‘Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests’ Is The Expansion You Need For This Great Game

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Castle Panic took gaming tables around the world by storm when it was originally released in 2009. It is an easy to learn cooperative game where players worked together to protect their castle walls and towers from a stream of invading monsters that never seem to end. For those who played this game, panic was an appropriate description of gameplay. Three expansions were released between 2011 and 2016 which added more monsters and other cool features. Now in 2022, the fourth expansion has now been released: Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests

What Is Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests?

Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests is an expansion for the cooperative tower defense game for 1-6 players, ages 8 and up, and takes about 60 minutes to play when using the this expansion. A copy of Castle Panic is required for play. The expansion is currently available from your FLGS as well as online retailers such as Amazon and sells for $29.95. Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests was designed by Justin DeWitt and published by Fireside Games, with illustrations by Anthony Cournoyer, Maggie Ivy, Tad Lambert, Britt Pezzillo, and Quel. Castle Panic, 2nd Edition is also now available.

Fireside Games has released the second edition of the Castle Panic base game which features new artwork on the cards as well as some revisions to the rules. New editions of the previous expansions will be available later this year. However, you can also get the Castle Panic 2nd Edition along with all four expansions in the Castle Panic Big Box Second Edition. It is currently available for only $119.95. This is a great discount as compared to purchasing them all individually and the box comes with a tray to keep all the components organized. 

Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests Components

Here is what you get in the box:

  • 12 Character Cards
  • 18 Quest Boards
  • 1 Tracker/Obelisk Tile
  • 6 Vulkar’s Blast Tokens
  • 3 Evacuees Tokens
  • 1 Ambassador Token
  • 1 Obelisk Token
  • 7 Apocalypse Stone Tokens
  • 1 Scout Token
  • 6 Outpost Tokens
  • 3 Scroll Tokens
  • 6 Portal Tokens
  • 6 Success/Fail Tokens
  • 1 Tracker Token
  • 1 Power Token
  • 6 Tower Indicator Tokens
  • 1 Flag Token
  • 6 Order of Play Cards
  • 1 Rulebook
  • 9 Plastic stands
character cards
Which character will you play? Photo by Michael Knight.

Every player gets one character card which is then assigned to one of six towers. There are 12 different character cards and each as their own special ability that can be used once per turn. For example, Prince Darius can play a hit card for 2 damage instead of only one and Zhang Wei can build walls with either a brick or a mortar card rather than needing both. It is suggested that players use the character card with the quests since they give the players some additional advantages to balance with the increased challenges of the quests. If the tower to which a character is assigned is destroyed, that character can move to another unoccupied tower. If there are none available, that character’s abilities can no longer be used until a tower is rebuilt and then assigned to that character. 

quests
Each standard quest is different and provides unique challenges. Photo by Michael Knight.

Each game begins with a standard quest. These quest cards have setup instructions as well as new rules related to the quest. Once the players complete the objective, they then reap the reward. In the quest, “A Creeping Evil,” the players have to destroy six Apocalypse stones that move towards the castle and also act as portals for monsters. After all six stones are destroyed, the players can rebuild two walls and each draws a card from the castle deck. 

end quests
The end quests can be quite challenging. Photo by Michael Knight.

After a standard quest is completed, the end quest begins. Since they are chosen randomly, as are the standard quests, the two quests are not linked. The end quest states the requirements for completing the quest which is also ends the game. There are six different end quests and each is quite challenging.

tracker card
Some quests use the double-sided tracker card. Photo by Michael Knight.

The game includes a tracker card. On one side is a generic tracker used by the some of the quests. The other side is used specifically for “The Obelisk of Oblivion” quest. 

tokens
These tokens are used during the quests. Photo by Michael Knight.

This expansion comes with lots of tokens. However, don’t worry about having to use all of them each game. They are instead used by specific quests which instruct you which tokens are required as well as how to use them. 

