Bright, brilliant colors are to be seen everywhere, the stones and pigments undimmed by the passage of decades. The floor of the corridor is a colorful mosaic of stone, with a distinct, winding path of red tiles about 2' wide.
Site: The BSW
It was an overcast, dreary Saturday in Westchester County. The little one had awoken at 0600 and the four year old was close behind so the bulk of the house's occupants were a-snooze in their beds when I decided to give Caylus a try. As with Puerto Rico, I had read the rules, obsessed over them, actually. I had watched several games played on the BSW to get an idea of the mechanisms in action and to witness first hand the sort of banter that accompanied the Provost's Move.
I went to Englishtown, entered an empty room, and hollered for players:
"Caylus, with a new player, in ET..."
I had to wait a few minutes for opponents. Perhaps it was the tone of the message. Perhaps people were worried that I was setting up a hustle. Eventually, I was info'd and the lowly winning percentages in all but the simplest of games revealed the truth: I was an easy mark... It also revealed that I am a rampant abuser of the ellipsis...
The Players (names have been changed to protect me)
Peter - 30-ish, investment banker type. All business. Probably a future contestant on the Apprentice. MANY games of Caylus played.
Mitch - 25-ish, artist type. Very concerned and focused on game aesthetics. On more than one occasion he moved the Provost because it "just didn't look right there." A few games of Caylus played.
Me- 35-ish, father type. Trying to squeeze in a quick game while everyone was asleep. Unwise given the fact that I was awake working all night the night before. First timer.
We selected "drawseat" and off we went. The beginning of the game was marred by an early mistake. Mitch worked the Merchants' Guild on Turn 1 in anticipation of protecting a yet to be placed worker of his. Peter passed and I found my worker dangerously close to the Bailiff. When Mitch passed on the Merchants' Guild, Peter was furious. It led to an exchange that lasted several minutes. This bothered me because it was the sort of exchange that puts newbies off trying new games. Even the designer was a newbie once, dude. Relax and play. It's not liked the dude Mayored and manned your main competition's Guild Hall. It is "just a game" after all. The bad blood between Peter and Mitch was set for the rest of the game. I almost walked away.
Peter went straight building favor track strategy and it payed off for him as he eventually won the game. He built one residence and a single prestige building, the monument, as I recall. As I recall, he used the favors that came with it to grind our faces in it. This led to a pretty convincing victory on his part. Just over one hundred points as I recall.
Mitch spent most of the game in a Money/Prestige favor strategy. It worked out okay for him, but he ended up last behind me. Mitch had a little trouble with the interface and he mentioned it to us. I validated his feelings and Peter basically told him he was an idiot.
As for me, I'm an idiot. Luckily, I truly believe that this is "just a game" and I do not take it very seriously. I managed to build a couple of buildings that got worked pretty regularly. I got the Bank and the Church down late in the game, though. Nevertheless, my casual approach to the whole affair led to several costly errors.
1) I showed up at the joust field with no $ in my pocket. Luckily, I was able to pass first and I made it look like I did it all, "on purpose."
2) I worked the pink Carpenter and miscalculated the fact that I would get the resources on the two spaces after it. I meant to work the fixed Carpenter. Doofus.
3) Several times I meant to go to the castle, but I delayed it and delayed it and then when others passed, I just passed to because I am an idiot. It's like Hot Potato when someone passes. I just cannot wait to put my token down. Spend a Denier, live a little, Sheesh!!
4) I did not pay attention to turn order carefully enough.
5) Once, I just plum forgot to work the Mason and I passed instead (Hot Potato, Hot Potato!!)
I stink at this game, right now. I just cannot seem to pick a favor track and stick with it. I would like to blame it on being tired, but I cannot. I would like to blame it on the Pixies that live in my basement, but I cannot. I am trying to avoid reading any strategy articles because I prefer to "discover" it for myself.
This game is probably better Face to Face. There was no scheming and there was no Provost's Move banter. I can't help it, I like to banter. It can also get a bit nasty so it is the sort of game that should probably be played with friends, in person. The nastiness seemed a little bit stronger in Cyberspace.
I got shellacked. Peter knew it too because towards the end of the game he got a little bit cocky and was talking trash.
Did I mention that it is "just a game"? Did I mention that I am an idiot? For now, Caylus is my village, and I am its idiot.
I take away the lesson that staying away from online interfaces is good for my ego and blood pressure. Sharks looking for cannon fodder is one thing. Sharks looking for cannon fodder to verbally abuse is . . . another thing that is unpleasant even in contemplation? Rock on, guys, rock on.
Kudos that the OP seems to have gained by his experience.