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September 26, 2016

If you were out around downtown Beverly this past Saturday, you may have witnessed, or been pulled into being a part of, some very strange activities. People romancing take out coffee, catwalking in front of Plum Consignment store, or synchronized swimming in a parking lot, with no water in sight.

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The reason for this temporary breakdown in sanity by a large part of the community of Beverly was because this past weekend, on September 24th, The Castle had their first ever Great Beverly Photo Scavenger Hunt.

Now I know everyone probably knows what a scavenger hunt is, but what about a PHOTO scavenger hunt? The rules were simple- each team of 4-6 people got a list of prompts, some where riddles (Get a photo with a dog at the dog meant take a picture with the signature scottish terrier at the Scotty Dog) others were captions (“I can’t believe we all fit in here!” was a popular one) and other were just pictures the teams had to take (a picture of everyone’s feet in the atlantic ocean). Each team started in the Castle’s back parking lot and had 3 hours to complete 25 prompts of their choosing. They had 70 to choose from, each worth different points depending on how hard it was to complete, so choosing which prompts to fill was half the strategy!

Over the course of the hunt we got photo’s submitted via cell phone to us for judging. I was a judge so I didn’t get to run around the city making a fool of myself, but I got to watch other people do it, and it looked like it was a blast for everyone in it! The photos took people all around Beverly, and into some awesome local business that were generous enough to participate- Good Mojo Tattoo, Jackie’s Tee, and A&B Burger were just a few of the names take a part.

Some of the teams were geared up with costumes, matching outfits and one team had a couple of alpaca masks they were wearing (they were aptly named The Screaming Alpacas). We had about 20 teams sign up for the shindig, and it was a party in that backlot when we started at 2pm. Everyone was ready to go out and try to win first place, which would win a hefty prize basket filled with a bunch of swag and gift cards donated by local businesses.

The best part about the hunt was the buy in- $25 each team, and every dollar went to Beverly Bootstraps, a total of $500, to help them out with the great work they’ve been doing here.

If you want to see more pictures and hear about the winner go to out facebook page at facebook.com/thecastlebeverly or just look in facebook or instagram for the hashtag #greatbevhunt

 

September 7, 2016

If you haven’t heard already, this week we’re rolling out our new hours! A lot of you were disappointed when we first opened up to hear that we were closed on Mondays. Be sad no more! Starting this past Monday, we’ve changed up our hours to allow us to be open every day of the week! Including Mondays.

Instead of being open 11 – 11 Tuesday – Sunday, we are now open from 2 – 11 Monday – Friday and 11 – 11 Saturday and Sunday.

With more days and more hours to game, we’re excited to be open for board game nights every night!

 

August 31, 2016

In a continuation of fruit related events and posts after last weeks Far From the Tree tap take over, this upcoming Friday evening at 7:00 PM is the night we’re celebrating ten years of Bananagrams! We’ll have plenty of different Bananagrams games going on throughout the night as well as a tournament of the classic game with some sweet sweet prizes for the top finishers. If you’re interested in participating in the tournament, we have an online sign up here.

Alongside the tournament, Naragansett has a new hefeweizen beer celebrating the Bananagrams anniversary! We’ll have plenty of “Hi-Neighbor! Have a Hefeweizen” on hand for the event. So if you’re a fan of word games, great beer, and good times, come on down Friday evening for a fun filled night! Full event details can be found on our Facebook event page.

August 24, 2016

In just a few days, we’re super excited to host Far From the Tree hard cider company! This Friday night, Far From the Tree is coming in to take over our newly upgraded 3 tap system with some of their unique craft ciders. Full event details can be found on our Facebook event page.

Summer’s coming to an end, but for those of you who still want to hold on to it as tightly as possible, we’ll have Lei, a pineapple and jalapeno cider on tap. If you’re like me, you probably can’t wait for fall to finally be here! The good news is that on one of our other taps we’ll have Ember, a brand new cider from Far From the Tree that is “aged on toasted chai spices, smoked vanilla beans and a touch of burnt sugar.” “But that’s only two of the three taps,” you might be declaring. Don’t worry, tap #3 is going to be a mystery! Not even we know what it’s going to be, but given Far From the Tree’s track record, it’s going to be excellent. If that wasn’t enough, they’ll also be bringing in some cans of the ciders our taps don’t have room for. It’s bound to be a fun filled night complete with delicious hard ciders paired with excellent board games!

If you’re looking for Apple themed games, we only have a few that fit the bill.

Apples to Apples (as well as Apples to Apples Kids) is a party game about comparisons! Each round, one player plays as the judge and lays out a green card with an adjective on it. Every other player chooses a red card from their hand of 5 cards that they think is the best (or funniest) comparison for that adjective. Once everyone has played a card, the judge gathers all the submitted red cards (face down), shuffles them, reveals them, and then chooses the best comparison. That card wins the round, gets to keep the green card, and becomes the judge for the next round.

