Caylus is a classic. One of the first worker placement games to my knowledge and it’s still a fine game. I played it several years back and acquired a copy of it (probably at a Knavecon) recently and was eager to wet it’s head. Not least because it accommodates five players.
The games sees between two and five players trying to build a castle and win prestige with the king. Building a castle is no small job and can take 2-3 hours to play out. The game has elements of Lords of Waterdeep and one or two other games which isn’t surprising since it’s the granddaddy of worker placement.
Players start with a small amount of resources and money and unusually they have to pay to pick spots on the map. Spots cost one denier plus one for everyone who’s passed this round. Clever. The game starts with a number of neural buildings that provide most of the resources in the game if you can be the first to stick a worker there. As the game progresses you can build new more generous buildings. Like Waterdeep if someone else uses your building you gain a bonus.
Points are scored by jumping on the castle squares and handing in three different resources (one of which has to be a food) and scoring points for that castle section. There are three sections of the castle (Dungeon, walls and towers) each of with limited spaces. So once again it’s a game of knowing when to plough resources into building your economy and when to pour resources into scoring. Like all good worker placements there’s multiple ways to score. Building castle sections. Winning favor with the king and building a variety of prestigious buildings. Having lots of gold and resources at the end nudges your score a little higher.
The Kings favor mechanic is neat too where you, through various actions can improve your standing with the king and garner better and better gifts in the shape of money, resources, score and reduced building costs.
The game is good. I like it. It’s competitive if a little solo like a lot of worker placements. It’s always a close run game which I like a lot. It’s better than good but it doesn’t really reach the nose bleed heights of amazing. Not anymore. A lot of worker placement water has passed under the gaming bridge since it’s appearance and they’ve refined the genre. If you wind up owning or playing this you’ll have fun. Enjoy it. It’s a classic. Not the best worker placement in my opinion but not bad at all.