When I was around ten years old I used to play a computer game called Age of Empires. It was a military based strategy game focused on building the best society and army you could. I used to imagine how cool it would be to be royalty or be in charge of a kingdom. The drawback to this game was that you only had the option to play computer players.

Enter Castles of Burgundy. A strategy board game you can play with your friends. Build mines, ships, markets and livestock all in the name of your empire. And if you’re feeling fancy maybe name your kingdom too?

This game is very diverse in how you choose to win. A Castles of Burgundy strategy dominating the landscape with livestock perhaps? Or maybe researching technology to build the best buildings is more your style? How about ambitiously filling in your estate as fast as you can? These are the strategies we will be covering today.

Player Boards

Another thing that should be considered before choosing a strategy, is the board that you choose. There are nine different player boards and they all have different advantages. We will mention which boards are best for each strategy type. 

Also, note that for each strategy you will still have to consider what your opponents are doing. Using one of these set strategies to focus on can give you great results. But if you find another player had a similar idea it might be worth it to change your strategy up or mix two of these strategies together.

Castles of Burgundy Strategy #1: Old Macdonald Had a Farm

What to Focus on: 

  • Filling in Animal tile spaces (light green)
  • Getting the same type of animal for Victory point bonuses
  • Using building or knowledge bonuses to boost your score

The Strategy: 

The idea is to fill in your animal spots first to give you a quick lead. Every time you place an animal tile you get a victory point based on the number of animals on the card. You additionally get those points again when you add another animal tile. Once you complete an area you’ve gained a total of eleven victory points.

Ideally, you’d focus on getting the same type of animal. However, if another player has their eye on that animal you might struggle to get the best results. If you find that your animal spots just need one more animal but it’s not the same kind, it’s better to fill in the area for the victory points.

When to use this Strategy

This strategy works well with boards 1, 6, 7, and 8.

For this to work well, you need a board that has at least 4 light green spaces next to each other. Couple this with ships and markets to gain points. 

If you have market tiles, you can use them to immediately gain an animal or ship tile from any numbered depot. Consider using knowledge tiles focused on animal bonuses. This strategy works better when there are more than 2 players.

Other Knowledge Tiles to consider:

  • 7—  gives you bonus points for placing animals
  • 10— This can be used to adjust your die results to gain animals or ships
  • 17— Get 4 victory points at the end of the game for each animal type added to your board

Castles of Burgundy Strategy #2: The Merchant

What to Focus on: 

  • Gather Knowledge tiles that boost end game points
  • Get Buildings that benefit from Knowledge tiles
  • Use Workers to change die rolls (as needed)

The Strategy: 

This strategy focuses on gathering specific knowledge tiles, selling goods, and gathering workers. This works in a series of steps to follow every turn to maximize victory point potential. 

Focusing on the Knowledge tiles can prove a challenging way to win. It has a bigger degree of luck than the other methods. If your opponents crush you with their pasture or building growth early on, you will lose. 

However, if you get the tiles you need you can rack up a massive amount of points by the end of it all.

Pick a starting location that ideally puts you next to mine (grey) and knowledge spaces (yellow). Fill out the Mine spaces first. Filling these spots in will maximize your Silverlings production. If you see Tile 2, use it to gain extra Silvering from each of your mines.

Next, acquire knowledge tiles 13 and 14 if available. Tile 13 gives you one Silverling and two Worker tiles when you use the “Take workers tiles” action. Tile 14 has a similar effect only instead of Silverlings, you acquire four workers instead of two.

Secondary tile options if unavailable include 3-5, 7, and 25. If you see the Boarding House tile available, buy it to automatically gain 4 worker tiles.

Next sell goods, if any are in storage and if you don’t have a ship in reserves, acquire one. 

For your next turn, if you have a pasture size of at least three, acquire livestock hex. Try to only place the same type of livestock. 

