My quest for the Holy Grail is to find a multiplayer boardgame that is:
1. Deep (meaning difficult to play well) 2. Very little randomness 3. Huge Replayability 4. Player interaction 5. Fun to play.
When I played this game for the first time I believed I found the Holy Grail of games. Same with my fellow players. Tigris and Euphrates and Puerto Rico did not have the same effect on me. The only other game that came close was Citadels but that is another story.
The other reviews have done a fine job in describing the rules of the game. To summarise:
1. A resource management game, that is, competing players with limited options need to make optimal decisions to maximise their resources.
2. Tactical and Strategic game with very little luck. Luck is confined to the random placement of 6 starting resource tiles and the initial order of play. Much of the game depends on the resolution order of the turn. First in best dressed applies here. Valuing certain tiles before your opponent goes a long way to winning.
3. Very playable with 2 players up to 5 players. 2 players plays very differently to 5 players. Like a different game.
4. A game that takes about 3 hours to play with 5 people. 2 players takes less than an hour.
5. Easy to understand but worth re-reading the rules after you have a grasp of what is going on. There is a small learning curve in understanding what each building does and a greater learning curve to know when to build which building. Similar learning curve to Puerto Rico in this respect.
6. Immensely replayable. There is no surefire way to win. Multiple paths to victory ensure that each game is different.
7. Very interactive and exciting. One great feature of Caylus is that there is no waiting time for others to do their move. You have to place a worker in turn order which keeps you involved at all times.
Dislikes? One big one. You cannot play this game well if you drink beer! Whoever drinks beer in our group while playing Caylus will make one small subtle error which will cost them the game. You have to be switched on at all times to play this game well.
Hooray! Someone who likes this game as much as I do. I don't see all the problems that the detractors heap on this game. I enjoy this game both in person and online at BSW. While I can beat my f2f opponents, I get wasted on BSW. But I think I am getting somewhat better. Oh well. Euro or not, I love this game.