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Subject: Why do we never vary from this strategy? rss

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Bernard Hopkins
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I’ve played about 15 games of Caylus now, 5 to face and about 10 online. All but 2/3 have been two player. What I’m now seeing between me and my partner (my ftf opponent) is we are doing the exact same things every game: -

1) Get resource cubes focusing on stone and cloth.

2)Take those to the castle (we are normally going to the castle on opposite turns). When one goes to the castle the other seems to be just buying the favour.

3) Race up the favour tracks - the same three favour tracks (Victory points, money, buildings.) normally getting to the end of all three.

4) Race to get the stone farms out.
5) Take turns getting the gold first
6) Build Prestige buildings
7) See who won

It’s starting to get very samey, anything other that what I’ve written, seems to be of inconsequence during our games. I’m no expert far from it I get hammered on BSW, sometimes getting my own score doubled. Me and my partner have just fallen into a routine and can’t seem to see how anything but the rush for the stone farms, then gold, then prestige buildings will get us the win. Or is that the way to win it’s just the subtle variations within that plan that are the key to winning?
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Martins Livens
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I have seen a lot wasted resources on joust.
And money track isn't needed unless you spend money in first half of game like crazy.
(no more that 1-2 steps)
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Johan L
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I'm hardly an expert myself (24 plays logged), but I'd recommend experimenting a bit and trying something different to break the rut. Even if it will perhaps lose you a few games short term, it should improve your skills in the long run as you learn what works and what doesn't.

We also tended to get into the 'long game, everybody going for the big scoring buildings at the end' for a while, but I then started experimenting in seeing if I could win by playing more in the castle. I think one key to good play is to control the game length, in this case shortening the game by moving the provost and not building the buildings that helps your opponent's strategy.

And if you're stuck for ideas, there are seven pages of strategy articles here on BGG (but personally I find it more fun to experiment a bit and learn for myself what works). meeple
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Todd Redden
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Johan wrote:
I'm hardly an expert myself (24 plays logged), but I'd recommend experimenting a bit and trying something different to break the rut. Even if it will perhaps lose you a few games short term, it should improve your skills in the long run as you learn what works and what doesn't.

We also tended to get into the 'long game, everybody going for the big scoring buildings at the end' for a while, but I then started experimenting in seeing if I could win by playing more in the castle. I think one key to good play is to control the game length, in this case shortening the game by moving the provost and not building the buildings that helps your opponent's strategy.

And if you're stuck for ideas, there are seven pages of strategy articles here on BGG (but personally I find it more fun to experiment a bit and learn for myself what works). meeple

Provost moving is one thing that is really harsh and players get screwed big time, and it costs a lot. We never play 2-player, usually 4, and have found wins come out in ways other than prestige. The most common other way is from monopolizing the castle. I've seen one player being so far ahead in the Favors area that he just kept taking massive victory points and nobody could ever catch up. There are other ways, probably less likely to turn up in 2-player games.
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Ken Bush
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Our group has started exploring other options, one that has shown some promise is to use money making to go to the church and bank to buy victory points and gold, and to control the provost. It also prevents others from getting enough money. Causes very different thinking if you think defensively instead of always offense (scoring more points). I like that aspect of worker placement, doing things so the other guy can't, even if it means not maximizing your potential.
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Mike Bazynski
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i only played 3+ player games, but some ideas to try in your games that should help you explore the depth:
- the game develops radically differently depending on first buildings you buy. try not building the (wood) producing buildings.
- build 2 wood buildings first turn, and try to build as many as possible before the castle player gets to stone buildings from favor track. (of course build the mason)
- try hoarding cubes. do not go to the castle _at all_ first couple (or first 5) turns. (still try to deny your opponent stone and cloth of course). works well with the 'build as many wood buildings as possible quickly' approach. once you have a sizable advantage in number of cubes you can scare other players from trying for castle in the second half of the game - you can always build more than them. and if they are afraid to go there you can go to the castle with one of your last workers instead of very first one.
- build the residential producer quickly and build 3-4 residential buildings, and try to go the spending money route (like the bank)

there are many ways of winning the game if you have your eyes open for different approaches. I was able to win 5 player games without getting a single favor, by building almost all wood buildings, by concentrating on residential buildings and gold and finishing the game with 4-5 prestige buildings (this in a favor-heavier approach).

the only thing I find you can't easily ignore whatever your strategy are the stone producers. I've yet to see someone who managed all 3 not win the game. though if you manage to overflow the board with wood stuff their power is greatly diminished.
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Arctic Jack wrote:


