Wednesday, 24 April 2013


This 8 year old gem has become the centrepiece of my worker placement collection. The numerous paths to victory and deep strategic choices are the main reasons Caylus appeals so much to me. If you haven’t had a chance to play Caylus at some point, make time to.

Players will take the role of master builders and race to construct the new Castle and develop the city of Caylus. By developing buildings you will earn the King’s favour and gain Victory Points. By the time the castle is finished everyone in the kingdom will know who the greatest builder really is.

Every player chooses a colour and takes the corresponding wooden blocks: The short disks are used to track The Bridge, Score, Favour, and Turn order.

The cylinder blocks make up your workforce.

Houses will be placed on any buildings you construct to mark them as your property, as well as used to track castle contributions.

Decide turn order randomly. Give the 1st player 5$, the 2nd and 3rd players both get 6$ and the 4th and 5th players get 7$.

Shuffle the pink buildings and place them randomly in the empty spaces after the Bridge. Place the Bailiff on the furthest pink building, then put the Provost on top of the Bailiff.

Playing Caylus:
Caylus is broken into rounds where players will place their workers and then collect resources and/or spend them. Every few rounds there will be a scoring phase indicated by the Dungeon, Walls, or Tower icons. After the third scoring phase, players will trade any remaining resources for Victory Points, then whoever has the most Victory Points is declared the winner.

Each round is broken into the following phases:

Income Phase:
Each player gets 2$. Income can be increased by constructing different Residential and Victory Points buildings.

Worker Placement Phase:
This phase lasts until all players have passed.
Players pay an amount corresponding with the space where they want to place a worker. Available spaces include:

v  The lowest number in the Stables space

v  The lowest number on the Castle

v  The orange space on the Inn square

v  Empty spaces printed on the game board

v  Empty Wood or Stone buildings printed on the game board

Placing workers costs the lowest number seen on the bridge, (1 – 5) there are two exceptions to this bridge rule.

v  It always costs 1$ if your worker is in the activation space on the Inn.

v  It always costs1$ to place in a Wood or Stone building you constructed

When a player is unable to place a worker, or decides they do not want to place any more workers in the current round, they pass. Players who have passed place their bridge marker (short disc) onto the lowest available space. The first player each Round that passes receives 1$.  Passing stops that player from placing anymore workers, but the price has now increased for other players to place workers this Round. Play continues until all players have passed.

Worker Activation Phase:

Even though you placed your workers, they have not been activated yet. Instead workers placed represent spaces a player plans to activate. Once all players have passed, the buildings activate beginning with the buildings printed on the game board next to the Castle, then all the way down the road. Workers that come after the provost do not activate.

Note that the Provost Will move after all workers have been placed and players have passed. There are two different ways that the Provost is allowed to move.

Provost Movement:

In the order that players passed (tracked on the bridge), they may move the provost 1-3 spaces forward or backward, however, each space you move costs 1$.

When the Merchant’s Guild is activated, it allows the player occupying it to move the provost 1, 2 or 3 spaces forward or backward Free of charge


v  He may not be moved onto the bridge, this means that the first pink building and all the spaces printed before it will activate every Round.

v  He may only be moved as far as the last square on the board.

When all spaces up to the provost have been activated, return all workers on the board to their owners. Then move to the Castle where you activate all the workers starting with the #1 space.

Castle Activation:

In the order their workers were placed, each player may contribute sets of resources to the castle. The player who contributes the most each round gets a royal favour. Adding contributions to the castle also scores you points.

End of Turn:

After all workers have been removed from the board, the bailiff moves down the road.

v  If the provost is on or behind the bailiff, then the bailiff advances one square.
The Provost is Behind the Bailiff:
Move the Bailiff ahead 1 Space
Put the Provost on top of the Bailiff

v  If the provost is in front of the bailiff, the bailiff advances two squares.

The Provost is ahead of the Bailiff:
Move the Bailiff ahead 2 Spaces
Place the Provost on top of the Bailiff

***After moving the bailiff, place the provost on top of the bailiff.***

Scoring Phases:

When the bailiff lands on a space with the Dungeon, Tower, or Walls icon in the top left corner a scoring phase will begin.
When all sections of the current Castle have been built, a scoring phase will begin.
The Bailiff has landed on the Tower Icon, this causes a scoring phase to begin.

During the Scoring Phase, Favours are awarded to players who contributed to the Castle. Players who did not contribute any sections to the Castle score minus points.

Each row on the favour track gives you increasing rewards for advancing further down the row. Depending on the track, you will gain bonus cubes, victory points, money or gives you exclusive use of buildings

You gain favour in the following ways:

v  Construct a building that awards Favour as part of its award

v  Make the most contributions to the Castle during a Round

v  Activate the Joust square

v  Contributed the required amount of sections to the Castle

Constructing Buildings:
Four different types of buildings can be built by paying the corresponding cost in cubes, they offer Victory Points and sometimes Favor in return. There are two ways to construct buildings:

1) Place a worker on the appropriate space:

2) Advance on the Building Favour Track

Carpenter: Basic Building: builds Wood buildings

Mason :Wood Building: builds Stone buildings
v  Wood or Stone buildings are placed on the earliest empty space of the road
These are the Stone Buildings to Choose From

Lawyer :Wood Building: builds Residences
v  Residences replace either Start buildings or buildings you’ve constructed,

Architect :Stone Building: builds Prestige buildings
v  Prestige buildings replace Residences. Place one of your houses on the building to indicate it’s yours

v  In addition to scoring Victory or Favor points when constructing a building, you get 1 Victory Point every time another player places a worker on your building. The owner gets the victory point as soon as a worker is placed on their building it does not matter if the worker gets activated or not.

v  The final bonus to owning buildings is that it only costs you 1$ to place a worker there.

End Game Final Scoring:

When the third scoring phase is completed, players get a chance to cash in any remaining resources for Victory Points at the following rate:

3 Points for each Gold cube
1 Points for every 3 non Gold cubes
1 Points for every 4$

As far as components go Caylus is awesome:

v  The small tiles have better artwork on them than most games with tiles.

v  The cubes are an odd assortment of colours, but a nice change from the regular blue/red/green/yellow. Although they are a tad fiddly

v  The board has the scoring track attached and not as a separate board.

v  The gameboard is small and not oversized, but not crowded and too busy.
My main complaint is that the workers are simply cylinders, but this is often the case with older worker placement games such as Caylus and Tikal. The rulebook is hard to work through, but there are a number of helpful teaching aids available online and after you have played through once it gets really easy.

Who Would Enjoy Caylus?

Gamer Gamers: Well obviously being an older worker placement game, Caylus lacks the glitz and glamor of custom meeples but makes up for in design. The mechanics in Caylus flow perfectly and offer you more paths to victory and opportunity for deep strategy than any other worker placement I have played. It’s obvious why any serious board gamer would enjoy this one, you can play it again and again and it gets your brain working overtime every time.

Casual Gamers: All that said Caylus is still a worker placement game so if you are a casual gamer and are used to the mechanics of other worker placements and Euros you should be able to pick up Caylus no problem. Once learned, Caylus does not overstay its welcome and is as casual friendly as it is gamer friendly.

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