The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game Review

Some people don’t have that many space to store that many games and board game tend to have a very big size for its box. Not only that, when we do play, it will take a lot of time to set up and play which not everybody can have that.

So, designers of some well received board games tried to create a smaller, compact, portable version of the game. They have to translate some elements and even components into a simplified version without losing the experience that the board game can offer.

I did a review before for the smaller version of Peloponnes and this time it is the card game for The Castles of Burgundy. The designer is considered as one of the prominent designer in the board game industry.

So, what is The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game? How to play that game? Is there a solo variant?

Those are probably just a few questions that came to mind after hearing about the game. Well, in this article, I’m going to share with you my The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game review, based on my experience and what I can find from the internet.

Hope this helps. Is The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game going to become the best card game?

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Overview

Game Title: The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game
Genre: Card Game, Card Drafting, Set Collection, Competitive, Medieval Theme, Hand Management, City Building, Multi Use Card, Multi Purpose Cards, Solo Mode, Push Your Luck
Designer: Stefan Feld
Artist: Julien Delval, Harald Lieske
Publisher: Ravensburger Spieleverlag GmbH (ravensburger.de)
Number of Players: 1 – 4
Playtime: 30-60 minutes
Official Website: The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game

Components:
2 Rulebooks (EN/FR)
240 Cards (44 x 68 mm)

Castle Action Cards (36)
Knowledge Action Cards (18)
Ship Action Cards (18)
Pastures Action Cards (18)
Building Action Cards (24)

Good Cards (3 x6)
Animal Cards (4×5)
First Time Bonus Cards (7)
All 7 Type Bonus Cards (4)
Display Cards (6)
Round Marker Cards (5)
First Player Card (1)
1 Victory Point Cards (8)
2 Victory Point Cards (7)
Worker Cards (22)
Silver Cards (16)
Player Cards (4×3)

Release Year: 2016
Initial Price: $15

About The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game

This card game is the simplified version of the original The Castles of Burgundy, the board game, introduced in 2011. The original game was very well received and is currently at number 14 on BGG overall ranking.

While the original game uses board, tiles, tokens and dice, the card game uses only cards. Some people say that this smaller version only offer like 80% the experience from the board game version but it wins in the compact, small and portable point.

Even a year later, the publisher launched another version of this game. This one uses roll and write mechanism to play, and the game is called as The Castles of Burgundy: The Dice Game.

The setting and the theme remains the same. The game takes place in Loire Valley in 15th century era and players are competing not just to build their property but there will be some strategic trades and commerce to collect victory points.

The original game starts with a roll of dice which will determine some action options that the player can take. Here, each round the players will get 6 cards which they will draw randomly.

Depending on the dice depicted on those cards, players have 6 possible actions. They can either buy a building plan, construct the building,, sell goods, get and trade some workers, goods, livestock and silver.

There will be some luck factor from drawing the card but with that many possible actions, there are a lot of ways to mitigate. The game is known for being excel in that regard to the point that it doesn’t feel we will get a bad card.

Since this is a set collection game, we need to buy and construct a set of 3 from the same building type in order to score points. The plan that the player can buy is from open market which other player can try to get as well.

Aside from the luck factor, there is also a limit of how many plans we can have.

The game will take place over 5 rounds and each player will have 6 turns every round. There is also a race factor in this game. Each round will grant player extra reward when scoring a set of 3 but the rewards will get lower towards the last round.

Another thing is that if we can be the first to score triplets for certain type, we will also get extra rewards. It’s a small feature to encourage player interactions.

So, the game offers a lot of things to consider everytime we do an action but it always starts with the two cards we draw. The game can be considered as elegant, very simple way to play but still offers some deep consideration.

This card game version of The Castles of Burgundy also introduce a solo mode. The player can play alone against a virtual player called Aaron.

It also got 2 nominations from Golden Geek Award. One is for the Best Solo Board Game and the other for Best Card Game.

Stefan Feld, as the designer, is considered as one of the most prominent designers for board or tabletop games.  So far, three of his game, Bruges, Strasbourg, and Carpe Diem have been nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres award, the most prestigious award for board game.

Components

The Castles of Burgundy: the Card Game comes with a small box that has the size of 18 x 11 x 3 cm. That is more than enough room to store all of its 240 cards and two rulebooks.

As we can see, the box even use some insert at the bottom so the cards will fit in nicely. The cards themselves use 44 x 68 mm for its size.

I use the Mini Euro size card sleeve for this (45 x 68 mm). Some people on the forum says that they can use the Mini Chimera sleeve (43 x 65 mm).

I think I prefer the one I used. It is bigger because the resulting size of the sleeve is 47 x 70 mm (Sleeve Kings). Other brand can be different.

For people who think that the cards are too small, they might want to use a bigger sleeve like me.

The problem is that if we want to sleeve the cards, they may no longer fit in the box without removing the insert. Otherwise it will lift the lid and we might want to use elastic band.

As intended for a card game, there is no other components beside the cards. Based on the rulebook, there are two types of cards mainly. One is the action card which include 114 cards the the others are considered as additional or supplement cards.

Since they are trying to simplify the board game version into just using cards, the action cards can be considered as multi purpose cards as both dice and tiles in the board game version. It is a smart idea but can be confusing at first.

Most of the cards are actually just one sided card. Even it is two sided, they are just displaying the same art or illustrations. However, since we are using almost all of the 240 cards every game, the back of the cards will tell us which cards belongs to what purpose.

It will be easier to sort the cards out if we just use double sided sleeve. Some people say that they don’t recommend using any sleeve considering the very small card size  which will be harder to shuffle.

We are also going to be stacking the cards and it can be slippery with sleeve and very easy for the deck to drop.

Almost all of the cards displays the illustration vertically.

For people who want to use smaller box, all of the 240 cards can even fit in a deck box for 100 standard cards. Just make sure we understand the rulebook or have the digital file in our phone.

Rulebooks

There are 2 rulebooks that come with this game. One for English and the other for French. The original version was released in German so it has its own rulebook.

Here is the link for the English version of the rulebook.

If we go to BoardGameGeek.com forum for this game’s page,, there are files for more languages like Russian, Chinese, Czech, Greek. Japanese etc. I’m not sure if those are official translations or made by fans since the one who published each of them is different from one to another.

If I recall correctly, somebody said  that even the first official translation into English had some mistakes. We might want to double check.

The rulebook has 16 pages and it has smaller size like than box footprint unlike other games. Each page of this book has two columns. One on the left is for the complete explanations and the right one is the summary of the paragraph to the left.

There are several illustrations like for setup and they are very helpful. However, some of them try to explain in detail about certain cards but they display even smaller size of pictures than the card itself.

The card is already small and some of them are similar to one and another. The card itself doesn’t have any name on it so unless there is something distinct like color, we can’t easily tell.

This problem is true especially for the Building types of action cards. Even the summary column at the right end displays the name and the result but it is hard to tell which building is the Watch Tower, Warehouse or City Hall, etc.

The front page of the rulebook has the components part but it only list the name of the card which most people will not know at first. So, the first thing we will be doing is to collect all of the cards and separate them to each of their group.

The only way to know which card are they is if the amount of cards match the description.

Here is the table of contents for the rulebook.

Idea (Page 1): General Idea of the game.
Components (Page 1): Number of cards and layout example.
Setup (Page 2-3): Setup for 2to 4 players.

Game Play (Page 4 – 7): Game turns, 6 Possible Actions and how triplet scores.
The Workers (Page7): How to use a Workers in the game.
The Silver (Page 8): Bonus Action from Trading Silver

Estate Bonus Actions (Page9 – 12): Bonus Action we get from placing a project into our Estate for each type of buildings or action cards.
Additional Rules for Placing Project (Page 12 – 13): First Time Triplet Bonus, All 7 Type Bonus and Round Bonus we can get when we make a Triplet.

End of Round (Page 13): After the sixth turns of every players, discarding the remaining cards, drawing new cards for display and action cards and first player card change.
Game End (Page 14): How general scoring works, scoring for Livestock, First Player card and Tie Breaker. For how to count the scoring from triplets is explained in Gameplay section.

Solitaire Variation (Page 15 – 16): How to play as 1 player mode against the virtual player, Aaron.

