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Subject: San Juan vs Caylus Magna Carta rss

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David B
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I have purchased the iphone app for San Juan and have been playing it quite a bit. I am enjoying playing it but I doubt as a face to face game it would be anywhere near as good as Puerto Rico. San Juan does feel more like multi-player solitaire than Puerto Rico and though San Juan keeps the idea of roles, much of the strategy and tension of Puerto Rico is reduced or gone. It is still an enjoyable app to make boring meetings a little more fun. I have not played Caylus Magna Carta yet. What I would like to know is which of the two games, San Juan or Caylus Magna Carta, does a better job of keeping the spirit, strategy, and gameplay of its bigger brother. Is Caylus Magna Carta significantly more interactive than San Juan? I would interested to hear from those who have played all four.
 
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Mathue Faulkner
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pfctsqr wrote:
What I would like to know is which of the two games, San Juan or Caylus Magna Carta, does a better job of keeping the spirit, strategy, and gameplay of its bigger brother.

Caylus Magna Carta
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Kevin B. Smith
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Mercer Island
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I have played all but Caylus, for which I have watched a game be played. I agree that CMC captures more of the spirit, strategy, and gameplay of its big brother.

To me, SJ is a very stripped-down version of PR that keeps most of the good parts, and gets rid of some bad (shipping and the tight market for selling). Where SJ is about leaching off your opponents' roles, PR is more about picking roles that hurt other players. I prefer SJ, partly because I prefer streamlined games, and partly because PR has screwage as a more integral part of the game than I prefer.

CMC has many of the elements you expect in Caylus. Obviously it leaves out a lot. Mechanically, the biggest change is probably that you can only build buildings that show up in your hand of cards (cards become buildings). From a strategy standpoint, CMC is more about contributing to the castle than anything else. If you play the standard rules, I don't think you can win without contributing hugely to the castle, but I think you can win by ONLY contributing to the castle. Not having played Caylus, I'm not sure how it differs in that respect.

As for interaction, in SJ it is pretty much trying to get as much as possible done during your opponents' roles, and then speeding up or slowing down the end of the game.

In CMC, every turn you are placing workers on opponents' buildings (or not), taking buildings they may have wanted, passing first to get the castle-building advantage, and building the most castle batches to get the reward. And if you play with the nasty, evil provost, you can deny (or be denied) the benefits of having placed a worker near the end of the road. Personally, I play without the provost, because it is too mean for my tastes, but then I'm extreme on that axis.
 
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