1. I’ll step in to defend both Caylus and Love Letter a bit.

    I’ve really enjoyed Caylus. When it was published, it was fantastic. But, since that time, a lot of other really good games have been published and been influenced by Caylus. So Caylus shows its age in comparison. But I still enjoy it (though I haven’t played it in a good while).

    As for Love Letter, I tend to play it only with casual or non-gamers. My sister-in-law likes it a great deal. When I’m with gamers, though, I do tend to choose something meatier.

    And, with four players I almost always play to 3 instead of 4. That cuts the game down a bit and puts it back in the right time length. I do disagree about the bluffing or playing being non-existent. There are some choices that have a dramatic impact. For instance, I’ve discarded the Countess when I had a Guard in my hand. The other players waste their guards trying to find my hidden royal. Then I get information and can use my guard against them.

    Similarly, I’ve sometimes used a guard on someone and called out the princess when I had the princess in hand. That way, they tend to think that I don’t have her.

    So there is some clever play there that may have been overlooked. If you always just discard the lower numbered card, you’re missing out on half the game.

  2. Yeah, all the above comments. And also, Caylus may have not aged as well as it could have. However, when it came out it was the FIRST worker-placement game. And at the time, it felt like a massive game-changer and something totally new and wonderful us. Nowadays, we’d mostly just grab something shorter like Lords of Waterdeep to scratch the same itch. But in terms of impact to game design, Caylus is monumental.

  3. Nick Shaw

    So, Love Letter: I really enjoy it, yet I rarely play it with adults; I almost exclusively play it with my kids. They LOVE it, mainly as they have a fair chance of beating me due to the luck element. I think if I played it with a group of 3 other adults, then yes it would be fairly bland, but for kids it seems to work really well. I love how even my 6 year old tries to deduce what other people have and play strategically (as much as you can with a choice of 2 cards).

    So fair enough you don’t like it when playing with adults (and, indeed, gamers), just don’t knock its potential for playing with the younger generation…

  4. Chris Ingersoll

    Two quick notes on “other games played” for this report:

    1) James K was piloting The Sentinels for the game versus (their nemesis) La Capitan.

    2) Pretty sure our game of Hanabi was out of 25 points, not 30. I don’t think my rainbow cards have ever been used.

  5. Chris Norwood

    Let me reply to all of you:

    GeetInsight – Maybe I exaggerated to say that Love Letter had absolutely no meaningful decisions.  And I’ll even give you that bluffing is probably the #1 way that a player can have a real impact on play (and actually, using a Guard to call for the Princess on someone else while holding the Princess myself was how I won one of the rounds in the game mentioned above).  That that’s really good, by the way, because if you didn’t bring in that emergent behavior into it, there’s wouldn’t be much of anything else there.  And more than anything, I will absolutely agree that shorter is better for the game. 

    Eric (and GeekInsight) – I never said that Caylus was a bad game.  It certainly has its place in gaming history, and its influence in undeniable.  But as you say, I also feel like it shows its age a little, and that newer games basically do what it does either more efficiently/quicker or more interestingly.

    Nick – Yes, I agree.  Love Letter is suited for 6-year-olds.  Perfect category for it! 

  6. Chris Norwood

    Really?  I guess I had just assumed that everyone was playing with the rainbow suit as well in Hanabi.  Cool enough…

  7. Chris Ingersoll

    Normally I would, but I’ve been playing with a lot of new/inexperienced players more often than not.

  8. Dave

    Just for the record Caylus was not the first worker placement game. Although the definition and subsequent first game based in the definition is somewhat debatable the general consensus is that the first worker placement was Keydom (1998) by designer Richard Breese.

  9. Chris Norwood

    As you said, it partially depends on your exact definition of Worker Placement, and I’ve also heard others say that Bus and Valley of the Mammoths are the 1st.

    But regardless of exactly who was first, I’d say it’s pretty undeniable that Caylus is the game that popularized and set the current expectations of what worker placement really is.

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