There is no page dedicated as summary or quick reference card in the rulebook. Either we understand how everything works or we will be checking probably every page to find the related topics.

I do wish that there is a page where they don’t need to follow the pattern of two columns and display everything in one page or two with bigger illustrations. Most of the illustrations in the rulebook are crops partially from the setup just to explain one specific feature.

Somehow those partial things are kind of lost. For gamers who are already familiar with this game, they can easily find tutorial videos but it is not going to be very easy when common people just get a copy of the game. There is no link in the rulebook that leads to official explanatory video.

Maybe the developer thinks that this is only for people who already know about the board game version. Luckily this is not a heavy game and hopefully this article can be helpful.

The rulebook has some notes that describe further about certain feature. The problem is that those notes are in the detail section of other features while it was supposed to be a more general thing. We really have to read everything in this game.

1st Player Card

This one card is the only card that has two sides and both sides serve different purpose. In other games, whether they use card or token, the only purpose is to tell which player will go first in each game or round.

However, in The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game, like the original board game version, there is a way for other players to claim the first player marker. That way, we don’t have to actually wait for the next round.

If nobody actively claim the card, the card will still move to the next player to the left in the next round. The other side of the card serve as indicator that someone did claim the card from their action.

Both sides of the card display a number “1.” but the back one has many question marks floating on the background. The way it works is that when somebody claim the card, they will take it and flip the card so the card will show the back side with the question marks,

At the end of the round when the card display the back side, we don’t give the card to the next player. But instead, we flip the card and the owner will become the first player for the next round.

Aside from determining the turn order, the card also serve another purpose. The number 1 also means it will give the owner 1 additional VP at the end of the game.

Which is why trying to claim the card can be a deal breaker in the last round. We can also say that this card is multi use card.

In this game, it is also possible for players to maintain their status as the starting player from one round to another.  That includes claiming and reclaiming from another player within the same round.

Not that it is going to be a good strategy but it will become a consideration when will be the right time to claim that card.

5 Round Cards

These 5 round cards are those with the capital letter from A to E at the top. They are the indicator to tell players which round they are currently in.

Each of them has two sides as well but they are displaying the same illustrations.

So, in the game, we stack these cards into a single pile with the letter A card at the top. At the bottom part of the card, it displays the reward we will get if we successfully make a triplet in that round.

Here are the details.

A / 1st Round: 3 VP / 2 Livestock / 2 Goods,/ 3 Workers/ 3 Silver
B / 2nd Round: 2 Livestock/ 2 Goods/ 3 Workers/ 3 Silver
C / 3rd Round: 1 Livestock/ 1 Good/ 2 Workers/ 2 Silver/ 1 Worker and 1 Silvers
D / 4th Round: 2 Silvers/ 2 Workers/ 1 Silver and 1 Worker
E / 5th Round: 1 Silver or 1 Worker.

Those are options for possible extra reward we can get for each round everytime we score triplets. For example, in round A, we can choose one from 5 possible set of rewards.

As we can see from the details above, earlier round will grant us more bonus. The first round we can get VP directly while the last round we will only get 1 card bonus for the same effort.

If we understand how the scoring works, those 3 VP in the first round is much more valuable than the other rewards. The other reward can still give us VP but we will need to do something before that but the VP value is still lower.

Realistically, most of the time, it is almost impossible to score any set of 3 in the first round, especially with higher player counts. There are several randomness that might prevent players to achieve that.

Even if they can, The other players can then try to achieve the other bonus or long term plan. So, these round cards added some tactical gameplay or short term planning based on the current round bonus, the available markets and cards in our hand.

Players also might want to consider how likely their opponent will also try to achieve the same goal.

The next type of rewards that we should prioritize to consider getting first is either the Animal or the Goods. We are going to do another set collection for these two and the current bonus we can get is the specific type that we need.

If we don’t get it now, other players can take advantage of that. While Workers and Silvers are just one type. We can easily get them by other means available in this game or later rounds.

First Triplet Bonus Cards

Scoring triplets or set of 3 will be the main thing we will be doing in playing The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game. While we can try to achieve that later in the game but if we can do it as fast as we can, we will get higher additional reward.

There is also another bonus that players can achieve depending on the types of building we can score the triplets of. The first one to score triplets for a type of building we get one additional Victory points.

There are 7 cards that each depicts a set of 3 same color cards. At the top of each card there is another “1.”  which means for the first time only.

While at the bottom there is another number 1 with yellow color and brown circle background which displays the Victory Point we can get. These cards will be given to the player who score the matching triplet first.

So, this give another race element to the game. Ideally, there is no way a player can get all of this bonus. A player can try to achieve one while their opponent can try to get the other.

The bonus can be achieve any round as long as the player is the first one to do it for that type of building. These bonus also introduce a way for player to interact with each other more.

We can check the other player’s progress and how likely we can beat them for those bonus instead of just focusing on our own. This will also give another consideration later in the game if the bonus has been achieved.

The player who already achieved the bonus may not care that much to score the same type of buildings. That means, the other player can have a better chance on getting that type later.

These 7 cards are also two sided but both sides display the same picture. In the game we will be stacking these 7 cards into a single pile and we will be looking for the right card when a player achieve the bonus.

The illustration of these cards depict a set of three for the same type of building. There is no name to indicate which cards the bonus are for but we can easily tell from the color.

I don’t know if any color blind people will have problem with this or not but even if it is smaller but they use the same illustration on the depicted cards as the original cards.

Except for the beige color only with big question mark. People just need to know that it is the only one.

All 7 Type Bonus Cards

If scoring a set of 3 is the main way to play the game, there is another bonus that a player can achieve by only building just one building for each type but for all 7 types. It is also another race because  the first player to achieve it will get higher bonus.

There are 4 cards for this bonus. Each of them displays the same illustrations, the all 7 different color cards but the Victory points at the bottom display 4 different amount from 1 to 4.

Like the previous bonus cards, these are two sided that displays the same picture.

Depending on the number of players, we will not be using all of the cards in lower player counts. Here is the detail.

4 Players: Use all 4 Cards
3 Players: Use 3 cards (4, 2 , 1)
2 players: Use 2 cards (3 and 1)

We should be returning the unused cards to the box. The remaining will create another pile just for this bonus with the highest VP card at the top.

With this bonuses give players another consideration for buying some cards. We only need one of each and we can score anytime within the game. It is just a matter of who gets it first and get higher points.

The problem is, depending on the randomness of the cards, we might not find some certain type of cards as building cards that we can buy. We may find them as action cards instead.

So, it is rather a gamble trying to achieve this. We also need to consider how likely the opponents trying to achieve this bonus as well.

This introduce another tactical gameplay for the later rounds. Players should keep checking their progress and if somehow in later rounds they can see a good chance to achieve that, only then, they need to start planning.

6 Dice Display Cards

Displays Cards are those that depict one big dice with one different number for each card from 1 to 6.  In the game there is going to be a market where players can buy certain buildings from.

These buildings are assigned to those dice numbers randomly. The original idea from the board game version was so if we roll two dice, we can only purchase the buildings that match the numbers.

Here in the card game version, instead of rolling dice, we will draw two action cards which each card has some dice value on them.

So, these dice displays cards doesn’t have any other function other than just a marker. However, in terms of game design, this is essential.

This is how we can have so many options for actions just from a roll of d6 dice. By assigning those numbers to several other element to the game, the game becomes very deep, with a lot of choices and considerations.

Unlike let’s say Monopoly, a classic example, where we roll a dice and just move the pawn. The luck will determine the result with no option.

Since these numbered cards are separate element, they are also open for different setup. Each round we will have different market setup variations of at least 6 buildings.

Unlike Monopoly again, where the board is already a predetermined which will become boring. Here, we will have different experience between each game session.

These Display Cards also have two sided with the same illustrations. Most of the time, they are going to just stay on the table.

Player Cards

In the original board game version each player will get their own player mat. The designer translate the player mat in the card game version into three cards.

These 3 are also the only cards with horizontal orientation for the illustrations.

Each player will start with a  PROJECT CARD, ESTATE CARD and STORAGE CARD.  The game come with 4 copy of these cards for 4 players.

