Latest Plays


Posted by admin On May - 16 - 2012

Being that its Caylubration week, and BOP has yet to review this wonderful game (we were surprised too when we realized this), we thought it was quite fitting to do so now during this celebration.

Caylus is definitely one of the grand-daddy’s when it comes to worker placement games. With the premise of King Philip wanting to strengthen the borders of the Kingdom of France thereby deciding to have a castle built.  In the modest little village called Caylus, players take on positions of master builders to develop this new castle and the city surrounding it. Players earn King’s favors and prestige along the way, when the castle is finished, or when the third scoring phase is reached (whichever comes first), the player with the most prestige wins.

There are multiple versions of the game including the regular print edition and a  special limited edition released many years back. And now there is even a mobile version allowing you to tote around Caylus in you pocket. We happily own the limited edition, but have included pictures from the regular print edition in this post as well.

Components wise, whether you own the limited edition or the default edition, they are both pretty great. The premium edition does have more eye appealing lavish artwork, nicely shaped wooden pieces and minted coins, but owners of the default edition seem to be just as happy with component quality as the premium owners. Probably not because of component quality itself, but because just having Caylus in your collection is a pleasure. This is because Caylus is a pleasure to play.

Most notably about Caylus is that it was one of the first games to really explore worker placement. Yes, there were probably other games utilizing worker placements prior to Caylus, as the designer himself mentioned in Ryan Sturms recent interview with him, but the success of Caylus is arguably the reason the worker placement mechanic exists and is in so many games we know and love today.

Players have a set number of workers at the beginning of the game that they take turns placing to perform various actions such as gaining resources, building tile structures along the road, building up the castle, gaining income, taking first player and so forth. During the games progression the road of structures built throughout the game allow for more meatier actions. All of these actions are used in your master plan to generate prestige points which are used to determine the winner. There are various complexities in the game such as gaining Royal favors, balancing resources and income, and moving the provost, which I am not going to get into, but many believe Caylus to be a rather involved worker placement game with much to think about.

Now that Caylus is becoming more of a “veteran euro” i’m going to probe all the negativities and positivities regarding it over the past years.

1.) Luck – there really isn’t any. Now whether you like or dislike this is a matter of opinion. I personally like a game with zero luck because i’m really into strategy, however, a lot of gamers like a small aspect of luck just because it adds an element of excitement and also give newbies a chance to pull out a win here and there. Caylus doesn’t have this. So veteran players usually always will win…

2.) Which brings me to Newbies vs. ‘Experts’ – Like many games, experienced players of Caylus usually will destroy a newer player. There are quite a few posts and threads regarding this statement on the geek. Mainly due to its complexity. It takes quite a few times to really learn, and this can have its drawbacks. Experienced Caylus players a lot of times just don’t like playing with newer players because they don’t find it challenging, which is a shame because trying a game for the first time with well-informed players really helps when you’re learning a new game. Likewise, newer players can get discouraged because they may feel overwhelmed by the learning curve and the pure strategy of the game. But new players must not let loosing prevent them from playing the game, because once you learn the game, you’ll be able to give those experienced players the challenge they desire :o)

3.) Caylus is a veteran game, and like many veteran games, they get overplayed, outplayed and just worn out! There is a lot of negative (and positive!) commentary regarding Caylus, much of the negativity attributed to  veteran players who have played Caylus many times over and just frankly may be ‘Caylusted’ out (thanks BGG T-shirt winner Rick Van Horn for that), however, breaking it out from time to time may rekindle that love you may have once had, especially by trying it with new people you have not played with.

4.) Player number: The box says 2-5 players, but honestly, its quite grim with 5 players. The board becomes overcrowded and the game looses a lot of the strategy. It’s best played with 2-4. Although there is even argument that the provost looses a lot of its lust in a 2 player game, even though I personally quite enjoy playing it with 2 people regardless.

5.) Complexity: Many believe Caylus to be a brain burner. I don’t know if I necessarily agree with this. Sure there is a learning curve, especially with learning how the favors work, and getting down winning strategies, but really once you’ve played it a handful of times, you’ll probably have most of the tiles memorized and have a clear understanding of what you have to do to be competitive.

6.) Getting it to the table. This one is hard because there are such mixed feelings about Caylus. Whether it’s due to being outplayed or just never tried, finding people who want to play it can be difficult.

7.) Downtime, is pretty much all positive, unless you are playing with 5 players, all new, with serious AP, there is next to no downtime in Caylus!

8.) Replayability. On the surface, Caylus doesn’t have super high replay value in regards to randomness, because by the time you get down winning strategies and learn the tiles, many of the games play out similarly. However, for some reason, no matter how many times I play Caylus, I still enjoy it. Maybe its because of player interactions especially when playing with new people, or perhaps it’s because I’m only able to get it to the table every other month or so, whatever it is, it hasn’t changed from my ranking of 10 on my rating scale. I do believe, I personally, will always have “Caylust” in my heart.

Thank you to all the BoardGameGeekers who participated in the T-shirt contest for Caylubration III, some of the favorite quotes were used in the Caylus Coverphoto for this review!

FInal Final Thoughts:
Overall:  10

heavy learning curve and makes you think