How To Play - The Castles of Burgundy
In The Castles of Burgundy by Stefan Feld, players are 15th Century princes, competing to build up their estates. Players are trying to ensure that their estate is the most prosperous by having the most victory points. Whoever has the most victory points at the end of the game will win.
The Castles of Burgundy is a game for two to four players. During the game, players will be rolling dice to obtain tiles to place on their board, building their estate. There are elements of both set collection and worker placement (with the dice used as workers in this game).
Place the game board in the middle of the table. Put the silverlings, worker tiles and white die next to the game board.
Players then sort the six sided tiles into face down piles, according to the colour of their backs. These stacks should be placed near the game board. Shuffle the square goods tiles. Make five piles of five tiles and place the remainder to one side for now. Then put each of the five piles on the squares marked A to E on the game board. Place the bonus tiles on the spaces marked to the top and bottom right of the game board.
Each player then takes a player board. If this is your first time playing, it is recommended that all players use the boards marked with a one. If you have played a few times you may want to mix things up by using player boards two to nine. Each player takes a dark green castle token. On board number one this is placed on the dark green space with a six in the centre of the board. If you are using one of the other boards you may choose which dark green space to place your castle tile on.
Players also take three random goods tiles. These are placed face up on the square tiles in the upper right corner of the player board. Any good of the same colour are stacked together.
Players take the two dice in their colour, one silverling and one victory point tile showing 100 on one side and 200 on the other. Players then take two playing pieces of their colour, placing one on the zero space of the victory point track, and keeping hold of the other one for now.
Finally, turn order is decided. The player with the highest dice roll goes first. The first player takes one worker tile. The second player takes two worker tiles, the third player three and the fourth player four (if applicable). Players place their other playing piece on the turn order track, in the bottom left of the game board, showing the just determined player order.
The Castles of Burgundy is played over five phases. Each phase consists of five rounds.
Setting up a phase
At the start of each phase populate the game board with the six sided tiles. In the second, third, fourth and fifth phases you will firstly need to clear any tiles left over from the previous phase. Each space on the gameboard shows the colour of tile which should be placed there. Additionally the spaces are marked with either a two, three or four. Players place tiles on the spaces for the correct player count and any number below that (i.e. in a three player game tiles would be placed on the spaces marked with a two and a three). The black coloured depot in the middle of the game board is emptied of tiles (if necessary) and filled with tiles in the same way as the above.
A player then takes the five goods tiles for the current phase (A - E) and places them, face up, on the round spaces. These are the square spaces marked on the left side of the game board.
Each round the players roll both die of their colour. The first player also rolls the white die. This determines which depot the goods tile for that round will be placed in. Once the goods tile has been placed the white die can be placed to one side.
Each player uses their dice to take an action. The action taken must correspond to the number rolled on the die. For example, if a player rolls a one, they must take an action in an area marked with a one. Players can use their worker tiles to add or subtract one to their dice roll. This gives players more flexibility if they have not rolled the number they were seeking. Players can play multiple worker tiles on one dice roll.
As set out above each die roll counts as an action. You can use your die rolls to carry out actions in any order you wish. Once a die has been used to take an action it is placed in the die storage space in the upper right corner of the player board. There are four different actions a player can take with their die.
Take a six sided tile from the game board
The tile must come from the same depot as the number showing on the dice (after any worker tiles have been used). This tile will be placed in the supply on the bottom left hand corner of the player board. If all three spaces in the supply are full a tile must be discarded before the new tile is added
Add a six sided tile to your estate
A player may take one tile from their display and add it to their estate. The tile must be placed in a way which matches both the colour of the tile and the roll of the die used to place the tile. In addition, each tile must be placed directly next to another tile already on the player’s board. Once a six sided tile is added to your estate you cannot move it later on in the game.
There are different bonuses associated with placing tiles of different colours. These are set out further below.
As soon as a coloured region is filled with tiles, it is complete. Victory points are scored as regions complete throughout the game. The larger the region completed the more points it is worth. The number of points each size of completed region scores is set out in a table at the top of the player board.
In addition, depending on which phase the region completed in, players will earn bonus points. A region completed in phase A will get 10 bonus points, whereas a region completed in phase E will get 2 bonus points.
If a player covers all spaces of one colour in their estate, and they are the first or second player to do so, they will receive a bonus tile. The first player receives the large bonus tile. The second player will receive the small bonus tile. There are three different point values printed on the tiles which correspond to the three different player counts the game can be played with. In a two player game the player will receive the smallest value of points printed on the tile, whilst in a four player game the player will receive the largest points value. As soon as a player takes a bonus tile they score these points.
A player can sell goods if they roll a die matching the number printed on one of the types of goods in their supply. Once a good is sold turn it face down and place it on the empty square next to the goods storage spaces.
When a player sells goods they receive one silverling from the supply. They also receive either two, three or four victory points for each good tile sold. The value of the goods tiles is dependent on the number of players in the game.
Take worker tiles
Players can use the result of any die to obtain worker tiles. They simply trade in their die for two worker tiles from the supply.
The central depot
In addition to the above actions, a player may pay two silverlings to take a six sided tile from the central black depot. Each player can only do this once per turn. The tile may be brought at any time during a players turn. As with any other tile, this must be added to the player’s supply and cannot be placed straight onto the estate.
The central black depot is not a numbered depot. The only way to get a tile from this depot is to buy it using silverlings.
Types of Tile
There are six different types of tile used in The Castles of Burgundy. Each of them is a different colour to make identification easier. Each tile represents a type of land to be built on the player’s and each has a different effect when placed.
Blue ship tiles
When a player places a ship tile they take all of the goods tiles on any one depot space and add them to the goods section of their board. Goods of the same type can be piled on the same space.
