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Subject: Caylus, the business game rss

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Antti Huima
Finland
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I have so far encountered three games that transcend over the rest of the pack because, to me, they teach something about life and the Way Things Are.

The first such game was Go, the ancient board game from the Orient. I remember still the summer when I learned the game. I felt that Go modeled everything: how tribes and countries fight for territory, how people contest over power, how there must be a balance between exploration and exploitation, investing and capitalizing. It is a game that teaches patience and shows how you must build your victory piece by piece, or, like Hadrianus said about Rome, brick by brick.

Completely different, it was Poker second that had the same effect on me many years afterwards (played with toy money, of course). The thing about Poker is that it was only about bluffing and psychology and understanding how the others around the table feel and think. As such it was a great model of many kinds of negotiation situations where people try to build up their relative position by words and impressions.

(I can also play e.g. Chess, but I have never felt anything elevated about it. To me, it is just an exercise in moving stuff around in combinatorial patterns. Carcassone is semi-fun and looks pretty and can bring friends together but that's about it.)

I thought that Caylus was a hyped game that hard-core Eurogamers etc. like because it has so complex rules that the Ordinary People can never get near to it.

But after playing it six times, I have come to revise my opinion.

For me, Caylus is the third game.

I think that Caylus is a great model of the complexity of running business and enterprises in the modern world that is in constant flux.

You have to, so to say, keep multiple balls in the air at the same time to get anywhere in the game.

You must have the correct mix of money and resources and know when it is too early and when too late to send workers to the castle. You must hit a balance between positioning workers too greedily and failing victim to retracting provost trap, and too safely and falling behind. You must avoid all kinds of tactical traps when you try to play on the limits of your possessions.

I don't know how the designer did it, but the game manages to capture in its own micro scale the never-ending flow of compromises, resource conflicts and tactical traps that marks competitive business.

It is true that the game is brain-intensive and also quite frustrating in the beginning, but I can recommend it (based on my six plays) to anyone who is willing to invest serious brain power to a game. For me, it is an instant classic.
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Ivo Hunink
Netherlands
Utrecht
Utrecht
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zeroforce wrote:
...
You must have the correct mix of money and resources and know when it is too early and when too late to send workers to the castle. You must hit a balance between positioning workers too greedily and failing victim to retracting provost trap, and too safely and falling behind. You must avoid all kinds of tactical traps when you try to play on the limits of your possessions.

I don't know how the designer did it, but the game manages to capture in its own micro scale the never-ending flow of compromises, resource conflicts and tactical traps that marks competitive business.

It is true that the game is brain-intensive and also quite frustrating in the beginning, but I can recommend it (based on my six plays) to anyone who is willing to invest serious brain power to a game. For me, is is an instant classic.


Thanks for the fun story! I totally agree with you that the game is very intense. And I can tell you, you will discovery much and much more 'hidden' strategy's, after playing tons of games. Every time you play, you learn a new way to handle the strategy of your opponents. You will get very flexible in achieving your victory.
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