The way we use them are like the display cards but for each player instead of communal. Most of the time they are just going to stay on the table as markers.

The PROJECT CARDS are those that says “MAX. 3!” with some stationery illustration. So, when we buy a building from the market, we are actually buying building plans and we can only have three of them at the same time.

We need to construct them into the estate or discard the existing before adding more plans. So, we only need just small space for 3 cards near this card.

The ESTATE CARDS are those that depict other cards with color and a map of Burgundy in the middle. This will be the central of each player tableau and we will need to save some big space around the card.

Everytime we get VP whether it’s a VP cards or bonus cards, we will be placing them at the left side of this Estate card. The right side is for goods while the bottom part is for constructed buildings to reach a set of 3.

The idea was so every player can easily tell how many points their opponents already have. The board game version has the communal tracker at the border of the board.

The last one, the STORAGE CARDS. Near this card, player will be placing their resources like workers, silvers, livestock and goods.

This card will require bigger space than the Project card but not as big as the Estate card.

To be honest, I think we don’t really need these cards at all. We can use house rules like if it is still a project cards, we place them horizontally and turn it vertically once we set them in our estate.

Or if we still need some cards just to keep them in order, we can just flip one of the action cards and pretend they are these 3 cards.

Victory Point Cards

These are cards that depict barrel or barrels. The number at the bottom is the Victory Points so we can get either 1 or 2 VP per card.

The game comes with 8 cards for 1 VP and 7 cards for 2 VP.  All of them are also two sided cards but with the same illustrations. I don’t know why they use barrels as a sign for VP but I guess it is better thematically than just using a giant number 1 or 2.

In the game, we will be placing all of these cards into a single pile. Basically we only need the 1 VP cards but if the game only comes with those cards, we will need a lot more cards.

Once we have 2 of 1 VP cards we can trade them into a single 2 VP card. With that in mind, it will be easier if we sort the pile so that the 1 VP cards are at the top and the 2 VP cards are at the bottom.

Workers and Silver Cards

These two cards are those with a number of the one and the same copy. There are 16 Silver Cards and 22 Worker Cards. Workers are those that depict a man with both “-1” and “+1” sign with beige color.

Silvers cards depict silver ore with gray color. We will be placing each of them into separate piles in the game.

The idea of the Worker is to modify the number we get from dice roll either plus or minus one per this card. We can use as many card as we want, assuming we have some in stocks.

The interesting thing is that they don’t consider that 6 is greater than 1. So, we can still change just using 1 Worker from 6 to 1 and vice versa. If we have very bad luck, we just need to have 3 Workers and one number can reach every option instead of 5.

This may sounds like a very simple feature but it is very important. With this feature, it mitigates the luck swing from rolling a dice or in this case, the cards that depicts the dice.

We can store as many as we want but if we don’t use any of these workers, there is a way to convert them into VP. One of the brilliant thing from this game is that they don’t just offer many options for actions but even if we have chosen one, there is still a way to make it worth more.

It’s like another layer of design, instead of choosing just one action and we will get nothing else.

The Silver also has similar feature. At the end, we can convert the silver directly or alongside the workers into VP.

The other function is if we have 3 of them, we can activate a bonus action or bonus turn. Depending on the situation, this could lead to a chain of reaction which one action can trigger another action.

I guess mastering how to take advantage of these two features is essential to win in this game.

Since these Workers and Silvers don’t have a die number on it, the game consider it as any number. We can trade any of our action cards into either Worker or Silver.

Only one silver for an action card but up to 2 Workers for an action card. It depends on the situation but in general, trading to 2 Workers is a better option.

These 2 resources are considered as unlimited in the game. So, even if the available cards are not enough, we can use other means to replace them.

Livestock / Animal Cards

The next three subsections are for one sided cards.

At the start of the game, each player will draw one of each Livestock and Good card blindly. So, each player can start differently, another good aspect for setup variability.

The Livestock or Animal cards are those with a rather lime color for the back side of the card. There are 4 animals and each has 5 cards that come with this game, CHICKEN, PIG, SHEEP and COW.

At the bottom of the card, each of them displays “?” for VP. It is because to score from this, we will be doing another set collection.

If we can have 4 different animals at the end of the game in our storage, we will get 4 VP. We will get 2 VP for 3 and 1 VP for 2 and we can have as many set as we want.

In the game, the rest of these Animal Cards will form 2 decks facing up. We can see which animal we will get only the 2 top cards which can either the animal we need or the one we already have.

So, this give another consideration to the game, especially when we build a PASTURE to our tableau. If we already have the animal, we might want to wait for other players to get it first, hoping that the next card is the one we need.

That means, it is recommended to also consider the other player’s situation. How likely are they going for that animal. It gives another element of interaction between players.

This is also a bit of push your luck element. We might find the animal we are looking for but there is a chance we will not have the PASTURE to build and let us get that animal.

The amount of animal cards in the game is considered as limited. Once it runs out, we will get nothing.

Goods Cards

The GOOD CARDS are probably the most complex feature in the game but can be very rewarding.  We first need to actively get the card into our storage, except for the first one.

Then, we also need to actively transport the Goods from the storage to our Estate before they become VP. The rulebook calls it as Selling Goods.

There are 3 types of Good Cards with each has six of the same copy. Each type also has two dice numbers at the top. With one action card that match the number, we can transport the Goods of the same type.

That means, the more of the same type of Goods we can transport, the more benefit we get from the same effort. Each sold good will give us not only 1 VP but also 1 Silver. So, if we can transport or sell 3, we can get a bonus action.

This gives another different set collection element to the game.

Also, if we do sell goods, we also claim the right to become the first player next round, getting the First Player Card. That gives another interaction element between players.

The way to earn these Goods to our storage is only by building the Ships or blue cards into our estate. Like the livestock, the rest of these good cards are shuffled and form 2 separate decks facing up.

We can only tell the two cards at the top which can be the one we already have, which we want, opposite of how the livestock works or the other 2 types. Like the livestock, we might want to consider the situation of other players. They might want to get that type of goods more than us.

Like a livestock, this is a small feature of push your luck element in the game. Who knows what might come after the first card.

The back of these cards have beige color. As a minor complaint, too bad that the only different things between each type of Goods, aside from the dice is the colors and that is only using different tone of the same color.

The illustration is the same. Maybe they want to tell players that each different type of goods is worth the same. From the table settings, if we are sitting too far from this pile, the 1-2 goods is easier to spot but between the 3-4 and 5-6 is kind of harder to tell.

Like the animal cards, the amount of good cards in the game is considered as limited. Once it runs out, we will get nothing.

Action  / Estate Cards

These are the last type of cards and also the last components for The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game. The game comes with 114 of these cards and all of them have the red color on the back of the card.

The rulebook calls them as the Action Cards while I also consider them Action / Estate Cards. Because all of these cards are multi purpose cards but not a multi use cards most of the time. What it means is that each of them has two separate element and when we use it for one function we will be ignoring the others.

Most of the time we will not have a choice to use the card for the 2 purposes but there is a bonus feature which allow us to have that options.

As Action Cards, all of them have dice number at the top of the card, from 1 to 6. When we want to use the card only as action cards, we will be looking for this dice element and ignoring the colors, or illustrations, VP or the bonus.

As described above, when we get this card, we can use it to purchase a building plan, construct them, sell or transport goods, trade into Silver or workers, from the 6 possible actions. Aside from the silver and workers, we just need the right number of dice or modify the number by spending the workers.

From 114 cards, each number of dice has 19 cards. I don’t know if anybody can take advantage for knowing this facts by memorizing every used cards. Maybe people who have a good memory can.

As for the second function of the card I call them as Estate cards. These are cards that we are going to purchase from the market to our Project area and construct them into our Estate area.

It is easier to just call them as building cards but that is not entirely true. Some of these are in fact buildings, like Church, Castles, Cloister, Warehouse, Bank, etc. But several of them are called as Mines, Knowledge, Ships and Pastures which we don’t exactly build them in the original game but more like develop or invest.

Since this is an attempt to simplify the game into cards, we can just consider them as building Mines, Schools, Port, and Pastures types of buildings.

Here are the details of each type.

