Caylus

Designer: William Attia
Manufacturers: Ystari Games, Rio Grande Games
Year: 2005
Players: 2 – 5
Time: 60 – 150 minutes
Ages: 12 and up
2006 Spiel des Jahres winner, Special Award for Complex Game.

This is a great worker-placement game. We’ve only played it twice, but it’s one of those games you can just tell is going to be played over and over.

The year is is 1289. King Philip the Fair has decided to have a new castle built in order to strengthen the kingdom’s borders. Now Caylus is a humble village, but soon workers and craftsmen will be flocking to the town, attracted by the great prospects. Around the building site, a city is slowly rising up.

The players are the master builders. By building the castle and developing the city around it, they earn prestige points and gain the King’s favor. When the castle is finished, the player who has earned the most prestige wins the game.

The rules might be a little complicated or seem a little long, but if you’ve played other similar games, like Agricola, Stone Age, or Kingsburg, you have a head start. I think the more games you tend to play the easier it can be to learn new ones. So often they are twists and variations on a few basic styles of play, if that makes sense.

Anyway, you place your workers on squares, getting resources, selling resources, building, earning the King’s favor. There are a variety of possible strategies, all of which seem like they have a chance at winning. There is no luck involved. It all depends on your choices and your opponent’s choices. I enjoy strategy games, even though sometimes I get ticked off when someone’s plan comes together better than mine. This is one where you have to be willing to let go of your strategy, too, and try something different if it’s not working out well.

The one downside is that it can be long. If you’re going to play Caylus, it’s probably the only game you’ll play in an evening. Well, unless you’re us and then we’ll add a few games of foosball.

Honestly, I think it’s a game that a lot of people will enjoy. The thing I hate is that boardgames just seem so expensive sometimes, but this is one that I’m sure will be worth the investment. It says it’s for ages 12 and over and I do think that it’s a little complex for Amber (10) at this point. I don’t have any young teenagers, so I can’t say anything about how well it plays for them, but for adults who enjoy games, it’s awesome.

The copy we play was purchased by a friend and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon and Funagain Games affiliate.