Our step-by-step guide to the rules of how to play Castle Panic board game. This is a great tower defense title that has you defending a central location from an onslaught on monsters that are coming from all directions and don’t stop. The game is for 1 – 6 players at ages 10+. The rules for how to play Castle Panic take some time to get down because there are many steps to take in, but they are very streamlined and easy to figure out.

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The forest is filled with all sorts of Monsters. Goblins, Orcs, and even mighty Trolls lurk in the shadows. They watched and waited as you built your Castle and trained your soldiers, but now they’ve gathered their army and are marching out of the woods. Can you work with your friends to defend your Castle against the horde, or will the Monsters tear down your walls and destroy the precious Castle Towers? You will all win or lose together, but in the end, only one player will be declared the Master Slayer!

Castle Panic is a cooperative game in which the players work together rather than compete. Players use cards to hit and slay Monsters as the Monsters advance from the Forest toward the Castle. Players trade cards and plan strategies together to stop the Monsters from smashing the Castle Towers. To win, players must play through all the Monster tokens, slaying all the Monsters that are revealed and have at least 1 Tower remaining. Players lose if the Monsters destroy all the Castle Towers.


Time Needed: Approximately 60 minutes.

This is a step by step guide for how to play Catle Panic the popular tower defense board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.

1. SETUP | Put Out Game Board
The first step of how to play Castle Panic Setup is to put out the game board. Place this in the center of the table in the middle of everyone.

2. SETUP | Set Up Tower Pieces
Put one Tower in each of the light-colored spaces in the Castle ring. Any Tower can go in any space. These pieces need to be placed in the plastic holders to stand upright. There are six total.

3. SETUP | Set Up Wall Pieces
Put one Wall on each of the lines between the Castle ring and the Swordsman ring.These pieces need to be placed in the plastic holders to stand upright. There are six total.

4. SETUP | Put Out Initial Monster Tokens
Draw 3 Goblins, 2 Orcs, and 1 Troll from the Monster tokens. Place one Monster in each arc of the ring labeled Archer. Players choose which Monster goes into which arc, but there should only be 1 Monster in each arc. Place each Monster so that the corner with the highest number is pointing toward the Castle.

5. SETUP | Give Out Reference Cards
Separate the 6 Order of Play cards from the Castle cards and give 1 to each player. This has the various steps of a turn to help players remember as they play. These are optional instruction-type things, they are not absolutely necessary.

6. SETUP | Deal Out Starting Hands
Shuffle the Castle cards and deal a hand faceup to each player. Since Castle Panic is cooperative, there is no need to keep cards secret. The number of cards in the hand depends on the number of players. Total cards depend on player count – 2 players = 6 cards | 3 to 5 players = 5 cards | 6 players = 4 cards. Place the remainder of the Castle deck facedown. This will be the draw pile. Leave room for a faceup discard pile next to the draw pile.

7. SETUP | Create Monster Token Pile
Turn the remaining Monster tokens facedown and mix them up. Set them aside—this will be the Monster pile. Leave room nearby for a Monster discard pile.

8. SETUP | Put Out Tokens
Place the Tar and Fortify tokens nearby for use when the Tar and Fortify cards are played.

9. SETUP | Choose Starting Player
The final step of how to play Castle Panic setup before getting into gameplay is to determine a starting player. Use your randomizer of choice.

10. GAMEPLAY | Phase 1 | Draw Up
Draw back up to a full hand of cards. When the deck of Castle cards runs out, reshuffle the discards to make a new deck. Because each player has a full hand to start the game, players do not draw up on their first turn.

11. GAMEPLAY | Phase 2 | Discard & Draw 1 Card
At the start of a turn, the player may discard 1 (and only 1) card from his or her hand and draw a new card to replace it. Players never have to discard if they don’t want to.

12. GAMEPLAY | Phase 3 | Trade cards
On his or her turn, a player can trade cards with other players to improve his or her hand. The number of cards players can trade depends on the number of players in the game. The number of trades has to do with players (2 to 5 players = 1 card | 6 players = 2 cards). In the case of a two card trade, you can do it with the same player or different ones. This is completely optional.

