The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Posts Tagged ‘Caylus Magna Carta

Labor Day Gaming

Tried Northern Pacific — A minimalist (Winsome?) where you either drive a route inevitably towards Seattle or invest in a city by placing a cube (and many players can be in the same city, but each player has one “large” cube worth double). When a city is hit, all the cubes pay out by being returned (with a bonus). But if you get bypassed your cubes are locked. At the end of each round, you get points for each cube you have left. Cubes left on the board are a (bad) tiebreak. So, implicit collusion and a bit of zugzwang. (Since you are compelled to make a move on your turn and cubes are tight). Interesting idea, didn’t love it, but its fast and I’d play again. Indifferent.

Got in a few games of Caylus Magna Carta, the rare ‘card version’ I prefer to the original (because its faster and the individual decks means that there is much more variety between games — players can’t always play buildings in a groupthink order). Suggest, still.

Another game of Quacks of Quedlinberg. A local has the (verrah nice) acrylic (?) pieces. I’m not a huge bling-out-your-game guy, but I may start it for a few games I love. Growing on me, a little.  The Taoling wants me to get this, I think. Indifferent plus.

(Speaking of blinging — I invested in quite a few card sleeves for Mage Knight which was a good idea — the card sleeves have worn out! That’s what 400 games will do).

Played a few more 1846 (and some others played the 1867(?) Canada game today). I’ve won all of these, but in the last game I really botched the opening. I took  the Port and CWI (? chicago token) and then opened B&O, but I parred it too high which meant I had to buy the first 3 instead of a two and a three and — adding insult to injury I had to go first in OR2 and was a build short of connecting into the NYC’s network, so I had a pitiful run. However, the owner of the Illinois Central got greedy and tried to dig into multiple Chicago spaces and that let me quickly steal/finish an E-W run through Detroit, and in the (long) brown phase I was running four, four and five train (the latter getting the EW bonus) for too many ORs. I’m really enjoying the 18xx Renaissance here. (It helps that a few locals are snapping up many different titles).

I didn’t play in that other one because I was playing at the bridge club. Here’s an odd suit combination:

Q8xx in dummy opposite ATx. Playing in 3NT with plentiful entries I lead low from the queen (planning on hooking the T) when 2nd hand played the king quickly. I won this (naturally) and then spent a lot of time looking at how to endplay the other hand to force them to lead a diamond presumably from their presumably remaining J9xx. I did consider if 2nd hand had done something tricky or just bizarre, but she was a new-ish player, so played for a stiff.

Nope — second hand high from K9 doubleton. If I read that I pick up the suit for three tricks and no losers (leading the Ten to smother the nine) but I just played for the stiff king. Frustrating.

At least I was playing in a deliberate pace and not just automatically. I gave several hands detailed consideration. Possibly even correct thought. A decent chunk of my analysis is — “which line gives my opponents more options to make mistakes” but honestly that’s a big part of the game at a local club.

Written by taogaming

September 2, 2019 at 9:19 pm

Caylus Magna Carta Strategy

I’ve taken CMC to the last two game sessions and played. I’ve enjoyed going back and revisiting it (which I don’t think I could do with regular Caylus in a group of new players).

In revisiting the game, I still worry about cube bullying, although I did just fine with a building spam strategy. I got a few castle tokens, mainly via my church, but also got 14 points off of buildings and ~5 gold from my mine. I lost out by a point to the player who built the 14 point blue building. The nice thing is that the strategies seem much more fluid, because of the card flow. It really matters which pink buildings are absent, and which buildings get built early. Despite all my writings about Caylus, I’ve never really gone into CMC strategy.

I don’t think I can get 6,000 words out of it, but a few thoughts:

  • Passing and getting der castlegeld is a great deal.
  • That being said, there are early buildings that you should consider. In particular, the peddler (buy 1 or 2 cubes for 1/2 dollars, owner can buy one). Getting that out is like a free worker each turn that you don’t have to rush (turn $1 into a cube of your choice whenever someone else places a worker). That’s not as good as one of the wood production buildings early, but it will be great the whole game.
  • If you start a turn with no cubes, you better have gotten a great deal for it. It’s a terrible position. Cubes let you threaten to build something and deliver to the castle. If you are cubeless, your opponents should claim production spaces and bully you around. On the other hand, starting a turn with little to no money (and cubes) isn’t horrible. You slap down a worker or two, and can then build buildings or pass and deliver first. (In other words, I’m not convinced that cash is king in CMC)
  • Pay attention to what is missing at the start. If the quarry is missing, the game will have a much different flavor because (at the start) only one person can get stone a turn (via peddler). If the quarry and money spot are missing (2-3 player) cash will be incredibly tight.
  • Don’t draw cards just because. Particularly if you have a large selection. Dump your hand and replenish if you can.
  • Having lots of money isn’t as necessary, except in one situation … jockeying to pass last (to control the provost). Then you can temporize by drawing a card).
  • Don’t rush to build the 2nd copy of a wooden production building out (unless you are just going to convert it to a residence). For the stone production buildings, it’s not so bad.
  • The Blue buildings are nice, but not overwhelming. The 14 point building costs you 3 gold, 5 stone, and a residence, which is 6 points plus lost income.
  • How the non-production buildings come out will change the character of the game. Games can be gold rich or poor (mine/bank), cash rich or poor (depending on church, traders and lawyers). React accordingly. If it’s a cash rich game, get your church out ASAP. If it’s a cash poor game, your trader should be a priority. Etc.
  • In a cash rich game, there’s a lot more risk in placing workers near the provost. He moves more.

