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Subject: Two Caylus Games, Jan 24-25; damn that Castle! rss

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John Mellby
United States
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Caylus sessions; January 24-25, 2006

These two Caylus games had several themes; (1) John can't get out of second
place, and (2) Steven gets squeezed out of the castle no matter what he does.

These were two five-player games, each with a single new player.
In the game 1 the new player took second place, and the game 2 the
new player was a close fourth place (with very nice play, losing mainly
because he didn't know how to manipulate the favor tracks).

The interesting aspects of both games were how much the score came
down to player order vs. playing in the castle. Almost everyone
except the winner lost because they planned to build in the castle
and someone got in first. Some of this is because people early in
the turn order grabbed the castle beforehand. But also people would
grab a good resource building first, planning on moving into the
castle with their second worker, only to discover someone else
picked the castle with their first worker.

So, in Game 1 Jason got 3 early favors by getting into the castle
at just the right time. Steven kept building in the castle, but
everytime someone else got ahead of him, scoring the favors.
At the same time Jared pushed a mixed strategy seemingly well,
except he put himself in position that he got screwed badly by the
Provost several times. On the last turn we was ready to build
a 25 point Prestige building, but Jason moved to Provost on him.
I was continuing my plan to try each of the favor tracks, and
pushed the Prestige Point track. I got to the end of the track
only once, and ran out of money the last two turns, ending in 3rd place.
At the end, Jared and I were fighting to build residences for the
last three turns. Jared kept me out of the residences which put me
in third, but was unable to build the Prestige building which would
have put him in contention. As it was, Jared finished an ugly last place.

The significantly interesting point was Jason getting an early jump
on the Building track. The only way to counter this is to get the
buildings out to build the Residence and Prestige buildings as
soon as possible. Instead the Lawyer was only available on the
last three turns.

In Game 2 we had the same bitter fight for castle building.
Three of us were on the building track and none of us won.
Both Steven and I lost points for not getting into a section of
the castle. Tim held the Inn for crucial parts of the game, on
one turn getting 8-10 resource cubes, but couldn't get enough
big buildings or the right favors out of this to score top points.
Roy, having gotten castle-screwed his first game, put everything
into the castle, ignoring everything else, and won.
The final turn it came down to Steven and I fighting over resources
and turn order to build large buildings. I couldn't go for what would
have won because Steven would then have kept me from building anything.
For Steven, I got resources he needed to build the winning building.
Steven had a last-turn joust that he couldn't use, and I built a
Prestige building, but was unable to build that Stone building that
would have won the game.

This was a close game with everone in contention for the win until
the second-to-last turn, and three people fighting it out on
the final turn.

Leasons learned - plan at least a turn ahead. Plan to not
run out of money of the last turns (as I did on both games).
Double and triple check who's going into the castle and when.

John R. Mellby

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