Sour Apples to Apples is very similar, but it introduces a few new changes to the original game. Instead of a deck of green cards and a deck of red cards, there is only one deck of cards and each card has a green and a red side. Each round the judge picks a card from their hand to be the green card for that round. At the end of the round when the judge picks the best comparison they also get to pick which card was the worst comparison! The player who submitted the worst card has to spin the sour apple to determine their fate for the next turn or longer! It’s a fun twist on an old classic.

Cape Ann Improv Forever!

August 17, 2016

This past Monday, we invited our friends at Cape Ann Improv over to do a show at The Castle.  Being a Monday, we figured we probably wouldn’t get a huge crowd…

Boy were we wrong.

Not only were we completely sold out, many people had to be turned away because there simply wasn’t space.  We had people standing, squeezed on the floor, in every place we could fit them.

A Packed Show for Cape Ann Improv

It was hot and crowded but Cape Ann Improv killed it.  The audience was cracking up constantly and everyone had an awesome time.  We’ll be having CAI back in October, so if you missed this show or simply couldn’t get in, stay tuned for details and we will see you then!

August 9, 2016

As many of you might be aware, awhile back we started rolling out membership opportunities. Basically, becoming a member allows you to ignore the game fee each time you visit! Memberships start at $20 a month all the way to $200 for a full year of game fee free gaming here at The Castle!

However, we started to feel like that wasn’t enough. We really like our members! You guys help us keep going and find reasons to expand our selections and services. That’s why we’re happy to announce that we’ve started offering weekly perks for Castle Members! We’re in our fourth week of membership perks, and we have lots of great deals planned for all of you members out there.

We’ve offered discounts on Castle Merch, free drink size upgrades, half priced gelato, and now we’re allowing members to call ahead and reserve a table! If you’re a member already, the process is simple. Just give us a call and tell us how big your group will be, when you’ll be arriving, your name! After that, we’ll make sure you guys have a space to play.

If you’re not a member yet, this week is a great time to start enjoying free gaming and all of the perks that come with it! Perks change weekly, so be sure to keep an eye on our various social media platforms to know what’s going on!

August 3, 2016

If you stopped in to the Castle this past Sunday, you were probably left to the mercies of the most magical birthday celebration this side of the pond. We want to extend a huge thank you to everyone who showed up before we even opened our doors and to those of you who stayed the entire day. We had a blast celebrating, and it wouldn’t have been the same without all of the endless enthusiasm.

To give a quick recap of the day, we gave out discounts for those of you who came in costume, and we were blown away by the effort put forth. There were witches and wizards galore in the cafe on Sunday!

To stay in the magical mood all day so, we served up two special butter beers for all ages! For those of you who felt a bit more adventurous, we had flights of four different potions thought up by Harry, Hermoine, Ron, and Malfoy themselves! Thanks to the local Game Makers Guild, we had a play testing of a fun, strat-o-matic quidditch game called Quidditch Cup. The game had two players competing head to head as Hogwarts teams attempting to score with the quaffle and snag the ever elusive snitch!

To find the die hard Harry Potter fans, we also ran a few different trivia events throughout the day. Later in the night was when the most hardcore fans were able to flex their vast knowledge of all things Hogwarts by completing the Ultimate Harry Potter Quiz Challenge! Only one person walked away as the winner by answering all 15 questions (not counting the final bonus question) correct!

Throughout the day we also hosted some lighter House trivia questions! Each player had a chance to win points for their chosen Hogwarts house as well as win some coupons, memberships, or just plain bragging rights! The house trivia competition came to close as we locked our doors for the night, and Ravenclaw (of course) came out on top with 85 house points!

We were busy the entire day, but we still had fun celebrating the (fictional) birth of The Boy Who Lived. Once again, thank you to everyone who came out to celebrate with us and share in all things Harry Potter! We’re planning to do more events like this in the future, so don’t be worried if you missed out this past weekend. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for more information, and we look forward to seeing you all at our next big day!

 

The Castle Goes to Prison

July 26, 2016

Found guilty of the crime of having too much fun, The Castle Crew was convicted, tried, and sentenced to life in prison without parole or bail this past Monday. Luckily, we were placed in the notoriously escapable Sheepshank Prison in Saugus, MA. Thanks to Wicked Escapes, we were locked away in a series of jail cells in cell block four with only our dreams of freedom in our possession. Over the course of 60 minutes, we were tasked with a series of mind bending puzzles and challenges that had us fighting against the clock in a desperate attempt to free ourselves from confinement. A good mix of teamwork, communication, and problem solving abilities eventually led a hard earned escape.

Found guilty of the crime of having too much fun, The Castle Crew was convicted, tried, and sentenced to life in prison without parole or bail this past Monday. Luckily, we were placed in the notoriously escapable Sheepshank Prison in Saugus, MA. Thanks to Wicked Escapes, we were locked away in a series of jail cells in cell block four with only our dreams of freedom in our possession. Over the course of 60 minutes, we were tasked with a series of mind bending puzzles and challenges that had us fighting against the clock in a desperate attempt to free ourselves from confinement. A good mix of teamwork, communication, and problem solving abilities eventually led a hard earned escape.