How to Play Castle Panic with the Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests Expansion

You can download a copy of the rulebook here

The Goal

The goal of the game is to prevent the monsters from destroying all six of your towers. 

Setup

Start off by setting up your castle. Place one tower in each of the central sectors in the castle area. Then place the walls along the boundary between the castle area and the swordsman ring. Now draw 3 goblins, 2 orcs, and 1 troll from the monster tokens. Place a matching miniature for each monster in a different sector in the archer ring of the players’ choice. Place the six tokens to the side of the board to be collected by players who defeat those monsters. Return the rest of the monster tokens to the draw bag. 

Players are each given an Order of Play card and then dealt a hand of cards face from the shuffled castle card deck. If playing with 2 players, each player gets 6 cards. Deal 5 cards to each for 3-5 player games and for six player games, they each get 4 cards. Place the remainder of the cards face down in a deck near the game board with room for a discard pile. Finally, place the fortification and tar minis, as well as the rest of the monster minis, to the side for use later in the game. You are now ready to play the game. 

setup
The game setup and and ready to play with the Crowns and Quests expansion. Photo by Michael Knight.

Gameplay

When you are ready to play, choose a player to go first. Each player takes their turn and then the next player goes. Each player’s turn consists of eight phases, two of which are new from this expansion. Let’s take a look at each phase in detail. 

Draw Up

When it is your turn, draw cards up to your maximum hand size determined by the number of players. Since you have a full hand on your first turn, this phase is skipped. If the draw deck runs out of cards, then shuffle the discard pile to create a new draw deck. 

Begin Endgame Quest (if needed)

Once you have completed a standard quest, this is the phase in which you setup for the endgame quest and the rules for that quest go into effect immediately.

Discard and Draw

Players may discard one card from their hand and then draw one new card. This is optional and a good way to get rid of a card you don’t need and try to draw one you can use. 

Trade Cards

This is an optional phase. A player may trade one card with another player for one card. In the case of a six-player game, a player can trade 2 cards total. They can both be traded with one player or one card each with two different players. Both players choose which cards they want to trade and players never have to trade if they choose not to do so. A card must be traded and cannot be just given to another player. 

Play Cards

Now a player can play as many cards in their hand as they wish. When playing a hit card, a player can select a monster in the color and ring directed by the card and inflict one point of damage to that monster. Goblins are slain with one hit. However, for other monsters, rotate the base to show the reduced HP remaining. If the monster has no HP remaining, it is slain and removed from the game board. The player then gets the matching token for later scoring. Some cards slow down monsters or force them back away from the castle. For monsters that breach your walls and get into the castle area, they can only be attacked by cards with a tower icon on them. Monsters in the forest ring can never be hit. Players can also rebuild a destroyed wall by playing a brick card with a mortar card. You can choose which wall to rebuild and only one wall can be built in each sector. A fortify wall card can be played to build a fortification on a wall of your choice which does not already have a fortification on it. This makes the wall more difficult to destroy. In addition to all of these actions from the original game, players can also perform actions toward completing their quest such as committing cards, moving the scout token, and so forth. 

Quest Upkeep

Several of the quests have effects that occur or tokens that must be moved during this phase. Since each quest is different, the quest cards instruct the players what must be done.

Move Monsters

After a player has played all the cards they wish, then move all monsters on the game board one ring closer to the castle. If a monster is in the swordsman ring, when it moves forward it destroys the wall and takes one point of damage. If two or more monsters are in the same sector next to a wall, the player can choose which one takes the damage. The monsters then remain in the swordsman ring. When there is no wall in front of a monster, it then destroys the tower in their sector. As with the wall, a monster takes one point of damage and if it survives, enters the castle ring. Monsters in the castle ring move around the ring in a clockwise direction, destroying towers and taking damage. 