13. GAMEPLAY | Phase 4 | Play cards
In this phase, the player can play as many of the cards in his or her hand as he or she is able (as long as they match a target, or can complete their effect). Cards can be used to attack Monsters, slay Monsters, slow them down, build Walls that were destroyed, or even draw more cards! Each card is placed faceup into a discard pile as soon as it is played. See Play Options below for more details.

14. GAMEPLAY | Phase 5 | Move Monsters
All remaining Monsters on the board move 1 space. Monsters that are in the Castle ring move 1 space clockwise, staying in the Castle ring.

15. GAMEPLAY | Phase 6 | Draw 2 new Monsters
Draw 2 tokens from the Monster pile, turn them face up, and resolve them one at a time, completing the first token before revealing the second. If the token is a Goblin, Orc, or Troll, roll the die and place the Monster in the Forest ring in the space that matches the number rolled. Place the token with the highest numbered corner pointing toward the Castle. More than one Monster may occupy the same space. The pile doesn’t refill, take as many as there are if not enough and skip this phase if all gone.

16. GAMEPLAY | Phase 6 | Draw 2 new Monsters | Boss Or Effect
Boss Monsters attack the Castle as usual and also have a special effect that triggers when they are drawn. Monster Effects are not placed on the board but instead affect the players or Monsters and are then discarded.

17. GAMEPLAY | Pass & Repeat
After the player has resolved their Monster tokens, the turn is over. The player to the left now begins his or her turn. This keeps going until you either lose or win.

18. GAME END | Losing | Castle Destroyed
If the last Tower is destroyed, regardless of any Walls remaining then the players lose.

19. GAME END | Winning | Monsters Defeated
If all 49 Monster tokens in the game are played, all the Monsters are slain, and there is at least 1 Tower remaining then the players win.

20. WINNING | Individual Score
If the players win then there is a way to determine an individual score. For each monster that was defeated by a player you get a certain amount of points. Bosses are worth 4 points, Trolls are worth 3 points, Orcs are worth 2 points and Goblins are worth 1 point. High score wins.



Attacking Monsters

  • To attack a Monster, a player must be able to “hit” it. In order to hit a Monster, the player must play a card that matches both the color and the ring location that a Monster is in, as shown below.
  • Several cards can be used to hit multiple Monsters or the same Monster.
  • Monsters cannot be hit in the Forest ring.
  • Only a few cards can hit monsters once they are in the Castle ring. Those cards have a symbol on them to indicate this.
  • Each time a Monster is hit, it takes 1 point of damage unless otherwise specified.
  • Rotate a hit Monster clockwise so that the next lowest number is now pointing toward the Castle. Each type of Monster begins with a different number of damage points. Goblins have 1 point, Orcs have 2, and Trolls have 3 points.

Slaying Monsters

  • When a Monster loses their last point, they have been “Slain.”
  • The player that hit the Monster for the last point of damage keeps that Monster token as a trophy.
  • Monsters that are slain by anything other than hits from players, such as attacking Walls or Giant Boulders, are not kept by any player. Instead those Monsters are put into the Monster discard pile.

Slowing Monsters

  • Some cards do not damage Monsters, but instead slow them down or even move them back into the Forest.

Building Walls

  • During the Play Cards phase of a turn, the player can also build Walls to replace any that have been destroyed by Monsters.
  • To build a Wall, play both a Brick card and a Mortar card.
  • Walls can be built even if the corresponding Tower has been destroyed.
  • A second Wall cannot be added to a Wall that already exists.


  • 1x Board
  • 49x Castle Cards
  • 49x Monster Tokens
  • 6x Walls with Plastic Stands
  • 6x Towers with Plastic Stands
  • 1x Tar Token
  • 2x Fortify Tokens
  • 1x 6-Sided Die
  • 6x Order of Play Cards
  • 1x Rulebook


We hope you can now say you know how to play Castle Panic. This game has you on the edge of your seat from start to finish because monsters are coming at you from all directions and you need to hold strong for a long period of time in order to come out victorious. There are different modes to play and you never know how things are going to play out. It will take a bit to learn with all the steps and interesting strategic options, but play is streamlined and something you can get down in no time. Now that you have the how to play Castle Panic step-by-step instructions, get out there and use them.