Mines (Gray Color, 12 Cards)
Bonus: Get 2 Silver Cards to Storage
VP per Triplet: 4

Building Mine probably is not going to give much benefit. We get 2 Silver but we always need at least 3 to get additional actions or one VP. Since we always start with 1 Silver, constructing just one of this is  enough.

 

Knowledge / School (Yellow, 18 Cards)
Bonus: Get 2 Worker Cards to Storage
VP per Triplet: 4

Having more workers in storage can be handy from time to time. Especially if we already have at least one worker because of the limit to two workers from trading. Otherwise it is the same as just trading one action card into two workers.

 

Ships / Port (Blue, 18 cards)
Bonus: Draw one Good Card from the two decks and place it into Storage
VP per Triplet: 4

As described above, we have to make sure that we can get the same goods as the one in storage. That way, we can always sell those goods for more silvers later, which could lead to additional action.

 

Pastures (Light Green, 18 cards)
Bonus: Draw one Animal Card from the two decks and place it into storage
VP per Triplet: 4

Just like Ships or Ports, the timing when to construct Pastures is essential to get the right animal. We can always keep the project first and wait until we find the right animal. I think this one is less powerful than the Ship because it will give no additional action.

 

Castles (Green, 12 Cards)
Bonus: Get 1 Free Action as if we get any die number.
VP per Triplet: 2

The bonus from building a Castle is probably one of the most powerful one. This could lead to several chains of additional actions if we can do it correctly. We might want to keep it as project, build some resources that could lead to additional actions like Silvers and activate when we get the chance.

Also, consider having some Communal Buildings in project because some of them can be very powerful. The VP is low just 2, so we don’t really need to try getting triplet from this.

I think the best use of the additional free action from the Castle is to build the other project, make a room to get more cards immediately.

Cloister (Violet, 12 Cards)
Bonus: No bonus for installing but can become a Wild Card
VP per Triplet: 6

Triplets of cloister will give the highest VP, 6 VP among other types. The problem is that we don’t know for sure if we can get all of the three throughout the game. On the other hand, it can become a wild card and help us score the first triplet bonus very early.

The next several Estate cards are what the rulebook consider as Buildings. Actually, Cloister and Castles are supposed to be part of the Buildings as well but it is easier to tell them apart.

They have the same background color, beige, and can become triplet just from the color. Maybe the more appropriate terms would be Civil or Communal Buildings.

There are 8 subtypes for this Communal Buildings, Carpenter’s Workshop, Church, Market, Watchtower, Bank, Boarding House, Warehouse, and City Hall. Each of them also give different bonus actions and any combination to make a triplet will grant 3 VP. There is only one first triplet bonus for this type.

Here are the details.

Carpenter’s Workshop
Dice Numbers: 1, 2, 3
Bonus: Take 1 of any Communal Building or School (Yellow) from the display and place it as Project.

If there is no Yellow or Beige building available in the display, we will not get anything. We might want to wait for the next round to construct this.

Church
Dice Numbers: 1, 2, 3
Bonus: Take 1 of either Cloister, Mine or Castle Card from the display and place it as a project.

Like the previous one, if there is none of them in the display, we will get no bonus. We can also wait for the next round to build it but there are only 12 cards for each of those 3. It is rather a gamble,

Market
Dice Numbers: 1, 2, 3
Bonus: Take 1 or either Ships or Pastures Card from the display and place it as a Project.

Like the previous one, if there is none of them in the display, we will get no bonus. This one is better than Church but we need to make sure we get the right Animal or Goods for our set collection.

Watchtower
Dice Numbers: 1, 2, 3
Bonus: Take 1 Victory Point Card from supply and place them into Estate directly.

This one gives immediate benefit, better than nothing. A single victory point is big in this game.

 

Bank
Dice Numbers: 4, 5, 6
Bonus: Take 3 Silver from the supply into Storage.

This is also a good one since we can get 3 Silver cards. The next thing we need to decide whether to just convert into 1 VP or we can spend them and get additional actions.

Boarding House
Dice Numbers: 4, 5, 6
Bonus: Take 1 of either Good Card or Animal Card from the top of their decks into Storage.

This one is similar to the Market. We can get the immediate benefit either the Animal or Good. If the animal is the one we don’t have, it is a no brainer to pick. We will get VP immediately while for Goods, we still need one more action to sell and get VP and Silver.

So, getting goods can lead to higher VP but only if we have the chance. The right card or another turn or round.

Warehouse
Dice Numbers: 4, 5, 6
Bonus: Sell or transport one type of Goods in Storage to Estate. Or we can say get one additional action for selling goods and get the benefit.

For this one, we will get the benefit of selling goods, the silver and the first player card. In the last round, we might want to make sure that no other players can take the first player card again after we get it.

City Hall
Dice Numbers: 4, 5, 6
Bonus: Construct 1 of any Building from the Project into Estate, also get the benefit.

This one is not that hard to take advantage for the bonus. Just make sure we have one more projects before we build the City Hall to our Estate.

For these communal buildings, I said it before that it is rather hard to tell from the illustrations between one to another. There is no name in the card and yet the rulebook’s summary part for this use the name instead.

I think I tend to look at the icon for the bonus  but not the picture. The rulebook should just display these icons instead of the whole card to explain.

Well, I guess thematically, the bonus we get are more appropriate to the name. For example, if we get Silver from the beige card, that is a Bank building because the silver is like the currency of the game.

So, with so many possible bonus we can get from building these building cards to our Estate, there are more things to consider while doing an action in this game. Especially, for the communal buildings.

Before I wrote this article and read the entire section for the communal building, my first impression was that every beige building is worth the same. All I do was, get the beige than try to look in the rulebook, the bonus or benefit I can get.

It turns out, one Communal building can be more powerful than the others. If we can plan ahead correctly, we can get several actions within the same turn. Maybe if we just focus on trying to collect all the beige buildings all the time, we can even score more points.

We might not score the First triplet bonuses but we will eventually build the other as well.

For MINES, KNOWLEDGE, SHIPS and PASTURES, we will only get more resources and that is it. The beige allow us to get those cards and then get the resources.

The next focus would be to get either the Castle or Cloister. One way to look at the Castle is it allow us to make a room for more projects faster.

This is always the bottleneck of the game flow. Then, with the cloister, we can ignore the 6 VP but score triplets more often.

Of course, there is going to be another element that prevent us to successfully pull this plan through. Randomness from drawing the action cards.

Well, those are the components for The Castes of Burgundy: The Card Game with some details about its feature.

How to Play

Now that we already know the components, it is time to learn how to play The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game. In general both the board game version and this card game version was designed for multiplayer game.

The card game, however, has solo mode which will be discussed in the next section of this article. This part will only explain how to play for 2 to 4 players.

The gameplay is the same regardless of how many players are in but the setup is a bit different. Here, the game will be played over 5 rounds and each round player will have 6 turns.

Depending on the situation, each player can have more than one action per turn. The estimated playtime will be about 30 to 60 minutes.

This next video from Rahdo Runs Through, a board game channel simulates how the game works for 2 player game just for the first few rounds. If anybody interested to find out more, there is a second video where he will play a couple more turns.

Setup

First, each player will get their 3 PLAYER CARDS, the Project Card, the Estate Card and the Storage Card. Players will then place them horizontally in front of them.  The second page of the rulebook displays an example.

Second, each player will take 1 SILVER CARD and put it below their Storage Card. Then, we place the rest of the Silver Card into a single deck, in the middle of the table where any player can reach.

Third, each player will draw randomly one ANIMAL CARD from a face down shuffled deck. They will do the same for GOOD CARD. Then, they place them face up alongside the Silver Card, below the Storage Card.

Fourth, for the rest of ANIMAL CARDS we will form two decks equally face up and place them in the middle of the table near the Silver deck. We will also do the same for the GOOD CARDS, form two decks equally face up.

Fifth, we can choose who is going to be the starting player and give that player the FIRST PLAYER CARD or STARTING PLAYER CARD. The rulebook suggests the youngest player as the starting player.

The player will then place that card with no question mark icon face up, beside their Estate card. The 2nd page of the rulebook displays the example for this.

Sixth, the next 2 players to the left of the starting player will take 1 WORKER CARD. The fourth player will take 2 WORKER CARDS. The same setup also applies for 2 and 3 player mode where the other players will only take 1 Worker.

