‘My First Castle Panic’ Is Great Cooperative Family Fun

Reading Time: 4 minutes

My First Castle Panic is a fun, cooperative game where everyone works together to keep the parade of monsters from destroying our castle! My First Castle Panic is a simplified version of Castle Panic for younger kids.

What Is My First Castle Panic?

My First Castle Panic is a cooperative game for 1-4 players, ages 4 and up, and takes about 20 minutes to play. It’s currently available on Amazon for under $20!

My First Castle Panic is GeekDad Approved!

My First Castle Panic Components

Here’s whats included:

  • Game board
  • 6 cardboard cutouts that assemble to form the castle and wall
  • 26 castle cards
  • 16 monster tokens
  • 4 how to play cards
  • 1 monster dungeon (which is also the box insert!)

The cardboard cutouts and monster tokens are of the same sturdy cardboard you’d expect from a good quality game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the castle or wall pieces end up bent because of the kids, but so far they have held up very well. My kids both love the monster artwork on the monster tokens.

The castle cards are also standard quality cards – nothing fancy, but not too flimsy either. But what I really love about them is the diversity and representation presented on the cards. There are four different heroes, two are boys and two are girls, and both girls are POCs. The one with puffs in her hair is so representative of my daughter, that she keeps saying it’s her. Having your kids recognize themselves in something they enjoy is priceless.

How to Play My First Castle Panic

The Goal

The goal of the game is to prevent the parade of various goblins from storming your castle. All players work together cooperatively!

Setup

My First Castle Panic gameboardGame setup is pretty easy. The legs of the wall and castle slide on and they get stood up at the end of the path. The three monster tokens with stars on them go onto the first three spaces of the path. The rest of the monster tokens get scrambled and placed in a pile face down. The cards are shuffled and each player is dealt one starting card. Because it’s a cooperative game, each player’s cards are just laid face up in front of them.

Gameplay

My First Castle Panic cardsGameplay is pretty straightforward. On each person’s turn they draw a card, and then either play one of their own cards or ask for assistance to play another player’s card. There are three kinds of cards: hero cards that feature one of four monster-capturing heroes with one or more colored shapes on their card, the rebuild the wall card, and the boot a monster card.

A card can only be played if the color and shape matches one on the game board where a monster currently resides. If there is a match, the monster is captured and put into the dungeon and the card is discarded.

Any monsters still on the game board get to move forward one space. If a monster is at the end of the path and moves forward, it will knock down the wall and then be captured. If the wall is already gone and a monster is at the end of the path when their movement happens, the monster knocks down the castle.

After the monsters are moved forward, a new monster is drawn from the pile and placed on the first space on the board. There are 4 types of monsters, three of which have special powers when entering the board. Going clockwise from top left are a regular goblin, a runner, a marcher, and a shover. The regular goblin enters the board and the turn ends. The runner gets to move all the way to the space in front of the lead monster and then the turn ends. The marcher moves all monsters on the board forward one space, including itself, and then another monster is drawn. If that monster also has an ability, it takes effect. Once all monster effects are done, the turn ends. The last type of monster is the shover which moves all monsters including itself forward one space and then the turn ends.

Turns proceed clockwise until one of the game ending conditions are met.

Game End

The game ends with the players victorious if all of the monsters have been captured, or with the players vanquished if the monsters destroy both the wall and castle.

Why You Should Play My First Castle Panic

This game is a great bridge between some of our favorite very young kid cooperative games and more advanced games. Both my three-year-old and my six-year-old enjoyed the game immensely (and keep asking to play again and again, which is always a great sign). My son has even proclaimed My First Castle Panic as his new favorite game we own!

I was worried after we lost our first two games in a row that it would be too difficult. The rule book does have rules for both making the standard play easier or harder. However, we played another round and won and my son didn’t want to make the game easier or harder. We’ve played about twenty or so times at this point and we have about a 50% success rate.

It’s hard to gauge exactly when you’d transition your kids from My First Castle Panic to regular Castle Panic, but it would heavily rely on their gaming experience and how familiar they are with tabletop gaming. My son is six and while he has been loving the game, he has the mechanics down really well and the game is mostly about the luck of the draw of the cards and monsters for him. My daughter, who isn’t quite three yet can play with the help of her brother and myself and I can see her getting a lot more out of it for awhile to come. And unlike Castle Panic, this game is likely too simple of a game for adults to play without little kids.

For more information or to get a copy, check out My First Castle Panic on Amazon!


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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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