What is probably meant by this, is Worker Placement game. With Caylus being a good example of such a game, with the added benefit of having very little random elements (only the initial neutral buildings, and starting turn order), and ranking high with many board game enthusiasts within their favorite games.
This geeklist is a collection of all boardgames that are considered "worker placement" games. Thanks to some insightful comments, the following attributes define this category:
- Placement of the pieces gives you something. (This eliminates games like Chess.)
- There is a limit to the number of pieces per location. (This eliminates area majority games like Leonardo Da Vinci, Louis XIV.)
- In general, all workers are removed after each turn.
- There is more than one worker per player. (This distinguishes worker placement from role selection like Puerto Rico.)
- Players are competing for the limited locations to place their workers.
As for why the Family Version of Agricola would be considered more Caylus-like, that is probably because the family version removes some of the randomness (Occupation & Minor Improvement cards). Those 7 cards that are dealt to each player are unavailable to the other players, and are hidden information, where the Major Improvements are available to everyone and open.