Mad King’s Salt Mines


“Plans go to hell as soon as the first shot is fired.” – Jack Reacher, 61 Hours.  Plans change. And our original plans for yesterday had changed.

We were scheduled to over throw the tyrant King Joffrey aka Jonathan in A Game of Thrones the boardgame. However the numbers weren’t looking good for running the game. On Friday we were down for three definites and a possible. Although playable with three, we wanted the minimum to be four players. Four players would allow us to play using the rather excellent A Feast for Crows expansion.

So Friday evening at FEG@WL we made plans. Plans for if the possible didn’t turn up. 


Saturday arrived, I packed a bag of games that included our planned game and optimistically the newly arrived six player only expansion A Dance With Dragons. Keeping it company in the bag was Adrenaline (with the also just delivered Chainsaw weapon promo, that was given away at Essen)  and Scythe.

Well only the three of us that had committed turned up, so plan B from Friday night kicked in. Which meant we were going to have to live under the tyranny of King Joffrey for a bit longer.

Our first game of the afternoon was Castles of Mad King Ludwig

This game had been on my wish list for a long time. As I’ve previously pointed out I narrowly missed out on buying a second hand copy to Diego recently. So it was cool we were now getting a chance to play it.

Wow how bloody good is this game? We really liked it.

The initial bonus cards you select help guide your buying decisions for the rest of the game. Luckily in our game one of my bonus cards also tied up with one of the Kings demands.

And those Kings demands are random each game. So there is a lot of variety/replay ability there straight away.

Having a kind of “I split, you choose” mechanic for deciding the trade row of rooms was a fantastic idea. So the master builder populates the trade row with rooms, and decides where they go pricing wise. The player to their left then gets to choose which room they want to buy (if any) and the money for that room goes to the master builder. The player then adds the room to their castle and scores it. And it goes round the players like this until the master builder is reached, who is last to buy anything from the trade row. Then the master builder token moves to the player on the left, who becomes the new master builder, and we start all over again the process of buying and building.

Now I liked that a lot. As the master builder you have some tough decisions to make about which rooms go where on the trade row.

The room placement is great fun. Completing rooms fires off a bonus based on the colour/type of room. While placing the room in the wrong place could cost you points.

The one thing I didn’t like about the game was the point tracking board. It just didn’t work for me. I found it at times confusing on who was in the lead when glancing at it.

Yeah this is a very satisfying, enjoyable game, where you have to be aware of what the other players are doing. Diego got a gem of a game here. We will be playing it again.

What turned out to be our last game of the day due to how long it played, was Magnum Sal.

This was another bargain, this time for Jonathan. The cardboard was unpunched. Which is rare on second hand games.

So we were salt mining in medieval somewhere, in this pick up and deliver, worker placement game.

Naturally for a learning game, after unpunching tokens, and setting up, we ended up making some major boo boos while playing. Hey it wouldn’t be us if we didn’t make mistakes.

So I think it’s unfair to make a report of what we liked about the game yet.

I would say our misplays may have slowed the game down a little. One was discovered after the second phase, so we had one final phase playing the correct way. The other big misplay was only discovered this morning by Jonathan.

But despite these misplays there was a lot there to warrant playing again. We all still enjoyed the experience. Which is more than can be said when we misplayed Deadmen Tell No Tales.

I will say there were one or two times we had to consult the bgg forums because the rule book was a little ambiguous.

A great afternoons gaming. I enjoy playing with Diego and Jonathan. But then I’ve said this before I’m lucky in that the members of Fenland Gamers are great people who I enjoy playing with.

Can’t wait ’til our Formula D finale on Wednesday.

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