The main goal of CastleVille is to expand, build, and maintain your kingdom. The areas immediately surrounding your land are obscured by gloom, a fog-of-war type of system that makes it impossible to expand your kingdom without meeting certain requirements. Exploration is the process of choosing which tiles to un-gloom strategically and managing your resources properly to make the most out of your ever-growing kingdom.
There are many factors that go into exploring and expanding, and if you want to make the most out of your kingdom you’ll have to stay on top of them. A good explorer thinks two steps ahead, un-glooming one space means access to others so try to progress as efficiently as possible, heading towards tiles that yield the most rewards. You’ll also have to take into account the requirements for un-glooming certain tiles and if it’s worth the resources to go there. No tile of land will be available for free, you’ll need to have enough castle level and any other items needed to un-gloom it.
One of the main requirements across the board for almost every gloomed tile available is a minimum castle level. Your castle level will increase naturally as you progress through the game and construct new buildings and structures, but gloom tiles can have heavy requirements that require you to sink a lot of time and money into your castle level in order to advance. Sometimes it’s worth it to make that extra push to venture in a certain tile, but in most cases it’s best to spend your energy tending the land you already have until you gradually accumulate enough castle level through questing to meet your goal.
So how do you raise your castle level? The main method is by constructing royal buildings, which have their own tab on the market screen. These are some of the most costly structures to build (with good reason), but their price in gold isn’t the only expense. As with all buildings, you’ll need to gather the needed resources (usually wood and stone) before you can actually construct it, but even then you aren’t finished when you’re dealing with royal buildings. You also have to man the building, or occupy it with a certain number of neighbors. The best way to do this is to play with a group of friends and occupy each other’s royal buildings as needed. Alternately, you can pay crowns to have the Duke occupy a position instead, but it’s unwise to waste crowns when there are easier solutions for free.
Many gloomed areas require that you have exploration crystals to clear them out. These can be crafted using three Crystal Shards, which can be obtained by killing enemies. You can also gain crystal shards by helping out your friends with their kingdoms, simply visit them often and tend to their various chores. When they sign on and see that you helped them out, they are given the option to share a crystal shard with you for your efforts.
Exploration crystals aren’t the only items that you’ll expend when un-glooming new areas, you may also need to pay a good chunk of gold. Considering their cost, you’ll need to make sure you make sensible decisions when picking spaces to un-gloom. Take note of natural resources like boulders, trees, and fishing spots and compare them to your current needs. Some spaces can only be un-gloomed by completing specific quests (mostly the ones that involve meeting new characters).
If a space only requires castle level or minimal cost besides castle level to advance, try to clear these out first if you’re simply looking for some breathing room for your kingdom- you don’t have to worry about expending your castle points, they stick around.