My First Castle Panic – Fireside Games – Preview

"As if reading my mind, Fireside Games, knew that a game needs to be fun for both the kid and the adult playing with the kiddo. Game, Set, Match Fireside... So, I was intrigued."

Theme and What is it?

You are in a PANICked state… Your castle is being overrun by monsters… cutting and running is out of the question. You must defend your castle. And defend you will. 

In a kid-friendly version of Fireside’s hit Castle Panic, you are teaching your little gamer how to play modern game mechanics, all while accomplishing the goal of defending your castle. 

Gameplay Mechanics

In a salute to the original castle panic, each space has a particular card that will allow you to rid that space of a monster. Each turn monsters will come onto the board, and some will run, some will march, and some will push.

Ultimately, your ability to juggle your cards, and the symbols in front of you will determine if your castle is taken, or if you can say to the monsters, “Sorry Bowser, the princess is IN this castle, and you cant have her.”

Be careful though, the wild cards, are gone once used, so you may want to pan around that usage, rather than just using the willy nilly.

Initial Impressions

My first impression of MFCP was at a convention talking to the CEO of Fireside Games, hearing they had a new Panic game, geared towards a younger audience. 

My first question was, are you play testing it with a younger audience, with their parents in tow? The response was EXACTLY what it should have been under the circumstances. Yes, of course they were doing both. They wanted a kid accessible game, that their parents did not mind playing, that also could allow the munchkin to grow into other more complex games. 

As if reading my mind, Anne-Marie De Wit of Fireside Games, knew that a game needs to be fun for both the kid and the adult playing with the kiddo. Game, Set, Match Fireside… So, I was intrigued.

Game Build Quality

The game is nice cardboard stock, the board folds well, and the cards do allow light through them, which functionally doesn’t matter in this game.

The game was made exactly as it should have been made. My one complaint, is that the castle “parapets” do not stay connected very easily. It could be remedied with glue, but I’d rather a tighter fit.

Artistic Direction

Kids games should be playful, and still convey the idea of what the youngster will be doing. Here, they are defending against monsters. 

This to me means the art is a very good fit for the game, and for the younger audience. Its a good use of chibi style art, without over staying its welcome. 

Fun Factor

This game is a simple rendition of Castle Panic. It will allow the core mechanics to be taught, and hopefully a gradual upgrade to the adult game. 

Though the game for an adult is very simplistic, the goal of the next level is never out of sight. So, for that reason, it depends on your station in life. If you are at a stage of introducing a younger audience to higher level mechanics, this game may help you do that. For that reason alone, it may be considered fun.

Age Range & Weight

4+. This game is simple, each turn you do four things. Once you have those things down, most kids should be able to grasp it once they are 4+. 

I think the suggested age is just about right, possibly a little young depending on the player.

Conclusions

Throwing monsters in the dungeon is of course, a gratifying feeling. Monsters after all, belong in a dungeon. 

A little more concisely I asked my 7 year old her opinion of the game. “I like the colors, and the monsters coming feels a little scary. I like that I could use your cards, or mine. I also liked the super monsters that made the game scarier. I didn’t like that the castle fell down a bunch accidentally. I want to play this again.”

I think the kid may have a future doing reviews. Wonder is Fireside Games has My First Hotshots, or My First Kaiju Crush in the works?

PRE-PUBLICATION UPDATE: As you can imagine, we go through a LOT of games at my home. Generally when we have played through one a few times, I ask my daughter if she has any interest in keeping the game, or if we can send it to other writer’s on the MeepleGamers team of writers. 9 times of ten, she says, “bye bye game!”.

This is the exception to the rule, when asked if I could send it out, she definitively said NO. She wants to play it more. Whether it stays in the collection is up to her, due to age range and difficulty. In this instance, it is staying for now. This bodes well for MFCP.