Castles of Mad King Ludwig

A Complete Guide to Winning Castles of Mad King Ludwig – Rules, Strategy & Tips


Castles of Mad King Ludwig is a board game that’s all about building an amazing castle. The game was created by Ted Alspach and published by Bezier Games. It’s named after King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who was known for his grand castles, like Neuschwanstein, the irl inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle. In this game, players are builders adding rooms to their castles, trying to impress the king. Each player gets points for different types of rooms and how they place them. The game ends after a certain number of rounds, and the player with the most points wins.

The game came out in 2014 and quickly became popular among board game fans. I find it engaging for its unique architectural theme and the way it mixes strategy with creativity. Players love the challenge of making the best castle with the rooms they get. It’s not just about building big; it’s about building smart.

Quick Tip for Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Always keep an eye on your opponents’ castles. You can learn a lot about their strategy and maybe even block their next move!

Rules for playing Castles of Mad King Ludwig

The rules of Castles of Mad King Ludwig are pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. The game is played in rounds. Each round, one player is the Master Builder. This player sets the prices for the rooms that are up for grabs. The other players buy rooms from the Master Builder and add them to their castles. The money goes to the Master Builder, who can then buy a room at the end of the round.

Rooms come in different shapes and sizes, and they all score points in different ways. Some rooms want to be connected to other specific types of rooms. Others give you points for completing them, which means surrounding them on all sides. There are also bonus cards that give you extra points for meeting certain goals.

After everyone has bought a room or passed, the next player becomes the Master Builder. The game keeps going like this until a certain number of rooms have been bought. Then, players add up their points from their rooms, bonus cards, and any extra points they got during the game. The player with the most points is the winner.

Equipment and Setup for Castles of Mad King Ludwig

To play Castles of Mad King Ludwig, you need the game box, which comes with a bunch of stuff. You get room tiles, which are all the different rooms you can add to your castle. There are also cards for keeping track of bonus points, coins for buying rooms, and player boards to build your castle on.

Setting up the game is easy. You lay out the room tiles in a stack and shuffle the bonus cards. Each player gets a starting room, some money, and a couple of bonus cards. You’re ready to start building your castle!

The room tiles are the heart of the game. There are lots of types, like living rooms, outdoor spaces, and food rooms. Each type scores points in its own way.

How to Play Castles of Mad King Ludwig and Game Mechanics

Playing Castles of Mad King Ludwig is all about making smart choices and planning ahead. Here’s how the game goes:

  1. Setup: Get the game ready by setting up the room stacks, giving out starting rooms and money, and dealing bonus cards.
  2. Gameplay: Players take turns being the Master Builder, setting room prices, buying rooms, and adding them to their castles.
  3. End of the Game: The game ends after a set number of rounds. Players add up their points to see who wins.

During each round, players can follow this flow of play:

  1. The Master Builder draws Room Cards from the stack equal to the number of empty spaces below the Contract Board, excluding the 2000 Mark space in a 2P game. These drawn Room Tiles are revealed and placed face up below the Contract Board. The Master Builder then arranges these Room Tiles in accordance with their prices. Here are some specifics:
  • If the Room Card drawn corresponds to an exhausted Room Tile stack, additional cards are drawn until an unexhausted stack’s card is found.
  • Only one Room Tile should occupy each price space.
  • The Master Builder can reposition both the existing Room Tiles and the new ones, even if no new Room Tiles were drawn.
  1. Moving clockwise from the Master Builder, each player has several choices:
  • Purchase a room from the Contract Board by paying the displayed price in Marks to the Master Builder. The acquired room is immediately added to the player’s castle, following specific Room Placement rules and is scored accordingly.
    • If the Room Tile has Coins, they can contribute to the price and are handed to the Master Builder; otherwise, they are received by the purchaser.
    • If the active player is the Master Builder, they pay the supply cost instead.
  • Purchase a Hallway or Stairs for 3,000 Marks from the Master Builder. If the Master Builder is the active player, they pay the supply cost instead. A Hallway, when bought, can be flipped to either its upstairs or downstairs side before placement. The acquired Hallway or Stairs is immediately added to the player’s castle, following Room Placement rules, and is scored.
  • Opt to Pass and receive 5,000 marks.
  1. The Master Builder increases the price of each unsold Room Tile on the Contract Board by 1,000 marks.
  2. The Master Builder pawn moves one player to the left (clockwise).

This sequence repeats for each round of the game.