If during any phase you find yourself unable to complete one or many of the tasks outlined, your default action is to collect workers.

Use Worker tiles to change the die roll as needed. Use this action too much and it will be too costly. Two Worker tiles are worth one victory point. 

Related: Axis and Allies Strategies for more consistent Victory

When to use this Strategy

It works well with boards 3, 5, 6, and 8.

This strategy can be complicated to pull off. It hinges heavily on being able to purchase the tiles outlined above. Namely 13 or 14. You could put off this strategy a turn at most gathering the other supplies you need.

But like most strategies, if you drag behind, then you won’t be able to win. This Castles of Burgundy strategy works better if you only have one other player to contend with. Having three or more players just increases the chances you won’t get the tiles you need.

Other Knowledge Tiles to consider:

  • 11— When added to your estate, you can adjust all die results by plus/minus one just like using a Worker tile. This only pertains to placing castles, mines, or knowledge.
  • 6- Allows you to buy from the central black depot and all the other numbered depots. You still can only make one purchase per turn.

Castles of Burgundy Strategy #3: Conquer the Barren Lands

What to Focus on: 

  • Finish small areas first (1-3 spaces)
  • Use Buildings that boost your ability to build more each turn
  • OR: Find Knowledge tiles that enhance production

The Strategy: 

Keep your storage area clear at the start of each turn. You want this area to be empty so that whatever new tiles come onto the board you’ll have the flexibility to pick them up without wasting a turn to move things around. 

For this strategy to work, you have to be able to move tiles quickly from your storage area to the board. A useful tile to have at the beginning is Tile 1. It allows you to build the same kind of buildings next to each other. 

The primary goal for the strategy is building construction, and we use every turn to try to gain more textiles. 

First, take a look at your card to see what regions you could complete in Phase A in the following order. 

  • Region size 4 and Region size 1
  • Region size 3 Region size 2
  • Region size 3 and Region size 1. 

These combinations will give you the most victory points due to the phase bonus we want to focus the smaller regions in the earlier phases to increase our chances to get multiple phase bonuses as well as the bonus for being first to complete a region. 

Next, we need to check the knowledge hexes are important additions to our arsenal. In this case, we are looking for tiles 1,2,6,8-11, 26. If you don’t have a church available, forgo acquiring these tiles until you do.

Make sure you only grab tiles that work towards our region completion goals. Use workers as needed to get your hexes into the estate. 

If growing a city region, try to get the following buildings:

  • City Hall –(My personal favorite) It allows you to build a second building on your turn for free
  • Carpenter’s Workshop – Take a building tile from any numbered depot into your storage
  • Market – Use this building to take any animal or ship tile from any numbered depot to your storage
  • Church – Choose a mine, knowledge tile, or castle tile from any numbered depot to your storage
  • Park (to use as one of the above)

If you have Knowledge tile 6, you can use two workers to buy any crucial tile you might need from the board. 

If there’s currently nothing to be done to directly grow your estate, and sell goods if you have them (and die roll matches up). Or take more Workers.

For phase C and later, either target small regions that still have completion bonus available or aim for larger regions (4+). At this point, you should be sitting pretty with Victory Point count.

When to use this Strategy

It works well with boards 4, 6, 7, and 9.

This can work no matter how many opponents you have. It does work better if you get the first turn. 

What is the Best Strategy to Win Castles of Burgundy?

So as you can see there is no one specific way to win Castles of Burgundy. The most important thing you can do to win the game is to adapt your moves to your opponents’ moves. For example, if you’re trying to do a strategy based on animals, and another player takes an animal you need, pivot to selling goods. 

If you’re working towards one depot and you make a bad roll, don’t be afraid to use your workers to change your luck. Don’t get discouraged if you lose a few times. Like all strategy games, it takes time and finding the right balance between reading your opponents and knowing the rules like the back of your hand.

What Castles of Burgundy strategy do you think is the best? Let us know in the comment section!

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