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How To Play Castle Party

Castle Party HTP

So you’ve decided to attend the Castle Party! But you don’t yet know how or where to bust a move on the Pumpkin King’s dancefloor. Fear not, my boogie buddies, for I am here to get your pens pumping!

Spooky Set Up

Start by giving everybody a board and a pen. One side of the board is the normal game and the other is the more advanced “Rave” side. If this is your first game, I’d recommend the basic side first.

Then take the shape cards and shuffle them up before dividing them into 4 piles. Take the three clock cards and shuffle one into each pile then stack all 4 piles on top of each other to form a single deck. The pile without a clock card goes on top.

Finally take the monster cards and unicorn cards and shuffle those up before dealing 3 to each player and placing the remaining cards in a draw deck.

Then you’re ready to party like a Pumpkin King!

Turn On The Dancefloor

Each turn of Castle Party, one player flips a shape card from the shape card deck and decides the orientation of that shape by laying it down in the centre of the table facing them. Then they place a monster card from their hand in the spot marked “X” to begin recreating that shape under the shape card itself. After that, every other player adds one monster card from their own hand to the shape until it is complete. As soon as you place a monster card, you draw a new card from the deck.

Then, it’s simultaneous drawing time. Each monster card forming the shape contains a matching symbol (e.g. triangle representing a witch hat, cross for skeleton etc), and on your board you draw the configuration of symbols in the shape as it faces you. You can’t twist, shift or flip reverse it, but you can place your shape anywhere on your board including partially or completely off the dancefloor itself. However, any symbol in the moat will score negative points at end game and will be discounted in majority scoring. Likewise, you can draw symbols over the drawbridge, but they count for nothing at the end too!

This effectively means that instead of everybody drawing the same symbols in the same configuration, you are each drawing the symbols as they appear in the orientation facing you and only you! So the triangle symbol might be at the top of the “L” shape for you, but for somebody else it might be at the bottom!

Once everybody has finished, the shape card and monster cards go into their own discard piles (any monster card with a king symbol or unicorn get removed from the game though).

Clock Strikes 12

Throughout the Castle Party, you can see other player’s boards which is super handy when it comes to symbol selection and shape shifting! And that’s because there are 3 scoring phases during the game as well as end-game points.

As soon as a clock card is revealed in the shape deck, each player has to score something. But they can decide whether they score:

(a) Fireworks - most symbols in front of a window

(b) Conga - most connected symbols of the same type or

(c) Toast – score the number of unique symbols around the Pumpkin King (who you site by drawing a crown on a clear square on your grid).

Note that you can only use each scoring condition once, so you are going to want to prioritise what’s looking good for you at the relevant time!

Power Moves

Not only that, however, but you also have 3 special one-time special action powers during the game. You announce if/when you are going to use one once the shape has been formed and before the simultaneous drawing phase. And if someone doesn’t like the idea of the shift, they can counter it with a special power move right back at you! Dance-off style!

If you choose to use Lights Out, you can switch monster positions to better suit your own goal progress. Change allows you to reorient the shape, and both of these affect everybody! Masked Ball turns one monster from the shape into a wild, but that won’t cause changes to anybody else’s plans.

Points For The Pumpkin Party

When the third clock card has been revealed, the party is over and it’s time to score your end game efforts. You’ll get 1 point per monster for your single largest connected group of identical symbols of each type (and if there is a king symbol on any of them you’ll get an extra point for every monster symbol touching it).

You’ll also get 2 points for any special power you didn’t use as well as incremental points (-5,1,5,10,15) for 1,2,3,4 or 5 orthogonally adjacent unicorns placed on your board. Note a lone unicorn scores -5!

Add these to your 3 mid-game scores and whoever has the most points is the Castle Party Pumpkin Prom King or Queen!

Rave It Up

Once you are busting moves like pro party people, you can flip the board over and play the advanced mode. The same rules of the basic game apply but there are 5 additional symbols which give extra points at end game if you can assemble the matching symbols around them.

I hope this Castle Party guide helps you slide onto the castle dancefloor for the first time with confidence. Just be careful if you wave your arms in the air like you just don’t care; dry-wipe ink on someone’s face won’t go down well! Haha