Scoring for room placement in this game involves a series of steps:

  1. Castle Icon Points: Earn points based on the number indicated in the castle icon on the newly placed Room Tile.
  2. Adjacency Points: Adjust points based on the icons in the center of the new room and its connection to adjacent rooms. If you’ve added a downstairs room, consider the adjacent rooms in the castle.
  3. Benefit Assessment: Evaluate the icons in the rooms connected to the newly placed one. Gain additional points if your new room generates more benefits.
  4. Penalties: Check for penalties indicated by adjacent room icons, particularly for activity rooms. Deduct points accordingly.
  5. Downstairs Room Bonus: Identify downstairs rooms that benefit from the placement of your new room. Gain extra points for these connections.
  6. Room Completion Rewards: If you finish one or more rooms with the new placement, collect rewards in your preferred order.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the icon effects and completion rewards:

  • Iconography on Room Tiles:
  • Adjacency penalty or benefit icons affect neighboring rooms.
  • Room completion rewards provide various bonuses based on the completed room type.
  • Room Completion Rewards:
  • Living Room: Re-score points for this room.
  • Activity Room: Instantly gain 5 points.
  • Sleeping Room: Manipulate Room Tile stacks for future rounds.
  • Outdoor Room: Receive 10,000 Marks.
  • Utility Room: Draw and keep one Bonus Card from the deck.
  • Food Room: Take an extra turn immediately.
  • Corridor Room: Gain a free hallway or stairs placement.
  • Downstairs Rooms: Earn various rewards based on the number completed.

Remember, the game incorporates intricate rules for placement, room completion, and bonuses, creating strategic depth as players expand their castles.

Towards the end of the game, a series of final steps determine the winner:

Game Conclusion

  • The game ends when the Room Card deck runs out. If there aren’t enough cards to fill all empty Contract Board spaces, the Master Builder reshuffles the Room Card deck and draws the additional cards. The final round proceeds normally before Final Scoring.

Final Scoring:

  1. Favour Tiles: Players score based on Favour tiles they qualify for, ranking themselves and gaining points accordingly.
  2. Depleted Room Tile Stacks: Players earn 2 points per room from any completely depleted room stack in their castle.
  3. Bonus Cards: Each player reveals and scores points from their Bonus Cards.
  4. Money: Players receive 1 point for every 10,000 marks they possess.

Determining the Winner:
The player with the most points wins. In case of a tie, the player with the largest castle (in terms of square footage) breaks the tie.

Favor Tiles Types:

  • Kings Favour Tiles come with different criteria based on room types, money, completed rooms, incomplete rooms, circular or square rooms, external entrances, and small or large rooms. Each tile rewards players based on their performance in these categories.

Bonus Cards:

  • Bonus Cards, obtained at the start and through Utility Room completions, grant points based on various criteria like room types, sizes, diversity, corridor elements, completed rooms, square or circular rooms, and the amount of money held at the game’s end.

The endgame scoring adds depth to the strategy, encouraging players to diversify their castles and focus on various room types and sizes for optimal scoring.

How to Win at Castles of Mad King Ludwig

Winning at Castles of Mad King Ludwig means being good at a few things. You need to be good at planning your castle, picking the right rooms, and watching what other players are doing. You also need to be smart about money. Don’t spend too much, but don’t be too cheap either.

Beginner players should focus on learning how different rooms work together. Intermediate players can start looking at their bonus cards and trying to get those extra points. Advanced players will be thinking about everything, from what rooms they need to what rooms their opponents might want.

Best Strategies for playing Castles of Mad King Ludwig game

There are lots of ways to win at Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Some players like to go for big points with fancy rooms. Others focus on completing lots of small rooms. Some players try to get lots of bonus points.

One good strategy is to keep your options open. Don’t just focus on one type of room. Try to have a mix so you can always add something useful to your castle.

Another strategy is to watch the Master Builder. Sometimes you can set prices to make it hard for other players to get what they want without giving you a lot of money.

And don’t forget about those bonus cards. They can be worth a lot of points at the end of the game.


Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a tough spot in Castles of Mad King Ludwig. Maybe you’re low on money, or the rooms you need aren’t coming up. When this happens, try to be flexible. Look for other ways to score points, or try to complete rooms for the extra bonuses.

If you’re doing well, don’t get too comfortable. Keep an eye on your opponents and make sure you’re not leaving them an opening to catch up.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Castles of Mad King Ludwig game

Here are some common questions and answers:

  1. Q: Can I move rooms after I’ve placed them?
    A: No, once a room is placed, it stays there.
  2. Q: What happens if I run out of money?
    A: You can still pass and collect 5,000 marks (the game’s currency) instead of buying a room.
  3. Q: Can I have more than one of the same room?
    A: Yes, you can have multiple rooms of the same type.
  4. Q: How do I know when the game ends?
    A: The game ends after a certain number of rooms have been bought, which depends on the number of players.
  5. Q: What if two players have the same score at the end?
    A: The player with the most money left wins.

For more information on Castles of Mad King Ludwig, check out these links: