The Castles of Burgundy: A Superb iOS Port


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The Castles of Burgundy has long been regarded as one of the best strategic Euro-style board games

This title from famed designer Stefan Feld has now made its way faithfully to iOS devices in all its brain-burning glory.

For the uninitiated, The Castles of Burgundy is all about growing a small princedom in medieval France through strategic placement of settlements and workers. On each turn, you roll two dice that limit which actions are available. Using the right worker to claim the ideal hexagonal tile becomes key.

This iOS implementation is very good. The village building mechanics translate smoothly to touch controls. Hex tiles have a satisfying snap as you add farms, mines, ships, and castles to your duchy. Zooming and panning the board is intuitive. And AI opponents range from easy to expert-level for solo play.

True to the original board game, you start with an empty player board and slowly expand. Every decision counts as you balance short term gains versus long-term point potential. Maximizing actions while adapting to dice rolls gives it a satisfying puzzle-like feel every turn.

Scoring comes from city, road, and shipping route connections along with amassing goods tiles for set collection bonuses. The complexity builds with each phase adding more options – from simply placing tiles to maritime trade routes to massive knowledge tiles for points.

While accessible early on, optimizing your strategy takes practice. There are countless viable paths, although new players may lean too heavily on ship points. With experience, you learn how to synthesize all the systems for maximum efficiency.

The only limitations of the app are lack of online multiplayer and no expansions yet. But the stellar solo play against various AI means you’ll get enjoyment learning the base game inside and out before taking on the world.


Each turn revolves around rolling two dice and taking actions based on those rolls. The key actions are:

  • Taking a tile from the central supply based on the dice values and adding it to your board
  • Placing one of your workers on a hex tile already on your board to produce resources and gain more actions
  • Selling goods for coins that allow you to buy upgrades and knowledge tiles
  • Building ships to connect maritime trade routes across hex edges
  • Completing city, road, and shipping connections for big point bonuses

Strategic tile placement is crucial, as you want to build connected settlements across terrain types for diversity bonuses. Maximizing your dice rolls by using both worker actions and tile grabs is essential.

Balancing short-term coin gains to buy power-ups vs long-term point scoring takes finesse. And you need to keep one eye on blocking opponents from achieving their own goals as the board fills up.

There’s also a spatial element in efficiently arranging your tiles and planning growth, given the hex grid with varied terrain. You want to cluster certain goods tiles together while also completing routes across the board.

Overall, it delivers a highly satisfying optimization challenge. With limited actions from your dice rolls each turn, you need to make each tile placement, worker usage, and good production count to build an efficient point-scoring engine. I’m continually impressed by the depth arising from such simple mechanics.

The Castles of Burgundy is a must-buy for gamers craving a meaty Euro game full of meaningful choices and almost no luck. This is among the best board game conversions I’ve played on iOS. Just be ready for intense brainburn as you meticulously plan your medieval fiefdom.

8.5/10 – Very good


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