It is good to have boardgame friends all around the world. Writing a blog inevitably means that you meet many fellow hobbyists, designers, content creators, etc. Dave – also knowas whovian223 – who owns and runs Dude! Take Your Turn! blog, is probably one of my closest “internet friends” I met during the past years. So when your friend is in need what do you do? You help!
Pandemic had a widespread impact on all of us. Also on our hobby – when recently GMT charged and shipped Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul, it occurred that due to the closure of the US-Canada border, Dave will not be able to get his copy of the game until late into 2021. So the only way to play that title was via Internet.
I immediately agreed to help Dave and take part in the Play-by-Email (PBEM) game. As for the Imperial Struggle Tournament, I suggested using the Discord. This is really great tool for you to keep all the logs, and using the Discord DiceParser you can execute objectively all the important rolls. Not to mention almost instantaneous communication with opponent when question of Avoid Battle / Intercept / Surprise Event is concerned.
But before describing our session, couple of word about the game itself.
About the game
(as per GMT site) Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul is a fast-playing, easy-to-learn, two-player card-driven game on Caesar’s conquest of Gaul. One player plays Caesar as he attempts to gain wealth and fame in Gallia at the expense of the Gauls. The other player controls all the independent tribes of Gaul as they slowly awake to the peril of Roman conquest.
Caesar: Rome vs. Gaul uses many of the core rules and systems used in Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. Players are dealt 8 cards at the start of each turn and use their cards to move their armies and place control markers.
The game covers the height of the Gallic Wars, the period between 57 BC and 52 BC when Caesar campaigned back and forth across Gaul putting down one rebellion after another and invading Germania and Britannia. Units are individual Roman Legions or Gallic Tribes. Each turn represents one year.
In our first game we decided I will take Romans while Dave will be playing Gauls. It was first real wargame for him after many years so we thought it prudent for me to take on more complex and active faction. Let me present briefly what happened and how it went!
A short legend to below report:
- in red I marked Roman developments, axis of attack, killed tribes and any other significant events
- in green you can see which tribes arrived at the beginning of the turn; also minor/major uprisings are marked like this
- in blue – mainly the spreading Gallic influence
You can also click on each image to enlarge it. Enjoy!
At this moment we decided to end the game. There was technically a possibility for Romans to lose (governance 3 or less) but looking at the map that was highly unrealistic.
Observations from the Roman perspective
Below couple of things I learned playing – and believe me, that game, while not overly complicated, will definitely favor players knowing the cards, mechanics and how it all works:
- Caesar pass – one of the most crucial places on the map; not only it is worth 1 VP but also a source of supply and a possible location to start insurrection actions behind enemy lines (see our second game 🙂 )
- Supply lines – I learned they are really key and was doing whatever possible to keep them secured. It is not only matter of attrition but also possibility to place Caesar and Legates.
- Caesar has a great mobility – ability to move 5 hexes with 6 legions is a great advantage – sometimes my move was creating so much dread among the Gauls, that they were afraid to leave their cities for offensive action.
- Use wisely the Legions Winter quarters – it is powerful tool but use it with caution! Make sure you have two legions in neutral space, make sure that province after winter will be allied to Romans and set your 2-legion quarters each to another so they can possibly intercept incoming enemy.
- Count your points – you have 12 to accumulate and 6 turns to do it; make sure you get 2 each turn – this or that way – not to be surprised later and trying to catch-up! Except for governance, the expedition to Germania or Britannia will help greatly, not to mention every 4 tribes eliminated.
There will be possibly much more once I play more (and I will). For now, those sometimes pretty obvious observations will make the life of any Roman commander much easier.
That was a good game. Dave already described his perspective, playing as Gaul player. I really like the asymmetry of the game – each side should use completely different approach and tactics. The game is beautiful, tense and interesting. I am seriously intrigued and already wondering what next game in series could be. Highly recommended!