Seventh, we can place the rest of the WORKER CARDS into a single deck in the middle of the table. Preferably beside the deck for the Silver Card.

Eighth, we can place the 6 DISPLAY CARDS from 1 to 6 in rows in the middle of the table. There is an example on the first page of the rulebook.

Ninth, we place all of the 7 FIRST TRIPLET BONUS CARDS above the display row into a single deck. The rulebook suggests to place the cards slightly fanned.

Tenth, we also place the ALL 7 TYPE BONUS cards into a single pile or deck, also place them near the previous bonus cards deck. Depending on the number of players, we might not use all of the cards.

4 players:  Use all of the cards.
3 Players: Use 3 cards (4, 2, 1)
2 players: Use 2 cards (3, 1)

We place the card with higher VP at the top so the first one to score it will get the highest VP. The unused cards can be returned to the box.

Eleventh, we will form a pile for the VICTORY POINT CARDS and place them alongside the other pile. The rulebook only suggests not to separate between the two cards but I recommend placing the 1 VP cards at the top and the 2 VP at the bottom to make it easier later.

Twelfth, we place the 5 ROUND CARDS into a single pile right next to the other pile, starts with the A card at the top and following the order from B to E at the bottom.

Thirteenth, we shuffled all of the ACTION or ESTATE CARDS, with the red backs into a single pile facing down near the Display Cards. We need to make sure that there is enough space for one more pile next to this one for the discard pile.

Fourteenth, each player will draw 6 cards blindly from the Action card deck. Then, they can put them on the table in front of the player face down without looking at the cards.

Fifteenth, we will now draw cards for the display or set up the MARKET. Depending on the number of players, we will draw different amount of cards.

2 players: 7 Cards
3 players: 10 Cards
4 Players: 13 Cards

For the first 6 cards, we draw from the ACTION CARDS deck and place them right beside the DISPLAY CARDS in order, from one 1 to 6. The dice on the card doesn’t have to match the display for this 6 cards.

For the 4 player mode, we will draw 6 more with the same method, so each display card will have 2 cards. Then, as the thirteenth card, we draw one more from the deck, and place the card so the dice number on the card match the dice number of the display.

One of the display will have 3 cards and the total is 13 cards for 4 players.

For the 2 player mode, we will draw 1 more and place the card so the dice number on the card match the dice number on the display. So, one of the display will have 2 cards and the total is 7.

For the 3 player mode, we will draw 4 more and the total is 10 cards. We draw these 4 cards from the deck and place them so the dice on the card match the dice on the display.

There is a chance that one display will have 5 cards while the other only have one, but very unlikely. Page 3 of the rulebook has another example for possible 3 player mode MARKET.

That is the setup and we are ready to play the game with the first round. Each round, we will be resetting the MARKET, redo the 15th step, removing the leftover cards. Players will also draw 6 cards again or 14th step.

We will also change the ROUND CARDS order by taking the top card and put it at the bottom of the pile.

Gameplay

Here is how the game works for each round. Players will take turn starting from the one with the First Player card going clockwise.

The active player will draw 2 cards from the top of 6 facing down cards in front of them and reveal the cards. We are using these as ACTION Cards so we only need to pay attention to the dice number of the card, ignoring the Estate feature of the card.

This active players can then spend one of these 2 cards to take one of the 6 possible action. By spending it means we discard the card face up and put it on the discard pile, right next to the Action Card deck.

That is the end of the active player turn, spending one and saving the other. After that, it is the next player’s turn. and they will do the same.

This will go on clockwise until each player has done 6 turns, spending all of their 6 Action Cards. The card that came out first might be spent in the last turn of the round but will not be carried over to the next round.

As far as I know there is no passing in this game where player will not take any action. They will have to discard a card and choose from the 6 possible actions,.

With this system, players will be encouraged to plan ahead not just the action of this turn but what they can do the following turn. There are still some luck factor that could happen and players will need to mitigate that.

For example, we could get the same numbers for the two cards, which already limit the possible actions we can take. Even if we do have different numbers, we still need to carefully plan when to spend it because other player can do it before us.

In general, nobody will know any of the six cards each player can have later. We can only see the one the opponents haven’t used yet.

In this game, the first player has the advantage of taking the best possible action but at the same time, other players can plan to prevent in the next turn.

Action 1: Buying Building Plan

The first possible action that we can do in this game is to purchase the building plan from the Market or Display area. As mentioned before, the starting player will have up to 13 plans in 4 player mode.

The dice number on the card that we choose to discard has to match the dice number from the Display area. So, it is not based on the dice number on the building plan we are going to purchase.

Then we can pick the building plan and place it under our Project area. We can only have up to 3 at a time under this Project area.

If somehow we can get a better plan than what we already have, we can choose to discard the existing one. Otherwise, we need to build the building first to our Estate area so we can make room under the Project.

However, by the time we can finally purchase a building plan, the other player can take it before us. This is the typical thing we will be experiencing from this game.

There is a chance that the matching dice doesn’t have any plans in the display. Then, we should consider spend the card for other possible actions since there is no passing.

Action 2: Build a Project into our Estate

The second possible action that we can do is to build the plans we already purchased in previous turns. Not only this is important to make more rooms under the Project area but this is how we can score points and get more bonus.

The way to do the action is by using one of the action card again. This time, the dice number must match the one on the plans that we are going to build.

Which is why, before we fill up our Project area, it is recommended to make sure that we also have the right card to build them. By doing the action, we discard the action card and move the Building card from the Project area into our Estate Area.

To score points, we also need to have a set of three for the same type of building in our Estate. Once we have 3 of the same type, we will get VP as indicated at the bottom of that card. For example, a triplet of Mines will give us 4 VP instead of 12.

If we build the same type of buildings, we then place them into a single pile. For different type, we will place and create separate pile beside the existing one.

Every fourth card of the same type means we start another pile and if we can get a new set of three, we will score from that as well.

Claim Bonus: Building Type

Each time we do this second possible action, building into our estate, there are several bonus that can activate right after. The first one is from the building type.

The building will give a bonus or benefit which will be different from one building to another.  The bonus for each building type has been described above in the COMPONENTS section of this article.

In the rulebook the explanation about the bonus starts from Page 9 to 12.

Some allow us to get more resources and some may allow us to do free action. If we can plan correctly, it is possible to have more than one action per turn.

Depending on the situation, we might not get the bonus. For example, some allow us to get free cards from the display and we can place the extra card into our Project area.

However, if we already have 3 under the project, we need to let one of them go. Or, there is a chance that the bonus only allows certain types which could be unavailable in the market. If that happens we will not get any bonus.

So, there is more things we need to consider and plan carefully other than just buy and build.

Claim Bonus: All 7 Type

The first bonus will activate with just building one of any card into our Estate. This next one will activate if we have at least one card for each building type in our Estate.

There is no need to create any triplet. And this can be achieved in any round.

The first player who can meet this requirement will get the ALL 7 TYPE bonus card from the top of its pile. Depending on the number of player it can either be 3 or 4 VP worth.

The next player who can meet this requirement, will take the next card with lower VP. So, it is a race.

We take the card and place it into our Estate area at the left side of the card.

Some special note about The Cloister since it can be a wild card and be part of other type.

My first impression is that we need to start building the Cloister as its own triplet. If I understand correctly, there English version rulebook doesn’t state specific about this matters.

However, some people on the forum says that the German rulebook does state that building Cloister for other type still counts.

Claim Bonus: First Triplet of the Type

If a player succeeds to become the first one to score triplet or set of three of any type in the game, that player will score this bonus. There are 7 building type that we can score this bonus from.

Each of them will grant us one VP. Other player can still try to get the bonus from other type but they are only once per type.

We then, take the corresponding card from the supply and place the bonus card at the left side of our Estate Card. This bonus can be achieved in any round, assuming we are still the first one to score for that type.

Claim Bonus: Round Bonus

Aside from the bonus that we get from just building one building to our Estate, if we successfully build a triplet for any type of building, we will get Round Bonus.

Depending on the round we make a triplet, we can get more bonus in earlier rounds. Here is the detail.