Draw New Monsters

Once all monsters on the board have moved, the active player draws two monster tokens from the draw bag. Some quests will change the number of monsters drawn For each monster drawn, roll the die and then place that monster in the forest ring in the same sector as the number rolled on the die. If a token with an effect is drawn, then resolve it. When the giant boulder is drawn, roll the die and then place the boulder in the forest ring of that number. Move the boulder towards the castle, destroying any monsters in the rings it moves through. The boulder stops and is removed once it hits a fortification, wall or tower. That structure is destroyed. 

Game End

The game ends when either the last tower is destroyed by the monsters and the players lose, or all of the monster tokens have been played and all monsters slain and the players win. The players then tally up their points for the tokens they have collected as trophies. Goblins are worth 1 victory point, orcs 2 VP, trolls 3 VP, and bosses are worth 4 VP. The player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer. In case of a tie, then the player with the most monster tokens is the winner. Monsters slain by the giant boulder or through damage received by attacking a structure are not awarded to players as trophies. 

Why You Should Play Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests

I purchased the original Castle Panic several years ago. Our family played it over and over again and we ended up purchasing all three of the expansions. While we did not win every game, we enjoyed the challenge. Since we all worked together in this cooperative game, it was a great choice to play with our younger children since we could help them along as they learned the game. When I learned that a fourth expansion was in the works, I was excited to get my hands on a copy. I was not disappointed. While the other expansions added more monsters and other features, i feel like Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests really brings a lot of variety to the game each time you play it. In fact, if you only got one expansion, this would be the one to get. While you can use this expansion with the other three, the designers suggest only using one of the other three expansions with Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests at a time to help maintain game balance. There rules also contain instructions on how to combine Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests with each of the other expansions. 

players hand
Princess Astrid is assigned to tower 4. With her special ability, she could change use the swordsman or hero to attack monsters in red, blue, or green arcs. Photo by Michael Knight.

I like how the character cards help to personalize the game for each player. You now have a role with an ability as well as your own tower for which you feel responsible. This can lead to even great cooperation between players as they work to maximize the advantages of their individual abilities. However, while the characters are a great addition, I feel that the quests totally change the game for the better. The objective of the game has always been to defend your castle and keep at least one tower in play until the monster tokens run out. Though some of the expansions added objectives, the end game was pretty much the same. Now players have a new purpose in addition to defending the castle and that adds more strategy to the game as they must balance defending their castle with completing the quests. In addition, the end quest contains the end game objective and the pool of monsters never run out. It is amazing how adding quests adds new life to this already wonderful game. I enjoy how each quest has a different feel and offers new challenges. Plus each quest card has artwork that helps tell the story.

sample quest
When setting up a quest, be sure to gather the required tokens. Photo by Michael Knight.

As I mentioned earlier, my family loves playing Castle Panic. This game system is tried and tested. The rules have been updated and are smooth as well as easy to learn. This is a great game for families to play with their children. While the suggested age is 8 and up, with help from adults or older siblings, younger players can also enjoy this game. I am extremely impressed by Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests. Though I and my family had not really played Castle Panic for several years, now that we have Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests, the game is hitting the table once again. I have even used it to introduce the game to the tabletop game club at the high school where I teach and it is fun to watch not only the fun they are having, but the panic as hordes of monsters start breaking down walls and destroying towers. If you are already a fan of Castle Panic, then you will like this new expansion since it makes an already great game even better. If you have never played it before and are looking for a game that can be played with your family as well as a gaming group of adults, I highly recommend Castle Panic 2nd Edition along with Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests

For more information, visit the Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests page.


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2 thoughts on “‘Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests’ Is The Expansion You Need For This Great Game

  1. Does the new expansion integrate well with an older copy of the game? I have the older version of the Castle Panic Big Box and don’t want to re-buy everything.

  2. It will integrate without any problem. The main change with the 2nd edition is the updated art on the castle cards. Crowns and Quests does not add any castle cards, so that won’t affect it at all. You should be fine just getting Crowns and Quests and adding it to your Big Box.

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