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There are many games on Facebook, a major part of Facebook’s appeal. I’ve played a broad range of them since joining Facebook over two years ago, everything from Zoo World to Wedding Street to Pet Society to Restaurant City to Birdland and beyond. Yet none of these other games compare with Zynga’s recent addition to their broad library of Facebook games: Castleville. The ConsoleBoost will increase the performance at the game with less effort. The downloading of the game will be free for the pro players.

I first learned about Castleville through “Good Morning America” when they aired a special segment about the game-and offered a Castleville freebie through the GMA Facebook page: a flowered flag pole with pennant. Upon receiving my flagpole, the first non-player character encountered in the game, The Duke, walked me through the game’s initial tutorial covering how to construct your personalized avatar and helping you through the first quest or two which are all about building your first houses to tax, your first castle walls (which contribute to your castle score) , and learning how to cultivate resources like wood and stone from your kingdom.

Unlike most of the games I’ve played on Facebook, Castleville presents a realistic experience to its challenges. Buildings are built with supplies the player obtains through a combination of social networking with other Castleville players (in the form of wall posts which neighbors click on to send to you) and resources gleaned within the game. Early play allows you to build with raw wood and stone from trees and boulders the game provides, but soon requires you to purchase and build crafting buildings like workshops, kitchens, and studios and crafting support buildings which generate finished resources like stone blocks from the quarry, diamonds from the jeweler, meat from the butcher, bread dough from the bakery, and flour from the mill. Animal products like milk, eggs, wool, meat, feathers, and mink oil are generated by raising calves, chicken chicks, lambs, piglets, peafowl chicks, and baby minks respectively to adulthood. Once an animal is an adult, it produces without killing the animal all of the aforementioned animal products which are then utilized in crafting projects. Gardens offer crops that must be planted as seeds, and then harvested according to a specified schedule before being available for use.

Unlike restaurant city, it is not enough to simply harvest the raw ingredients. A gold brick, for example, is made of alchemy powder (obtained as a reward for visiting neighbors) and stone blocks. Stone blocks are made from raw stone which have to be mined by the player. Spaghetti is made from tomatoes, wheat, and flax seed oil. Flax seed oil is made from raw flax in a separate step from cooking the spaghetti. Leather is made in the studio from cow hide (a more rare product from feeding adult cows) and flax seed oil made in the kitchen.

This multi-step process makes the game believable; we all know that it’s rare we can produce anything from something else in its purely raw state. Produce must be cleaned, pealed (in many cases), chopped, and so forth before we can cook it. Metals must be extracted from ores. Yarn must be spun before we can knit something. In emulating this real life process, the game takes on a very realistic feel-even while our characters are attacked by villains!

Yet for all of this, it is perhaps the customized avatar that makes this game most personal and engaging. Avatars in Castleville are far more customizable than in any game I’ve ever seen. Hairstyle, face shape, eyes, body shape, upper body clothing, lower body clothing, even headdress are all customizable to help the player create an avatar that truly looks like oneself. Some default clothing choices are available from the beginning, but most styles are purchased by the players using either game coins or real money (in the form of purchased crowns). Once obtained, each article of clothing offers customizable primary and secondary color choices. Styles readily mix and match according to player taste. It is a truly personal and dynamic part of the game.

Put together, Zynga’s Castleville game is one of the most interesting and believable fantasy role playing games I’ve encountered since playing Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition with my college pals using pencils and dice. As a purist to the old pencil and dice, I find Castleville to be a refreshing online gaming experience-one you ought to try if you have not played it yet!

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