Julius Caesar by Columbia Games   This is a rough game for me to review. I do not like Julius Caesar at all. ...

Julius Caesar by Columbia Games Julius Caesar by Columbia Games

Julius Caesar by Columbia Games

Julius Caesar by Columbia Games



by









  This is a rough game for me to review. I do not like Julius Caesar at all. Every Ides of March, I drink a toast of something to the fact that he was assassinated at the foot of Pompey's statue. I am a teetotaler so nothing special. I consider Sulla the greatest Roman general followed closely by Pompey. Caesar is most highly thought of because of his own propaganda writings. Remember that Caesar was the head of his faction while Pompey was actually representing the legal Roman Senate and also had to take their views into account. Caesar had said Sulla was a fool for giving up his dictatorship. He was not a fool, but a Republican. I guess I should dispense with my personal views now. So the game is about the Roman Civil War between the Roman Senate and a megalomaniac (sorry I had to). The Civil War between Pompey and Caesar. Let us see what you get with the game.



Front And Back Of Box


Game Map(17"x 33" with 13 victory points)
63 Blocks ( 31 tan, 31 green, 1 blue)
Label Sheet (for the blocks)
Cards (27)
Dice (4)
Rule Book




Map


 The map is the usual well done Columbia Games type we have come to enjoy with their block games. It is a map that is used to be gamed, and not be hung on the wall as art. The map does get a bit crowded at times with the blocks. However, for a small fee you can buy a PDF file of the map and have it printed out to pretty much any size you want. The labels are well done. They are aesthetically pleasing, and easy to understand and read. The cards are very well done and add some flavor to the game. There are twenty Command Cards and seven Event Cards in the deck. The rule book is only eight pages long. This is also standard fare for Columbia Games. Their games are meant to be played, not argued over. After one or possibly two games, you will have the rules down pat.




Stickers For The Blocks
  

  The game is card driven, and is played in these three phases:

Card Phase
Command Phase
Battle Phase


 The event cards are self explanatory. The Command Cards are read by the banners and medals below the banners. On each banner will be a number. That number is the moves a player can make that turn. The medals are the amount of levies that player can produce that turn. At the beginning of each year (or turn) of the game the cards are shuffled, and each player is dealt six cards. Both players then have to choose one card to discard, bringing their total to five cards each. Each player then puts down one card. If one player chooses an event card then he is Player one. If both players put down command cards then the player with the higher movement on his card is player one. When both cards have equal movement points then the Caesar player is player one. If both players put down an event card they cancel each other out and that turn/year is over. The event cards seem to be pretty overpowering compared to the command cards. One has to remember that if you play an event card that is all you can do that turn. No movement, or levies, can take place if you play an event card. 

 Your Navis(naval) units are incredibly powerful if you know how to use them. You can use three Navis units in adjacent sea areas to move your troops an incredible distance. The rule book gives an example of Caesar being able to move two legions from Rome to Antioch because the three seas (Mare Tyrrhenum, Mare Internum, and Mare Egypticum) all have Caesar Navis units in them and are friendly. You cannot conduct amphibious invasions as we think of today, but you can keep your enemy on their toes, and upset their plans with amphibious movement.                                   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
 The historically important Roman roads are also very important in the game. A Major road allows four units to move together from city to city. A Minor road only allows two units to travel together. 

 The game even has rules for the Cleopatra unit (blue block). She can change sides numerous times during the war. 

 This is the map showing all of the places that troops can be levied by Brunoc from BGG.








 The battle rules are simple and yet full of strategy and chance. A unit that has the higher combat rating, an A against a B unit, is always the first unit on each player's side to roll for hits. If both sides have the same highest rated unit (both A's or B's etc.) the defender is the first to use his unit to roll for hits. A unit may only fire, retreat, or pass each battle turn. Retreats can only take place after one round of combat has happened. There are rules for pinning enemy units as well as to have reserves for your battles.

 Victory goes to the first player who can get ten victory points. Each main city is worth one point, with Rome and Alexandria being two each. You also get one point for killing an enemy leader.
 


                                                  Cards


 The game has been a favorite of people who play Columbia games since it was released. The rules are simple and easy to understand, yet the game is deep enough to keep you enthralled with it. The relatively quick play-through times make it easy for players to give it one more go. The game also lets the player try so many different strategies to try to get to ten victory points. Historically Pompey fled Italy and went to the East. Caesar then cleared out Pompey's legions in Spain, leading Caesar to say "I am going to Spain to fight an army without a general, and thence to the East to fight a general without an army". Many historians feel that Pompey should have gone to Spain to fight with those veteran troops in a country that was difficult to campaign in, and that Pompey had fought in before (against Sertorius). One of the strategies I keep reading about for the game is for Caesar to capture Italy, but also to attack down the Adriatic coast to Greece, and capture Athens etc. I have noticed that not only does the map have the battles listed from the Caesar and Pompey Civil War, but it also lists the battles from after Caesar's death until Actium. I wonder if an add on was planned for the game at some time. The only two knocks on the game are the Octavian block in the Caesarean army and elephants being included in the game. Octavian was sick anytime he came anywhere near a possible battlefield, and I do not believe elephants were used by any Mediterranean nation after the Mithridatic Wars. I will have to check on that. I was wrong, Metellus Scipio used them at the battle of Thapsus. I assume these were the smaller North African variety that Hannibal also used.

 This a picture of all of the command cards posted by EndersGame on BGG.




 There are also many player made cards to replace the ones from the game. The ones I saw have excellent artwork on them.

 This is a fun and pretty furious game that will find its way back onto my table for many years.


Robert
 

0 comments :