2)Take those to the castle (we are normally going to the castle on opposite turns). When one goes to the castle the other seems to be just buying the favour.


this seems wrong
the turn you go to castle is the key to phase 1
also opponents shouldnt buy anything lol
there should be a fight for castle
or try to discourage your opponent to go passing if he has low money etc etc


Quote:

3) Race up the favour tracks - the same three favour tracks (Victory points, money, buildings.) normally getting to the end of all three.


wrong too, but too long to explain


Quote:

5) Take turns getting the gold first


gold is not taken first

Quote:

It’s starting to get very samey, anything other that what I’ve written, seems to be of inconsequence during our games. I’m no expert far from it I get hammered on BSW, sometimes getting my own score doubled.


well if you get hammered so much then you shouldnt have started a thread about how you play in the same way

you should have asked "what i am doing wrong ? "
you should think and try to find out your mistakes instead of repeating a routine proven wrong
 
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Bernard Hopkins
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ddd123 wrote:
Arctic Jack wrote:


2)Take those to the castle (we are normally going to the castle on opposite turns). When one goes to the castle the other seems to be just buying the favour.


this seems wrong
the turn you go to castle is the key to phase 1
also opponents shouldnt buy anything lol
there should be a fight for castle
or try to discourage your opponent to go passing if he has low money etc etc



Buying the favour as in one coin and one cloth at the joust.

ddd123 wrote:
Arctic Jack wrote:

3) Race up the favour tracks - the same three favour tracks (Victory points, money, buildings.) normally getting to the end of all three.


wrong too, but too long to explain




Thanks

ddd123 wrote:
Arctic Jack wrote:

5) Take turns getting the gold first


gold is not taken first



I'm not sure what you mean here. What I meant was that on our turn we were placing our first worker on the gold normally. Are you just saying don't make gold the priority?


ddd123 wrote:
Arctic Jack wrote:


It’s starting to get very samey, anything other that what I’ve written, seems to be of inconsequence during our games. I’m no expert far from it I get hammered on BSW, sometimes getting my own score doubled.



well if you get hammered so much then you shouldnt have started a thread about how you play in the same way

you should have asked "what i am doing wrong ? "
you should think and try to find out your mistakes instead of repeating a routine proven wrong


I know my routine is wrong that's why I'm asking here. I gathered people would realise that when I mentioned I was getting my score doubled. I am trying to find out my mistakes that what this thread was all about. Do you think I thought I had the perfect game plan but couldn't understand how I was getting thrashed on BSW? I couldn't clearly see a more efficient route than the poor one I was taking. I came here hoping to see a few suggestions on what to try.

I've watched a few expert games on BSW and now have new ideas.

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Matt Shields
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Arctic Jack wrote:
I’ve played about 15 games of Caylus now, 5 to face and about 10 online. All but 2/3 have been two player. What I’m now seeing between me and my partner (my ftf opponent) is we are doing the exact same things every game: -

1) Get resource cubes focusing on stone and cloth.
2)Take those to the castle (we are normally going to the castle on opposite turns). When one goes to the castle the other seems to be just buying the favour.
3) Race up the favour tracks - the same three favour tracks (Victory points, money, buildings.) normally getting to the end of all three.
4) Race to get the stone farms out.
5) Take turns getting the gold first
6) Build Prestige buildings
7) See who won


There are other strategies that work in 2er games, but going straight for the building track is the simplest (but not always best), so it's often what you start out with when you're new. In larger games, I actually don't think the building track is nearly as good. There aren't as many stone buildings to go around.

A few points in no particular order -

1) You may be overemphasizing gold. I've won tons of 2 player games never buying a prestige building. Gold is worth taking, but most of the time I prefer taking 3 blocks first. If you opponent is taking gold and you're taking tons of regular blocks, you can dominate the castle.

2) Don't just "take turns going to the castle". Get enough blocks that you can build several ticks on the castle at once, It's very often better to go to the castle once and build a bunch, than go there often and build one at a time. Yes, you can get more favors by going more often, but you are also using more of your precious actions, and there are often other ways to score points.

2a) Also, once you have lots of blocks, you should be trying to go to the castle after your opponent goes there. Use the gate for this. This way you can potentially deprive them of the favor for the castle. This takes practice to really learn how and when to do it, but it's a powerful potential move.

3) If your opponent goes straight for the building track, start aggressively building buildings the old fashioned way. Use the carpenter. Build the mason, and start building stone buildings with that. Then skip the building track entirely and just go to the point track. His building track becomes way less valuable if there's not much left to build, and 5 points for zero resources is a pretty good deal! Besides, if you get lots of buildings built your opponent has to go to your buildings a lot, generating lots of points for you.

