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Subject: A better way to teach Caylus rss

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Adam Berkan
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Caylus is one of my favorite games so I'm always eager to play it. A lot of people who have played this game before in my group aren't interested in ever playing again soblue so this usually means having a few new players along and I have to teach the rules. I've taught this games a dozen times or more and I've learned a few tricks to it. The last few times I taught the game I tried a new approach and it has worked very well.

Basically I teach half the game, then we play the first turn (well up to castle scoring), then I teach the rest of the game.


First half teaches:
Objective = points
Resources (except gold) and money
Placing workers
Bailiff and Provost
All buildings on the board except Jousting and Gold Mine
All wooden buildings except Lawyer
Order of activation
Castle Building (but just explain whoever builds a batch first gets a good bonus to be explained later)


Things I save for after the first turn:
Favors incl. Jousting
Stone Buildings
Residences incl. Lawyer
Prestige Buildings
Gold and Gold Mine
Castle Phases and Scoring (incl. Favors and Penalties)
How the game will end


If you examine the list, there's really nothing in the second half that will affect how you play your first turn. (The only thing I've come up with is a player likely won't build a first turn Lawyer, but that's a fairly rare play anyway.)

By keeping the game very simple in the beginning it allows the player to fully grasp the rules of worker placement, building activation, and the provost/bailiff. These are not necessarily simple concepts so by letting the players play a real turn of placing workers and activating buildings it gets a strong sense of the game going in their minds. Once players understand how a turn will progress, adding the other half of the game is much easier.



I've received a lot of positive feedback about this teaching method and haven't received any "Whoa, I don't understand this game" comments. Also everyone I've taught it too has enjoyed the game and wants to play again... I strongly recommend you give this a try next time you're teaching this game. The world needs more Caylus lovers
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Gary Pressler
United States
West Lafayette
Indiana
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This looks like a great way to do it. I've only taught the game twice thus far, and it was a real challenge. The first was a sort of learning 2P game, where we just played and I taught as we went, knowing that it would not be competitive. That worked a bit poorly. (I had played once previously and then re-read the rules before this.) The next time, we added a player who was an experienced gamer. The rules were daunting, but he picked it up quickly enough to play a competitive game. There were a LOT of questions and corrections throughout the game, though.

I think your method would work very well, indeed.

I only have a couple small comments. Without getting into favors, you might want to point out to anyone who obtains a cloth in first turn the possibility of saving it (and a coin) for Jousting. Secondly, I would reserve an explanation of the Gate for the second turn. (That said, I wonder if it would even be best to save the Gate, Gold, Residences, and Prestige Buildings until the third turn. I would allow people to build a Lawyer on the second turn, with only a brief explanation that they allow access to the best buildings, to be explained later.)
 
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Adam Berkan
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Yeah, I agree it's useful to point out the value of cloth although most people figure out that they already have food and wood so they try to get the stone and cloth automatically. I agree the gate can probably wait...

As for further delaying stuff, it's really not necessary. Once players have played through a single turn I've found their ready for the rest. Understanding these buildings isn't nearly as hard as understanding the basics of the game. I think if you break the rules into too many pieces it might break up the flow of the game.

Anyway, glad you like the idea. Let me know if it works for you.
 
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Enon Sci
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Portland
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The only bit in your technique I find questionable is leaving the explanation of how the game will end till later.

In my experience, the FIRST two items that should always be told in any game synopsis are 1) What's the point of the game (99.9% of the time this equates VP collection) and 2) What triggers the end game. Even when it doesn't impact immediate strategy I have found players get the feeling they're groping around in the dark without clarity on these issues.
 
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Mike Ellis
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Vernon
British Columbia
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I really want to learn how to play this game. I live in Toronto and if anyone in this city is gonna throw down this game email me here on BGG and I'll be there.
 
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John Harley
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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Mike, Pmail me and I'll add you to the next game night (~2-3 weeks from now)
 
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E J
United States
Tucson
Arizona
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I am offering One Million Dollars to someone who can teach my group this game. It's been on my shelf collecting Arizona dust. Im an experienced gamer but for some reason Im having a hard time learning this game.

P.S. One Million Dollar offer expires May 23rd 2007.
 
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Aka Roads
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Florida
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The Caylus rule book isn't the easist read in the world. So I have tought this game a couple times and it seemed to go fairly well. First I explain the game objective (relating it to Puerto Rico because they enjoy that game), than the pieces, than the board squares, and than the other board parts. We play a couple turns or until most questions are answered or you feel the other players have generally "Got It". We re-rack the game and start again. I have never really gone more than three turns before restarting. This approach appears to work fairly well.
 
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