Weekend Gaming: Thanksgiving Day Weekend

I picked up Caylus and Arcana on the way home from the football game last weekend.  My wife and I have played both of them a couple times over the course of the week, and then we played Caylus with Joe, Kevin and Ryan on Saturday.

Arcana is an interesting twist on the deck-building genre.  The decks consist of Agents, Relics and Locations that are used to influence various “districts” of the city. Influencing the districts will grant more cards for the decks.  There’s a lot more interaction than games like Dominion, but there are some flaws.  We’ve only played the basic game so far, and there is a lot of extra options that can be added, but it just feels a bit too random to me.  There aren’t a whole lot of ways to customize the deck.  Even if the deck is focused on one thing, the random nature of the districts means that there are times when there won’t be any districts that can be won by a player.  I’m not going to give up on the game before trying all of the additional rules, but my first impression hasn’t been very positive.

Caylus, though, is a different story.  It’s one of the highest rated games on Board Game Geek, and I’m really surprised that it has taken us this long to add it to the group.  As I mentioned, I’ve played it with twice with two players and once with a group of five.  The biggest difference is that the score is much higher when there’s only two players.  The Provost also gets a lot more use when there are five players.  The game is a pretty typical worker placement game.  The players use their workers to gathers resources and build buildings that can be used to score points and gather more resources.  The big focus is to build the castle, and the players need to send workers there with resources to help, and if you don’t help, you lose points.

In our game on Saturday, things got off to a slow start, because the provost was causing difficulty in getting actions completed.  I made a few mistakes early, placing workers too far down the road, or in one case placing my worker in the castle before I ensured that I had the necessary resources.  That caused me to lose a couple points that were important at the end.  Eventually things got rolling pretty well, though.  Kevin and Gina were able to get a decent lead by building and working in the castle.  I was able to make a decent push at the end with a prestige building and a bunch of contributions to the castle, but it was Joe that came away with the win.  He gathered up enough goods to build the cathedral building that is worth 25 points.  I managed to block him one turn, but it actually cost me some resources that I needed in the end.  His building shot him well into the lead on the last turn, and no one was able to catch up.

In non-board game related news, we were very happy to see the Raiders win against the Bears.  My son received a Chicago Bears pillow pet from my sister’s boyfriend in a gift exchange, and he has now decided that the Bears are his second favorite team.  We did get a picture today, though, of him and the Bear after today’s game.

Until next time, happy gaming!

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