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Subject: Third gaming session...probably last? rss

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Eerk Katerman
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Just played this game for the third time. After another crunching 5 hours (with just 3 players) we were all clinically dead.

This game is very promising with great game mechanics, a visual sequence of play (the path through the village is a brilliant idea) and seemingly lots of playing options.

All these great concepts actually fail in delivering a really dynamic game. Your options are actually very limited. Either build a building in the village build it in the castle. Sure, it takes some smart shuffling around of blocks, and one player can outsmart another player sometimes, but with every turn your options seem more limited. (since the most interesting buildings are already built, and any new buildings won't have much more effect on the game in the last few turns).

Another problem is the castle: the designer probably noticed that while playtesting, nobody was really inclined to help build up the castle. Hence, a strange and wieldy 'royal favor' system was devised. This clunky unlogical system takes a lot of attention away from the otherwise original and elegant game rules.
But it's needed, because the game otherwise becomes too one sided, with players who lag behind having no possibility of returning to the game.

All in all, Caylus has a lot of potential, but it doesn't come out the right way: building the village doesn't have an important effect on the game except for the victory points that you score, and the favor system tries to make up for flaws that shouldn't have been there in the first place.
 
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Paul - the
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Lund
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How on earth can it take you 5 hours to play the game? We play a four player game in 2 to 2.5 hours.

And why do you have to build a building each turn? You can use some of the buildings to good effect instead. Buy goods, convert them to money/gold, buy gold, buy prestige points, joust and so on.
 
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Matt Green
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5 hours is insane. We played a 5 player game in under 2.5 hours last Wednesday with one new player.
 
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Werner Bär
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Karlsruhe
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You need to play a little bit faster. Normal playing time seems to be 40 minutes per player, unless you are very experienced. (I've seen a 3.5 hour 3 player game, but that was 3 players which are feared for their analysis paralysis).
 
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Betty Egan
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I must disagree with your comments. I think there are many options to choose in Caylus. You are encouraged to contribute to the castle building - each contribution is worth 5, 4, or 3 points, and not contributing at all to a section will actually cause you to lose points. Going for royal favours is just another strategy to help you win. Every prestige point and every denier counts. The games I've played have been very, very close. Also, it's not just deciding to build the castle or build in the city, you must choose carefully which buildings to build, which to occupy, which to activate, where and when to move the provost, go for money, or go for goods, or go for turn order. Every choice you make, and there are many, can make or break the game for you. I really don't think the favours were slapped on afterward to fix a flawed game. In my opinion (and of course it's just my opinion) it is a very well balanced game with many agonizing choices to make that makes the 3 or 4 hourse seem like less.
"building the village doesn't have an important effect on the game except for the victory points you score" - I don't get it, scoring victory points is the point of the game! Building the buildings allow you to build other buildings, generate money and goods and earn victory points as "rent". Without the building of the city there would be no game.

I can agree with one of your comments though: the "clinically dead" bit - that's exactly how you feel when its all over and done. Didn't know dead could feel so good.
 
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Nick Case
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This isn't really a session report apart from the 'it took us 5 hours bit'.

Is it?
 
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Philip Thomas
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Well, he could have posted it as a Review for 2 extra geekgold. But yes, he doesn't actually tallk about the game he is supposed to be describing...which might be useful in analysing why he is bored of Caylus- maybe the game was particularly notable for something?
 
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Tom Key
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Can't we just flame him for criticising a really highly rated game?



(which i translates to something like I agree with the replies above)
 
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Nick Case
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tomski wrote:
Can't we just flame him for criticising a really highly rated game?


Of course, someone with the audacity to heckle a top ten game has to be called a Troll as well.

I think people brave enough to kick out at top games should get 2 free Geek Gold and a hard hat.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Only available to people who have purchased the expensive 'Hard Hat construction acessory' with their computer- plugs into a USB port.
 
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Rob Kerr
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You're the first person I've seen to dump on this game. In fact, it's almost like you are doing it on purpose. There is no way so many people can love this game and you dump all over it. Stick to playing Candyland.
 
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Philip Thomas
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Not even the first person. Kobra was attacking it right from the word go- he didn't see any need to play it, either. So this guy lacks originality too
 
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Bo Chaba
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Im still mystified why the game is so highly rated. Ive not read a single thing abut the actual game that entices me.

It has me intrigued, the game seems to have become the flavour of the month but I havent been able to puzzle out why even after reading all the reviews and reports. Unfortunately this "session report" doesnt really help enlighten me either way.

Maybe its one of those games you have to play to appreciate..but Ive been burned trusting to that philosophy before.
 
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Matthew M
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bochaba wrote:
Im still mystified why the game is so highly rated. Ive not read a single thing abut the actual game that entices me.


It's a gamer's game, and since it isn't released yet the people who've played it are more likely to be people who are more involved in the hobby and thus the target audience. That helps boost the rating.

