So this one time, at Game Night, I played Caylus for the first time. It was a three-way with Blue and George. Blue was the only one who had done it before. She was very patient, taking her time to explain everything. The whole affair took about 2 1/2 hours, which I will always cherish.
I built up a nice pile of cash early (8-10d), and maintained it for most of the game. By 2/3 of the way through, my coffers had dwindled and theirs had grown. Both of them worked on the castle early and often, though I managed to hold my own.
I was the first player to build (it was a farm - 2f/1c). After the game, Blue wondered how I scored so many VPs. I think it was because they consistently used my buildings, and I judiciously avoided them. They had more resources at their disposal than I did, however. Another scoring factor was that I preferred the VP and denier tracks for the royal favors, while they focused on the deniers and resources.
Toward the end of the game, I was far ahead. I had cleared the 3rd turn on the scoring track before they reached the 2nd one. George surprised us both with a well-planned castle, earning 25 VPs and putting him within striking distance of me. It wasn't enough to pull ahead; my final building and royal favor were enough to maintain my lead.
The turn order started with George, Blue and myself, and never changed.
Later that night, I realized that Caylus bore a striking similarity to Im Auftrag des Konigs (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/13933), which I picked up at Spiel 2004. In both games, each player in turn claims resources and actions from a limited pool, which are then resolved. VPs are earned by completing projects with certain combinations of resources. Caylus is much more involved, but I was surprised that I hadn't picked up on the common game mechanic sooner.
Everyone had a terrific time, and we can't wait til our next game.