- designer: Bernhard Weber & Jens-Peter Schliemann
- publisher: Zoch/Rio Grande
- date: 2007
- BoardGameGeek rank/rating: 398/6.95
- age: 6+
- # of players: 2-4 (5 w/the Cheesy Gonzola expansion)
- print status: in print
- cost: $25.80 (Time Well Spent)
The Castle of Cheese is filled with lots of gouda stuff for the mice to eat. (I promise - that's the last cheese pun for this post.) So the players send their four delightfully sculpted mice across the roofs & into the rooms to pick up cheese - but watch out for trap doors that can send your mice to their doom!
I wasn't sure whether to include this game in the Kid Games 100 or not - one of my criteria from the beginning was that the games had to be as much or more fun with kids than they were with adults. (When we finish, I'll give you the list of "kid games" I think are better as adult games.) Then I got to watch my son play it with me & with his best friend... and I realized I couldn't cut the game out.
Granted, it's a lot more "tactical" when playing with adults... with kids, it's pretty random & the game usually ends with one player losing three of their mice into the dungeons. But it's not like that's a bad thing.
This is also a great introduction for the younger set to action point games. Thankfully, since it's only 4 actions, it doesn't bog down. Everything costs 1 point: moving a space, uncovering an adjacent room, and sliding the floors (which you can only do once per turn.) Somehow, you must combine these moves in order to get 2 of your mice on the same type of cheese and claim the appropriate cheese scoring marker. 4 cheese markers wins the game.
A word about the board is important: it's layered like a trifle. (Obscure quote of the day: "Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, goooood!") On the bottom is the box with a plastic insert filled with holes. (Yes, it's an oxymoron - or I'm just a plain ol' moron. Take your pick.) Above that is a layer of square tiles that slide in rows, very similar to A-Mazing Labyrinth. Over that is a board overlay where some squares are filled & some are open to the tile level. Above that comes a variety of roof tiles that cover 2-4 squares.
The innovative board design wouldn't mean much, however, if the designers hadn't found a clever game to go with it. Slather a great graphic look (dripping cheese!) and you've got a real winner on your hands.
It's become difficult to get the expansion, Cheesy Gonzola, here in the States. (While the base game was published by Rio Grande, they haven't printed Cheesy Gonzola or the giveaway expansion.) If you like the base game, chances are excellent that you'll love the expansion. It adds:
- Cheesy Gonzola himself - a "Speedy Gonzales"-like mouse who can't fall in the holes & moves VERY quickly around the board. Control of Cheesy is determined by the last person to land on his special tile.
- an extra entry tower + a set of mice for a 5th player
- some other special expansion tiles, including the Cellar & the Mechanical Works
- a way to store all of the pieces - this is possibly the best box insert for a game ever!
The easiest way to get the expansion is through Amazon.de - shipped, it's roughly 25 Euros (More than 1/2 of that is shipping - but it should arrive in about a week, which is pretty amazing coming from Europe.)
The giveaway expansion (which is MUCH harder to find) just adds two double-sided tiles... two of which are included in Cheesy Gonzola. The other two sides (the Cat & the Dirty Sock) are new.
I think you'd need to be 6 years old or so to be able to play at a decent level. Set-up & tear-down is a bit tricky for younger kids but doable with some practice.