Prison guard Kiki kept us in line before she, too, was forced to don an orange jumpsuit.

Complementing the challenging puzzles were all of the props and set pieces. With a history in set design and even haunted house creation, the guys at Wicked Escapes really know how to create a believable environment that is straightforward as well as complex. The objects that are important for the puzzles are noticeably important, and there aren’t too many red herrings, but it’s easy to get caught up in solving a puzzle with the wrong pieces or over simplifying/complicating everything. The care that goes into designing each cell as well as the entire atmosphere is apparent, and really creates a gaming experience that feels tense and immersive.

Seriously, though. We had a great time, and the experience was immersive, exciting, challenging, and just plain fun. The guys at Wicked Escapes really know how to put together a wide variety of puzzles that’ll leave you scratching your heads trying to figure out the solutions. Without giving away any of the solutions, there were plenty of moments where we felt completely stumped and hopeless. Fans of gaming and puzzling alike are sure to have a great experience, win or lose.

If you’re in the area, or if you’re just looking for something unique and immersive, Wicked Escapes is a fantastic option! We’re looking forward to being involved with them again, and we hope you’ll check them out soon! Check them out at www.wickedescapes.net!

July 22, 2016

The city is booming, but we’re running out of space! Where are we going to house all these people? The urban sprawl just isn’t quite working… There has to be a better way… You there! Yes, you! What are you thinking? How can we create enough housing space for all of these people given our limited space… What was that? “Build up” you say? That just might work! Quick! Contact every building contractor you know and get them sketching up housing plans. Vertical housing plans! Yes, this will do it. This will save us. We’re going to need one big blueprint for a…

Like every good building game, you and up to four other players are contractors working against each other to construct the most valuable structures in the city. Given the limited available space, however, your buildings may end up stacking on top of one another, giving bonus points to your opposing builders. The player with the most money at the end of the game is the winner.

 

The contractor with the most money at the end of the game wins! Just like real life!

So, how does it all work? On your turn you’ll have up to three things you’ll do in order. First, roll the die to see how many spaces around the perimeter of the building site you’ll move. The space you land on will determine what spaces you can build a column on. The second required action of your turn is building a column based off of where you’re at on the board. These pieces set the foundation for the flat story tiles you have the option to play to increase the height of your buildings. The third action is the only optional action of your turn, and you can only complete it if you have columns in the right positions to play your story tiles. Completing each story nets you cash, and getting the most cash wins you the game! Easy peasy!

Use bonus points to move or get money!

However, Casa Grande still has a few tricks up its sleeve that keeps game play interesting. If you’ve been eyeing the picture of the board above, you probably noticed the number track on the left side. This is the bonus point track, and it can drastically change your luck in the game! There’s a couple of different things it does. The most common ability you can use bonus points for is to move yourself extra spaces. If you rolled a 4 and want to move 5 spaces, just subtract one bonus point from the track and move that extra space! If you manage to avoid using bonus points, as well as land on the corner space on the build site’s perimeter, you can exchange 9 bonus points for 9 Casa Grande Lire! Wow!

And that’s it! The game ends when a player runs out of building columns and each player has had the same amount of turns. All in all, Casa Grande is a fun little game about building a city that manages to stay interesting with limited building options as well as with the influence of the bonus point system. If you’re a fan of games like Blokus, Pagoda, or even Jenga, Casa Grande provides a fun, tactile, building experience that is unique as well as simple. Come down to the Castle and build the biggest buildings you can today!

July 19, 2016

Tomorrow’s the day! If you haven’t been paying attention to our Facebook events, tomorrow night is our promo night for Gamewright Games! Gamewright is a local board game publisher from Massachusetts, and they’ll be stopping by the Castle this Wednesday to show off some great games.

The Gamewright games in our collection will be highlighted, too. Come down to try Sushi Go Party! a new release from Gamewright as of June 2016. If you’re a fan of the original Sushi Go!, Sushi Go Party! opens up the options of the original game by adding a wide swath of new cards and abilities as well as creating enough space for up to 8 players! Another notable game from Gamewright in our collection is Flashlights & Fireflies, a game designed by one of our local game makers.

Word on the street is that there will also be some games being featured tomorrow night that aren’t in our collection! Be sure to swing by to see what they’re bringing and learn about some of their newer offerings.

We’re excited to host them tomorrow night, and we hope you’ll going us for a great night of family friendly gaming and fun. Check out the Facebook page for more info and to let us know if you’re coming!

