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Subject: Running Caylus at Arisia rss

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David Gibbs
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This year I volunteered to run Caylus at [ Arisia], a Science Fiction convention in Boston, MA. I got three kids (Gabriel, Gregorian, and Ian) aged about 11-13, and one othe adult (Mike). I've seen Gabriel playing a variety of games at many cons, so didn't worry about him, but did check with the other two that they were willing to commit to learning the game, then being there and paying attention for the full time it would take -- probably 2.5 to 3 hours.

This would be my 2nd game of Caylus, for myself, and my first time teaching it, so I made sure I also had the short rules summary from Ystari's site printed out, and to-hand. It was quite helpful, and I appreciate the useful support supplied by Ystari.

We got through the explanation in about 1/2 an hour, and got down to playing.

During the first couple of rounds, there was a fair bit of backwards movement of the Provost, especially by the kids. This resulted in the first scoring of the castle happening while the Bailiff was still a couple buildings back. Everyone was in the first scoring, with Mike having two sections built, and noone took an early lead.

During the second period, castle building slowed way down, with far more emphasis on buildings. Most people chose more Deniers for their favours, with Mike and I spending the most effort on the collection of favours. The Provost spent most of this period out in front of the Bailiff, so the Bailiff stopped meandering, and started hiking in earnest. The castle got scored by the Bailiff in the 2nd phase, with Mike again dominating the castle scoring, but the castle unfilled. Ian took a penalty for not having any castle sections built, but everyone was still fairly even on prestige -- relative positions were changing every turn.

During the third round, Ian and Gregorian specialized in producing gold, then turning that gold directly into prestige. I built buildings, and small sections of castle, if I thought I would get the favour. Mike played similarly. Gabriel seemed to aim for more buildings as well. With the bailiff two buildings from the final scoring, everyone piled into the castle, to do some heavy building. I had enough cubes and planning to come out ahead, and built the most for a favour spent on the prestige track, and had hoped for a second favour during scoring for more prestige, but unfortunately the castle was completed and scored immediately, so I had to use those favours elsewhere. Gabriel also produced the architect building, perhaps hoping for one more round in order to build a prestige building, but that wasn't to be, so no prestige buildings got built.

The final result was me ahead of the next player by about 5 points, and the "pack" clustered within 5 points of each other.

I was surprised with how well the kids played, and payed attention. I think their main weakness was too much committed to player order -- sometimes spending two deniers for a work to keep themselves from slipping from 3rd to 4th.

I talked to the parents of one of the kids the next day, and they said the game he'd most talked about enjoying was "Caylick or something, where you're building this castle and village". I gave them the correct name, and they're definitely thinking of adding it to their game library.
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