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Subject: ...in which Paul buries us in an avalanche of Towers. rss

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Dorian Hart
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Paul, Dan and I hunkered down for a game of Caylus after work. All three of us had played once before, as part of a four-player game. (Dan had won, of course. He always wins. His victory is now an assumed part of pretty much any game involving him. But I digress.)

Our previous game had left us all with whetted appetites, and a desire to try different strategies. We also were curious how the game would play with three. I’m happy to say that we were not disappointed; like our first game, we were all in a state of constant brain-grinding happiness for the duration.

Dan had made out well in the first game with an early purchase of the Mason, so I decided to try that on for size. That done, I planned on trying to maximize the Building track on the King’s Favor grid – a tactic none of us had pursed in our first game. Dan had the same idea, while Paul opted to concentrate on the Victory Point track.

The game stayed close through the early parts of the game, with conservative play in terms of tempting the Provost. Food was scarce early since the two Neutral food-producers were the last two along the road. As a result, there wasn’t a great deal of castle-building going on early on. But already Paul was laying the groundwork for his eventual victory. He started in early scooping up stone, and building the various buildings that allow three cubes to be taken by a worker. He had seen Dan use this tactic to good effect in the previous game, and took it to the extreme. While Dan and I pursued our own unfocused agendas, Paul somehow ended up with four different high-yield cube-production buildings. Since these were guaranteed popular every turn, Paul was nickel-and-diming us to death. (Yes, we knew we were helping him, but my God, the lure of the cubes is hard to resist!) My Mason wasn’t really pulling its weight like I had hoped, which made sense in hindsight; Dan and I were both using the Favor Track for building, leaving only Paul to pay me dribs and drabs of VP.

A bit past the midway part of the game, I made what the table thought was a devastating play. In one turn I turned the Mason into a Green building, and also piled on the King’s Favors, reaching the end of the Building Track and adding a 6-VP stone building to the board. It rocketed me into the lead and left Paul with tons of stone he had been saving up for Prestige Buildings. But now, with no way to build Stone Buildings, no one could build the architect, and Paul hadn’t even started on the Building Favor track.

But still his rents from those cube-producers kept flowing in, not to mention the extra cubes he was getting. He slowly reeled me in and passed me as the game neared its conclusion. I made things close by building a 14-value Prestige Building, but I made a pair of blunders in the final turn that not only cost me the game, but left me in last place.

First, I wasn’t expecting it to BE the last turn, and wasted a worker grabbing first in the turn order for a turn that never came. Second, I wasn’t worried about building towers, because I knew I wouldn’t have the most, and so could safely go last and still build enough for a final Favor or two. Except that Paul ended up building EIGHT towers with his huge store of cubes – 6 in the final turn – and then Dan added 5 more, leaving me with room for only one more. So, no final Favor for me, which meant no final Prestige Building that I was expecting to build. Argh!

With the 18 points from the last-turn towers alone, plus the Prestige Track windfall, Paul was unstoppable. And by building the Cathedral on the final turn, Dan was able to catch me as well.

Yes, it truly was a devastating loss. But I regret nothing. Nothing! Two plays in, and Caylus is already one of my favorite games. It lends itself well to the over-analyzing, mechanics-loving, brain-crunching, constantly-optimizing nature of our group. (Paul and I are video-game designers, and Dan is a game programmer; we can’t help ourselves.) That would help explain why, even with all of us knowing the rules, our three player game still took 215 minutes to complete. It would also explain why it won’t be difficult for any of us to be convinced to play again.
 
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Nick Fisk
United Kingdom
Stoke on Trent
Staffordshire
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Come on you Seagulls! Sami Hyppia's Blue & White army!
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That's weird. This bit used to mention Shire Games, and tell you all how wonderful we are. But it seems to have got deleted. Let's see what happens this time ....
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Just a quickie ...

Quote:
But now, with no way to build Stone Buildings, no one could build the architect, and Paul hadn’t even started on the Building Favor track.


You do know that the Mason is now available for someone else to build ? It's only the neutrals that don't come back in the game.


N.



 
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Dorian Hart
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Ack... no! We completely missed that rule. blush Paul is going to be pretty cheesed when I tell him.

Thanks for pointing it out!
 
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