July 15, 2016

If you search for “Malta!” online, you’re bound to scroll through pages and pages of search results before finding the game we’re going to talk about today. I wan’t to give you all a number, but I gave up after 14 pages of links to travel agencies, municipal services, and government sites (worth noting that these all could also be themes for a new euro style game. I expect great things from The Game Makers Guild.) all related to the country of Malta rather than the game called…

Malta! Is a quick to learn and fairly straightforward abstract game for 2 – 6 players. The goal of the game is simple: don’t lose. They make a point of reminding you of your goal all throughout the instructions, so it’s not an objective that is too difficult to forget. That being said, there are two ways in which you can become a loser. If you run out of cards to play on your turn, you lose. If you find yourself in a position on the board where you cannot move, you also lose. Be the last person standing and you can win the game!

 

Play cards! Teleport stuff!

Actually playing the game is simple. At the beginning of your turn you’ll check the number of the space your playing piece is on. That’s the number of cards you’ll draw. After that you’ll play half of the cards from your hand. The card effects is where the heart of Malta!’s strategy is found. Without giving away too many of the surprises you can find in the deck, cards allow you to do all sorts of things from moving any player piece around the board in specific fashions to rearranging the board based off of the card’s text. After you’ve played half of your cards, you’ll go ahead and move your player piece one space in a direction that your current space allows (designated by the arrow shapes).

And that’s it! Malta! is a relatively quick game to play and easy to learn! It allows for some Munchkin-esque backstabbing in a more abstract environment. The variable playing board creates a new layout every game, and the large deck allow for a great variety in the types of cards you’ll find available each hand. So if you’re a competitive strategist, or just want to have a good vendetta-inducing time, come down to The Castle and give Malta! a try!

July 12, 2016

This past Thursday started off as a normal day filled with normal day to day activities. I opened up the cafe and prepared to serve to needs of coffee lovers and gamers alike while Kevin came down to help with inventory and operational responsibilities. The weather was nice, the sky was filled with sun, and everything was just fine. Unbeknownst to us, our morning was about to become extraordinary.

 

Weary and travel worn, he showed up on our doorstep.

Through the mysterious workings of the US Postal System, a bright yellow box showed up in our cafe.

“Hey. Do you know what this is, Kevin?” I asked, wondering what mysteries were to be found or solved within the bright box.

“No. I don’t think I ordered anything. Did you?”

Of course I hadn’t, so, with little other investigative options available to us, we decided to open our highly florescent package.

As we slid the box cutter through the packaging tape, it was if a chorus of angelic primates emitted their holy voices from the opening card board. Light poured forth and carried with it the scent of far off tropical lands and their delectable fruits. Kevin and I were forced to bask in the fruity effervescence that emanated from the box. Once the monkeys calmed themselves and we regained our composure, we both reached into the package to extract the source of our rapture.

It was a gift! We had been bequeathed a collection of Bananagram games from the Bananagram publishers themselves!

Thanks to Bananagrams, we’re pleased to announce that we have a second copy of the original Banangrams as well as a few new games being added to the collection! Come in to try our Zip-It, Bananagrams WildTiles, and the brand new Banangrams Party edition!

If you’re a fan of fast paced, head to head, word games, these are sure to fill need!

We’ve taken the liberty of escorting the monkeys off the premises (they were hogging the games for themselves), and we hope to see our human patrons having just as much fun with Bananagrams in their stead.

Keep an eye to the sky and an ear to the ground (or just check the internet) for more Bananagrams related game news and events at the Castle!

July 5, 2016

We love bacon. We also love cheese. If you’ve looked over our menu, that’s probably a very apparent fact! While our menu seems to thrive around these two life sustaining food groups, we’ve begun to realize that our menu needs a little bit more variety. We’re constantly trying new things and seeing what people like to snack on while they play board games, so we’re pleased to announce a new member to the Castle’s menu: The Caprese Salad! Each tasty stack is composed of a slice of tomato, mozzarella, a leaf of basil, and a tangy balsamic glaze. This new option is delectable as well as refreshing. As the summer comes into full swing, our new caprese salad is sure to refresh and satisfy you as you play a round winning royal flush or final claim enough victory points to pull into first place.

July 1, 2016

Sirens wail, and smoke fills the air. Through the commotion you hear the chief’s commanding voice drown out the surrounding bustle, “Alright, team. The building we’re heading to is in critical condition. Unfortunately, there are still some people trapped inside. We’ll need to bring them to safety before the building collapses. The fire is raging, so we’ll be pressed for time. Is that clear?” You nod your head, affirming the instructions and prepare to brave the flames of…

In Flash Point: Fire Rescue, 2-6 firefighters will work together to extinguish a burning building and, more importantly, save everyone inside. Each turn, you’ll have at least four action points to spend on movement, extinguishing, and all sorts of fire fighter related feats. Manage your actions well, and you’ll be the most essential part of the firefighting squad!

 

Fight the fire!

Save the people!

 

After a player spends their action points, Flash Point’s central mechanic has a chance to shine during the “Advance Fire” stage of each turn. Using the two dice and the grid coordinate system on the board, each player determines where a new spot of smoke will crop up each turn. Sometimes these rolls produce smokey areas, and sometimes they turn smoke filled rooms into wild infernos, but the real terror occurs when a space that is already occupied by a fire token is the space rolled. This creates a devastating explosion that spreads more fire in every direction and damages the building. Preventing opportunities for explosions and controlling fire filled rooms lies at the heart of Flash Point.