Written by taogaming

March 29, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Latest Sessions

A night of gaming, some rest, and then another day. Life is good.

In general, all games that I’ve played before. The one exception? Dune. I think I like this, but our bizarre game ended on the second turn when a three way alliance forced a counter-alliance. I’ll chalk that up to new players (which half or more of us were). Not many rules (almost a Euro, albeit one with lots of chrome). On the “try again” stage.

A few games of Notre Dame — still enjoying that (and picking up the odd game on BSW). I have some ideas on strategy, and tend to do well. A few games of Phoenicia, including an embarrassing runaway loss (once someone has more income, VPs, storage and cards than you, that’s a hint that you’ve messed up). A few two player games of Caylus MC, which feels fine with that number (now that I’ve got a game or two under my belt).

Marklin, Diamant, Ra rounded out the sessions.

Lots of classics, old and new, in this batch.

Written by taogaming

August 18, 2007 at 7:33 pm

Thoughts on yesterday’s games

Some discussions overheard, some games pondered.

One local complained Tichu had too much luck uninteresting card play for a climbing game (see 2nd comment for clarification). Unlike my typical complaints, he marshaled a specific objection: the high frequency of 6+ card melds (usually straights, but sometimes 3+ running pairs). I’ve only played a few games, but that seems right. In last last night’s game (which had perhaps 8-10 hands), I had long melds on 2 hands (both 7+ cards), and three pairs on another. [On one of those hands, I covered an opening 1-6 straight]. Now, why is this a problem? Assume you win with an ace (or dragon). When limited to 5 cards, you need at least three leads to go out, and then only on a 5-5-3 (after winning a single lead). It’s much easier to out out with a 6-6-1 or 6-5-2. (To say nothing of 7+ card tricks). It takes less planning to say “Win the Dragon, Play an eight card straight, hope it holds up, and then exit with a fullhouse (or straight).” And there’s been several sightings of the 1-14 opening lead. This is the “Grand Slam” of Tichu, but its luck of the draw (and not that improbable).

I feel that the luck is acceptable (for the game length), but I’m wondering what the converted (and I know a few of them read this) have to say. It would be simple enough to change the game to just disallow 6+ card melds (perhaps exempting bombs).

I wonder how Bridge would change if you passed cards (perhaps just between partners) before bidding. More wild distributions (as people would routinely pass away singletons, or shorten doubletons) would be the norm. Skill would increase, but there would be some bizarre changes. Such as making some communication ‘encrypted’ etc. Imagine a convention that passing away an ace to your partner indicates 20+ points (pre-pass). Now all of your opening bids are all ‘Strong club’ but natural (in length).

I played a few hands of Tichu this weekend on BSW. Lost both games, but part of that was nerves (and a less than understanding partner. Once she went off in a puff I had a decent game). Since Tichu is brief activity followed by a lull, I don’t mind that some hands are rote. On a related note, I’ve been watching more baseball.

I played my fourth playtest game of Leaping Lemmings, for the first time with only five players. That helped. The game tightened up by 10-15 minutes & each player had an additional special action.

We’re getting to the point where we’ve run through all of the cards for Stage II. Hasbro, hear my plea! Release new cards. (Or pay me to make an expansion set). Still, I’ve gotten 20+ games out of this.

I also taught Caylus Magna Carta last night, and on the way home thought … “Do I really need to own Caylus any more?” Big Card Caylus seems fluid, partially because I’ve only played it a few times, but I suspect it will endure longer. I haven’t played The Original in about a year, moves feel obvious or arbitrary. (Either there’s one clearly best move or the decision is so close that either could be correct without a ton of analysis). Not many games get to 100+ plays (even if all but 10-15 took place online). I think I’ll keep Caylus for another year and see how I feel about the newcomer.