3a) That said, you are correct that the stone farms are very good. If you opponent gets all 3 its very difficult to beat them.

4) As someone else said, controlling the game length is important. Sometimes you want the game to go slower and sometimes you want it to go faster, but you usually should have an opinion. Especially at the end if you can time it so your opponent doesn't get to use their resources efficiently, that's very powerful.

5) I agree with whoever said the money track isn't as good as it seems. Try to build the building that turns a block into 6 gold. You'd usually prefer to go there than spend a favor on money. The money track is mostly useful when you're getting multiple favors at once.

I'm "Disclaimer" on BSW btw, if have questions there.
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Nathan Ehlers
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There's a good deal of previous posts here that I agree with, so I'll try not to rehash.

Caylus is one of my favorite 2p games and I definitely think that every favor track offers it's own path to victory. Not knowing too much about what's going on in your 2p games, I would suggest that perhaps both you and your opponent are using the money track wrong. Basically, one of the advantages of generating more income than your opponent is to be able to control how many actions and what kinds of actions they can take. In my 2p games, if I'm going money track, it's because I'm almost always shutting down the actions near the provost. Couple that with using my pawns to take early actions and you can squeeze your opponent at both ends. If you get a significant leg up in the first 5 turns, then they're forced to lose actions to 1) not having enough money to place their pawns, 2) being forced to waste actions and resources picking up the 3 coin spot and/or selling cubes, and 3) passing the turn early to pick up the 1 coin and try and make things more expensive for you in order to keep up.

Controlling the money supply can make for a longer game where you win by inches, rather than miles, but it can be very satisfying if you do it correctly.

If it looks like neither one of you is paying to move the monster despite you both shooting up the money track, then I'd suggest you personally look for ways you could be playing more aggressively. Similarly, if you're not thinking about how you can shut down your opponent's moves in a given turn (even though you now have a good handle on the "pattern" you're both in), then you're missing out a whole facet of game play for Caylus. Though I do understand that playing "mean" isn't everyone's cup of tea.
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Arctic Jack wrote:

Buying the favour as in one coin and one cloth at the joust.


thats commonly considered a losing move in phase 1
since you get more points/resource on castle you should try and build on castle ALWAYS phase 1

there are a few guys in few games who tried (and succeded) to build in p1 on joust and not lose the game, but its very rare and i think the situations in which thats possible are scarse
i suggest you just dont do that in phase 1


Quote:


I'm not sure what you mean here. What I meant was that on our turn we were placing our first worker on the gold normally. Are you just saying don't make gold the priority?


yes its commonly accepted that gold is worth the 4th move after the 3 farms
also in general gold in phase 2 comes near the provost making him capturable, you need to be very careful both ways
you can let your opponent take gold and capture him with provost if you are second for example
sometimes in phase 2 you could also prefer castle again if you are sure to win etc etc

surely gold isnt a priority until late phase 2 and phase 3


Quote:

I've watched a few expert games on BSW and now have new ideas.


yeah thats a great idea if you want to improve or in general to have a look at some good games look for icko or tombrady games, a lot to learn there

also there are past threads talking about strategy, i think you can learn some basic stuff and some advanced too reading there

and you can always ask if you have any doubt
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Chris Potter
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TwitchBot wrote:


5) I agree with whoever said the money track isn't as good as it seems. Try to build the building that turns a block into 6 gold.



I'm sure this is apparent to everyone involved, but to avoid confusion, I think you mean 6 dollars (or "deniers" or whatever they're called).

Other than that I completely agree with Matt Shields' strategy tips.
 
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Damian Tyree
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This is why I don't play 2 player games of Caylus.
Very boring, structured strategy.
Even 3ers are a little too structured.
4 and 5 player games are the best, because there can be much more fluidity to your play.
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ddd123 wrote:

thats commonly considered a losing move in phase 1
since you get more points/resource on castle you should try and build on castle ALWAYS phase 1

there are a few guys in few games who tried (and succeded) to build in p1 on joust and not lose the game, but its very rare and i think the situations in which thats possible are scarse
i suggest you just dont do that in phase 1

yes its commonly accepted that gold is worth the 4th move after the 3 farms
also in general gold in phase 2 comes near the provost making him capturable, you need to be very careful both ways
you can let your opponent take gold and capture him with provost if you are second for example
sometimes in phase 2 you could also prefer castle again if you are sure to win etc etc

surely gold isnt a priority until late phase 2 and phase 3


This is pretty much exactly the type of strategy tips I was looking for, although I am curious where I went wrong because the jousting thing didn't work out for me last match (my first 2 player match).

