Mobile Menu

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Release: January 1, 1970
Genre: Articles, Board Games News, Board Games Reviews


Excellent About Rating

If you’ve been playing board games for a significant period of time, the game Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig might sound familiar, even if you have never played before. That’s because this 2-7 player game is a mashup of Between Two Cities and Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Elements from both games have been combined to create something entirely new, although incredibly familiar. But will two good games in their own right make one epic game? Let’s dive in and take a look!


Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is published by Stonemaier Games as part of a collaboration with Bezier Games. A copy of the game was provided for this review. To see more about the game, and to find a retailer, visit Stonemaier Games official website!

In Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, players will work with partners to create castles, and at the end of the game, the player with the highest scoring castle wins the game. Each player will build a castle with the players sitting beside them, from tiles collected from the middle of the table. So while this is somewhat of a collaboration game, there is still only one winner!

Setting Up and How to Play

There are two included box inserts that come with the game, which store all the tiles you need to play. Instead of having to pull all the pieces out of the box before you can begin playing, simply remove both trays from the box and lay them on the table within reach of all the players.

For a detailed breakdown of Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, check out this fantastic How to Play video from Watch it Played and Rodney Smith!

All the single sided castle pieces are mixed and placed in the larger tray, 9 to a space; the smaller tray contains two sided pieces which are used differently in the game. Shuffle the bonus cards and place a random throne room tile and castle token between each player around the table. After that, it’s time to play!

Before you get started, it’s important to remember that you will only score points at the end of the game for your LOWEST scoring castle. This will dictate how you choose to play your pieces. To begin, each player will grab a stack of 9 titles, will choose two to keep, and will place the remaining tiles under the castle to their left. In discussions with their two partners only, players will then decide how to place their tiles on each castle.


Players should consult their rule book on how tiles must be played, and how points can be scores. Attempting to explain this here would quickly become cumbersome and confusing, especially without the actual tiles to look at while you read.

Safe to say, their are many strategies when placing tiles, in an attempt to maximize points. your Throne Room tile acts as the ground floor of the castle, and players can make it wider by placing tiles to the left and right of the Throne Room, or make it higher and deeper by placing tiles above and below. Some rooms can only be placed in specific places, such as gardens which require open air, and therefore cannot be build underground, and cannot have anything built above them once played.

When placing tiles, have your player reference card handy. It will show you all 7 types of rooms, how and where they can be placed, and other important information. Having this beside you at all times is a must to create a smooth playing experience!

Players will continue selecting two tiles and passing the remaining tiles until there is only one tile left in each pile. The final tile is discard from the game, and players will begin round 2, which mimics round 1, except that tiles are passed to the right instead of to the left. The second, smaller tray from the box contains specialty rooms that can be placed once certain conditions are met, generally placing three of a specific type of room anywhere in your castle.


My initial reaction to Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig was that I was really impressed. The quality of the tiles, the stunning artwork, and the fantastic box inserts means the development team has put a premium on the components for the game. Even the trays are created to make grabbing tiles easy, which is a huge bonus as you will go to the box often to get new tiles.


But a solid construction does not make a solid game. But once again, things are incredibly impressive. Working collaboratively with others while still trying to ultimately win yourself is a strategic game play element that is never the same game-to-game. Different players like to focus on different things; if you link up well with a partner you’ll create a fantastic castle; find someone who plays a way you don’t, and you could struggle out of the gate.

And things only will get worse when you remember that your score is equal to your lowest scoring castle, not your highest. And This collaborate mechanic works most of the time, but those playing with younger or less experienced players might have issues creating fantastic castles. While you can discuss with them how to play the two pieces they choose, you cannot help them choose those pieces in the first place. This caused us problems on numerous occasions, and can quickly deplete the potential score of a castle because of poor decisions made in the selection phase.


Thankfully, however, the 7 different room types means it’s not hard to get back on track either. While you might prefer to go in a specific direction, you’ll almost always be able to play off what you are given (from your partner that is). And since you can openly talk strategy with the person sitting beside you, experiences players can provide pointers ahead of the selection phase, such as “perhaps you should focus on getting this type of room!”

The biggest thing going for this game, however, is the ability to play with up to 7 players. There are not a lot of board games on the market now – outside of party games – that can accommodate more then 4 or 5 players (without expansions), so to have the ability to play with up to 7 people is phenomenal. And even in a 7 players game – which I played multiple of – everything still works. And that is what I really like about Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Whether I play with 3 players, 5 players, or 7 players, the experience always feels the same. You still grab the same number of tiles, make the same number of decisions, just with more people at the table.

Ultimately, Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a fantastic card drafting game. With only a few choices per turn, it’s easy for most people to pick up quickly; the more you play, the better you will get at building your castles. Playing with three other veteran players was phenomenal, and it didn’t take many games to feel like a veteran. For a deep, easy to understand, card drafting experience, I’m not sure there is a game on the market better than this one!




Article By

blank Adam Roffel has only been writing about video games for a short time, but has honed his skills completing a Master's Degree. He loves Nintendo, and almost anything they have released...even Tomodachi Life.

Follow on:
Twitter: @AdamRoffel