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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 33 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 46 reviews
on January 18, 2016
Some games are so rich, so complex and so varied, that it takes every bit of mental energy you have to make it to the end. And while Caylus is certainly demanding (there are a fair amount of rules to cover), it is also one of the most rewarding games I've ever played.

The concept is that each player is a master builder who is working to build a castle for the King of France in the thirteenth century. Along the way, they will build buildings, collect resources, and court royal favors for some much-needed boosts along the way. The buildings get built along a road, which serves to plot the progress of the game as well as to add to the theme.

Caylus is not a game for casual gamers who like light, simple games that play quickly. Caylus is for those who are willing to give it all they have for 2-3 hours while the game unfolds like a tapestry before them. Open-minded gamers usually love it, but everyone else starts to lose steam after an hour and a half. It's either an acquired taste, or one that appeals to those who are open to trying something radically new. And in my opinion, it doesn't get much better than this.

THE BREAKDOWN

Decisions: 5/5. It doesn't get much richer than this. Each turn you will either be making a lot of guestimations, or else performing mental gymnastics to keep track of what's going to be coming in and what's going out. If you're like me, you will love this level of tactical depth, provided that you don't overthink the game or cling to tightly to your plans. There's always something you can do if you look closely enough!

Artwork: 4/5. Visually, this game is classic Euro all the way. The resources are wooden cubes, the workers are colored cylinders, the tiles are cute little buildings, and the board looks like a painted canvas, which is a nice touch.

Replayability: 5/5. How is it possible that a game with an almost identical setup can vary so much from game to game? I don't know, but depending on what buildings people build, the game can go in one of a thousand different directions. Talk about exquisite game design!

Awesomeness: 5/5. This one is a legend, a game for all time. Each time it comes out of the box I get excited, like it's Christmas morning. So fun!

Bottom line: If you don't like long games, give it a miss. But if you are willing to put in the time, you won't find many better games out there.
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on January 9, 2013
I'm an experienced board gamer, having played more games than I can count. Caylus was one of those games that, once I played it, I had to have it. It is currently my hands-down favorite board game (in a 50+ game collection) and I try to break it out every time I get a chance.

Caylus is certainly a very complex game- it's absolutely best to have it explained to you by somebody who is familiar with the mechanics. Even without that, though, you should be fine as long as you have at least some experience with Eurogamee. However, if your sole experience with board games has been things like Monopoly or Risk, then Caylus will probably overwhelm you. It's not a great introductory game to the genre. If you're looking for an introduction to Eurogames, I'd recommend Settlers of Catan or Carcassone over something like Caylus.

That being said, my favorite part of Caylus is the absolute minimization of luck. There's no cards to draw, no dice to roll, and really next to no element of random chance in the game. If you enact a good strategy there's really no chance for anything random to have anything more than a minimal impact on it. (Other players may try to stop you, of course, but that's hardly random) There's a lot of different strategies to play, and as the game progresses it becomes quite the brain exercise to keep everything straight.

If you are the time of serious board gamer that groans every time you have a bad card draw or crappy dice roll, you absolutely must pick up this game. I cannot recommend it highly enough!
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on April 22, 2012
If your gaming experience consists of Connect Four, Monopoly, and such, DO NOT attempt this game ...yet. This is an involved worker placement game that requires you to balance several aspects of game play including money (needed to pay your workers), gathering resources, turn order, choosing when and what buildings to construct, and when and how much to contribute to the building of the king's castle. There are many strategic paths to choose from and several mechanics on the board that require attention. Needless to say, it is a somewhat advanced game, and a terrific one at that. This is one of those games that when you or someone else wins, you are thinking about how the win was achieved long after the game is over. Its also one of those games you and a couple of friends will set a whole evening aside for. If you are ready for a game of this level, its a blast to play.

However, if you have not played games of this caliber before, you will have a rough time getting through the rules. A game that I would highly recommend you try first is Stone Age (also by Rio Grande Games). Stone Age is another, though simpler, worker placement game that involves gathering resources to construct buildings and purchase other items. It is a good introduction to this type of game. Once you are used to that, the rules to Caylus are not nearly as daunting.
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on May 22, 2017
This is one of my favorite games. It is truly a masterpiece of worker placement games. If I remember correctly, Uwe Rosenberg came up with his brilliant Agricola after playing Caylus with his friends. The visuals are a little dated, and frankly, just ok, but the game itself is amazing and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It is not a difficult game to learn, but it is not for complete beginners, too. If you have only played Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne, the learning curve will be a little steep. Everything is open information and whether you win or lose entirely depends on you and your skill. It is also not a 'nice' game as you will mess with other players' plans.
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on December 13, 2007
As my family will attest, I really like strategy games. I also abhor most games of chance. If a game comes with dice, I'm immediately leery.

Caylus does not have dice, which made a good first impression for me. It did, however, take us about 2 hours to learn. After the first game, I was skeptical about how strategic it was, but I played it a couple of more times against experienced players--and I got clobbered! While this appears to be an ironic endorsement of the game, it revealed to me that there was much more strategy involved than I initially thought.

Based upon how many players and how the initial pieces are played, there are many different strategies available. Additionally, the game offers you the ability to try and determine your opponents strategy and either overcome it or thwart it.

Caylus is now one of my favorite games because it offers many options, stimulates the brain, and is rarely the same game twice.

Downsides of the game for some will be the long time to learn the rules. The game also takes a long time to play, typically 90-120 minutes for us. As a result, those with shorter attention spans will NOT enjoy it. It's not a game for younger children or for those who don't have enough of a thirst for competition to figure out the strategies.
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on January 2, 2014
Caylus is a very well done game in the classic style of European worker-placement games (think Agricola, Stone Age, or Puerto Rico). In fact, for me it's the most fun game of the genre that I've played. The rules are light and easy to explain to someone new to this type of game, but allow for a richness of strategic play. The fact that the players have control of what buildings are built and in which order means that the flow of the game may vary from play to play, greatly increasing the replayability. The components are high quality, and overall the game is absolutely worth the price for anyone looking for a great board game.
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on January 16, 2016
Fantastic game. Well designed, brilliant concept and fun to play. A lot of people complain about the instructions being overly complicated and at first glance the rulebook looks intimidating, but the game is very intuitive and the reason why the book is soon extensive is becouse of the constant reference that's requiered. After the 5th or so game, it flows naturally and effortlessly.
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on November 16, 2013
A great game. Not perfect, but very good and deserving of 5 stars.

Fans of Agricola, Puerto Rico, Settlers, or similar quality Euro games should enjoy this one. A worker placement game like Agricola (or others), but does not have the feed your family mechanic that can make those kinds of titles a turn-off to some people.

The one negative to this title for me is that I think it may lack some long-term strategic depth (although I haven't really played enough to know). Comparing the game to Agricola, Caylus is missing out on things like the occupations and minor improvements that can add depth and replayability. The instructions were also a bit tough to get through, but only a few turns into the game things sank in pretty well.

Overall though seems like a great game!
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on February 17, 2014
Only played it a few times, but am already loving it. Challenges you to manage your different resources. Every game so far is a little different, gold is definitely an important factor in this game. This is a thinking intensive game, be warned.
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on February 11, 2016
Just a perfect complex game. Several aspects to manage, very complex strategies, changing turn by turn in function of what action the other players have played. Far from being OK for beginner and simply minded. One of the best games I've ever played.
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