This past weekend I played my first two games of Caylus and I was extremely impressed. Yes, I know the game has been around for a very long time and I’m probably the only guy left on BGG who hasn’t formed an opinion of it but I just couldn’t get it to the table.
I’ve owned the game for almost a year now and sadly this is the first time I’ve been able to crack open the box. My gaming group chides me for buying so many games but I deserve it. they never get a chance to play any particular game more than once or twice before I’m pushing some new bauble in front of them.
My first two plays of Caylus were very different from one another although there was a common thread; I didn’t win either of them. The first game was new to all four of us and one player blew us all away when he went on a building frenzy placing all of the juicy stone buildings. We all needed to place our workers in them on subsequent turns for any of us to do much of anything. For the most part, he ignored the castle and just took his lumps for not delivering any batches. Lesson one, don’t let players build all of the ‘good’ buildings.
The second game was played with three-players: two from the first game and one new player. In the first game, the provost was jerked around quite a bit. Almost every turn was enjoyably agonizing. Should I spend an extra coin or two in hopes of being last to pass to guarantee final control over the provost or should I pass now and keep those extra coins for the bridge. In contrast, the second game was a race to the finish with the provost being pushed past the bailiff on most, if not all, turns. The buildings were pretty evenly divided between us (we’d at least learned a little bit from the first game) and in the end, the new player won by batching well and choosing his favors wisely. I came in a strong second with my last two turns requiring a long litany of transactions that had to occur perfectly allowing me to convert an optional building into a residence and then into a prestige building.
I really enjoy the game and thought the board artwork functional. The box cover art left a lot to be desired but I was more interested in the game…until I saw the new artwork Mike Doyle has lined up for the new premium edition due out at Essen later this year. If this version makes its way to the states I won’t be able to resist it. This premium copy is even going to have metal coins! I’ve never bought an updated copy of a game but this may very well be my first. I just hope I can get my hands on a copy.
All images taken from Mike’s sneak preview. Full-sized images are available by following the link above.