My opponent and I both went the building track. He was able to get out 2 stone buildings before I could, and it "seemed" like his jousting was a key to helping him there, although I probably made a mistake. His first favor he got on the very first turn by simply building in the castle first. He then jousted twice for more favors, while I was trying to keep a resource edge on him. Neither of us built the mason, so his jousting let him get the first stone buildings.

If I see my opponent is jousting, do I need to try and build the mason?
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mekane84 wrote:



My opponent and I both went the building track. He was able to get out 2 stone buildings before I could, and it "seemed" like his jousting was a key to helping him there,


are you talking about farms ?
farms are the strongest buildings in phase 2 and so you do everything you can to build them first and/or to build 2 out of 3

still it would be better to build them on castle but sometimes its just impossible and picking joust is the only way


Quote:

although I probably made a mistake. His first favor he got on the very first turn by simply building in the castle first. He then jousted twice for more favors, while I was trying to keep a resource edge on him. Neither of us built the mason, so his jousting let him get the first stone buildings.


there is no (known) rule about this: the first farm is slighly better ofc but letting the castle too much to your opponent is very bad

it depends on many factors, both ways are possible(i was criticizing the use of joust in phase 1 mainly)

Quote:

If I see my opponent is jousting, do I need to try and build the mason?


its very hard to tell in every case but surely its a weak choice to answer a joust putting down ANOTHER wood like mason

its possible instead to PREDICT you are going to benefit from mason and put it down in advance

in general mason is slightly weaker than market or peddler for the simple reason that there will be a turn where all stone are already put down and from there you wont get more points bonus (while ppl keep going on peddler and sometimes market till last turn)

but ofc the strategic advantage of having 2 farms sometimes is worth it

also another important factor is the kind of game you are playing, ie what other buildings are down
a market only game is going to be poor of resources and could make mason a good choice

last but not least when putting down mason you should consider your ACTUAL resources ie if your opponent already has a stone and few food/cloth while you dont own a stone yet, well then maybe its not worth putting down the mason since you are going to be forced in too many moves
 
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ddd123 wrote:
are you talking about farms ?
farms are the strongest buildings in phase 2 and so you do everything you can to build them first and/or to build 2 out of 3

still it would be better to build them on castle but sometimes its just impossible and picking joust is the only way


Yeah, those are the stone buildings we always build first (3 resources). We both go builder track, but he gets the edge on stone buildings by getting early joust favors to climb the track. it seems like he has the advantage getting the stone buildings out because of this, so I guess I don't see how jousting is bad, it seems like we need to fight for the joust to compete for the first farm / 3 resource buildings.

Given the type of game my opponent is playing, could you or anyone answer a couple more questions? Assuming my opponent plays as he does, he pretty much just jousts every turn to get favors, giving me a slight resource edge, but it seems I cannot capitalize on this, and my strategy of building using favors loses to his building using favors on the joust.

Do you try to only build 1 wooden building (from the favor track)? since you are giving up castle building resources in the process?

Is it bad to go to the castle in the very first round?

When do you want to build in the castle in phase 1?
 
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mekane84 wrote:
it seems like he has the advantage getting the stone buildings out because of this, so I guess I don't see how jousting is bad, it seems like we need to fight for the joust to compete for the first farm / 3 resource buildings.


well you can compete for the third instead of doing it for the first
or you can starve him on cloth who is the rarest resource to get early
occasionally you can starve him on food
sometimes you can make him pay too much the joust, taking a free castle or just getting the best moves while he goes on joust

1 farm more is a sure advantage but you cant really sacrifice too much

Quote:

Given the type of game my opponent is playing, could you or anyone answer a couple more questions? Assuming my opponent plays as he does, he pretty much just jousts every turn to get favors, giving me a slight resource edge, but it seems I cannot capitalize on this, and my strategy of building using favors loses to his building using favors on the joust.


well its just not possible
building farms on joust is possible and sometimes even the best way but keeping to go on joust for all phase 2 is just a plain mistake

basically you have to get free castles while he waste moves on joust, also you could be poor on money and you can starve there too in case
if he is very poor on resources just go first on castle(not as a starting move, at the end of the turn or so)
after some turns he will gather some cubes and then you start taking gate

at the end of phase 2 he is probably forced to go first castle to try to get bonus privileges and then you either follow (forcing him to win with bad combos like 5-1 or so) or let him solo build while you start taking gold

Quote:

Do you try to only build 1 wooden building (from the favor track)? since you are giving up castle building resources in the process?

Is it bad to go to the castle in the very first round?