All of this is just a basic overview of what Flash Point’s “Family Game” option is. Recommended for beginners, the Family Game is a good introduction to Flash Point’s core, but the real meat of the game comes in the Advanced Game. By adding character role cards, hot spots, explosive material, fire trucks, and ambulances, the game really opens itself up to a depth that is hard to find in an other easily accessible cooperative game.

So next time you’re in The Castle, pull down Flash Point from our Cooperative section. Gather around a friend or four, and brave the fire that will force you all to work together and save those who are helpless to save themselves.

 

June 28, 2016

What’s better than being able to choose from over 450 board and card games for a $5 fee? Being able to choose from over 450 board and card games for free, of course!

Well, OK, so we can’t make it completely free, but if you’re a regular at The Castle, or if you would like to be, our new membership program is just the fit for you!

So here’s how it works: For $20, you get a membership card that’s good for one month. As long as you have your card with you when you come into The Castle, you won’t have to worry about the $5 game fee! That means (if we’re willing to do some simple math) coming in four times in one month (around once a week) basically means you’re covered. If you come in more than that, you’re saving money and enjoying great games with great people!

The other option is essentially the same in principle. For $200, you can get yourself a nice, laminated, yearly membership card that lets you play for free for the entire year! At just $200 for 365 days of gaming we’re giving you two months of free gaming for supporting gaming on the North Shore and being a member at The Castle!

So if you’re a regular at the Castle, or if you want more incentive to become one, come on in and sign up for one of our membership programs today!

June 24, 2016

It’s noon, and you finally have a break from your nine to five for at least half an hour, maybe an hour if you’re lucky, and aside from looking forward to that turkey sandwich you packed, you find yourself with a curious hunger for something different. You may not know it, but that’s a hunger for board gaming. Don’t worry, though! Not every game takes an entire Saturday to play! Here at The Castle, we’ve compiled a list of great games that can be learned and played in under an hour! So, today, I’d like to offer up three suggestions for great games that are fun, exciting, and relatively fast!

Bang! The Dice Game

It’s high noon, and your stomach is rumbling for justice! Bang! The Dice Game is a hidden roles, dice game for 3-8 desperados, and it can be played in about 15 minutes! By rolling and re rolling dice, each player seeks to shoot at their enemies, reward life giving beers to their allies, and use their special character powers to turn the tide of the shoot out! The Sheriff is the only player who plays with his role card available for everyone to see. The Sheriff and the deputy win if all the outlaws as well as the renegade are eliminated. The Outlaws win if the sheriff, deputy, and renegade are all defeated. Finally, the renegade is looking to be the last man standing! Draw your six shooters and put down that sandwich. It’s high noon!

Eight Minute Empire

If you find yourself eating fast food over the lunch hour because of the time crunch, have no fear! Eight Minute Empire can be played (surprise!) in eight minutes! 2-5 emperors duke it out in this easy to learn, quick to play area control game. The player with the most victory points wins! Players take turns buying one of the six available cards that grant a good as well as an action. Sets of goods will net you points at the end of the game, but actions help you take control of new countries. So put down the cheese burgers and pick up Eight Minute Empire!

Coup

It’s time to eat the government’s lunch! As a member of an oppressive futuristic society where large corporations own the government, you’re goal is to bring it all down by exposing the corrupt influence of your fellow players.

2-6 would be world leaders lie their way into office in this 15 minute bluffing game. If you have the right people in your hand of cards, you can influence them to use their special abilities for your gain. If you don’t have them, use their powers anyways! But be careful! If anyone challenges you to prove you have influence over that character, you might just lose everything. Trick your friends and bluff your way to power all before you hope back on the clock.

Whether your lunch break is an hour or half an hour, The Castle has a game that you can play. Grab a few coworkers and come over for your lunch break today!

June 22, 2016

Most of the time, our collection seems to grow due to generous donations from the community and our supporters, but every now and then we get the chance to purchase brand new games. This is one of those times! We’re happy to announce a few special additions to our collection that’ll help remove some gaps, fulfill some requests from the suggestion jar, and provide everyone with a chance to try some brand new releases! So here’s what’s new:

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

A classic euro game about settling and growing the economy of Puerto Rico! As a favorite among board gamers, we felt it to be a necessary addition to our collection!

Sushi Go Party!

Released about a week ago, Sushi Go Party is the sequel to the world’s greatest sushi-eating card-drafting game! Players choose a menu of delicious and adorable sushi items each game and try to acquire the best meal over three courses.

7 Wonders: Duel

Based off of the original 7 Wonders, 7 Wonders: Duel offers a two player experience to the classic card drafting game. Over the ages, players compete for the best empires of the classical world!

Gravwell: Escape From the 9th Dimension

You’re trapped in the cold heart of the ninth dimension, and there’s only enough space in the warp gate for one spaceship! Harness the power of the elements and gravitational forces to slingshot your ship and crew to safety!

