Once Upon A Castle
Once Upon a Castle is what they call a roll and write game. That means you roll some dice and write (or draw) things based upon what you roll. In this game, you will be drawing (or coloring) parts of your castle in an effort to gain more points than your opponents. The scoring is not based upon how well you can draw, but rather on how well you utilized the resources given you by the dice. Once Upon a Castle is for 2-4 players ages 8 and up. Educational subjects covered include math and art.
On your turn, roll two dice and collect what is shown. If you roll a ? you can pick any of the resources available on the die. In this example, you get stone. You can place one of your markers on any of the stone squares on your board. Which one you cover is determined by what you are trying to gain. (More on this later.) The other dice shows two people. This means you get to draw two more people in your kingdom. Additionally, every other player gets to pick one of the resources shown on the dice you just rolled. This is a great way to keep everyone involved, even when it's not their turn.
On your turn, you may also turn in resources you have collected on your board to gain things. In the following example, the player has two choices. They can either remove the three markers in the far right column to gain three people, or they can remove the two markers in the bottom right row to build a level of their donjon and gain a card. Additional things that can be built are towers (worth 2 or 5 points), walls (which enable you to add flags), and flags (worth 1 or 2 points).
When you turn in resources to gain these things, you draw (or color) them on your paper. There are two sides. The first side has the outline of a castle already there for you. The second side allows you to create your castle yourself, following the same rules that the premade castle does: 4 walls (no more than two flags per wall and no more than 6 flags total), 4 towers, and 4 levels of your donjon.
There are two versions of the game. The green boards and cards are for the easier, simpler version. The blue boards and cards are for the more advanced, complex version. I have not yet tried the advanced version. The game ends once one player has built all four walls, four towers, and four levels of their donjon. Players add up their scores and the player with the most points wins.
What I love about Once Upon A Castle is that it allows for so much creativity and gives a safe space to foster that creativity and grow in confidence in your artistic abilities. A child may start by just tracing or coloring pieces of their castle. This may then lead to adding a little bit of creative design to their walls or towers. As they grow in confidence, they will begin applying more and more artistic touches and may eventually want to use the second side of the paper for complete artistic freedom in designing their own castles. To allow for this growth, it is best not to rush the game. Don't pass the dice until you are done (or almost done) adding a piece to your castle.
You can purchase Once Upon A Castle on Amazon. I highly recommend it. For examples of what the score sheets will look like at the end of the game, check out these castles made by my students, my husband, and I.