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Castle Assault was the biggest surprise in gaming for me in 2015, and came out of nowhere to land securely in my top 5 Board Games of the Year last year. The game is an interesting, and extremely successful, and unique, blend of card-battle games, tactical skirmish games, and tower defense. It features six asymmetric Warbands, each with a unique theme, playstyle, strengths and weaknesses, and has an awesome solo campaign mode that allows players to permanently level up Hero cards by affixing stickers to them that grant them bonuses and powers. Even though there is a ton of content in the base game, I’ve been excited to get more—especially more solo content. Apparently game designer TJ Dunbar, and his company Volsk, also wanted to make more as they are back on Kickstarter with an expansion, entitled The Fell Fire Forge that offers more factions, brand new cards, and a new, branching solo campaign. To say that I’m excited would be a severe understatement.

Fell Fire Forge Board

Castle Assault is a unique blend of lane combat, tower defense, tactical skirmish, and collectible card game.

Castle Assault: The Fell Fire Forge has hit Kickstarter with a relatively modest funding goal of $9,000, with Stretch Goals currently planned out to $26,000, including some interesting collaborations with other game companies like Level99 Games and GreenBriar Games, among others. As of the time of this writing, the campaign is already over 2/3 funded, with over 20 days left, so it’s very likely that the requested funding goal will be easily reached. Volsk plans to deliver The Fell Fire Forge in February of 2017, which, given their track record for their previous Kickstarter effort, should be a safe bet. The base game of Castle Assault, which initially asked for $28,000 and ended up raising over $33,000, was delivered on time and in full.

Fell Fire Forge Cards

The art on the new Warbands in The Fell Fire Forge is awesome.

Players who don’t have the base game can pick up a copy during the campaign alongside the expansion, although The Fell Fire Forge is fully playable as a standalone title. I spoke to TJ Dunbar about the expansion and he provided some interesting insight, and details, into what the expansion will offer.

Actually, it’s like a separate game in many ways with the new content, including “environment” cards which effect spaces on the game board and the non-linear campaign, which will be massive (and a bit less challenging than last time)
Also some upgrades (stickers) will only be unlockable with a certain path and choice in game….
We are really striving to have this campaign drive replayability, as only if you recruit certain units, can you gain certain traits… and then if those very same recruited units perish in battle, they are lost forever, BUT even that unlocks some vastly different traits
The next time you play the campaign, use a different hero and then you can walk the other paths… (like go from being vastly evil, to vastly lawful) will yield a different hero with different skills at the end of the campaign. (Just like real life!)
—TJ Dunbar, designer of Castle Assault: The Fell Fire Forge
For the initial pledge tier of $23, The Fell Fire Forge brings two brand new Warbands into the world of Castle Assault—The Admantine Anvil Dwarves and the Burning Brood Dragons—as well as 20 neutral Command Cards. It also includes a game mat, 7 glass tokens, 5 dice, new customizable Heroes, and a non-linear solo campaign.
For $67, backers can get their hands on both The Fell Fire Forge and a copy of the base game if they don’t have it already, which is a great deal. Pledge tiers rapidly rise from there, jumping to a $175 pledge that offers a bevvy of extra goodies, to a $500 pledge that puts backers in the game as playable character cards, all the way up to the $1000 “Throne of the Gods” tier that nets you four copies of the game and the expansion plus one on one time with the designers of the game.
The Fell Fire Forge is an exciting addition to Castle Assault. The gameplay is quick, smooth, and easy to teach, and, with six Warbands already included in the base game, this expansion promises huge replayability for players who like to duel their friends and smash each other’s castles to bits. The asymmetry of the factions, and the promise of two more, adds a huge layer of tactical strategy to the game, as players send their armies hurtling down the game’s three lanes at one another. Arguably more exciting, for me at least, is the inclusion of a new solo campaign.
Fell Fire Forge New Stickers

Customizing the Hero cards with permanent stickers is fun, interesting, and makes your copy of the game entirely unique.

The original solo campaign is entirely linear, yet it still is a ton of fun, and very challenging. It offers a sheet of stickers that you can use to permanently alter the Hero characters that you play through the campaign with, permanently customizing your copy of the game as you see fit. The inclusion of another solo campaign, with all new abilities and Heroes, lands this expansion on my must-have list. The fact that it is branching, offering players different choices of how to proceed, as well as different rewards and outcomes based on those choices, elevate this from my must-have list to my shut-up-and-take-my-money list. As such, I have already pledged $28 (the initial pledge tier, plus $5 for shipping).
Make no mistake though, Castle Assault is still an excellent two player game. Even if you were to ignore the solo campaign entirely, the game offers a huge amount of fun, especially for players who enjoy two-player card battle games. If you’d like to know even more about how the game plays, be sure to check out my review of Castle Assault here.

Travis Williams

Tabletop Editor

Tabletop editor.