Cat Tower!

There’s a tasty fish on the counter just out of reach! Team up with your fellow felines to make a tower and reach the tasty treat!

June 10, 2016

In Age of War, 2 – 6 players duke it out daimyo style in a quest to unite the warring clans of feudal Japan! Castle cards are laid out in the center of the table, and you’ll have to roll the correct dice combinations to fill your battle lines to conquer them. Each castle awards you a certain number of points at the end of the game. Collecting castles of the same faction will award you bonus points at the end of the game as well as prevent other players from trying to conquer your castles! Once the last castle from the center of the table is conquered, the game is over, and an age of peace finally dawns.

 

Honestly, it’s as simple as that! Other than a few rules about how to roll dice, fill battle lines, and conquer castles from other players, Age of War is a very easy to pick up dice game that actually grants an interesting level of strategy the more players you play with. One-on-one games tend to be fairly cut throat, and sometimes seem to be a bit more based on chance and smart castle conquering. However, as soon as a third or fourth party is added, questions of what to conquer and when become more important as castles from the center disappear more frequently.

Joking blog post title aside, if you’re a fan of Yahtzee, Farkle, or any of the other various dice rolling classics, Age of War from Fantasy Flight games is worth trying out. It builds upon the combo rolling aspirations of the classics by adding an interesting and attractive theme as well as providing strategic decision making on every turn. Age of War is a dice rolling game to its core, and it shows how simultaneously fun and nerve wracking throwing around a few plastic cubes can really be.

June 7, 2016

It’s incredible to think that we opened our doors 6 short months ago back in December of 2015, but this past Sunday we celebrated our half-birthday! First off, we just want to extend a huge thank you to all of you who have enthusiastically supported us. Everything from donating games and regularly coming through our doors to holding birthday parties and just spreading the word about us has helped tremendously. So, once again, thank you!

Because it’s fun, and we’re all about fun, we put together a little info-graphic to show just what we’ve been doing these past 6 months!

With all of the changes that have occurred, there are still more improvements that we’re working on behind the scenes. We have a lot of fun events that we’re working on organizing! Keep an eye on the Facebook pageour Meetup group, and all of our various social media outlets!

Thanks for gaming at The Castle! We’re looking forward to another great 6 months and beyond.

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June 3 2016

You are now the mayor of a small town with big city dreams. Machi Koro is a very straightforward city building card game for up to four players. Each turn starts with a die roll, and the numbers that appear determine what structures generate income for that turn. Using a small wealth of coins and whatever income your buildings can generate, you can buy more buildings to generate more coins and bring yourself closer to victory! The first player to build all four of their monument cards is the winner, as well as the best mayor around.

“Gee, that sounds like a lot of work,” is probably what you’re thinking, but fear not! New buildings only cost a few coins, and you get coins almost every time you roll the die! It really is incredibly straightforward. Just roll the die, get as many coins as your coffers can hold, and buy everything! With each monument you construct, you’ll be granted more actions to use on your turn, and you’ll be one step closer to victory.

But wait, there are other mayors around. And those other mayors are trying to encroach on your excellent city planning by building the same structures as you! It looks like this game isn’t just about generating income from your buildings. It’s time to start stealing income from other towns!

Each die roll brings new money into play, and keeping an eye on your fellow mayors’ towns is essential if you’re going to be the best mayor in the region. With a mixture of smart building and good rolling you, too, can be one of the best mayors Machi Koro and The Castle have ever seen. Good Luck!

 

May 31 2016

If you’re on our email list, you’ve probably heard about our new Meetup group. For those of you who haven’t signed up for emails, or if you’re just hearing about The Castle for the first time, we have a new tool to connect people for gaming!

The group is called Gamers of The Castle, and it’s a space for you guys to plan game nights or host your own meetups at The Castle! This is meant to be a pretty low key and low stress space for anyone to set up a group for that game you’ve always wanted to play. Our whole collection is also listed online, so you can see what we have before you show up to play!

Have you been having trouble convincing your regular gaming group to play a game like Arkham Horror? Post on the meetup and see if anyone else wants to! Are you convinced that you’re the grand master chess champion of Beverly, Massachusetts? Set up a meetup event for challenges to try and claim your title! Do you want to play a marathon like game of stress and rivalry like Diplomacy? Start a meetup event to make sure you get a full lineup!

Just like what we’ve said about LFG Nights, here at The Castle we’re committed to supporting our local community and trying to connect people together through a love of board games, so we invite you to join the Meetup and post an event today!

May 27 2016

August 11th, 1921

Our journey around the world is coming to an end. The port of San-Francisco will welcome us with open arms as we end our adventure tomorrow. I’m sure the tales we have to share will seem unbelievable to many, but I swear they are all true. We’ve been welcomed by peoples around the world, and we’ve seen things impossible to imagine. Even now, the relics from our journeys lay secured below deck. While everything we carry is impressive in its uniqueness, I find myself being taken by the peculiar collection of exceptionally aromatic flowers and ornate skulls. Relics of a far off land and a distant culture, I feel as if my eyes have been opened and my mind exposed to a most peculiar game called…

Originally called Skull and Rose, Skull is classic bluffing game that is simple to learn, easy to transport, but incredibly difficult to master.

