Lord of the Board

Spreading the love of board games one meeple at a time

Robots Are My Friends

You know that saying ‘three’s a crowd’? Well, it’s not true when it comes to board games.

Sure, there are a few good 2 player games out there, but not nearly as many as 3-5 player games. 2 player games often become repetitive, and usually don’t have the same complexity as games that require more players.

Sometimes games say they’re 2-5 players, but the 2 player version is different, and often not as good, as the 3+ player versions. Justin often says that games should say that they’re 3-5 players with a 2 player version included, if the rules change for the 2 player version.

The main problem we’re having with our 2 player games, is the lack of player diversity. At home, we have different people over to play board games, all with different personalities and ways of playing. Don’t get me wrong, I love playing games with Justin, but on day 63 of our trip, in the only two games that we brought with us, he’s becoming predictable.

So where do the robots come in? Well, not to sound too much like a product of my generation, but my iPhone came to the rescue.

Recently, we purchased the Caylus iPhone game from the app store. For five dollars we were able to buy a version of a game we had wanted to play, and wouldn’t have been able to bring with us on our trip.

Caylus opening screen

Caylus opening screen

Caylus is known for it’s complexity, but learning to play it on the iPhone was easy. After reading the rules, we played a test game and the tutorial helped us figure out what to do. It was very convenient to have a robot (okay, computer), tell us where we could and couldn’t place our workers, and to deal with the turn order, round end and scoring. After a few games we feel confident we could play it ourselves, but it was nice to have some guidance while we learned the game.

Caylus is one of those games with a 2 player version. While it doesn’t differ much from the 3+ player version, it is much more fun to play with the element of the third (or more) player. The computer player has a different strategy than Justin or I, and adds that next level of complexity. We can even play with the maximum number of players, which changes our own strategies and the way we play.


A downside to playing a game on the iPhone is that it’s not so forgiving when you make a mistake. At one point Justin and I realized we had been placing the wrong workers (oops!). There was no way to go back and correct the mistake. We just had to consider that a lost round. Also, the game plays a bit slower as it’s hard to think about your next turn when you can’t see the game board, because it’s in the other player’s hands. Downsides included, Caylus has become our go-to train day game. Ticket to Ride is an amazingly fun game, but we really needed some variety.

Caylus "board"

Caylus “board”

So while my iPhone games aren’t strictly robots, they are a great way to play games while travelling. And really, it’s much more compact than building our own robot to travel with us.



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This entry was posted on December 7, 2012 by in Trip and tagged , , , .
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