A / 1st Round: 3 VP / 2 Livestock / 2 Goods,/ 3 Workers/ 3 Silver
B / 2nd Round: 2 Livestock/ 2 Goods/ 3 Workers/ 3 Silver
C / 3rd Round: 1 Livestock/ 1 Good/ 2 Workers/ 2 Silver/ 1 Worker and 1 Silvers
D / 4th Round: 2 Silvers/ 2 Workers/ 1 Silver and 1 Worker
E / 5th Round: 1 Silver or 1 Worker.

In each round, we will have several choices of bonus we can get for scoring any Triplet. For example, in 5th round we can either get 1 Silver or 1 Worker for each triplet, not both.

The longer we wait, the less reward we will get. So, this is a race against the time, not just any player.

We take the corresponding cards of bonus from the supply and place them into our Storage.

Action 3: Sell Goods

What it means by selling goods is that we can transport the Goods we have in our storage and place them into our Estate area. The rule suggests placing at the right side of the Estate Card.

To sell goods, we also need to spend one of our Action Cards. Every Goods Card has 2 dice numbers. We can only transport or sell the Goods that match the dice number on the Action Card.

There are 3 type of Goods in this game.. When we do sell the Goods, with just one action we will sell all of the Goods of the same type.

So, we might want to collect the same type of Goods first. That way, with just one action, we can get the benefit of all of the sold Goods.

Every Good Card in our Estate will become VP as indicated by the number at the bottom of the Good Card.

The second benefit of selling Goods is that we will get 1 Silver Card for each Good Card.  So, if we can sell like 2 or 3 goods, we will also get the amount of Silver accordingly.

Every 3 Silver we have can become a bonus action or 1 VP at the end of the game.

There is a third bonus from Selling Goods. We will also claim the First Player Card and become the starting player for the next round.

As mentioned before, we can have the advantage of taking the best plans first from the Display. If we can have this card at the end of the game it will give the owner 1 extra VP.

We take the card from the previous owner, than put it right beside our Estate card facing down. So, the one with a lot of question marks face up.

At the start of the next round if the card face this way, instead of we hand it over to the next player, we just flip the card. That means this round, we are the starting player.

As I said before, this action is very complicated but very rewarding.

Somebody also pointed out and asked the developer that taking the First Player Card is only the result for Selling Goods. We are not allowed to sell no goods, just spend Action card to claim the Starting Player Card.

Action 4: Restock Workers

Another action we can do assuming we get a bad card with no matching cards in the display or project is to get more Workers. For this action, we also need to spend or discard one of the Action cards.

To get Workers, we don’t need any matching number, we can spend any of the dice number of the action card. However, it doesn’t mean that there is nothing to plan further.

Maybe the available cards we have right now don’t match any cards right now but consider adding the workers to modify them. Maybe one of them can eventually buy or build something if we spend the workers and modify +/- 1 or 2 for the numbers.

So, we have to discard the other.

When we do trade action cards into Workers, we can only restock so in our storage we will have 2 workers. That means, if we already have 2, we need to spend them first. If we already have one, we will only get one more and that is kind of wasteful.

A note about spending Workers is that the dice numbers are considered as equal value where 6 is greater than 1. We can modify a 6 into 1 just by spending one Worker and vice versa.

At most, we will only need 3 workers. There are other ways we can earn more workers like from the Yellow Building or Round Bonus. We can have more than 2 workers but trading action cards into workers will only restock the workers into 2.

There is also another possible action where we can trade Workers into Victory Points. For every 3 Workers we will get 1 VP and we can also mix it with Silver.

So, no need to worry about wasting an action. However, it requires one extra turn to convert them.

At the end of the game, if we didn’t trade Workers into VP it will only be considered as tie breaker.

Action 5: Take 1 Silver

This one is similar to Action 4. The dice number doesn’t matter. We can trade any number for this one Silver and place it to our storage.

Like the Workers as well, if we can have 3 Silver, or combination of 3 with Workers, we can trade them into 1 VP but it requires one more action. That means, for the same 1 Action Card, it is better to trade that card into Workers as it can give 2 if we do it correctly.

However, for 3 Silver, we can activate additional action which can happen in any turn once, before, during or after the regular action. See more about Bonus Action from Silver below.

Action 6: Trade Workers and/or Silver into VP

This is the last possible action that we can do for discarding an Action Card. As mentioned previously, we can turn our Silver and Workers into VP.

Every 3, with any combination, we can get 1 VP. We put the resources to the general supply and take the resulting VP Cards.

For this action, like for Workers and Silver, we can use any dice number.

It will be wasteful if we only convert everytime we get a set of 3. We can just wait like until the end of the game, and if we have more than 1 set, we still just need to spend 1 Action Card.

This is why in the last or 5th round, we usually will plan our action at least once for this, preferably the last turn. We can also activate this action if we get free turn from like the Castle.

I don’t see if it is beneficial to immediately convert these two resources immediately.  At least, not the final round.

For example, we can still get bonus turns from spending 3 Silver cards. Instead of just getting 1 VP, we can get more projects, or do more action which could lead to higher VP. The same goes for Workers which is very helpful to modify the dice number and we only need to spend just one.

So, this is more for if we have less than 3 Silver in our storage. We know that there is no possible way to get additional Silver again. That means, we should do this action after we have sold all of the Goods.

Extra Action from Silver

In addition to our normal action where we spend one Action card, each turn we can have one bonus action by buying with Silver. We can spend 3 Silver to buy 3 Action cards but we will only choose one of them and discard the rest.

So, we draw 3 cards from the Action card deck and we can use one of them to either:

Get it as Building Card and place it under our project area. The 3 card limit still applies so we can choose to discard the existing.

Or use it as Action Card and perform one of the 6 possible actions as well. That means, we only look at the dice value.

This feature is where the Action card is not only a multi purpose card but multi use card as well.

This bonus action from Silver can be performed before, during, or after we perform the regular action but only once per turn. By during, it means that if the action leads to another free action like the bonus from building Castle, before we do the free action, we can spend the Silver and do the additional action, then the free action.

The rulebook page 8 gives a good example why that thing could make a different result. Maybe the possible action we can do with the free action doesn’t give significant result. By perform the additional action, we can draw 3 cards and it opens to another possibility.

Of course, since we draw blindly, there is also a chance where the 3 of them are not good cards for the current situation. When that happens, to reduce the lost, we can still get 1 Silver back. If we don’t have any worker, we can get restock into 2 as a better option.

End of the Round

The round ends after all of the players have played their 6 action cards. We can then proceed to the next round.

We first, discard the remaining cards from the display area that no players bought them. Then, repeat the 14th and 15 step of this guide, drawing more action cards for the display again and 6 action cards for each player.

If the Action card deck ever runs out, we can shuffle the discard pile to form a new one facing down again. For the display we still use the ether 7, 10, 13 cards again.

Next, we take the top of the round cards and place them at the bottom of its pile. Now, the top of that pile is the card for the new round.

The last part is the starting player card. If the card is facing up with no question marks, then we move the card, hand it to the next player and that player become the starting player for the new round.

On the other hand, if the card is facing down and we can see the side with question marks facing up, we will just flip the card. The owner will now become the first player for this next round.

End Game, Scoring, Tie Breaker

The game ends after the fifth round or E round. Then we will proceed to scoring and whoever score the most points wins the game.

Here are where we get VP from.

First, the triplet, as indicated on the card. We only score one time, not one per card. But we can have multiple triplets of the same type and each score separately.

For example, a triplet of Cloister is worth 6 VP instead of 18. If we have less than three in our Estate, that scores 0.

Second, from the Victory Point Cards in our Estate, cards with barrels. Each of these cards will give VP, either 2 or 1 VP.

Third, from the Bonus Cards in our Estate. This includes All 7 Type Bonus, and First Triplet Bonus, Each card counts for itself.

Fourth, from the sold Good Cards, in our Estate but not in our Storage. We count the VP from each card of these.

Fifth, from the Animal Cards we have in our Storage. Here is how the scoring works for Animals.

4 different Animals: 4 VP
3 different Animals: 2 VP
2 different Animals: 1 VP
1 animal: 0 VP

We can have multiple sets of these animals and each set count separately.

