Burgundy Castle Remake Could Start an Arms Race on the Chessboard

For the better part of a decade, there has been an escalation in board game arms race. Consumers are now measuring the weight of the products they buy not only in terms of complexity, but in pounds. But I feel a sea change on the horizon. With decades-old properties still holding their own against a flurry of new releases, it’s time for publishers to start enhancing their back catalog in exciting ways. Castles of Burgundy: Deluxe Edition feels like the first big push in that direction.

Burgundy Castle, designed by Stefan Feld and first published in 2011, is one of those European style board games that consistently pops up in discussions of the genre. It’s an exemplary game, a flexible and engaging city builder with a variety of interwoven systems. It’s also a game that looks good on the table – even if it’s rendered in two dimensions with cardboard bricks.

A white plastic castle, lightly shaded.

An early render of a castle brick for Castles of Burgundy: Deluxe Edition.
Image: Ravensburger

Now Ravensburger, through its Alea imprint, has announced a deluxe version. A press release on Thursday noted that the deluxe version will include new graphic design and a tweaked user experience resulting in “easier and more readable gameplay”. It will also include component upgrades, such as complex castle cards and coins.

Component upgrades are often sold as add-ons to store board games. For example, you can choose a set of plastic resources and coins for games like Scythe via The Oath: Chronicles of the Empire and Exile directly on the manufacturer’s website. But these are relatively recent games, with smaller publishers looking to boost the profit margins from selling their most lucrative titles.

Ravensburger Publishing, a multinational with several lines of business, is a much larger entity in the desktop space. It is also an investor in Poland GamefoundKickstarter’s biggest competitor in the crowdfunding space on the table.

An early render of the game box.

Image: Ravensburger

A model of a box to hold stretch targets.

Image: Ravensburger

Castles of Burgundy: Deluxe Edition maybe a small collection full of a la carte upgrades, plush toys and t-shirts. Instead, it’s more of a savvy marketing exercise to reward deep-pocketed fans who’ve loved the game for years – and also target a broader audience, richer are wanting to try something new. After all, if you’re going to spend time learning one of the best board games around, why not download the best version available?

We’ll know more when the project goes live in May. Until then, you’ll find a preview is available online, with an option to receive notifications about its launch. More than 15,600 people have signed up so far.

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