Review all the things: Micro Play-Break: Castles!
Premise: A game of equal parts luck and reading your opponent. Capture the princess with your knight, while protecting your own princess from harm!
Appearance: The first thing that I noticed about MPB: Castles is that it is a very compact game. Very compact. It fits into your wallet, with the cloth playing board! This makes it quite easy to bring it just about anywhere – lab, work, the bar, game night, et cetera. The pieces are of good quality – the cloth playing board feels light yet strong, and the card pieces are cut from fairly thick stock and given a good laminate.
Now, there are two versions of the game – the standard version (pictures not available yet, because I keep forgetting to bring it) as well as a Kickstarter exclusive version. Each has their pluses – while the Kickstarter exclusive has fantastic artwork, I find the brighter coloration of everything in the standard version more pleasing than the black and tan of the exclusive. Your milage may vary, however.
Playing the game: The gameplay is quite simple. There are three lanes set up, with barricades between your pieces and the other player’s pieces. To start, you will play your three cards (Wizard/Catapault, King, Princess) in each lane, with up to two cards per lane. As long as the cards are behind a barricade, they are played face down. Each one of these three cards has a specific purpose – Wizards/Catapaults can destroy barricades, Kings can remove Knights from the game temporarily, and Princesses are the object of desire/objective to win.
After both players have played these cards, they choose a lane that their knight will attack. Then, all cards are flipped face up, and the round resolved using a handy reference sheet. If the knight captures the princess, then that round is over! Play will continue for 5 or 7 rounds, which can easily be kept track of on the board itself. Since rounds can go by really quickly, even playing a round of 5 or 7 can still be easily done in 10-15 minutes.
Overall: This game, in terms of its compact nature, well-defined interactions, and quick play reminded me heavily of Love Letter, which is a good thing! I feel like these microgames are great both for getting in gaming sessions at any point (such as when you are stuck in lab forever, or waiting for food to arrive at a restaurant), as well as being gateways to easily introduce non-gaming friends to board/card games. Although there is a decent amount of luck in MPB: Castles, it still can serve as a light distraction when needed, to help recharge the mind before getting back into the swing of things.
Where can I get it? You can purchase a copy of the game from MSP’s website: http://msp-games.com/micro-play-break-castles-3/. The website also contains some pictures of the regular edition of the game, as well as a print and play edition if you wanted to try before you buy!
MSP is also working on a Kickstarter for their next game, Micro Play-Break: Kingdoms, which looks to be interesting! You can check that out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1112452680/micro-play-break-kingdoms-a-durable-micro-card-gam