The game is simple. Accomplish two challenges successfully, and victory is yours. Navigating the bluffs of your fellow players is where the real challenge lies. At the beginning of a game, each player chooses a player mat as well as four matching coasters. At the beginning of a round, each player chooses one of their coasters to place face down on their player mat. After this, the round begins and each player, proceeding in a clockwise fashion, either chooses to add another coaster face down to their stack or issue a challenge. Once a challenge has been issued, no more coasters can be added to a stack for the remainder of the current round.

Challenges constitute the heart of Skull. The way a challenge is initiated is by a player saying something akin to “I bet that I can flip over two coasters without revealing a skull.” Other players either raise the bet (“I can flip three coasters without hitting a skull”) or say “pass” and push their stack to the center of the table. The last player left standing has to complete the challenge. Starting with their own stack, they must flip over the number of coasters they wagered. If they reveal all flowers they win the challenge. If they reveal even one skull they’ve lost the challenge and must sacrifice one of their coasters.

 

The game is fast and the choices are straightforward, but the gravity of each failed challenge is immense.

Oh, and one last thing before I close things out here. Skull can be played anywhere. Do you have a deck of cards? Give each player three red cards (flowers) and one black card (skull). Are you at a bar? Grab four coasters and mark one with a skull. If you have the materials and the imagination, you can play a game of Skull.

So, with all of that knowledge at your disposal, come in and learn how to play a game or two. Once you have, feel free to go out into the world and spread the game of Skull.

May 24 2016

If you’ve been a fan of the Castle for awhile, you’ve probably seen a monthly event known as “LFG Night.” If you aren’t familiar with what LFG Night is, you’re in luck! This coming Wednesday, May 25, at 7:00 P.M. we’ll be having our LFG Night for the month of May!

“LFG” stands for “Looking For Group,” and we hold these monthly events as a way of connecting people who may not know each other through board gaming! This is a great opportunity to meet new gamers, gather a larger group for a larger game, or just share your gaming group with those who might not have a group to game with yet!

Here at The Castle, we’re firm believers in supporting everything local and connecting people in our community with one another. LFG Night is one of our most requested nights, and we believe that it may be one of the most important for welcoming people into the hobby we love. So come by yourself, or bring your friends, and meet up with some new friends this Wednesday night for a time of gaming and socializing. See you at 7!

May 17 2016

The sun sinks below the mountain peaks on the horizon as high altitude winds whip snow and ice over the rocky slopes. “We shouldn’t be up here!” your climbing partner shouts over the roaring wind. “We should have made camp 1000 meters lower! The storm is too much. We’re going to freeze up here!” With your ice pick secured in the steep icy incline you turn to face your partner. “We’re so close, though! If we can just reach the top we’ll be famous for this!” The winds pick up and even though your gear was made to keep you warm, you can feel the cold sinking its icy claws deep into your body. “We can’t turn back. Not now. Not when we’re so close. If we do this now we can finally conquer…”

Welcome to K2, the second largest mountain in the world! Good luck attempting to summit this monstrosity of a mountain. Thankfully, you can brave the frozen behemoth from the comfort of a nice warm table in The Castle. We pride ourselves on “not being a frozen mountain” or “a serious life or death endeavor” (most of the time), but we are happy to facilitate your adventurous expedition up this treacherous mountain if you decide to stop in for a game of K2

K2 can be played with up to five players, but it can also be played as a solo experience! As a player, you’ll be controlling two groups of climbers who are attempting to safely summit K2 before any other players can do so. Using a system of cards designating movement points and actions, each player chooses three cards to play during their turn. While the goal is to be the fastest climber, moving too quickly can be extremely risky.

 

On top of trying to quickly summit the mountain, climbers have to keep track of their acclimatization levels (how much oxygen they’re using and how much is available) as well as pay attention to the weather and how it may affect their movement or acclimatization. Just like real life!

If you feel up to the challenge, come on in and pull K2 off the shelf today! The slopes are frozen and dangerous, and only 

May 10 2016

If you haven’t heard of our Boards & Brews event yet, don’t worry! There’s still time to come into the Castle today to reserve your ticket for Thursday night over at Gentile Brewing. Tickets are $10 and include a beer and access to the games we will be providing.

Speaking of the games we’re bringing, I’d like to offer you guys a little preview of what we’ll be having. We’re going to bring a good mix of modern and traditional games that should appeal to everyone, but there are also a few games that I’d like to briefly talk about because of their thematic connections to the event!

