Dragon Castle

Dragon Castle: A Guide to Rules, Strategy & Winning Instructions


Dragon Castle is a board game inspired by traditional Mahjong, a game that has been around for centuries, and one I consider to be an ‘ancient’ game. In Dragon Castle, players build their own castle using beautiful, chunky tiles taken from the central “castle” (which is really just a fancy name for the central pile). The game was created by Hjalmar Hach, Luca Ricci, and Lorenzo Silva and published by Horrible Games in 2017. It’s a game for 2 to 4 players and usually takes about 45 minutes to play.

The idea is pretty simple: you take tiles from the central castle and place them on your own board to create sets and patterns. As the game progresses, you can also place shrines on top of your completed sets to score more points. The player with the most points at the end wins. But don’t let the simplicity fool you; there’s a lot of strategy involved in choosing the right tiles and placing them wisely.

Dragon Castle has a cool theme and is set in a world where the old Dragon Castle is crumbling, and players are vying to build the most prestigious new castle. It’s a mix of careful planning, a bit of luck, and some direct competition as you race against other players to grab the best tiles.

Quick Tip for Dragon Castle

Always keep an eye on your opponents’ boards. If you see them going for a particular type of tile, consider taking it first to block their strategy.

Rules for playing Dragon Castle

Alright, let’s get into the rules of Dragon Castle. The game is played in turns, and on your turn, you can do one of two things: take a pair of tiles from the central castle or take one tile and a shrine. The tiles you take must be “free,” meaning they have a long side exposed and there’s no other tile on top of them. You then place these tiles on your board, trying to create groups of at least four adjacent tiles of the same type. Once you do that, you can consolidate them, which means flipping them face down and potentially placing a shrine on top for extra points.

The game ends when there are no more legal moves left or the central castle is reduced to just one floor. Then, players score points for their consolidated tiles, shrines, and fulfilling specific patterns based on the Dragon and Spirit cards chosen at the start of the game. The player with the most points wins!

Equipment and Setup for Dragon Castle

Here’s what you need to play Dragon Castle:

  1. A bunch of tiles that are divided into suits, like in Mahjong.
  2. Some shrines, which are little wooden pieces.
  3. Dragon and Spirit cards that give you special abilities or ways to score extra points.
  4. Player boards where you’ll build your castle.
  5. A scorepad to keep track of points.

Setting up the game is part of the fun. You build the central castle by stacking tiles in a specific layout that’s either provided in the rulebook or one you make up yourself. Each player gets a board, and you shuffle and draw the Dragon and Spirit cards to determine the special conditions for the game.

How to Play Dragon Castle and Game Mechanics

Now, let’s break down how to play Dragon Castle:

  1. Key Game Mechanics: You’re taking tiles, placing them, and trying to create groups to score points. You can also use the special abilities on the Dragon and Spirit cards to mix things up.
  2. Setup: Build the central castle with tiles, give each player a board, and draw the Dragon and Spirit cards.
  3. Gameplay: On your turn, take tiles or a tile and a shrine, then place them on your board. Try to create groups of four or more to consolidate them and score points.
  4. End of the Game: The game ends when there are no more moves or the central castle is down to one floor. Score points for your consolidated tiles, shrines, and patterns from the Dragon and Spirit cards.

Here’s a list of gameplay phases:

  1. Take Tiles: Choose two identical free tiles or one free tile and a shrine.
  2. Place Tiles: Put the tiles on your board, trying to create groups.
  3. Consolidate: If you have a group of four or more, flip them face down and maybe place a shrine.
  4. Use Special Abilities: If you have a Dragon or Spirit card, you can use its ability according to its rules.
  5. End Turn: Check if the game should end, and if not, pass to the next player.

How to Win at Dragon Castle

Winning at Dragon Castle is all about balance. You want to grab the right tiles to create big groups and score points, but you also need to keep an eye on what your opponents are doing. Sometimes it’s worth taking a tile just to stop someone else from completing a big group. You should also pay attention to the Dragon and Spirit cards because they can give you a lot of points if you fulfill their conditions.

Early in the game, focus on building a solid foundation for your castle. Try to get groups of tiles that will be easy to expand later. As the game goes on, start thinking about where you can place shrines for extra points. And always be flexible; if you see a good opportunity to score, even if it’s not what you were planning, go for it!

Best Strategies for playing Dragon Castle game

Here are some top strategies for Dragon Castle:

  • Plan ahead and think about what groups you can create with the tiles that are available.
  • Keep an eye on the central castle and try to predict what tiles will become free soon.
  • Don’t forget about the special abilities on the Dragon and Spirit cards. They can really change the game.
  • Be flexible and ready to change your strategy based on what tiles you get.
  • Blocking your opponents can be just as important as building your own castle.

And here are some sneaky tactics:

  • If you notice an opponent is close to completing a big group, take a tile they need if you can use it too.
  • Use the special abilities to mess with your opponents’ plans or to give yourself a big advantage.
  • Try to keep your options open so you can adapt to whatever tiles come up.


Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a tough spot in Dragon Castle. Maybe the tiles you need are all buried, or your opponents keep taking the tiles you want. When that happens, try to stay calm and look for alternative moves. Maybe there’s a different group you can start building, or maybe you can use a special ability to change the situation.

If you’re in a good position, with lots of free tiles to choose from, don’t get too comfortable. Keep building your castle efficiently and watch out for sneaky moves from your opponents.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Dragon Castle game

Here are some common questions and answers:

Q: Can I take any tile from the central castle?
A: No, you can only take free tiles, which have a long side exposed and no tiles on top of them.
Q: What happens if I can’t make a move?
A: If you can’t make a legal move, you must discard a tile from your board and draw a new one from the central castle.
Q: Can I move tiles around on my board?
A: No, once you place a tile on your board, it stays there until you consolidate it or the game ends.
Q: How many shrines can I place on a group of tiles?
A: You can place one shrine for every four tiles in a consolidated group.
Q: Do I have to use the special abilities on the Dragon and Spirit cards?
A: No, using the special abilities is optional, but they can give you a big advantage.

For more information about Dragon Castle, check out these links: