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Subject: My first thoughts on building favor tracks rss

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Ng Kelvin
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I have been playing Caylus on BSW almost every day (I played 51 games there at the time I write this article). In the last few days, I do aware of the phenomenon that increasing players have adopted building favor tracks strategy. I recently played many 3-players games in which the other two players are running on the building track while I didn't. After reading the hot discussion topics about favor tracks, I would also like to share my points on this.

In my opinion, the greatest advantage on building tracks is flexibility. You rely on favors instead of a specific building for erecting a grey, green or blue. There are games without mason or architects, but you can never heard of a game with no favors. In order words, given that you own enough resources, you can build anything that you want.

Nevertheless, the building favor tracks is the only track that you need to pay to execute the privileges. Since you have already paid something in order to get a favor, it requires very sophicated skills in order to get the most out from this track. Second drawback is that you can't get anything when you receive the first favor, which can be converted into $3 and will be very useful in the early game.

In the games that I played with 2 buiding track players, I do found some moves I think would be questionable:
1. A player have built in the castle in the first round and gets a building favor. In second round he went to the castle with exactly 3 resources again, securing him another favor. What he did after that is he paid $2 to place a worker on a fixed peddler, and paid another $2 for a cube.

2. A player keeps going to joust almost every round
in the middle game for a building, while he has only $2-3 at the end of the round.

3. In middle game, a player joust for building even when mason or lawyer exists (and no one goes there). He paid 2 cubes +$1 for a stone building, or $1+2 cloth for a residence. Obviously, you can always do the same in mason/lawyer at a cheaper costs.

4. A player builds an architect with a favor, just 2 spaces after the goldmine. At that moment I owned a gold with 3 residences (haha)

I do use building track in some of my games, but surely at a lower frequency. I don't start the track from the first round of the game either. In some games where I found the resource is plentiful and architect seems will never appear, I will start it before the end of the wall scoring, it would allows me to build 1-2 blues before the end of the game.

Building favor tracks is somewhat like the harbour+wharf combination in Puerto Rico. Clearly they are strong, but they would not suit all situations that you come across. The strongest player in Caylus (and also in PR) plans the strategy when they analysed the current situation, rather than adopting a so called "strongest strategy" in all the games you play.

Kelvin Ng
(as puyo in BSW, ambassador of ChinaTown)
 
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Gary Bradley
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Quote:
3. In middle game, a player joust for building even when mason or lawyer exists (and no one goes there). He paid 2 cubes +$1 for a stone building, or $1+2 cloth for a residence. Obviously, you can always do the same in mason/lawyer at a cheaper costs.


Did he get to move his market right on the favour track? He may have considered this worth the extra $1 he payed. Was the Provost dangerously close to the lawyer/mason? There could be many reasons.

I like to use the building track (usually via castle building but also via Jousting) to do my building because:

1) Surprise deployment - they do not know if you are actually going to build till the last possible moment.
2) You don't have to fight for the Mason/Carpenter/whoever
3) No danger of Provost-screw.
4) Guarenteed no VP cost from your own wallet.
5) Jousting in particular: You don't need to go head to head in the castle with the resource stockpiler (assuming it isn't you).
 
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Ng Kelvin
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Quote:

Did he get to move his market right on the favour track? He may have considered this worth the extra $1 he payed. Was the Provost dangerously close to the lawyer/mason? There could be many reasons.


Yes, his pawn is already on the 4th square when he joust. In one of my game the mason is built very early (before the dungeon scoring)
 
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Ng Kelvin
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I am running on a 21-win streak in Caylus. In those game nearly all of them are playing with players running on builder track (thereafter referred as builders).

Now I would like to share what I think you will be more interested in: What I have done to beat the builders?

The key mission of builders is to avoid non-builders to erect the prestige buildings. What they can generally done is to build lots of buildings with favor to fill up the spaces. So an architect appears at the end of the road and unable to operate.

However, this is not easy as such actions requires lots of workers and resources. If you spend all favors in buildings, money will be a main problem for builders. Therefore builders are often poor in most of the games that I played.

The following buildings will be essential for counter-builder strategy:
1) mason: It serves many functions. Firstly you can build important buildings like Church and artchitect. Secondly by building the stone buildings on you own also minimize the opportunities that builders score the easy 6 points.
2) Lawyer: Without it you can't have any prestige buildings.
3) Church: It is important to get this to avoid builders to build up the "Church combo": destroy the Church with residence and get another favor to build it again, getting cash with his new favor
4) Architect: That's is no need to explain

Counter-builder is also suggested to have extra cash than normal. So when builders wants to delay the architect by building church or banks, you can still get some points with them.
 
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jbrier
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I think the building favor track seems overpowered because people do not yet compete fiercely enough for favors in the castle. Also, the building favor track is weakened by every additional player that uses it, in addition to an early appearance of the mason on the board. Overall it is a nice track but as of late I am more inclined to pursue the VP track which does not have some of those problems.

Of course if there is a game where it looks like those factors that weaken the builder track will not be present, I will immediately look to start investing in it since I know it will pay off. Like puyo says and I agree, this game is about being responsive to what is going on moreso that having a pre-determined strategy.
 
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andrea melegari
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So Puyo if i understand your counter-builder strategy you spend your favor mostly on the money track..am i right?
 
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jbrier
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buzzlightyear wrote:
So Puyo if i understand your counter-builder strategy you spend your favor mostly on the money track..am i right?


I don't see how you draw this conclusion...
 
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Jeanie H
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The main reason I like to use the builder track, is so that if the games ends sooner then expected, I am still able to upgrade to a prestige building during final castle scoring. This has saved me quite a few times. I have seen a trend lately, of the castle being filled up to end the game rather early. This really hurts anyone who has been saving for a prestige, but has not taken the builder track.
 
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