Carcasonne

Carcassonne is one of my personal favorite games, and it’s very easy to learn. Essentially, players are building cities, roads, monasteries, and farms to the most points. It can be played both casually and strategically, so it definitely earns its classification as a beer and pretzel game! So while we might not have pretzels, we have beer and board games, and that might just be enough!

Two Rooms and a Boom

If enough people are interested, we’ll be organizing a game of Two Rooms and a Boom! Originally a print and play party game, Two Rooms and a Boom is an incredibly fun large group party game that can accommodate anywhere from 6 – 30 people! Basically, each player receives an identity card that identifies what team they will be on. Over the course of three rounds, the blue team is trying to keep the President (Blue) in a different room from the Bomber (Red). The Red teams is trying to get the President and Bomber in the same room by the end of the game. With special character cards, more motives and complexities are added on top, making Two Rooms and Boom an incredibly accessible and exciting large group party game.

While these aren’t the only games we’ll be highlighting at the event, they are definitely ones worth checking out! Tickets are going fast, so be sure to swing by the Castle and pick up your tickets before they’re all gone. See you on Thursday!

May 6 2016

You’ve seen them assemble cars. You’ve watched them build electronics. But have you watched them tear each other to nothing but scrap metal? Well here it is folks! The greatest sporting event of our time! You know the name. You know the game. Now sit down, strap in, and prepare yourselves to witness the gear grinding, oil-splattering, machine crunching spectacle that is…

Robo Rally

Our new robot overlords.

With mention of a new release in the works , today is a perfect time to revisit a game as classic as Robo Rally. While the version we have here at The Castle isn’t the original (we have the Avalon Hill printing), the game is still a real blast to play.

The premise is simple: be the first robot to touch every flag in the correct order. It’s a simple race to the finish, and all you’ll need to do is avoid the other robots. Oh, and you’ll want to avoid the lasers constantly shooting across the board. You might want to look out for those bottomless pits over there, too. Did we mention the conveyor belts? Oh, you should also know that you’ll have to program your robot with five new commands every turn to keep it in the race, and unless you do an emergency shut down before it starts careening down the factory floor, your robot is at the mercy of the course once it starts moving should anything not go according to plan.

Robo Rally is chaotic to its core.

In short, each turn a player is dealt nine cards (minus one for every damage token they have on their player board) and they must choose five to install face down into their order register. Once an order is installed, it cannot be checked until it is resolved during the movement phase, so be smart! Don’t forget the programs you’ve installed! To make things even more chaotic, once all players but one have filled their register, the sand timer is flipped. The final player must install their final orders before time runs out, or their register will be filled with random orders!

These are the basics of Robo Rally. While there are lots of other exciting elements at play, I’d encourage you to come down to The Castle with a group of programmers or robot enthusiasts and experience them for yourself!

May 3 2016

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Tomorrow’s the big day, and we at The Castle are just as excited for it as all of you are! With all of the hubbub about Episode 7 and Rogue One, Star Wars fever is saturating the air once more. In preparation for tomorrow we’ve pulled all of our Star Wars themed games off the shelf and highlighted them to help you all get in the mood a little bit more. The games range from plain themed versions of classic games such as Monopoly and new twists on old classics like Risk and Life all the way to new games bearing the Star Wars namesake such as Imperial Assault and Star Wars: The Card Game! We’ll also be celebrating with special Star Wars cookies, a costume contest at 7:00pm, ,and a Wookie impersonation throw-down at 7:30pm! Check out the Facebook event page for more details. We’re very excited to mix our love of Star Wars with our love of board gaming, and we hope you’ll help us celebrate the fandom by paying us a visit on May 4th!

 

April 15 2016

When we started buying games for our grand opening back in December, we tried to acquire a wide range of games and genres that would be appealing to anyone who walks through our doors. We pulled games from our personal collections, from the collections of our friends (with their permission of course), and we even went out to buy brand new games so we’d be prepared.

All in all, we opened our doors back in December with roughly 200 games. While 200 is a good size for a public collection, there were still a lot of holes in our shelves where we either didn’t know exactly what games you guys wanted to see, or, in some cases, the games we wanted to have just weren’t in our budget.

However, while we’re consistently on the lookout for new games to add to the collection, the response from the community in the past four months has been incredible. As it stands right now, there are approximately 377 unique games in our library. From donations alone, our collection has nearly doubled in size. Aside from unique titles, the amount of duplicates we’ve received has helped us to have multiple copies of popular games on the floor, run simultaneous tournaments for specific games, and even replace missing pieces in heavily used games.

 

It’s hard to fully describe how thankful we are for everyone who has helped us grow our collection to the size it is today. There are still games in the back that need to be logged, organized, and shelved, and something tells me that pile will always be growing no matter how much we work at it. As a community of gamers and cafe goers, you guys have helped The Castle become what it is today, and we can’t thank you enough.

 

March 17, 2016

The Castle - A Board Game Cafe

240 Rantoul Street

Beverly, MA 01915 ​

Email: info@TheCastleBeverly.com
Telephone: 978-969-1719

Hours: 11 AM - 11 PM Everyday

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