When do you want to build in the castle in phase 1?


-yes usually only 1 wooden is built to save the max amount of resources to win first turns of p2 and then build farms
-it depends on the resources distribution, there are many styles of playing p1, going twice early is one of them and can work
-when to go castle in p1 is the key of understanding and winning phase 1 and it would take me 2 hours of nonstop writing to explain fully

lets anyway point out some aspects:
-you NEVER want to lose the castle battle in p1, ergo if your opponent can build 3 on castle while you can build only 2 you shouldnt go(first, maybe you can still take gate sometimes)
-the safest way to build on p1 is going on gate or castle AFTER THE PASS while in the mid of p1(and building 2), that way you never lose material (sometimes you have small strategic losses but nothing decisive)
-dont toy too much with inn, usually when you face experienced players you are going to lose(at least thats what always happened to me when i started )

 
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thanks. i think it maybe will just take many more games to understand the phase 1 keys to winning, i don't fully understand some of these points yet.
 
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My suggestion? Try to win without ever building a prestige building. It may take a few games to get the win, but once you do you'll start to understand the game a LOT better.

Never forget that your first moves in Caylus matter - a lot. If you start the game knowing you won't be going for prestige buildings, plan your actions accordingly.
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jeffk wrote:
My suggestion? Try to win without ever building a prestige building. It may take a few games to get the win, but once you do you'll start to understand the game a LOT better.

Never forget that your first moves in Caylus matter - a lot. If you start the game knowing you won't be going for prestige buildings, plan your actions accordingly.


I count 3 wins in 7 games so far, and in all my wins my opponents built prestige buildings and I didn't. The game offers various ways to do it.
Look for combinations of buildings such as bank(buy gold) and Jeweller(sell the gold for points), or farm(2 cloth) and tailor(sell cloth for points), or whatever else you can come with. If your opponents try to block you from all that, do other stuff such as collecting money, take 1st place in the turn order,collecting materials to build to the castle. Most probably they won't be able to block you from everything if you throw a lot of options to the table. On the other hand, if your opponents are "locked" mentally in a specific big target(prestige building) you can easier slow their pace by collecting stone, as it takes quite some time to come to the point to be finally able to build such a monster, either the "orthodox" way or via the building favor track. Oh, and rush the provost, too!

Just couple of thoughts from a beginner- I'm sure this way also has it's flaws(I have already seen it actually), but that's the greatness of this game!
 
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Anjohl wrote:
Arctic Jack wrote:
I’ve played about 15 games of Caylus now, 5 to face and about 10 online. All but 2/3 have been two player. What I’m now seeing between me and my partner (my ftf opponent) is we are doing the exact same things every game.



Most 2 player games have this problem. It's not an actual gameplay issue, it's a percieved issue which balloons into a feedback loop.

Essentially, one of you figures that the other will do X, and as a result, you do Y. The other knows that you know that they will do X, and that your counter is Y, so they then p[erform Z, which is intended to counter your counter. If one of you altered your strategy, then the whole layered feedback loop would collapse, and both of you would be forced to play differently.


 
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Jeff Bridgham
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mekane84 wrote:
ddd123 wrote:
are you talking about farms ?
farms are the strongest buildings in phase 2 and so you do everything you can to build them first and/or to build 2 out of 3

still it would be better to build them on castle but sometimes its just impossible and picking joust is the only way


Yeah, those are the stone buildings we always build first (3 resources). We both go builder track, but he gets the edge on stone buildings by getting early joust favors to climb the track. it seems like he has the advantage getting the stone buildings out because of this, so I guess I don't see how jousting is bad, it seems like we need to fight for the joust to compete for the first farm / 3 resource buildings.



Well, you don't need to joust while building the dungeon levels. You only need two favors to be ready to build the stone buildings when they become available from the building favor track in the walls phase.

The main problem with early jousting is that they use up your cloth resources which are better spent going to the castle. Since you need three different resources in the castle for a batch you need to use either a stone or a cloth (or a gold, but that isn't available early) and you try to save your stones as much as possible for the good prestige buildings. So the cloth is too valuable early on to use jousting especially since you only need to generate two favors.

**editted to clarify availability of stone buildings**
 
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Arctic Jack wrote:
I’ve played about 15 games of Caylus now, 5 to face and about 10 online. All but 2/3 have been two player. What I’m now seeing between me and my partner (my ftf opponent) is we are doing the exact same things every game:
that's why i stopped playing 2p games =) (against random people) there are still many very small things that you can do wrong or right, even in the beginning. but all those 2p games with good opponents became much too similar to me.
 
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