Review – Japanese Castle from RightGames

Review – Japanese Castle from RightGames

Designer – Sergey Machin

When I was young, I used to enjoy building playing card buildings. I wasn’t great at it but it was fun and challenging. And then I came across Japanese Castle from RightGames at Essen 2012 and my first thought was, why hasn’t anyone come up with this before? I had to get my mitts on a copy and have a go!

Having seen photos like this (posted by RightGames on Boardgamegeek, I thought, cool, this will be really fun.


As you can see from this photo, the artwork is very thematic and looks great.

To build a Castle you have cards for the walls called Heki. They are very small and thin which I think is an issue, at least for me. You will also have big cards called Gamen that are used as walls and floors. Lastly, you have Yanegae which are used as floors . They have curved tabs called Simegu to help set the walls. These are very, I repeat, very helpful.

Gameplay overview

Simple really. The key mechanic of the game is to build castles competitively. You have a number of scenarios where you compete with other players as individuals or teams and you are assigned specific cards to accomplish your task. At its heart, this is probably an activity more than a game but the game element is brought out by the scenarios which assign certain cards, and number of levels of the castle.

Did I like it?

I must be honest and say that I am all thumbs with the small cards and I clearly struggled with them. I think you need to be terribly patient and have a light touch. It can be very frustrating. But at the same time I have a desire to persevere so I will keep trying. The small cards are very thin and I do think that this is a problem. The standard size cards seem to be a bit thicker and work much better but there just aren’t enough with them.

So my current judgement is that this is a great idea, and looks lovely but it is limited in execution for those of us who are less nimble, patient and light of touch. It will definitely put some gamers off in frustration. Children will be very frustrated. I say to RightGames, remake this game with standard sized cards that are thicker and a bit sturdier and you will be onto a winner.

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