Finally, I traded for a copy of Augsburg 1520. I played a prototype at the ’06 Gathering, but had a rule or two wrong. This is one of those Euro “Economic” games (ala St. Petersburg) where you buy victory points, or income producer, or some 3rd thing that somewhat mixes the two. In any case, I’m still somewhat entranced by the bizarre auction system, where you bid a number of cards (and can call or raise, and then show off a hand, with the high hand having to discard the whole hand, and lower hands keeping their cards and getting a small pittance of money). All hands are simply “High card” (and cards range 1-17). If you have the 17, you want to bid 1. If you have the 1-2-3, perhaps a bid of 3 will win (and if note, the other hands will throw away 3 cards). Perhaps bidding four (using a wild) and hope that you lose!

The auction mechanics aren’t hard to grasp, and have some interest. The other mechanisms take a few turns to really get a feel for, but directly challenge the standard “Income Early, Points Late” mindset. A person going for points early can do quite well, but has to handle the mid-game with care. And its easy to fall behind on points and run out of time. (Or just constantly bid a moderate or high bid and find you are one card worse).

But Augsburg probably won’t make the dime list. It’s just auctions and auctions, and the last turn is “Bid all your money.” Games with six turns should have decisions on all six. Perhaps the sweet spot is 2 players, or three, where psychology trumps. No doubt players who tracked cards shown will play this at a deeper level. Still, I’m willing to play a few more times.

And in today’s mail … Critical Shift. I have to make some Shadowfist decks …. Nope, apparently it was a mixup. Sigh.

Update: I did not exactly capture the point for Tichu… see the second comment…

Written by taogaming

August 7, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Recent gaming

Had a few sessions recently, continuing my quest to play older games. Of course, it’s easy to live up to that when all the new games I want keep getting delayed…

I have gotten a few more shots at Caylus Magna Carta. You know, I don’t have a strong desire to play Caylus anymore. Unless the new game is proven to be flawed (which I don’t think I’ll find), the variability means it’s not stale. Being newer helps, too.

I also played Diamant, Medici, and Through the Desert,

And Tichu.

I never really got into Tichu, but I can see the appeal. I should play more often.

I’m still playing plenty of ‘new-ish’ games like Notre Dame (or continuing my adventures in Baseball), but its more balanced…

Written by taogaming

July 25, 2007 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Session Reports

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More gaming, and Caylus Magna Carta

I broke down and bought CMC last night. (I can hear the jaws dropping in surprise …). Anyway, it turns out I had another rule wrong … buildings only cost resources, not resources and $1 (for the action). That certainly changes things. In any case, I’m certainly sold on the 3 or 4 player game, and I suspect that change is enough to fix the two player game.

I don’t feel an urge to write pages on strategy; as befits a man who can’t get the rules correct or win.

I also played another Strat-o-matic series, Colossal Arena, and Odin’s Ravens.

Written by taogaming

July 3, 2007 at 7:24 pm

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Caylus Magna Carta

As I stated earlier, I think CMC will hook lots of people who thought Caylus was too long and appeal to Caylus fans looking for a change. The rules are simple enough that those who played the basic game can be taught the differences in five minutes.

But after four games I worry. It may just be my problem, but here it is: Every player who built a building on the first turn got stomped. Horribly. The player who just went to the peddler (or quarry), dropped out, won the favor in the castle, earned the gold, and then was ready to build in the castle on turn two ran away with it.

Now, these were all three player games, and in 3 of them the quarry wasn’t part of the (random) setup, which may make a big deal. This could matter. I’ve had some chatter with Karis from Ystari, and he says they’ve looked at it and it’s not a general problem. And you would think that (especially in 3-4 players) taking the building and then earning 4 free cubes (or whatever) would balance the four points.

But every game I’ve seen the person who builds the least (early on) often becomes a ‘cubes bully.’ Even if he passes late, he gets the favor for one or two builds, as nobody else is willing to waste cubes fighting him (which benefits the 3rd/4th player).

It’s a small sample set (and every game had new players), but something I’ll pay attention to when the game appears. Still probably going to buy it, though.

Written by taogaming

April 11, 2007 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Reviews

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Caylus Magna Carta

Got to play this twice. The rules are online somewhere (you can probably find them on the geek). I like it (of course), but I think the random element will make it more accessible. My first game was over fast, no prestige buildings. My second game lingered, and changed quickly … we almost ran out of gold cubes early on, and then they became very precious as all the mines shut down and buildings were bought.

The (little) bit of luck may increase the replayability for those burned out; the shorter play time may entice those who thought Caylus too long.

Written by taogaming

April 2, 2007 at 11:54 pm

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