Sixth, from The First Player Card. Whoever has this card at the end of the game gets 1 extra VP.

That is all we need to count for the VP. The leftover Workers, Silvers and Goods in our Storage will not be counted as VP.

However, they will be for the tie breaker. Whoever has more of these wins the game. If it is still a tie, both of them shares the victory.

That is it with how to play The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game for the multiplayer mode. For the Solo variant, check out the next section.

Thoughts, Experience and Suggestion

At this point, I haven’t played the original The Castles of Burgundy or the board game version. So, I’m not entirely sure whether this card game version can represent the experience we can get from the original version or whether this one better or not.

If you are interested, you can watch the Final Thoughts by Rahdo via this link. He is probably one of the biggest fan for this game and he made some comparisons between the two in that video.

So, now, I will only talk about my thoughts and experience about this game only. I think this card game will be more meaningful if the players have played the original version. At least, they know what every single aspect means or why it is there. Not really sure though.

Here I have trouble understanding what the building cards are. As I have explained above, the pictures are too small and for Communal Buildings it is rather hard to tell the difference.

Also, I only tried simulating two player mode and haven’t had the chance to play with more player, aside from the solo mode.

I think this is a very interesting game. So far, I hate almost every game that use dice rolling mechanism. Mostly because of the luck or random factor.

The board game version use dice and here it is translated into card drafting where we draw blindly. I think the reason why both of them are a great game is because the dice is not a tool to resolve.

If it is a roll to resolve, our hard work will depends on the luck. It is very hard breaking to see that we fail and our effort goes to waste just because of the luck.

Here, instead, we roll dice, or draw card and they become options that we need to consider and choose to take an action. So, we may get bad luck, but we are given a chance to try get the best of it.

That is not all. In this game, a bad luck can still strike us, from the blind draw. To solve that, there is always a way to purchase or trade resources with any card or dice number which can be used on future turns or rounds. In this case, the Silver and Worker element.

That is still not the end of our choice. At the end of the game, if we still get a very bad luck, we can trade them back into VP. So, there are several layers of mitigating the luck factor, combined with randomness at the start of the turn makes it a very pleasant game.

The gameplay itself is also very elegant, very simple. Each turn, we get two cards, and choose from 6 possible actions. This is how designer gave a great amount of thoughts to the game, do the hard work and players can just enjoy the game.

How to play the game is simple and yet there are a lot to consider when choosing an action. It makes the game a deep game rather than complex.

First, we need to do some set collection to score which lead  players to compete with each other. We need to get 3 of the same type or that will not score anything.

The game itself is also very rewarding unlike previous game that I have written a review for. We can get bonus from building one card, then when we get 3, when we get one for each type. It is easy to feel the sense of accumulating or building our tableau.

I guess some people consider that this game is kind of lack with player interaction. If what they mean by that is it is lack of direct confrontational elements, I tend to agree.

There is no feature that will allow us to attack other player’s progress here. At most we will be denying them to achieve their goal. Hate drafting, where we try to get the card we don’t actually need just to screw the other opponent is possible but very unlikely lead to winning the game.

The reason is because what we can do here is very limited to begin with, just 5 rounds and 6 turns each. Considering how rewarding a single action is, that we can even get additional action or bonus turns relatively very easy, it is not really a good move.

It is still possible but more because there is no other choice, like at the end of round where there is only one card left.

Most of the player interaction in this game would be trying to figure out how their plans by looking at their progress. How likely are they going to after the same cards or resources as we do.

Are we going to get it first? With the Animal and Goods, as minor feature, they are like a game changer. Sometimes we have to let the other player get it first, hoping that the next card is what we are looking for.

This also leads to a small element of push your luck in this game. We might never know that if we get the right action card later.

That is still a lot of work, especially for higher player count. Other interaction element would be competing for the first player card which only worth like 1 point.

For me, the game is more of a tactical game with short term planning rather than strategic or long term planning. It is because we rely on the randomness of the card and we will not find out until the start of the next round.

Because of the very limited number of turns, players will need to aside like one round, usually the last one, trying to convert all of their resources into VP. So, the last round will not be that interesting while the bonus for scoring triplets is already very low.

I also feel like we will have to ignore certain features, depending on the situations because of the limited number of turns and randomness of the card.

It is kind of amaze me that even with just 2 player, it is possible to almost run out of Action cards deck. For 2 player, forming another deck from the discard pile is possible. I can imagine we will do more with more players since the total number of cards is the same.

The Action Card use multi purpose mechanism but not multi use in the sense that we have a choice for either purpose. There is a way but very limited and the game itself is already full of choices.

That also means, we can even create or use dedicated cards just for taking action. All that matters is the dice numbers.

Or even use dice for that matter. Roll two, keep one, spend the other and roll again one more next turn. I guess that could solve the issue a bit, especially for higher player counts.

I think the box has room enough for a couple of d6 dices.

The problem with the current setting or gameplay is that we may not see half of the cards as cards that we can purchase and build. Some of the building types can be buried and may not be seen the whole session.

Also, since this is a set collection game, we have to shuffle these cards a lot. Otherwise, groups of the same cards will become just action cards.

From 2 player experience, I don’t use a lot of Workers and Silver Cards. I might hoard a bit the Silver but not Workers. I would end up, not actively hoard Workers if I got a good luck with cards. Otherwise it is just up to 3 cards per player.

My point for this is that we may not need that many cards and can probably be used for other cards if the developer stick to 240 cards.

Another problem that people are having with this game is the setup. The game use a lot of cards and takes a lot of table space, especially if we follow what the rulebook suggests.

A lot of fans of this game have suggested some variation to make the game use less table space.  I think somehow, those suggestion kind of ruining the experience to the point it feels like just abstract card games with colors.

It is like the only thing that the developer achieved from this card game version is the portability. Some people may say when we do play the game it still requires the same or even more space than the board game version.

I’m not saying that the official setup is the best, but maybe we should try to follow the suggestion for player area. For the display and general supply, it really doesn’t matter. At least for me.

Again, this is an attempt to simplify an already established well know game. I think it does a great job for the fans but probably not very good for new player.

It is still a great game.

I think the main problem we need to solve in this game in order to win is to manage the bottleneck, where we can only have 3 projects at the same time. The game, the bonus may allow us to do a chain of reaction but if we fail to have a room when it happens, it will be a waste.

Taking advantage of the additional action from 3 Silver is probably a better choice than hoard them and convert to low VP at the end of the game. But this is another push your luck element because, we might not get any good cards from the 3.

As mentioned before, we can take back 1 Silver as the worst case scenario.

Somebody on Forum pointed out that the revealed cards are to be known by the players only, not the opponents. The rulebook doesn’t state specifically but if that is true, then any tutorial video that do otherwise should be considered as just demonstrations, including the one I posted above from Rahdo.

I think it is going to change the game slightly but it will be weird to hold on that one card we have not spent and wait until the next round. If we might want to do a house rule, then we can also try revealing all of the 6 cards we get since the start of the round and make them hidden to opponents.

If I recall correctly, the board game version already have several expansions. Unfortunately, we may not get any expansion for this card game version, considering there is already some removed features from the base board game version.

Solo Variant

The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game has its official solo mode variant. Anybody can play alone against a virtual player named Aaron or a short for An Almost Real OppoNent.

Below is the video by Tom from Slickerdrips YouTube Channel for how to play The Castles of Burgundy the Card Game Solo Mode.

How to Play

As a setup we will be using the 2 player setup but with some modification.  We use 7 cards each round for the display, and 2 cards from the All 7 Type Bonus.

First, as the player, we will be considered starting as second player so we will take 1 Worker in addition to 1 Silver, 1 Animal and 1 Goods into our storage. We are not going to use the First Player Card so we can return it to the box.

Second, we will be setting Aaron’s progress for each round. So, he will not be participating directly in the game, but he will get result at the end of each round.

To do that, we make 5 piles of face down action cards for Aaron. The first pile has 3 cards, the next one has 4, 5, 6, and 7 cards. Each pile represents Aaron’s progress of his Estate for each round starting with 3.

We place the cards in Aaron’s area as if we are making any triplet from those cards. Aaron doesn’t need the Estate player card.