It is important to remember that you can only have three types of good on your board at any one time. If you cannot store all of the goods from the chosen depot, as you do not have space on your board; you simply leave any goods you cannot store on the depot space.
In addition, when a ship tile is played, the player moves their playing piece one space up the turn order track. If there is already a piece on that space, the player places their piece on top of the piece already there. If this move means that the player would become the starting player they receive the white die for the next round.
Light green animal tiles
There are four different types of animals in the Castles of Burgundy - sheep, pigs, cows and chickens. Each animal tile has between two and four animals of the same type printed on it.
When a player places an animal tile in their estate they are immediately awarded victory points. The points are calculated by looking at how many animals of the same type are in the same pasture (area of light green connected tiles) as the tile was just placed in.
If it is the first animal tile of that type placed in the pasture then the tile simply scores points for the number of animals on that tile. If another tile or tiles with that animal on it is already in the pasture, the player scores the tile they have just placed along with all of the same type of animal tile already placed in the pasture.
This means if you dedicate a pasture to one type of animal you can get a lot of points. However, there are limited numbers of each type of animal and not all animal tiles will be placed on the game board throughout the game.
Dark green castle tiles
Whenever a castle is placed the player immediately gets an additional action of their choice. This acts as if the player had thrown an additional die that turn. However, the player can choose whichever action he wants to take using any number. A player could chose to take tiles from any of the numbered depots, sell goods of any number, or place another tile on their estate on any hex, as long as it matches the other placement rules set out above.
Grey mine tiles
These tiles do not have an immediate effect when played. There are only ever three spaces for mines on a player’s board. At the end of each phase a player will receive one silverling for each mine in his estate.
Beige building tiles
There are eight different types of buildings in the game. Each type of building can only occur once in a beige area. The buildings each have a single use, different advantage which the player can immediately use when the building is placed. These are:
Warehouse - the player may sell one goods type of their choice from their goods storage;
Carpenter’s Workshop - the player may take a beige building tile from any numbered depot and add it to their supply;
Church - the player may take a grey mine, yellow knowledge or dark green castle tile from any numbered depot and add it to their supply;
Market - the player may take a blue ship or light green animal tile from any numbered depot and add it to their supply;
Boarding House - the player takes two worker tiles from the general supply;
Bank - the player gains two silverlings from the general supply;
City Hall - the player may add a tile of their choice from their supply to their estate;
Watchtower - the player gains four victory points.
Yellow knowledge tiles
Each knowledge tile has a different effect. Some of these are immediate effects, which then remain in place for the rest of the game. Some effects only impact on game end scoring.
Immediate effects include the ability to adjust all die results by one in order to place buildings of a certain colour, or each time a player sells goods they receive two silverlings instead of the usual one. Game end effects include awarding victory points for having certain types of buildings or different types of animals in a player’s estate.
As there are 26 knowledge tiles I will not go into the use of each one here; the above is just a flavour of what these tiles can do. There is, however, a very helpful guide to the knowledge tiles at the back of the rule book.
End of the phase
Once players have each played five rounds, the phase ends. Any players with a mine in their estate now receive one silverling per mine they have. Some yellow knowledge tiles also offer points at the end of the round.
The next phase is then set up in accordance with the rules as set out above.
Game End and Scoring
The game ends after the fifth phase. Players then add up victory points for the following items:
Each unsold good and each remaining silverling is worth one point;
Every two remaining worker tiles are worth one point;
Points as shown on the yellow knowledge tiles. These points will vary dependent on which knowledge tiles a player has in their estate. For example some knowledge tiles are worth four points for each building of a specific type a player has in their estate. Another tile awards two points for each bonus tile claimed.
Players add these points to the points scored throughout the game. The player with the most points wins. If there is a tie, the player with the fewest empty spaces on their estate wins. If there is still a tie then the player who went latest in turn order wins.
Hints and Tips
Make sure to have some silverlings. Whether by building a mine, selling goods or by placing a bank, it is important to have a good stock of silverlings during the game. Remember, silverlings are the only way you can buy tiles from the central black depot. These tiles can really help, especially towards the end of the game.
Remember to check your knowledge tiles. Often players take a knowledge tile and place it but can forget the effect it has. Some tiles have end game scoring, as above and so have limited value during the game. However, others will affect what tiles you can place where or can give some flexibility to the dice roll required when obtaining certain coloured tiles. It is important to remember these benefits as they help when building your estate.
Don’t forget worker tiles. There will often be occasions when you don’t roll the number you really want. This is where worker tiles come in useful. So, whilst using a die to get worker tiles may feel like a waste of a turn, as you are not picking up a tile, it is often very useful. This is especially the case towards the end of a phase when there are not so many tiles available.
Where possible chain placing tiles. Some tiles, the castle and some of the buildings, let you do a certain action on the turn they are placed, on top of the two actions you have. This is like having a free dice roll. Sometimes these can chain together so you end up having multiple additional actions on your turn, really building your estate.
Take advantage of the points bonus in the first few phases. It is unlikely you will be able to complete a large area of your estate in the first few phases. But, if you can complete a couple of smaller areas you gain the 10 or the eight point bonus for completing them. These points can sometimes make the difference in end game scoring.
But, don’t focus on one area to the exclusion of all others. Sometimes, the dice rolls just won’t be right for what you really want. Don’t forget you need to build your estate and get most points to win. So whilst you may want to focus on getting a few small areas done early on, don’t do this to the exclusion of all else. Otherwise, you may find that you run out of turns to build some of the larger areas of tiles on your board. Remember, these are worth a lot of points too.
Enjoy playing The Castles of Burgundy!