When toy industry pros go on a quest to uncover the best board games this season, one name continually pops up – Fireside Games with its library of cooperative, lightly tactical board games. Five different toy entities have touted Castle Panic Second Edition, Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests Expansion and My First Castle Panic for the industry’s highest honors.
With reviewers’ comments like “fun colorful artwork, good quality boardgame” and “this is really fun to play as a family!” it is not surprising to see the Games Manufacturers Association, PAL Awards (Play On Words), National Parenting Products Awards (NAPPA), Mom’s Choice Awards, Hot Diggity, and Creative Child placing Castle Panic and its expansion games on their must-have lists for 2023.
For anyone unfamiliar with the best-selling cooperative tower-defense game, Castle Panic Second Edition boasts a brand-new look with new art, a custom die, and heavier card stock. Slay all 49 (!) monsters and have at least one of the six Castle Towers standing to declare victory.
Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests is the latest expansion for Castle Panic. King Aiden, Queen Seraphina, and the other loyal defenders of Castle Bravehold must fight to save the kingdom from sinister new threats. The version adds 12 playable characters with unique abilities, along with Quests that players must work together to complete while defending the Castle.
With no reading required, My First Castle Panic introduces the youngest players (ages 4+) to a group of monsters racing out of the woods and coming right at the Castle! Players need to catch all the monsters before they smash the Castle flat. Preschoolers and parents together send out the brave defenders to match the color and shape of the space where a monster is to catch it. But watch out! The monsters move closer to the Castle every turn, and uh oh — more monsters keep coming!
PAL Awards Play On Words doles out its PAL Awards to recognize exceptional toys and games that encourage language, spark fun and invite creative play. This season’s judges wrote how My First Castle Panic “is the perfect family game for preschoolers (and up!) as they practice turn-taking, strategic teamwork and conversation.”
“My First Castle Panic encourages players to work together towards a common goal. Monsters move along a path, headed for your castle, in hopes to knock it flat. Players receive cards with shapes and colors to match along the path. If you get a match, then you’ve captured your monster and can [very emphatically] throw them in the dungeon.”
“On each turn, a player works through a sequence of 4 steps – (1) draw a card, (2) play a card or ask for help from another player, (3) move the monsters either in the dungeon or forward on the path, and (4) draw the next monster token. This sequence alone was great for kids to practice temporal words like first, next, then, and last. These words help children with sharing sequential events and assist with storytelling, which is essential for language development.”
Mom’s Choice Awards – Mom’s Choice Awards is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of items from more than 60 countries. Its evaluation process uses a proprietary methodology in which items are scored on a number of elements including production quality, design, educational value, entertainment value, originality, appeal and cost.
National Parenting Products Awards (NAPPA) – “Castle Panic Second Edition is the latest version of the hit cooperative tower defense board game for 1 to 6 players,” begins the glowing write up from NAPPA. “The co-op element makes Castle Panic a great family game and the perfect kick-off for your weekly game night. You and your friends must work together to defend your Castle, in the center of the board, from Monsters that attack out of the forest, at the edges of the board. Trade cards, hit and slay Monsters, and plan strategies together to keep your Castle towers intact. You either win or lose together, but only the player with the most victory points is declared the Master Slayer.”
Hot Diggity – The Hot Diggity Awards test and play just about every toy and game that enters the market. “This board game has all the essentials of a winner,” is how these judges described Castle Panic Second Edition to their audience. “Players strategize and collaborate, working together to keep the castle safe. Great for little ones who quickly learn the benefits of teamwork. Ages 8+.” answered the iconic question, what makes it Hot Diggity great.
Creative Child Magazine – Creative Child awarded Castle Panic Second Edition its prestigious 2023 Game Of The Year Award in the Cooperative Family Board Game category. Creative Child Magazine’s Awards program is unique in that all products submitted are reviewed by moms, music educators and early education professionals. Their motto is “mom tested and kid approved!”
GAMA Origins Awards – The Games Manufacturers Association (GAMA) added two Castle Panic titles to its 2023 Origins Awards Finalist list. Castle Panic: Crowns and Quests Expansion was listed in its Social/Light Strategy category. Castle Panic Second Edition got a spot on GAMA’s Children’s Games category. Since 1975, the Origins Awards have been celebrating excellence in the tabletop gaming industry.
Look for these and many more Fireside Games collection of cooperative, lightly tactical board games online at https://firesidegames.com, amazon.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, and specialty stores. Or go on a quest by typing in your zip code to find a neighborhood store at https://firesidegames.com/where-to-buy/.