles are wild and can be used as any other type of tile.

One last option for players is to use a Worker tile which allows them to modify the result of a die roll by either plus one or minus one. Players can exchange a die for a worker if this wish to gain more.

The game ends when the last player finishes his turn of the fifth round of the fifth phase.

And so, Castles of Burgundy the board game is played out using these four actions, with a player being allowed to take one or two actions, the same action twice each turn until the game ends with a winner. The tiles that players choose and use to build their chateau come in the following colours with the following traits:

  • Light green: represent animals and provide victory points (VP), more of the same animals gives more VP.
  • Blue tiles: give the ability to choose goods from a chosen depot.
  • Brown tiles: represent buildings, one of eight types are available and each has their own benefit.
  • Grey tiles: these represent mines and give players more silverlings at the start of each round.
  • Dark green: these are the castles and grant an immediate free action.
  • Yellow: tiles that represent knowledge and each grants a special ability.

Castles of Burgundy Board Game Opinion

To play the board game Castles of Burgundy is to play a complex, intricate Euro game which is well crafted and works like a well oiled machine. At first glance you might think that the artwork is a little dated and, well, brown but there is attention to detail and variation in there, the art provides the right amount of visual interest to make the game involving and feel complex. Whilst the basic mechanisms and player turn actions seem at first simple, the board layout and the way in which a turn is constructed mean there are many different ways to win, many different strategies one can take to gain the victory points.

Castles of Burgundy the board game box review
Piles of tiles, these are the tiles that players choose in Castles of Burgundy.

Variation and options also mean that you don’t become hamstrung by a particular die roll that doesn’t quite go the way you intended; you can switch your intentions and optimise each action without too much being left to chance. Don’t forget though that as you keep an eye on your progress and your plan, you must also be wary of your opponents and not take a turn that will leave them options for their victory.

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