The Castles of Burgundy is a board game for two to four players, set in Mediaeval Burgundy. It was designed by Stefan Feld and illustrated by Julien Delval and Harald Lieske, and was published in 2011 by Ravensburger/alea.

How to Play

Castles of Burgundy is a game for two to four players. Many of the game elements change depending on the number of players. Each player has a unique game board made up of hexagonal, tessellating spaces of different colours. Each space has a number from one to six. This board represents their "town" and is made up with different patterns of contiguous regions of the various colours. The different colours are:

  • Blue - boats
  • Brown - buildings
  • Light green - animals
  • Yellow - science/knowledge
  • Grey - mines
  • Dark green - castles
Burgundy play
There is a central game board with a victory point track, a turn order track, and six areas representing each side of a die. The game is made up of five turns, each of which are made up of five phases. Other game elements include 'silverlings', stock and workers. Each player builds one castle on their board at the start of the game. Then, all players roll a dice. The high roller takes the lead on the turn order track. Each player receives two silverlings and a number of workers dependant on their position on the turn order track. At the beginning of each turn, hexagonal tokens denoting the six types of item listed above are arranged around the board in the six different board sections (two in each section when playing with two players, three with three players and four with four players). Five stock tokens are placed along the side of the board. At the beginning of each phase, each player rolls two dice. The player to go first rolls an additional die, and moves one stock token to the corresponding section on the game board. The players then each play both of their dice in the order denoted by the turn order track. Dice can be used in the following ways:
  • To take an item from the corresponding section of the game board and place it, unbuilt, on their own board
  • To build an item, taking it from their own board and placing it on a tile with a number corresponding to the die value (provided they have already built on a tile adjacent to it)
  • To sell any stock which they have accrued that bears the same number as the die value
  • To receive two workers
Once the player who leads on the turn order track has used both of their dice, the next player goes, and so on until the
end of the phase. There are also item tokens in the centre of the board, which are not assigned any particular die number. A player can buy these when it is their turn for two silverlings, but cannot buy more than one item per phase. When it is their turn, a player may use a worker to add or subtract one to their die roll (with sixes becoming ones and vice versa). Once five phases have elapsed, all of the item tokens left unclaimed on the game board are removed and replaced, an additional five stock tokens are placed along the side of the board, and the next turn begins. This continues until the end of the fifth turn. Players receive victory points throughout the game and at the end, and the player who finishes with the most victory points wins.
If a player completes a contiguous region on their board (e.g. if they build four boats in a blue-coloured, four-space region), then they receive a number of victory points determined by the size of the region and the phase of play, with more points being awarded earlier in the game and for larger regions. If a player is successful in building all of a particular item on their board (e.g. three mines, six boats, etc.), then they receive a victory point bonus at the end which is determined by the number of players. The second and third player to achieve this for each item type receive smaller bonuses.

The effects of building each type of item are as follows:

  • Boats - the player advances one space on the turn order track and may take all of the stock in one of the six areas of the game board
  • Buildings - these each have their own special properties. For example, when a player builds a bank, they automatically receive two silverlings. Players may not build more than one of the same type of building in the same contiguous area
  • Animals - the player receives victory points equal to the number of animals shown (one to four). If the player has already built the same type of animals in the same contiguous area, they receive that number of victory points again.
  • Science/knowledge - these all have unique lasting effects e.g. that the player receives four workers in exchange for a die instead of two.
  • Mines - the player receives one silverling for every mine that they have built at the end of each turn
  • Castles - the player may immediately act as if they had an additional die, and may choose its value.

There is a strong element in the game of impeding your opponents ability to achieve their objectives. For example, if your opponent is close to completing a region and receiving victory points, a player might tactically take the item tokens that they need from the game board. It is also important to balance long-term projects (such as completing a very large region), with short-term successes (as victory point returns diminish as the game goes on), as well as using silverlings and workers wisely, and maintaining game advantage through the deployment of boats and science tokens. As the gameplay is driven by dice rolls, and seeing that players will often be unable or unwilling to commit the resources necessary to modify them all of the time, players need flexibility in their planning. Players can also have very effective turns by planning "combos", where the beneficial effects of different item types exponentiate each other.

Castles of Burgundy Gameplay Runthrough

Castles of Burgundy Gameplay Runthrough

Links and References

Official Rules

BoardGameGeek Review