Further, most people have only been able to log a few plays. However due to the way the village development works there are a LOT of possible routes the game can take that just don't get realized in any given game. But despite not realizing it in a given game you can see the potential for other possibilities in future games. This provides instant replayability for (probably) the first half-dozen to a dozen games. That also boosts the rating.

I have little doubt the rating will go down when a) more people who are not the target audience of the game give it a go and b) when people who do like it have had more chances to explore the different branches the game can take.

-MMM
 
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Marc P
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OK, it's not exactly a session report--a legitimate criticism. But just because someone tried this and disliked it shouldn't open them up to ridicule. Disagreement, sure, but not ridicule. I'm no game designer, and I'm sure this person isn't either, but if the game feels slapped together to you, or samey, it's always going to feel that way, no matter how many people tell you you're wrong. Consider Goa, a very highly ranked game. There are many 2s, 3s, 4s and 5s in that ranking where members put forth well-considered, and yes, subjective reasons in the comments. Their opinions are important for providing criticisms (deserved AND not) that are lacking in the raptures at the 9 and 10 level.
I think Caylus is a solid 9, and has elegance and balance. Time will tell if it becomes my first 10 (I suspect Power Grid or El Grande will beat it there). However, games are for enjoyment, and if you're not enjoying yourself with Caylus, by all means play something else.
 
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Magic Pink
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GuruChaz wrote:
You're the first person I've seen to dump on this game. In fact, it's almost like you are doing it on purpose. There is no way so many people can love this game and you dump all over it. Stick to playing Candyland.


Wow.

Maybe he just has different tastes in games. Did that ever occur to you?
 
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Brian Newman
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bochaba wrote:
Im still mystified why the game is so highly rated. Ive not read a single thing abut the actual game that entices me.


Some people like stuff, some people don't like stuff. There's no accounting for taste.

By the way, hi Magic Pink!
 
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Eerk Katerman
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Wow what a bunch of replies....
I'll try to add a bit that makes my session report more of a session report:

My tactic in our session was: buy all the buildings that produce a certain good (stone, wood) and remove all the buildings that produce those same goods from the starting setup. (the pink buildings in the village). You can remove them by building green residentials on top of them. I also got the lawyer and the quarry very early on in the game. My idea was that players who want to get wood or stone or build stone buildings or build residentials would have to give me victory points.

This tactic didn't really work. I did get some VP's but it didn't really add up. My other tactic: buy every building that you can and make sure nobody else can build anything (by occupying the quarry/lawyer every turn and being the first player every turn) This seemed to work a lot better and almost all of the buildings were on the board at the end of those crunching 5 hours. None of those buildings could be used of course.

Another player's tactic was to just keep buying blocks and dumping them all in the castle in exchange for royal favors. He won the game.

Maybe I'm just a bad loser but to me it seems that developing all kinds of tactics doesn't weigh up against blindly piling up those royal favors and staring out of the window while the other players are playing a game. The royal favors play themselves.
 
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Marc P
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benni_jolink wrote:

My tactic in our session was: buy all the buildings that produce a certain good (stone, wood) and remove all the buildings that produce those same goods from the starting setup. (the pink buildings in the village). You can remove them by building green residentials on top of them. I also got the lawyer and the quarry very early on in the game. My idea was that players who want to get wood or stone or build stone buildings or build residentials would have to give me victory points.


This is basic Caylus strategy, but doesn't explain 5h playing time.

Quote:
My other tactic: buy every building that you can and make sure nobody else can build anything (by occupying the quarry/lawyer every turn and being the first player every turn) This seemed to work a lot better and almost all of the buildings were on the board at the end of those crunching 5 hours.


Wow, you must have gotten immense amounts of PPs from building all those buildings. I'll bet resources were scarce for you, though, since you spent your early workers maintaining your lawyer/mason dominance and first place status in turn order on almost every turn. Since that's the only way you could possibly have built almost every building on the board.

Quote:
None of those buildings could be used of course.


Either I don't understand what you mean, or you don't understand the rules for using buildings.

Quote:
Another player's tactic was to just keep buying blocks and dumping them all in the castle in exchange for royal favors. He won the game.


A regular opponent of mine tried this strategy for an entire game to test its value. It fails miserably (he came in last) against opponents who apply a balanced approach to building and obtaining favors.

Regarding play length: Until my last game, I hadn't encountered the endless Caylus game. It happened in a 5p game, and it was completely due to wandering attention span. There are only a few parts to a turn, but the longest part is worker placement. During worker placement, the play swings around to each player 4-5 times. Each player should have some idea of what they want to accomplish that worker phase (prioritize: turn order, resources, money, building, etc). Pay attention to what is taken and adjust your priorities as the other players' workers are placed so you are ready on your turn. If you have to completely reevaluate the board 4-5 times a turn (after someone elbows you), it adds up to a long game.

And lest I sound like a shrill Caylus apologist, please see my above comment that if you played it (add: correctly) and didn't like it, there's nothing wrong with you. Find another game, it's supposed to be fun.
 
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