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Subject: Caylus First Impressions rss

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Jonathan Kinney
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I am certainly not qualified at this stage to formally review Caylus but I wanted to submit some first impressions. But I wanted to submit my thoughts on a 2-player game my wife and I had yesterday.

Note: All my star ratings are out of

Contents:

Board - a nice looking board, very good quality

Game Pieces ; - the tiles are an excellent cardstock, great artwork. There are plenty of wooden game pieces - with easily distinguishable colours. The only thing I would say is that I might substitute meeples for workers - if for no other reason than the cylinders keep rolling off the table.

Deniers (money) - fairly standard

Rules: Oh my God! I don't know if I have encountered a more hideous set of rules. When my wife and I first read through them we just looked at each other after the 3rd page and wondered whether it would be possible to return the game. The rulebook made it seem so complicated. To top it off, there is no easy building identification chart - and while some are straightforward others are not. And when the rules are constantly referring to buildings (e.g, the lawyer or the architect) without showing a picture, it can get very confusing. Thanks to some wonderful BGG submssions (you guys are the best) my wife and I cast the official rules by the wayside and used what other people had concocted and were on our way.

Playability: The strength of the game is in the strategy and tactics. Unfortunately when you finally decide to "just play" you lose a lot of those subtleties until about the halfway point of a game. So I think I will leave a discussion of strategy to a longer review. But suffice it to say, this game is VERY deep. There are still a few things that I'm not sure I completely understand the mechanics but a few more play throughs and it should be fine. As far as ease of play goes, it took about two turns before my wife and I looked at each other and said "Why did we spend so long struggling through the rule book? This is actually very straightforward." In fact by the end of the game we realized it was actually easier to learn gamelay simply by looking at the pictograms on the board rather than reading through the rules.

Overall Impressions: If you had asked me prior to actually starting what I would have thought, the answer would have been very different. But after playing through the game it becomes obvious that it can be a very deep, strategic experience. There is no luck involved here. It uses some very unique mechanics and while it tips its hat to games like Puerto Rico with its building construction, production, etc. once you play through it you realize it is worthy of being a top rated game.

Special Thanks to the following BGG Contributions. Without these the game would likely have been either thrown in the back of the games cupboard or sold on eBay:

http://boardgamegeek.com/file/download/16765/Caylus_Player_R...
http://boardgamegeek.com/file/download/16557/Caylus_Building...
http://boardgamegeek.com/file/info/15954
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Howard Wagner
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I got two games for Christmas - Age of Empires III and Caylus. I learned Age of Empires with relative ease and taught it successfully to family and friends. We had great fun. I figured I would tackle Caylus next. I am at wits end. I read four or five pages of the rules and I have no idea what I read. I am totally confused. I will try your links to better understand it, but it is extremely frustrating that the rules were written so poorly. Isn't there a video explanation out there somewhere?
 
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Jonathan Kinney
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howaa wrote:
I got two games for Christmas - Age of Empires III and Caylus. I learned Age of Empires with relative ease and taught it successfully to family and friends. We had great fun. I figured I would tackle Caylus next. I am at wits end. I read four or five pages of the rules and I have no idea what I read. I am totally confused. I will try your links to better understand it, but it is extremely frustrating that the rules were written so poorly. Isn't there a video explanation out there somewhere?


Found this...haven't watched it though.

http://www.spieleakademie.at/1/13_1/srs2006/srs601/seite1e.h...
 
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Howard Wagner
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jonocop wrote:
howaa wrote:
I got two games for Christmas - Age of Empires III and Caylus. I learned Age of Empires with relative ease and taught it successfully to family and friends. We had great fun. I figured I would tackle Caylus next. I am at wits end. I read four or five pages of the rules and I have no idea what I read. I am totally confused. I will try your links to better understand it, but it is extremely frustrating that the rules were written so poorly. Isn't there a video explanation out there somewhere?


Found this...haven't watched it though.

http://www.spieleakademie.at/1/13_1/srs2006/srs601/seite1e.h


The link is a little wrong. It should have htm at the end. I tried this link and unfortunately the sound doesn't work.
 
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Jonathan Kinney
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howaa wrote:
jonocop wrote:
howaa wrote:
I got two games for Christmas - Age of Empires III and Caylus. I learned Age of Empires with relative ease and taught it successfully to family and friends. We had great fun. I figured I would tackle Caylus next. I am at wits end. I read four or five pages of the rules and I have no idea what I read. I am totally confused. I will try your links to better understand it, but it is extremely frustrating that the rules were written so poorly. Isn't there a video explanation out there somewhere?


Found this...haven't watched it though.

http://www.spieleakademie.at/1/13_1/srs2006/srs601/seite1e.h...


The link is a little wrong. It should have htm at the end. I tried this link and unfortunately the sound doesn't work.


Fixed the link. The sound worked for me...but I had to wait for a while after I clicked on a page. But I fear this may be from the first edition and some rules may have been refined in the later edition. But it should help with the basics.
 
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Swood
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howaa wrote:
I got two games for Christmas - Age of Empires III and Caylus. I learned Age of Empires with relative ease and taught it successfully to family and friends. We had great fun. I figured I would tackle Caylus next. I am at wits end. I read four or five pages of the rules and I have no idea what I read. I am totally confused. I will try your links to better understand it, but it is extremely frustrating that the rules were written so poorly. Isn't there a video explanation out there somewhere?


Stick it out. There's obviously a wonderful game hiding under all those rules. And the rules *do* make it seem way more complicated than it actually is. It really takes a test play-through to understand the flow of the game. After that, you will see how clearly the board is laid out... it has almost all of the information you need.
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Kevin Peters Unrau
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howaa wrote:
I got two games for Christmas - Age of Empires III and Caylus. I learned Age of Empires with relative ease and taught it successfully to family and friends. We had great fun. I figured I would tackle Caylus next. I am at wits end. I read four or five pages of the rules and I have no idea what I read. I am totally confused. I will try your links to better understand it, but it is extremely frustrating that the rules were written so poorly. Isn't there a video explanation out there somewhere?


I have heard several people here complain about the poorly written rules for Caylus. I taught myself the game from the rules and found that while the game was complicated, the rules didn't seem to get in the way of learning. So I've been wondering why it was a better experience for me than for some others. I have two theories:

1) The rules were written to my learning style, which then of course is a problem for anyone who doesn't share that same way of learning.

2) I taught myself the game by laying out the game and playing it through as I read the rules. This is NOT normally how I best learn a new game (I'm normally a "hand me the rules I'll figure it out, then we can punch and play" sort of person). I was just so jazzed about the game that I wanted to get into it as much as possible while I waited for a chance to get out with gamers.

As I said, if it's just a learning style thing then I can't help. However, if playing through a full turn as you learn makes the rules bearable/good then that might be good for others to know.

If there are others out there who have not found the rules a problem, can you shed any light on how you learn or at least learned this particular game that might help others?
 
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