The second game in My Favourite Boardgames series is Caylus, the BEST worker placement game of all the land.
I know that’s a pretty bold statement to make but I stand by it I’m a huge worker placement fan anyway so this is right up my street but even if that isn’t really your thing, you MUST at least play Caylus once, you may be surprised. While the rules seem complex at first, you get the hang of it and the game seems to fly by.
The actual gameplay is very straightforward, you place a worker, wait until it’s back to you, place another worker, etc. The complexity comes in the amount of choices available. Do you go for resources and try to get points by building lots of buildings and in the castle? Do you try to quickly build residences and aim for prestige buildings? Do you try to get as many Royal favours as possible and get the bonuses to help you build cheaper or get extra VPs? There are several possible strategies to try but most times you end up doing a bit of everything as the fact that each building can only contain one worker means you often have to change your plans.
This is also what makes it THE BEST WORKER PLACEMENT game in my opinion as it’s not just a case of picking a strategy and running through with it. Everyone has to adapt and change their plans and make the most of each situation. This also means it is daunting for beginners though but you could try Stone Age or The Pillars Of The Earth to still get that worker placement fix.
I’d say Caylus is a medium-heavy weight game although I hear some people saying it’s really heavy. It’s all relative to what you play and what your interests are but if you like games like Agricola, Le Havre or Puerto Rico then Caylus is definitely worth checking out. If you are somebody that loves a solid worker placement game and does not mind the idea of confrontation (or even enjoys it, like me) then I have no doubt that you will love this game as much as I do.
A little bit about Caylus
Designer – William Attia
Publisher – Ystari Games/ Rio Grande Games
Players – 2-5
Game length – 60-150 mins
In Caylus, the players embody master builders. By building the King’s castle and developing the city around it, each olayer will earn prestige points and gain the King’s favor. When the castle is finished, the player who has earned the most prestige basically wins the game.
Each turn, players pay to place their workers in various buildings in the village. These buildings allow players to gather resources or money, or to build or upgrade buildings with those resources. Players can also use their resources to help build the castle itself, earning points and favors from the king, which provide larger bonuses. Building a building provides some immediate points, and potentially income throughout the game, since players receive bonuses when others use their buildings. The buildings chosen by the players have a heavy impact on the course of the game, since they determine the actions that will be available to all the players.
As new buildings are built, they stretch along a road stretching away from the castle, and not all buildings can be used every turn. Players have some control over which buildings are active by paying to influence the movement of the Provost marker. The final position of the marker is the newest building that can be used that turn. The Provost marker also helps determine the movement of the Bailiff marker, which determines the end of the game. Generally, if players are building many buildings and the Provost is generous in allowing them to be used, the game ends more quickly.
So as I said earlier, if you’re someone that is into worker placement games and likes a little bit of conflict, you will enjoy this game. Also, if you are someone who can appreciate some smooth combinations of buildings and actions, that just really work well together then this game really is for you. Now, this isn’t a recent game and the artwork may look dated, this doesn’t matter to me, I know it can to some people however it really doesn’t matter. It’s a fantastic game, solid game play, a great amount of thinking and strategy and the potential to screw over your friends (in a kind of nice way, maybe).
Caylus hits the table a lot with my gamegroup, it’s relatively quick compared to most of the games we play so it’s a nice game to start off the day with to get everyone warmed up and ready for a long day of gaming. Caylus is a true classic and definitely deserves a place in My Favourite Boardgames pile.
Thanks for reading.