I like cooperative games a lot -- several of them are in my Top 25. Castle Panic is not quite there, but I enjoy it with both kids and adults.
When you're playing CP with adults, though, co-op kind of flies out the window. At least in my mind it does. I'm always watching who gets the four-point monsters, planting seeds to "teammates", keeping cards for myself that I know could help someone else but that I can use. With kids, my mind is set entirely on co-op. I don't care who the master slayer is (for some reason my daughter ends up being most of the time) -- we're just trying to survive. And it's hard sometimes, because I try to let them make their own decisions. That makes an exciting game. We lost for the first time the other day, in fact, and I was expecting some pouting. But no - after the loss they discussed for a few seconds what they should have done, and quietly put the game away. That blew my mind and was certainly a welcome sight!
One of the best things about CP is that there are several "NO WAY!" moments packed in that box, as my kids and I can attest to last month. In that particular game, we got down to the last final chance at grabbing this orc all up in our towers, and to win we had to draw the Barbarian card. Sure enough, I think it was a 1/22 chance or so, but Conan showed his face and the kids and I jumped for joy. I think that's what this game is all about. And thanks to that moment, CP is currently the most requested game with my kids right now (age 6 and 5) -- beating out Catacombs even!
I really think CP should be in Target and Walmart. It's simple to understand and it's a kids game that most adults enjoy playing. Those are so rare. I hope that Justin De Witt is able to see that happen one day. It's a gem of a game.