In Disastles your goal is to gather treasure while building a castle and surviving disasters.
You start the game by shuffling the deck and then taking off the top 20 or so cards. Take 6 Disasters and shuffle them into the larger pile. Place the smaller one on top. Then you lay out the top 5 cards from the deck next to each other. This is called the Shop. The player that was most recently in a castle (of any kind, bouncy castles included) gets the “First!” card and then you are ready to play.
Players then take turns placing a card from the shop in their castle, starting with the player with the “First!” card. After everybody has taken their turn, the “First!” card is passed to the next player, all remaining cards from the shop are discarded and 5 new cards are placed.
Alternatively to playing a card from the shop, you may take an action. Actions can be: swap two of your rooms; move one of your outer rooms; or use an action room in your castle.
You build your castle by making the connection points on the room cards match. You don’t have to match the symbols to place rooms in your castles, but doing so gives you significant advantages.
A lot of cards have text. Cards with text have golden connection points. For the text of a card to be usable you have to match its golden connection points with the proper symbols.
There are 3 different types of rooms:
- Action Rooms
You may use an action room instead of playing a card from the shop. Action rooms tend to be very powerful and are marked by the "Action" keyword.
- Passive Rooms
The effects of passive rooms are always active (as long as you matched the golden connection points).
- Link Rooms
Link Rooms are instantly activated when their golden connection points are properly matched. Their effects play out and then they are considered to not have text until their next activation. Link Rooms may be used multiple times by matching their golden connections anew but you may not use more than 5 Link Rooms in a single turn. They are marked by the "Link" keyword.
Building your castle in a smart way helps protect you from disasters. When a disaster is drawn, it’s played immediately and does damage to all players. You reduce this damage by one point for each matching connection of the corresponding type you have. If you take damage, you have to sacrifice a room in your castle, and if you ever have to sacrifice your throne room, you lose the game.
After the 6th disaster has been drawn the player with the most treasure in their castle wins.
In case of a tie the player with the most rooms wins. If that's also tied then the player with more golden connections wins. If that's also tied it's a draw.