The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Snatching the pebble from Caylus

Ok. I am now going to enter a Caylus hiatus. Despite being a chanceless game, I’ve had good luck with this. And I mean that literally. I just won a game (by one point) because the ‘perfect storm’ hit on the last turn. The distant 3rd opponent managed to get enough cubes to build the huge 25 point prestige building, preventing the ‘close second’ player from building it. [I had actually thought that #3 couldn’t do it, missing that he’d upped the resource track once and could use two favors to a) get a stone, b) build out].

Even with all of that, it was 105-104-101. I’ve won another game when I lost the thread (got cash poor) and then everyone else seemed to have an attack of niceness. In fact, I suspect know that many of my wins are due to opponent’s mistakes, and not any particular brilliance on my part.

After 16 games, I firmly believe:

  • The construction favor is most powerful. My default plan is “Construction early, catch up VPs in midgame. Take money or resources only when desperate.”
  • Build a minimum at the castle to get the turns favor. Exception — on the scoring turn, building to get to a favor breakpoint.
  • You need to know where your money will be at the start of the next turn.
  • Getting lots of residences is not an overwhelming advantage, assuming that every player gets one. [I’ve frequently fallen behind by two or more.]
  • Proper play varies with the number of players. It’s even quite dramatic. [I’ve finally played several two player games. I think I prefer 3/4, but 2/5 are interesting, too.]

I believe somewhat strongly —

  • In a 5 player game (with competent players), the last player is at a significant disadvantage. This might be true in a four player game, but I’m not as confident.
  • People should pass early more often. [In a 2 player game, this is definitely true].
  • The player who passes last (on the bridge) should spend $1 to make the bailiff move two much more often than I’m seeing. [Apart from myself, I’m barely seeing this].

Caylus still dominates my gaming thoughts, despite the brisk pace. But I’m taking off a night or two to play real games.

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Written by taogaming

January 9, 2006 at 11:08 pm

Posted in Caylus

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4 Responses

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  1. Okay, I’ve finally played 1 game of Caylus, so now I’m ready to comment.

    My game, apparently representative, was won via a combination of having the construction track (and building 3 stone buildings with it…gold was in short supply) and opponent mistakes. Excellent game. Tons to think about, and yet not a lot of ‘deep thought’ delay. Plus it was 2.75 hours for rules instruction and play with 5 players (2 other than me hadn’t played). Game problably only went 12 turns though…lots of pushing of the Baliff.

    After 1 game I thought that being first (which I was) was quite an advantage, and that being last sucked. So that supports your belief. Also, what do you mean by the last person to pass should spend $1 more than usual to move it two?

    Lou

    Lou

    January 10, 2006 at 4:31 pm

  2. In fact, I suspect know that many of my wins are due to opponent’s mistakes, and not any particular brilliance on my part.

    I think that typifies the game in general. Only rarely will there be opportunities for brilliant play, but there are innumerable disastrous missteps to avoid.

    frunk

    January 11, 2006 at 4:44 pm

  3. Also, what do you mean by the last person to pass should spend $1 more than usual to move it two?

    The last player to move the provost can often spend $1 to push the provost out one space, thereby making the bailiff move two spaces at the end of the turn, instead of one.

    Brian

    January 11, 2006 at 9:00 pm

  4. Also, what do you mean by the last person to pass should spend $1 more than usual to move it two?

    The last player to move the provost can often spend $1 to push the provost out one space, thereby making the bailiff move two spaces at the end of the turn, instead of one.

    Brian

    January 11, 2006 at 9:00 pm


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