Spotlight On: My First Castle Panic

March 16, 2023

My First Castle Panic is Fireside Games’ pre-school-friendly version of their classic co-operative game Castle Panic.  Like Castle PanicMy First Castle Panic charges you (and up to three of your friends) with defending a castle and its walls from a relentless horde of monsters.  However, the game is streamlined by having a single path that must be defended and removing most of the math.

Instead of the radial board that has monsters coming in from all sides, the monsters in My First Castle Panic move along a single road.  Every space on that road has a shape (circle, square, or triangle) and each shape is a color (red, blue, or green).

To capture a monster and send them to the dungeon (a cleverly decorated space inside the game’s box), you must play a card that matches both the color and the shape of the space that monster is on.  Most cards have a single shape in a single color on the card, but some cards will have every color of a particular shape, or all three shapes in one color, and so are much more flexible.

Every player starts with a single card.  On your turn, first you’ll draw a card.  You can then either play that card or ask for help from any other player that has a more useful card than the ones you have.

There are two special cards in the deck.  One allows you to rebuild the wall.  The other allows you to boot a monster back to the monster stack (not the dungeon).

After a card has been played (or you’ve all decided to hold on to your cards for now), you move all the monsters one space down the road towards the castle.  You also draw a new monster from the monster stack and place it on the first space on the road.

However, monsters being monsters, they don’t always wait their turn!  Some monsters are Shovers; after you place them on the board, you move them and all the other monsters one more space along the road.  The Marcher behaves just like a Shover except after you’ve moved everyone one space, you draw another monster to follow the Marcher.  The Runner may be the worst; Runner monsters cut in line!  They immediately jump to the front of the line of monsters.  Luckily, after the turn they arrive on the board, these monsters move just like the others.

When a monster moves into the same space as the wall, the wall is destroyed and the monster is sent to the dungeon.  If a monster ever reaches the castle, the monsters win.  However, if the players catch all the monsters and put them in the dungeon, the castle is safe and the players win.

Fireside Games, which created both Castle Panic games, is based in Austin, Texas.  Anne-Marie and Justin decided to turn their hobby of creating board games into a career in 2007, and Castle Panic was their first release.  They toured around the state to playtest and show the game off (my first encounter with them and Castle Panic was at a local literary con back then).   16 years later, Fireside Games is an award-winning publisher of numerous board games, and the core Castle Panic game is in its second edition.

My First Castle Panic was recently featured in KEYE’s We Are Austin – Beating the Winter Blues segment.  Viewers will get another look at the game and it’s potential as a Spring travel treat on March 16th.

Up to four people, ages four and up, can play My First Castle Panic. Players will need to be able to match colors and shapes, and work together to build a winning strategy around knowing when to hold important cards for later and asking for help when they need it.  If you’ve got younger players who need to be entertained on game night, or budding gamers that want a game of their own, ask the boardgame experts at your local Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy® about My First Castle Panic today!