The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Who can take a rainbow … wrap it in a sigh?

Caylus can.
Now that I’m not so busy playing Caylus, I find more time to kibitz games. Things I’ve learned:

  • Strong players have definite styles, and often disagree about moves. This is more likely in a 4-5 player game, though, where you can take the safest move, or take a better move that risks you position and hope that your best move waits a turn. [This often happens on a turn there should be a rush on the castle to finish the 2nd section. If everyone waits, you are golden. If the rush starts without you …]
  • Don’t take the riskier play when you are clearly winning.
  • You can go half the game without a favor. If you set things up correctly, you are behind, but it’s not insurmountable.
  • You can also win without scoring in the first section (no buildings, no walls).
  • Perfect storms happen. I won a lost game when the leader misjudged the position and waited one round too long to go to the castle. I just witnessed a won game lost when one player grabbed enough cubes to win the castle, but then a pass’s chain reaction left him short of cash.
  • Noticing a theme? — “Hey, have you considered that you may get blocked out of the castle?”
  • Going last is it’s own reward. I’m getting comfortable with placing workers never intending to use the tiles. (If I can get a cube out of it, though, great!). Just to go last. A player who goes first and grabs the merchant’s quarter often can’t back him up, because you may continue the journey backwards.
  • Mo’ Money. Seriously, any turn with the exception of the final turn, the money may be a lifesaver. I’ve only seen one game where anyone took a money favor and I thought “That was a waste”. [It was a 2 player game, and that pushed him over $20 … with an income of $4 or $5].
  • I don’t remember anyone starting a turn with $2 and winning without gross negligence on the opponent’s part. In 2er, $4 or less is a problem. (It may be ok with more players, because the spaces will fill up faster).
  • That being said, know when you can spend everything during a turn. (To win the castle. Before a sectional scoring where you have a favor or three).
  • In 2er, $3 and the merchants quarter are often equivalent.
  • I’m fond of building the market or the peddler as my first building (depending on if I’m winning or losing the money situation). The 2 extra VP are nice, and I want to exploit the monetary advantage. I’ll only build the lawyer first if I have a leftover clothe (which happens). If the lawyer appears early, the resource track become viable. Only then.
  • Sometimes you take a resource cube during the sectional scoring, but just to build a grey building.
  • If you aren’t sure whose winning, see who leads on stone production buildings. They’re that good. However, once you’ve passed the mine, consider taking the extra 3 VP. And don’t forget the church! That favor is usually 3VP, at least. [If you build the church via the mason, you can then build again with the favor.]

Written by taogaming

February 12, 2006 at 10:38 pm

Posted in Caylus

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  1. I’m getting comfortable with placing workers never intending to use the tiles.

    I think this is an overlooked advantage of building an early (wood) building, since you can always use it for a cheap stall (even if there’s little chance you’ll get anything from it). It’s also nice to play towards the end of the road (like the gold mine when the bailiff is still two or three away); even if you don’t plan to use it, you may force others to burn off reaction money.

    Mo’ Money….I don’t remember anyone starting a turn with $2 . . .

    It’s also nice to have a cushion of resources, since it keeps your options open and puts pressure on other players (as long as you have cloth, other players have to worry about your taking the Tournament; with stone, they have to worry about the Mason, etc.) Easier said than done, of course, though I notice that players on their way to a crushing victory often have a big stockpile starting about mid-game.

    I’m fond of building the market or the peddler . . .

    Ditto. If I can build the market, I can usually ignore the cash favor track. (Unless others pile in, and I’m forced to take a stream of VPs…)

    I’ve found people who are not taking the building favor track have not been rushing to (help) build the mason/lawyer. I’m surprised when I am taking the building track, and disappointed when I’m not.

    I find the endgame of Caylus quite reminiscent of Princes of Florence. In both cases, it’s a matter of carefully planning your last few actions. Caylus is harder because you may not know how many actions you’ll have (or even when the ending will be for sure). And in both games you may be in bad shape if your strategy on the final turn depends on the same critical point as someone else’s (buying a Lake or using a lawyer).


    February 13, 2006 at 9:12 pm

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