Then. at the start of each round, we reveal the next pile and add them to the tableau. After setting up Aarron’s progress, we will then play like regular mode, our 6 turns.

Everytime Aaron make a triplet first, he will get the corresponding First Triplet bonus of the type. He also take the All 7 Type Bonus Card when he meet the requirement, just 1 card for each type in his tableau.

Additional notes for CLOISTER. Aaron will always build it as its own triplet instead of a wild card. Everytime Aaron gets a Cloister, the player will take 1 VP card from the supply.

Aaron will also start a new triplet once he gets the fourth card of the same type and can score multiple triplets of the same type. There will be no bonus after Aaron build any building and he will claim no Round Bonus.

NOTES:  We will be comparing VP at the end of each round. If Aaron gets more VP, he wins the game immediately. If it is a tie or if we score more points than him, the game continues.

Scoring on each round includes the current set collection from the Animal. At the end of the game, if our score is the same or higher than Aaron’s, we win the game.

Comment and Suggestion

First of all, I didn’t know for awhile about the comparing points each round. We can still play this solo mode ignoring that end game criteria.

However, this does add some interesting element to the game. Without that specific rule, we can tend to ignore Aaron’s progress and just focus on ours.

We can think that we should play long term which is impossible with the official rule because we could lose immediately. So, I recommend to follow the official rule for higher difficulty.

However, it is not that we can prevent Aaron from anything because what happened to him is totally separated than what we do with the market or display.

It is really based on luck and it is recommended that we always shuffle the action card deck several times before playing this solo mode or we will be losing.

At the start, Aaron may seem not progressing at all like for the first two rounds. Then the third one, he could suddenly score very high.

Since we are mostly be playing alone with no competition in the market, the card circulation is really not that interesting. This solo mode use the 2 player setup but in 2 player mode, we are more likely to buy almost every card from the display.

That is not the case here in Solo mode, we always have several  cards left in the display. In 2 player regular mode, the other player can use the additional action from Silver and this could lead to more cards circulating in the game.

That is also not going to happen in the solo version. Some people may say that is not important for the action cards but at least the problem will be apparent for the Animal and Goods element.

There will be no other player to take the top of those cards so if it is the card that we don’t want, we only have one other deck to choose from or we have to take that card. That means, trying to score from these two features might not be a good idea.

The interesting part about comparing VP every round is that this mode encourage player to do more selling goods and trades. This is a viable option to keep proceeding to the next round or just lose immediately.

Since it requires spending an action card, we will be counting Aaron’s VP even before the end of the round. Can we still win or match the VP without selling or trading? Because we may progress to the next round but we still need them to win at the end.

Solo Variant House Rule

On the forum, there are fans of this game who suggests some variant of how Aaron’s work in the game which we should give it a try.

This one for example, posted by user zombie_homer, modify how Aaron gets their card. Instead of drawing at the start of the game, in this variant, Aaron will take all of the leftover cards in the display, try to get at least as many cards as predetermined amount each round in the official rule.

If there are less number of cards, only then Aaron will draw the rest from the deck. There is even a twist. It is possible that Aaron even gain more cards if we leave more cards in the display.

I think this become more interesting because what we do can in fact affect Aaron’s progress. We can still somehow prevent him from scoring triplets for example.

Another major change from this variant is that Aaron will be participating in collecting goods and animals when he gets Ship and Pastures respectively.  So, there will be another VP source for Aaron and he may try to prevent us on getting the one we need.

At the end, the rule suggests that Aaron will only score 1 set from both the animal and goods, with the highest score. There is also some change like how Aaron handle Cloister.

The user who posted this variant, also stated that the inspiration came from another users, bartok8 and kittenhoarder.

Aaron in Multi Player Mode

I haven’t tried this but I think it is possible to include this virtual player while playing the multi player regular mode. Like if we play a 2 player, we can have him as the third one or the fourth for 3 player mode.

The fifth for four player? It is possible but we may want to add more cards like the 5 VP from All 7 Type Bonus.

This is just an idea. I don’t know how well it can go.

A lot of other games have found a way where the virtual player is not just for Solo mode but can also become a small interference between players.

I think the best would be in 2 player because of the number of action cards.  Unless, we want to modify Aaron’s progress for higher player counts or so. Again, just an idea.

Considering how Aaron is played where he doesn’t actively participate in the market or display, at most  he will only take cards, action cards and probably the bonus.

Even if this is will become a 3 player game, I think we can use the 2 player setup for the market, not the All 7 Type bonus. That is if we want to use the official rule.

I recommend to still use the 3 player setup if we follow the fan’s variant I mentioned above. Somehow I think this variant will be more interesting.

If anybody ever try this, please let me know via the comment section below.

Conclusion

The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game is the simplified version of the original board game version, introduced in 2011. The board game version use dice, tiles, tokens and all of that is translated into 240 small cards for this version.

Some people say that this portable version does offer the same gaming experience from its bigger version but only like 80% and with some twist. The playtime is also faster.

I guess this card version will speak more to fans of the original game who knows every element of the game. It is rather hard for people who don’t know anything about the board game. It is still a great game though.

This card game version may successfully answer the portable issue but when we do play the game, the game will take a lot of table space. Which can be the same or even bigger than the board game version.

For the theme, the game is about City Building or Civilization Building game. We start by buying some plans and then build it to get some bonus. The bonus allow us to build more building or get more resources like Workers, Silver, Livestock and Goods. All of that can be traded into VP at the end of the game.

At its heart, we will do a set collection. We will not score from just building a single building but we need a set of three from the same type of building. There is also another set collection mini game from the Animal and Goods.

The game will be played in very limited amount of turns, 5 rounds with 6 turns each. It is also an elegant game, very simple to play. Every turn, we will draw 2 cards and choose from 6 possible actions to get the best result.

A simple game but it is very deep. There are a lot of considerations when choosing and taking an action in this game. Aside from the main mechanism, there are several elements to this game that will make it very interesting like push your luck, multi purpose card, hand management.

The game is also very rewarding instead of punishing. There are several bonuses that we can score and if we can plan correctly, we can even get several actions within a single turn.

The game may not offer that much direct confrontation between players like attacking cards. At most we will do hate drafting but not because we want it to but more because there is no other option left.

With so limited turns yet rewarding actions, trying to sabotage the other player will not lead to winning the game.

The Castles of Burgundy The Card Game also comes with solo variant. We can play alone, competing against a virtual player, Aaron. While it is a good feature, I recommend trying some house rules or fan’s variant.

This is not a perfect game but it is still a great game for its size. If anybody looking for a small portable card game to play solo or multiplayers, The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game is one that we should try.

More Games

If this is not  game for you or you might be looking for more great games, you can try checking this article. It is my review for Rahdo Runs Through YouTube channel about board games.

I haven’t played a lot of these tabletop games whether card games or board games. Here is the list for games that I have written a review for previously.

The Big Book of Madness (Cooperative, Deck Building, Wizarding Theme)
Hero Realms (Competitive, Card Game, Fantasy Theme, Deck Building)
Fleet (Competitive, Card Game, Auction, Fishing Theme)
Goblins vs Zombies (Tower Defense, Card Game, Fantasy Theme, Card Game)
Imperial Settlers (Civilization Theme, Engine Building, Competitive)
One Deck Dungeon: Forest of Shadows (Dice Rolling, Fantasy Theme, Cooperative)
Peloponnes the Card Game (Auction, Competitive, Civilization)
Tybor the Builder (Civilization, Card Drafting, Competitive)
Villages of Valeria (Civilization, Fantasy Theme, Action Following)

Keep checking this website or the complete list here. I might have added review for more games.

Final Words

That is all I can share with you about The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game. This may not be the best game, but still a recommended one.

If you have any suggestion for similar or even better games than this, let me know in the comment section below. I would love to give that game a try, assuming I can get a copy of that game.

If you are looking for games but without the need to look at the screen of phone or laptop, try more of these tabletop games.  It is a good way to spend our time, alone or with someone we love.

So, what is your experience in playing The Castles of Burgundy: The Card Game? If I miss anything or if you know any update related to this game, please share it via the comment section below. I would appreciate that.

This article is just my notes about what I can find from the internet. Hopefully someone can make a good use out of it.

Thanks for reading.

 

Mark M.

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